Day 1: CUSCO – GOLDEN LAKE – QUENCCO – HUCHUY QOSQO TREK
We will pick you up from your hotel at 6:00 am and take you to the Inca site Puca Pucara (3700 msnm), which is only a 20-minute drive from the city of Cusco. We will begin hiking gently uphill for 1.5 hours to get to the first pass (4100 msnm). From here, there will be spectacular views over the two valleys.
Down below, there are two Inka sites with a beautiful landscapes of grass-covered mountains and farmlands. You will also be able to see Cusco, the capital city of the Incas, surrounded by the stunning Andes mountains.
Your guide will explain how the Incas arrived to the area and where they came from, and also about the Spanish conquest.
We will then continue on our journey. From the pass, we will follow the path along the side of the valley, making our way towards the top. It´s about a 45-minute walk to the top end of the valley and once we get there we will cross a small stream that divides the valley and then begin making our way to our lunch spot at Queullacocha Lake. The area surrounding the lake is quite barren and is a high plain between the mountains covered with a tough Andean grass called Ichu. This barren landscape, however, provides an excellent opportunity to see a wide variety of birdlife, including Andean Geese, Lapwings, Partridges, and a variety of birds of prey.
After our lunch stop we´ll continue to our campsite for the night at the village of Quencco. Making our way over the top of one of the ridges we´ll descend towards Qoricocha Lake (Golden Lake) and loop around it. It´s about a 2 and a half-hour walk to the village.
Here we will be greeted by groups of children and adults excited to welcome us to their community. After we settle in and drink a hot cup of mate de coca, we´ll visit one of the local families to learn about their way of life. If you brought any gifts with you, this is the time to give them to the family. After our home visit, we´ll have some free time to relax and your guide will teach you more about the Andean way of life. This is also a good time to find gifts or souvenirs specific to the Andes.
Distance walked: 14 km
Day 2: QUENCCO – HUCHUYQOSQO – LAMAY – OLLANTAYTAMBO – AGUAS CALIENTES
Rise and shine with a delicious cup of hot coca tea! When you are ready, a delicious and filling breakfast will be ready. From Quencco we begin our walk to the Inca site of Huchuy Qosco. After 2 hours walking, we will reach a stretch of original Inca trail, just below the village of Pumamarca. Along the way, we will pass many local people caring for their llamas and tending their fields. This is one of the main industries of the people at this altitude because the terrain is perfect for it. Once we reach the Inca trail, the scenery around us begins to change from the high mountaintop to a secluded and tranquil valley. This valley is beautiful and is full of lush vegetation. You will be able to see many small birds, including a variety of hummingbirds feeding on the abundant flowers in the area. As we make our way down the valley, we will be surrounded by snow capped mountains and the famous Urubamba mountain range. There will be plenty of time along the way to take pictures.
Slowly, we will make our way towards the main site. As we approach we´ll pass through an adobe Inca gate way and finally arrive at the magnificent Inca site of Huchuy Qosqo (Little Cusco 3600 msnm), which is perched above one of the sacred valley of the Incas. Here you will see amazing Inca buildings like religious houses, store houses, Inca terraces for agriculture, and an Inca reservoir used to deposit water for the dry season. Your guide will take you on a tour of the site and explain the significance of this incredible site.
After the tour, you will have time to explore the site by yourself before we have lunch. From here we will begin our walk downhill to the Sacred Valley. It takes about 2 hrs to get to the village of Lamay (2800 msnm) along the Urubamba River, where the bus will be waiting to take us to Ollantaytambo. We will have dinner in a restaurant in Ollantaytambo, before taking the 7.pm train with your guide to Aguas Calientes. Once we arrive, we will check into the hotel and rest and enjoy a hot showers.
Distance walked: 17 km/10.56 mi
Day 3: AGUAS CALIENTES – MACHU PICCHU – AGUAS CALIENTES – CUSCO
Today, you will explore the amazing Machu Picchu. It is the most important part of our trip and you will have the option for how you want to arrive at this sacred site.
You can either leave the hotel around 4:00 am and walk up the stairs for around 1 hr or you can take the first bus leaving Aguas Calientes at 5:30 am, which takes 25 min. We need to wake up early in order to arrive to see the sunrise over Machu Picchu.
Once we enter, you will have a guided tour around the area for 2 hrs. You will then have free time to explore the ruins on your own and have the option to climb Huaynapicchu (this is a separate entrance ticket and costs $25 per person) or the Sun Gate. Both have breathtaking views and just depend on how much more you want to climb. After you have taken in all of Macchu Picchu, you will return to Aguas Calientes and enjoy lunch with your guide.
You will then board the afternoon train (usually at 3:00 pm) to Ollantaytambo where you will board a bus and return to Cusco at around 6:30 pm.