Inka trail is a truly unique sojourn through the south part of the Cordillera of the Andes. You will be trekking through the Vilcabamba mountain range located in the department of Cusco and visit an ancient and remote city from the Incas times. Explore the different ecosystems and experience the biodiversity of one of the longest mountain range in the world.
Choquequirao is one of the largest of abandoned Inca cities.it was probably built by the Inca Tupac Yupanqui from 1471 to 1500 after his father Pachacutek.it was probably built as a political, social, military and religious retreat and center during the expansion of this Inca king and refuge of the last Incas. To reach it requires an extraordinary hike through the Andes in the Vilcabamba mountain range with the incredible Canyon view of a mighty river called Apurimac (one of the main heat water sources of the Amazon River
Difficulty of the trek: easy to moderate, good physical conditions.
Day 1: Distance: 10km- Altitude: 2915 to 1800 mts- hours 5-camping 1800mts.
Day 2: Distance: 14km- Altitude: 1800 to 3033 mts- hours 8-camping 3033mts.
Day 3: Distance: 5km-Altitude: 3033 to 3055mts-hours 7- camping 3033mts.
Day 4: Distance: 19km- Altitude: 3033 to 1800mts- hours 8-camping 1800 mts.
Day 5: Distance: 7km-Altitude: 1800 to 2415mts- hours 6-Cusco 3200mts.
Ecosystems: Scrub bush vegetation, Andean semi dry forest, cloud forest, inter Andean valleys. Grass land, alpine, glaciers.
Highlights: Some Inca remains. High biodiversity, flora, fauna. Ancient Inca road, sacred mountains, amazing landscape.
Climate: The temperature varies in between below cero 5ºC,morning ,night to 20ºC,middle day to 25ºC day. Mountain weather, sunny to cloudy, windy.
The Inca road system called Capac Ñan (beautiful road or Great Inca road) it was the most extensive and complex ancient system in the new world. It is believed that this main road built it by the Incas was the main net work system that connected the four cardinal points in this part of the world. This sacred road was also part of the Inca empire high way of the Tawantinsuyo( the empire of the four corners).Chinchaysuyo(the north region,Contisuyo( the south region),Collasuyo (the west region) and then the Antisuyo( the east region )ending in the jungles of the unexplored Amazon
It use to run from south to north and from west to the east parts of the Andes with several primary and secondary roads that were connecting several sacred places, Inca cities, shires and administrative places as well military stations.All of them with great scale, beauty and functions, providing also all kind of sources for the people, helping the redistribution and spreading around the messages of the Incas, carried by Inca runners who where coming from the capital Cusco. The Capac ñan was a great web and work system with all the communication well organize with imperials and government messages and member in duty, used by the Inca people .In this way the Incas achieve a well organize empire and only with one language, one religion and one culture ,The Inca culture.
The Capac ñan covered a distance of over 40 thousand kilometers of primary and secundary roads made it by the Incas or added to their sistem from preInca civilizations and over 3000 kilometers long in a territory filled with one of the longest mountain range called the Andes over 9000 kilometers long, one of the densest jungle in the world the Amazon and one of the dries places in the world the dessert of Peru and Atacama. With elevations in between 100 to 5000 mts providing access to different ecosystem and territory estimates in over 5,000,000 square kilometers of territory, where the Incas built and crossed mountains valleys rivers and glaciers. The main road of the Incas was also beginning in the great capital of the Inca empire Cusco or Qosqo (navel of the world).According with the evidence found in this capital .There was the four main roads beginning in the sacred plaza of Aukaipata in the heart of the Inca capital city and used to go to the four directions of the empire ending in the places like the jungle and the high plateau of the Andes. Others covering valleys and then deserts ending close to the ocean.
It went in to places like Ecuador and Colombia in the north .as well to places like Bolivia, Argentina and the deserts of Atacama in between Peru and Chile. To access to those Inca roads it was mandatory to get permissions because many of f those Inca roads were used by members of the high classes and soldiers as well many representers of the government in duty. In some bridges taxes where charged as well many messagers were running through stations to deliver the messages that were connecting the different places.
