Choquequirao Trek to Machu Picchu

Incredible scenery, remote ruins, organic coffee farms and more await you on this 7-day Choquequirao Trek to Machu Picchu!

Peru adventure tour

Guided 7-Day Backpacking Trip on the Choquequirao Trek to Machu Picchu!

The world-famous Choquequirao trek to Machu Picchu is a must for any adventurer craving incredible scenery, remote ruins, and rugged hiking! Getting to Peru’s crown jewel via the Choquequirao hiking route means that you are able to experience three  sets of Incan ruins. Two of these breathtaking sites, Llactapata and Choquequirao, are extremely remote, spectacular, and have very few tourists. The Choquequirao trek to Machu Picchu is one of the most demanding yet rewarding treks in the Cusco area. This 7-day hiking adventure takes you along stunning sections of Inca trail to Machu Picchu, and is not for the faint of heart (or leg)! But the sublime views and secluded ruins with which hikers are rewarded are what make this trek one of the best hikes in the world.

Choquequirao Trek Description: 

The sister site to Machu Picchu, Choquequirao, sits perched on an Andean cliffside, high above the Apurimac river valley. After two full days of nearly 1500m/4900 ft of descent and 1800m/5900 ft of ascent we will finally be able to explore this wonderful lost city of the Incas. The next three days we will be in near solitude, hiking along ancient Inca Trail, spotting wildlife, crossing crystalline rivers and taking in the incredible mountain vistas of Peru. After five full days on this trekking holiday we will finally arrive at the home of a local farming family where we can relax in the comfort of an Andean home. Here we will experience the “Ruta del Cafe,” where we will pick coffee and see how it is peeled and dried, before we personally roast our own and taste what fresh coffee really means!  We then continue on Inca Trail to Llactapata, another magical set of ruins where we can overlook Machu Picchu. This may be the best way to see Machu Picchu as there are unlikely to be many onlookers. Our journey continues to the Hidroelectrica where we will take a short train ride to Machu Picchu Pueblo. The last day of this guided backpacking vacation is the crown jewel of Peru, the ancient citadel of Machu Picchu!

Why Choose Haku’s Choquequirao Trek to Machu Picchu: 

Our Choquequirao trek is not your typical four day Choquequirao hike, where you hike in to Choquequirao and out to then back out the same way. We believe that the best way to do a trekking adventure is to hike each day on a new trail with fresh views and stunning rewards. We don’t cut corners and won’t have you walking on roads, hiking railway tracks or taking late trains to save a few dollars like many other agencies. Additionally we believe that every Peru adventure vacation should include authentic cultural experiences. That’s why we include a homestay with a local farming family on their organic coffee plantation.

Tour Dates

Dates for our Choquequirao Trek to Machu Picchu

What you can expect

Choquequirao Trek Highlights

Some highlights to look forward to on your Peru 7-Day Choquequirao Trek to Machu Picchu:

Live the adventure

Full Choquequirao Trek Details

Today, you’ll get picked up at 5 am in Cusco to begin our Choquequirao Trek. We’ll drive three to four hours to the small Andean town of Cachora. Cachora is a typical Andean village with fantastic views of the Padreyoc glacier and other massive peaks.

We will drive to the trailhead at a beautiful lookout, the Capuliyoc Mirador. Here we will load up the horses and have something to eat before we begin our descent to camp.

We will descend over 1000 m/3200 ft to our campsite on, switchbacks that take us down into the beautiful Apurimac Canyon.

Our cooks will prepare us an amazing Peruvian meal for dinner. Before retiring we can enjoy the infinite stars above us!

Choquequirao Trek to Machu Picchu Stats:

  • Hiking time: 4-5 hrs
  • Distance: 7.4 km/4.6 mi
  • Max Elevation: 2965 m/9730 ft
  • Descent: 1066 m/3498 ft
  • Difficulty: Moderate

Today’s the day we’ll arrive at the trail’s namesake – Choquequirao, which is Quechua for “cradle of gold.” Many refer to these massive Incan ruins as the “sister” to Machu Picchu; unlike Machu Picchu, though, Choquequirao is famous for its seclusion and lack of tourists. It’ll be a tough day of hiking with both downhill hiking and a lot of uphill switchbacks. Our ascent today is more than 1500 m/5000 ft! However, arrival at our pre-set campsite and hot food right will be a more than sufficient reward! 

Today is quite long and very challenging. Therefore, we may or may not visit the ruins of Choquequirao today. This will depend on the energy and capabilities of our group. 

