Trip Description & Itinerary

The Chasquis were known as some of the greatest runners in history capable of relaying messages at speeds of over 200 miles per day at altitudes above 13,000 feet. While these great athletes were endowed with incredible strength and stamina, they also had wisdom and a way of connecting with the land and its inhabitants that helped propel them along the steep mountainous terrain. Through this connection it’s said they were able to flow like water over rock. We will explore this connection and perspective throughout the journey as we travel in their footsteps.

Our route will traverse one of the most stunning sections of the Inca Road, between the great city of Choquequirao and the citadel of Machu Picchu. Choquequirao is considered one of the most remote ancient ruins in the world and is currently visited by fewer than 70 people per day, which the Peruvian government plans to change when it builds a road and tram system to the site in the near future. Currently the site is only accessible by two-day walk across a 5,000-foot deep canyon.

Situated at 10,000 feet Choquequirao is located in pristine cloud forest and features extensive waterways, temples and agriculture terracing as impressive as Machu Picchu. While the site is only 30% excavated, the energy of the site is profound and there are ample opportunities to find solitude as we explore the origins of this remote lost city. While at the site we will work with local shaman and participate in a traditional Despacho ceremony giving gratitude to the spirit of Pachamama.

As we explore the rich history of the Andean people, we also discover the diversity of the land. Peru boasts the highest concentration of microclimates in the world, and our journey travels through five climate zones, including rare cloud forest, which is home to one third of Peru’s birds, mammals and frogs. Here we will see an incredible diversity of flora and fauna, including bromeliads, orchids, butterflies, giant hummingbirds and the Andean condor.

As we venture deeper into the Andean highlands the landscape opens into high alpine Cordillera, passing near permanent glaciers and high villages. The mountains here are sacred to the Andean people and we honor these great spirits, as we pass within view of the Apus Kiswar, Quriwayrachina, Pintuyu. Here we begin to see the magnitude of how great the Chasqui runners were as we travel elaborate stone paths constructed centuries ago and still in use by local people today as they pass these steep mountains.

After descending Victoria pass at 14,000 feet we discover the small village of Yanama where we will connect with the local people through the practice of Ayni as we participate in a service project to improve the local school. The following day we ascend a majestic valley surrounded by high peaks climbing to our highest point at 15,272 feet as we cross Yanama Pass. From here we get our first glimpses of Salkantay, the second most dominant peak in Peru, known as the Savage Mountain and the ruler of weather and fertility.

The climate changes quickly as we descend 7,000 feet from high alpine into into lush tropical vegetation passing fruit groves and coffee plantations that have been present since Incan times. We have the opportunity to visit the hot springs near Salkantay before descending the Santa Teresa river valley passing many small villages.

We then venture back up into cloud forest to the ancient site of Llactapata. Here we will enjoy a beautiful moss covered forest and explore the ancient observatory which is perfectly aligned with Machu Picchu across the valley.

We are now within site of our final destination as we make our way down to Aguas Caliente traveling through abundant forests filled with parrots and orchids. Upon arrival we will have opportunity for a soak in the hot spring and enjoy a fine meal as we explore this quaint village and relax in preparation for our visit to Machu Picchu the next day. In the morning we travel up to the citadel and spend the day exploring this expansive site, connecting to its energy and learning the role this ancient ruin played in the Andean cosmology. While here we will have the chance to climb Huayna Picchu, the steep prominent mountain that defines the site and hike to the more remote Temple of the Moon which few visitors experience where we hold our final Andean ceremony. In the afternoon we descend and board our train back to Cusco where we will enjoy a comfortable hotel stay and final dinner at one of the finer restaurants in Historic San Blas.

Homeward bound and it is time to leave for home, with a happier and more courageous heart, a fulfilled mind and soul and an enriched view on this incredible planet we call home.

The Sacred Valley of Peru is one of the most mystical places in the world and is home to some of Peru’s greatest historical sites. Our trip includes local flights from Lima and includes one night accommodation in Lima. The adventure begins and ends in the Incan capital of Cusco where we will have one nights stay in one of the luxury hotels, enjoy a group dinner and explore the city.

The next morning we travel by private bus through the mountains to the town of Cachora where we begin our adventure. We will be supported by porters and mules throughout the trip, and camp for 10-nights in four season tents in established campsites. Participants will only be required to carry a small daypack during the day with water, snacks and extra clothing. All meals will be prepared fresh and served in our well-provisioned cook tent. There are also many small tienda’s along the route that sell snacks, drinks and supplies.