The most spectacular and scenery road is found near Cusco that connects some sacred cities like Machu picchu, Choquequirao, Vilcabamba, Vitcos, Espiritu pampa.as well Sacred mountains called Apus like the Mythic Ausangante (6384 mts) and the Salcantay (6221mts).Finally some of those Inca trails are connecting communities in the area of Lares and the sacred valley ending some of the in the jungles of the department of Cusco.
DAY 1 – Trekking Cachora, Capulichayoc, Chikiska
We depart from Cusco early in the morning, crossing the mountains, driving for 4 hours into the department of Apurímac for about 153 kilometers. This area was a historical place for the Incas and Chancas nation. We will stop to enjoy and to photograph the awesome views of the mountain ranges Urubamaba in the east and the Vilcambamba mountain range in the north west, along the way. The town of Cachora, at 2900 meters, is the entrance of the Apurímac River Canyon, where we will make our preliminary preparations. After 30 minutes drive with incredible views of the snow-capped Padreyoc, 5771mts, and part of the Cordillera of Vilcabamba, we will arrive for lunch in Capulichayoc, at 2915 meters. During this stop we will see native tree called Capuli “Prunus Capuli”. Here we will enjoy another view of the sacred river Apurímac and the Inca remains of Choquequirao from across the canyon. From here we hike for about 5 hours down the gorge trough on a zigzag trail,stairs and gravel in moderate to difficult conditions.
The hike from Capulichayoc down to our camp at Chiquisca, 1800 meters, will be about 10 kilometers. During this descent down hill we will see part of the Inca militar staion on the left side of the canyon,probably used to control the canyon and the river from the Chancas nation,enemy of the incas in the apurímac region.Also see one ecosystem called the Andean semidry and dry forest and we may see some of scrub bush vegetation called Chilca “Bacharis Peruviana”, some Molle “Schinus Molle” and Tara “Caesalpina spinosa”. These trees are used for medicinal purposes in the area. There will be several opportunities to see bird life, perhaps hummingbirds and if we are lucky we will see the Andean Condor “Vulture Gryphus”, Black Chested Buzzard Eagles “Geranoaetus Melanoleucus” and Falcons flying above the canyon of the ApurImac River.
DAY 2 – Chiquisca, Santarosa, Marampata,Choquequirao.
Today we’re off to an early start hiking up and out of the gorge of the Apurimac River. After a short hike down hill,about an hour we will arrive to Rosalina Beach at bottom of the Canyon, where we can enjoy an early bath in the river. Then we will hike for about 2 hours all the way up trough a zigzag trail on moderate to difficult conditions over gravel and dirt terrain then stop for a break in the village of Santa Rosa, at 2115 meters. We then continue upward trough the Andean dry forest where we will see several species of bromeliads and cactus called the Tree Cactus “Neoraimondia” , the Prickly Pear “Opuntia” and the Condon Columnar Cactus “Pilosocereus Tweedyanus”, also a tree from the acacia family called Willka “Acacia Macrocantha”. All of these trees have medicinal purposes and are considerd sacred by the native people. We will watch for hummingbird and several species of finches. After hiking upwards for 2 hours more, we will have lunch in a nice spot with beautiful views of the mountains and the cloud forest in the little village of Maranpata, at 2910 meters. In the afternoon we will hike for 2, hours more, through the cloud forest to our camp located near the siteoptional late afternoon hike to the site for sunset . On this trail we will see some tree species in the birch family called the Aliso “Alnus Jorullensis” and our national flower called Kantu “Cantua Buxifolia”. In Choquequirao, at 3033 meters we will have time enjoy the sunset and to explore.
DAY 3 – Choquequirao
Early in the day we hike into the archaeological site of Choquequirao “Cradle of Gold” to catch the sunrise, if the weather is nice. The tour will take the rest of the day. There is much to see in this remarkable archaeological site. This site is thought to have been built by the last Incas of the Empire and to have been used as social, political and military center during the expansion. It was the last city refuge of the Incas and likely was a check-point at the entrance in to the Vilcabamba region. We will cover different sectors of the site and we will have a picnic lunch. Late afternoon we go back to our camp, close to the ruins.
