Trip Length: 7 days, 6 nights
Trip Type: Trekking (activity level Moderate to Difficult)
Highlights: Escape the huge crowds of the Inca Trail by trekking instead to epic Inca site Choquequirau,Take a train through the jungle to visit Machu Picchu; Camp and see the southern sky stars and Milky Way like you never have before; Visit Cusco, Imperial city of the Incas; Travel in comfort with private transportation all week, airport door to airport door; Learn from your English speaking, Peruvian guide with you the entire trip; Enjoy fresh local Peruvian cuisine and interact with the locals
Fixed Dates: We have a few small groups available to join if you are traveling solo, (or with a friend/significant other but prefer having great company!) one.
Begin June 3rd, June 17th, July 1st, July 8th, July 22nd, or August 5th.
This trip is also always available as a private trip, just for yourselves, and thus is available any day of the year
Trip Price: Starting at just $1695 per person, minimum 2 people
Day 1 – We begin in Cusco, where you either fly to this morning, or many people choose to come a few days early. Our private vehicle, driver, and English speaking guide will all be waiting for you! We have a beautiful, four hour drive to the quaint and dusty town of Cachora, which feels like something straight out of an old Western movie. Our muleteer and horse guides will be waiting there to load up all our gear, which they carry for the duration of the trek. You carry just a light daypack, and believe us you will be happy to only have that as there are two, fierce three thousand foot plus ascents on this trek up very steep trails. This first day features some of the most stunning scenery we have seen anywhere, and even better the entire hike today is either flat or downhill, to our first campsite on the side of the mountain, in a small clearing we call Chiquisca.
Day 2 – Today is probably the most difficult day of the trek, and after a short descent down to the famed Apurimac river, we will cross it and then climb steeply up over three thousand feet straight out of the river canyon and up towards the top of the mountain. Here you will arrive to one of the most beautiful places for a campsite, with incredible views in all directions. Here is our base camp for the next two days from where we will head out tomorro to the site of Choquequirau itself. Known as a ‘sister site’ to Machu Picchu, it is smaller in size but in many respects is even more impressive than Machu Picchu. It certainly is less crowded, around 1% of the daily visitors than Machu Picchu. Even better, it is still being uncovered and so you have the unique opportunity to see what will one day be a mass-visited tourism site, while it is still in it’s very beginning stages of development.
Day 3 – Today we will visit Choquequirau, and we can say with high confidence that few places in the world can match this place for its history, archaeology, architecture, small crowds if any and incredible mountain top location. We avoid the few people that are there by not camping at the small campsite near the site itself, choosing instead to make the two hour each way walk to our remote staging area campsite. We will, however, have the entire day to spend here exploring this magnificent palace, which in addition to its well planned and constructed buildings also has a feature that few people ever get to see but that is on a par with the top sites in the world: the “llamitas”, or little llamas. Created by setting small white stones into full size six foot high terracing, it makes a spectacular effect but one that can only be appreciated from the lookout platform. The entire site of Choquequirau is possibly our favorite place in Peru we have been to in years of exploring here!
Day 4 – After breakfast, we will start heading back the way we came, down the mountain and past the small, remote shack of our friend “Julian”, who runs a small snack stand complete with fresh sugar cane and who has also been mentioned in the New York Times. We’ll be able to take our time today, stopping at the river bottom to swim or just lounge around a bit, and make a slower paced climb back up to our campsite at Chiquisca (or possibly the next higher up campsite of Coca Masana to stage us closer to the exit for tomorrow).
Day 5 – We have one last climb out of the massive Apurimac Canyon this morning, retracing our steps from Day 1 and back to our waiting van. We will drive to Ollantaytambo, a historic and beautiful Inca town and the gateway to Machu Picchu. There will be time for a celebration feast before retiring to your included hotel for a good night sleep before yet another big day tomorrow.
Day 6 – Its finally time to visit Machu Picchu, one of the 7 Wonders of the World! By now you will be fully acclimated, and settled in to the rhythm of Peru culture, familiar with Inca stonework, and ready to fully appreciate its splendor. Because make no mistake, no matter how many pictures you have seen or how crowded you might worry that it is, a visit to Machu Picchu remains one of the most spectacular days one can spend anywhere. We never get tired of it, its amazing! Take the train through the jungle to Aguas Calinetes, and the included bus up to the site itself, visit as long as you want with your knowledgeable and licensed guide, then back down and train back to Ollantaytambo
Day 7 – After breakfast, depending on the time of your departing flight we will have time for a final walk around Cusco to do some more people-watching, take photos in the impressive early morning light, or pick up some last minute souvenirs. Transfer to the airport with your guide in private transportation for your flight back to Lima, and be sure to ask for a window seat on the right hand side of the plane for amazing views of the Andes!
Trip Inclusions: Private transportation and English speaking guide, the entire week from airport pickup to airport dropoff; all camping equipment including tent, sleeping pad, and sleeping bag; mules to carry all your gear; Breakfast Days 2 through 7, lunch Days 2 through 5, dinner Days 1 through 5; Machu Picchu standard entrance ticket, Round trip train ticket, Round trip bus ticket. It also includes unlimited phone and email support with our owner from beginning to end, including 24/7 support in English to a toll free US number while you are in Peru.
Trip Exclusions: Does not include lunches or dinners, entrance to Choquequirau (approx $16)