Arrive in Cusco and Meet the Team
Welcome to Cusco, the former capital of the Inca Empire! Our guides will meet you at Alejandro Velasco Astete International Airport and transfer you to your hotel. El Mercado Hotel was originally part of the old farmer’s market and is located just a five minute walk away from Cusco’s main square, la Plaza de Armas. Meet your hiking buddies and find out more about the adventure ahead.
Tour of the Sacred Valley
Join the group for a tour of the Río Urubamba Valley, home to ancient Incan ruins such as the green amphitheater-like terraces of Moray, reached via the colonial town of Maras. Enjoy a picnic lunch amongst the ruins of Ollantaytambo, a quaint village which has been continuously inhabited since the thirteenth century. Return to Cusco to rest before the challenge begins tomorrow.
The Ancascocha Trek: Parpishu to Chilipahua
The Ancascocha Trek is the hidden gem of the Sacred Valley. This little-known trek is far less traveled than the Inca Path so you will have the mountains all to yourselves. The path meanders through ancient ruins and Quechua farms high into the Andes to reach an elevation of almost 15,000 feet. The trek is challenging, but you will be rewarded with amazing views, gourmet cuisine cooked by your guides, and the knowledge that you will soon reach Machu Picchu.
Leave Cusco by bus northward to the village of Huarocondo and head down the gorge of Pachar towards the Urubamba River at 9,500 ft. The footbridge of Parpishu is the starting point of our trek. From here the trail starts ascending slowly and continues to the pass of Watuq´asa at 12,500 feet, where we will find an Inca wall and tambo known as Qosqoqáwarina, the Viewpoint of Cusco. After lunch, we hike on to the small community of Chilipahua at 12,600 feet and stop to camp for the night.
Walking distance: 6.2 miles
Trekking time: 7 hours
Camp at Chilipahua
The Ancascocha Trek: Chilipahua to Ancascocha
Fueled by a hearty breakfast, we leave our campsite behind and head northwest, slowly ascending through a wet highland to reach the pass of Quchusqasa at 14,800 feet. After crossing the pass we walk down into the gulley of the Silque River to Ancascocha at 12,800 feet. Here, we set up camp, with a spectacular view of Huayanay Glacier.
Walking distance: 8.1 miles
Trekking time: 8 hours
Camp at Ancascocha
The Ancascocha Trek: Ancascocha to Camicancha
After breakfast we begin to descend alongside the mighty Silque River, towards the Sacred Valley of the Incas. On this trail we will find plenty of ¨huakani,¨ the famous red Masdevallia orchid, hopefully in bloom. After crossing many tiny bridges, we will make camp at Camicancha at 9,200 feet. This community is known for its volcanic rocks, and has a spectacular view of the snowcapped mountain Huacayhuilque, also known as La Veronica.
Walking distance: 5.6 miles
Trekking time: 7 hours
Camp at Camicancha
Inca Trail: KM 104 to Machu Picchu
After descending from the high-altitude Ancascocha Trek, take the train to Chachabamba at Kilometer 104 of the famous Inca Trail, where we start a three hour ascent to the ruins of Wiñay Wayna, an important spiritual site. The Inca Trail cuts across the ridge above Machu Picchu to finally reach Intipunku, the Sun Gate.
This classic vista into the lost citadel is the most exquisite way to see Machu Picchu for the first time; it will certainly be a unique experience. We descend to Aguas Calientes at the base of the mountain to rest overnight.
Machu Picchu Tour
After four full days of challenging hiking, your guides will give you a small break by shuttling you back to the top of the mountain to see the sunrise over Machu Picchu. You will be treated with a complete tour of the site where you will learn about the different parts of the citadel and life in the Incan Empire. Then, return to Cusco and enjoy a free evening of rest, recovery, and celebration at the completion of your challenge.
Cusco City Tour
Spend your last full day in Peru on a tour of Cusco. Explore the main square of la Plaza de Armas, the Sun Temple of Koricancha, which was considered to be the center of the Incan world, and other archaeological sites within the city. Savor a last taste of Peruvian cuisine in the former capital before saying goodbye to your teammates.
Say one last farewell to Peru and your group and transfer to the airport for your departure. You also have the option to explore this historic country in more depth with a customized extension trip in the region.