Beautiful buildings were built at Choquequirao that were occupied by royalty, nobility and important people and their entourages. These were religious retreats, plazas, ceremonial places, astronomical observatories and they also served as military stations, store houses, granaries, and terraces for farming, all connected by Inca roads. Construction included existing rock, the small valley itself, and the mountain. Fine masonry and well carved, well-polished stonework, all assembled without mortar. The work was done by laborers from elsewhere who used ramps rollers, and manpower.
All these beautiful buildings were occupied by royalty, nobility and important people and their entourages. These were palaces, religious retreats, plazas, ceremonial places, astronomical observatories and they also served as military stations, store houses, granaries, and terraces for farming, all connected by Inca roads. Construction included existing rock, the small valley itself, and the mountain. Fine masonry and well carved, well-polished stonework, all assembled without mortar. The work was done by laborers from elsewhere who used ramps, rollers, and manpower.
DAY 4 – Choquequirao, Marampata,Chiquiska
We’re up for sunrise and last views of the Inca remains. After breakfast we will continue hiking through the cloud forest for about 2 hours to Marampata, 2910 meters, and then down over gravel and dirt pathways to Santa Rosa, 2115 meters, where we will have a short break and some snacks. passing though different ecosystem like the cloud forest where we will have the chance to see some orchids, trees and some birds like tananger.sounds of the gray breasted mountain wren and the inka wren as well some fly catchers perching in the tree catching some insects.as well many orchids,ferns and different trees typical from thisecosystem.
Then we will continue in to the Andean semi dry forest and then in to the Andean dry forest with chances to see some native tress and birds In the afternoon we will continue to Rosalina Beach, 1550 meters, where we will have a nice bath in the Apurímac River, a late lunch and then continue up to camp at the town of Chiquiska, 1900 meters. The rest of the afternoon is free to relax.
DAY 5 – Chiquiska, Capulichayoc, Cachora
It’s another early morning and after breakfast we go up the trail in moderate to difficult conditions. Today we will be ascending the Apurímac Canyon through the Andean dry forest in to the Andean semidry forest. It will be dry and hot or maybe windy and cool on the summit. There will be great views of the Apuirimac Canyon and some opportunities to see Andean flora and fauna. We will stop for lunch in Capulichayoc, 2915mts.where we will have lunch late-afternoon we will arrive to Cusco.
We Provide and Include: Itinerary transport roundtrip from Cusco-Licensed, Bilingual, history and naturalist Tour Guides-All Itinerary Meals, including vegetarian & snacks, Safety orientation and Equipment for optional activities-First Aid kit and Oxygen-Tour specific Sleeping bags, air mattresses and Expedition grade tents-Dining tent, Cook & Services-Horses,Mules for tour outfitting Horse wrangler staff, and emergency or back-up horse-Ecological, portable toilets-All Entrance Tickets-
We can recommend the best and more comfortable hotels or we can take care of the reservations for you.
For adjusting to tour altitude, we suggest one day tours like the Sacred Valley hike,one day River Rafting before the Apurímac River and the City Tour of Cusco hike. As Guides we offer 100% Gauranteed Information, for your sensibilities – about the best specific hotel rooms and services around Peru, like extra windows and other amenities.
What to bring
This is a list designed to advise you what equipment is appropriate to bring according to the weather conditions predominating at the time of your trip:
Jeans and other pants are good as well.as well any clothes that cover the request of being water proof or resistance to water or cold are fine as long they are resistance to the conditions are fine.
- Flashlights (at least one headlamp among them).
- Sun Block; Insect Repellent.
- Towels (Small; cotton and hygienic).
- Rain Gear (Pants and Jacket)
- A couple of pairs of socks, perhaps even an extra pair.
- One pair of trousers for the evening plus two more pairs for trail use (zipp-offs).
- Sandals for River OR DRYSHOES.ASWELL use or CAMP OR HOTEL use (Teva types).
- Low ankle height hiking shoes or regular hiking boots (check the season).
- Reading material.
- Binoculars (always useful regardless of season and activity).
- Bathing Suit.
- Water Bottle (I liter capacity).
- Good Sun glasses, perhaps two sets.
- A bandana for neck protection.
- A couple of sets of underwear (perhaps an extra pair).
- Camera and plenty of film.
- Passport (plus a couple of Xerox copies).