As this is one of the more challenging treks in Peru we take an extra mule and also have points where vehicle transportation can provide assistance if necessary. The route distance covers approximately 75 miles with a minimum elevation of 4,800 feet and a maximum of 15,300, which we reach on Day 7 allowing plenty of time for acclimatization.

At our final destination of Machu Picchu we will have a group dinner and one night stay at a first class hotel in the village of Aguas Calinete. We will then either take a bus or take the short beautiful hike up to Machu Picchu to explore the site. We return in the afternoon and board the train for the four-hour journey back to Cusco and check into our hotel.

  • Day 1 – Arrive in Cusco
    We arrive in Cusco check into our hotel, have a group dinner.
  • Day 2 – Tour Cusco & Visit to Temple of the Moon
    We tour historic Cusco and have opening Despacho ceremony.
  • Day 3 – Cusco to Chiquisca
    Bus: 3.5 hours / Distance: 10 miles / Time: 2-3 hours / Difficulty: Easy / Elevation Change: -3,500 feet, +865 / Camp Elevation: 6,150 feet
  • Day 4 – Chiquisca to Choquequirao
    Distance: 9 miles / Time: 5-8 hours / Difficulty: Very Strenuous / Elevation Change: -1,320, +4,600 / Camp Elevation: 9,450 feet
  • Day 5 – Full Day Exploring Choquequirao
  • Day 6 – Choquequirao to Maizal
    Distance: 10 miles / Time: 5-10 hours / Difficulty: Very Strenuous / Elevation Change: -4,500, +4,800 / Camp Elevation: 9,600 feet
  • Day 7 – Maizal to Yanama
    Distance: 6 miles / Time: 4-6 hours / Difficulty: Strenuous / Elevation Change: +4,150, -2,300 / Camp Elevation: 11,500 feet

  • Day 8 – Yanama to Collipapampa
    Distance: 15 miles / Time: 6-10 hours / Difficulty: Very Strenuous / Elevation Change: +3,420, -5,400 / Camp Elevation: 9,500 feet
  • Day 9 – Collipanpampa to Llactapata
    Distance: 15 miles / Time: 5-8 hours / Difficulty: Strenuous / Elevation Change: -2,850, +2,500 / Camp Elevation: 8,550 feet
  • Day 10 – Llacatapata to Aguas Caliente
    Distance: 10 miles / Time: 3-6 hours / Difficulty: Moderate / Elevation Change: -2650, +825 / Hotel in Aguas Caliente
  • Day 11 – Machu Picchu & Montana Machu Picchu
    Distance: 4 miles / Time: 4-6 hours / Difficulty: Strenuous / Elevation Change: +2,100, -2,100 / Hotel: 6,800 feet
  • Day 12 – Aguas Calinete to Cusco
    Train to Ollyentaytambo.  Bus to Maras Salt Mine and then to Chinchero for textile demonstration.
  • Day 13 – Depart For Home

  • Day Pack – 20-30L
  • Water Bladder – 3L
  • Sleeping Bag – 20F at least (synthetic recommended)
  • Sleeping Pads – Inflatable and/or closed cell foam
  • Duffel Bags – Large expedition-size vinyl or canvas to be carried by the mules.
  • Additional bag to leave at hotel with change of cloths.
  • Shoes – Lightweight hikers or cross trainers
  • Camp Shoes
  • Warm Hat
  • Gloves
  • Waterproof Pants
  • Waterproof Jacket
  • Fleece Jacket
  • Insulated Jacket
  • Long sleeved shirt

  • Insect repellant with Deet (*Important, there are biting flies near the river)
  • Lightweight Trekking Pant
  • Shorts and/or bathing suit for hot springs and river
  • Capaline/Polypro top and bottom
  • Socks – At least 4 pair
  • Sun Hat/visor
  • Sunglasses
  • Hygiene/toiletry kit – Small
  • Pee bottle or female spout
  • First Aid Items – Small. We provide a larger kit for the group
  • Headlamp w/spare batteries
  • Trekking Poles – Highly recommended
  • Camera
  • Nalgene bottle
  • Snack foods to supplement standard meals.

  • Ear plugs
  • Plastic Bags – Garbage bags for your duffel for rain protection.
  • Camp Soap/Shampoo
  • Small camp towel
  • Disposable wipes
  • Hand sanitizer– Small
  • Sunscreen
  • Bandana-optional
  • Knife or multitool – Optional
  • Duct tape, Blister Kit
  • Journal – Optional
  • Donation items for local people – Shoes, shirts, socks, sunglasses, school supplies.
  • Tip money.This is optional, but the guideline is approximately $150 for the trek.
  • 2 photocopies of your passport
  • Label all Gear