Choquequirao Trek to Machu Picchu Stats:

  • Hiking time: 7-9 hours
  • Distance: 13.5 km/8.5 mi
  • Max Elevation: 3040 m/9976 ft
  • Descent: 345 m/1134 ft
  • Ascent: 1542 m/5061 ft
  • Difficulty: Challenging

We’ll take this morning to  explore the Choquequirao ruins. These Incan ruins in the cloud forest of Peru are only 30-40% uncovered! This massive, 1600 hectare site will be explored for years to come. First visited in 1715, Choquequirao is believed to have been the initial work of Pachacuti and added to by his son Tupa Inca Yupanqui.

A huge main square, water canals, llamas built into the walls and more than 80 terraces are just a few of the highlights!

Around midday we will move on, wishfully hoping to return another day. In the evening we’ll arrive at the Pinchauyunoc campsite, or possibly Rio Blanco if we have the energy.

Choquequirao Trek to Machu Picchu Stats:

  • Hiking time: 8-9 hours
  • Distance: 11 km/7 mi
  • Max Elevation: 3272 m/10,735 ft
  • Descent: 1450 m/4720 ft
  • Ascent: 456 m/1496 ft
  • Difficulty: Moderate to challenging

Although today is a fairly demanding day of hiking, the remoteness and biodiversity we encounter are amazing enough to make it more than worthwhile. Keep your eyes peeled for spotted bear, condor, and numerous birds and other wildlife.

Our guides are well trained to walk at the pace of the group, and to not only stop for the numerous photo opportunities on the hike, but also to teach you about flora and fauna and the native way of life.

We will hike to the Maizal campground, arriving in time to see the mountains fade away in the most amazing star-studded sky.

Choquequirao Trek to Machu Picchu Stats:

  • Hiking time: 4-6 hours
  • Distance: 5.11 km/3.18 mi
  • Max Elevation: 3018 m/9,901 ft
  • Descent: 24 m/80 ft
  • Ascent: 1183 m/3,884 ft
  • Difficulty: Challenging

Today includes some of the most beautiful views of the trek. We’ll begin with a gradual climb for a few hours to Victoria Pass, where we’ll gaze in awe at towering glacial mountains, cold, clear rivers, and (if the season is right) gorgeous mountain wildflowers! If we’re lucky, the famous Andean condor will make an appearance or two overhead. We’ll then descend into the remote mountain town of Yanama where a transport to the coffee farm at Lucmabamba will be waiting.

In Lucmabamba we will be able to relax and enjoy a tour of the coffee farm where we will be enjoy spending the night in a nice bed!

About an hour from Lucmabamba there are some beautiful hot springs. If you would like to visit them you can take a taxi down to town. This is not included but easily organized.

Choquequirao Trek to Machu Picchu Stats:

  • Hiking time: 7-9 hours
  • Hiking Distance: 10.5 km/6.5 mi
  • Max Elevation: 4131 m/13,556 ft
  • Descent: 593 m/1948 ft
  • Ascent: 2293 m/7525 ft
  • Difficulty: Moderate

This morning you’ll get to wake up to what will probably be the freshest coffee you’ll ever have, freshly roasted from the Lucmabamba coffee farm!

After breakfast we’ll continue on our trek to Machu Picchu. Another steep but short Inca trail leads us up to the ruins of Llactapata, from where we have an unmatched view of Huayna Picchu, Machu Picchu and Machu Picchu Mountain. Archeologists believe Llactapata was an important religious stop and roadside shrine for Incas on the journey to Machu Picchu.

After exploring the ruins, it’s just a quick 20 minute hike down to the hiking shelter where locals will cook a delicious, exclusive lunch for us. Here, we’ll enjoy a final dose of tranquility and seclusion before joining the crowds across the valley at Machu Picchu!

We’ll then continue on down to the river  to catch a train from the Hidro-electric station to the town of Aguas Calientes, also known as Machu Picchu Pueblo. (If you would like to hike to Aguas Calientes instead of taking the train, please let us know.)

On arrival your guide will take you to your hotel and leave you with instructions for your dinner and when to meet in the morning. He will then say good-bye for the night.

Dinner is a luxury, three-course dinner at the Tree House in Aguas Calientes.

Choquequirao Trek to Machu Picchu Stats:

  • Hiking time: 4-6 hours
  • Hiking Distance: 11 km/7 mi
  • Max Elevation: 2816 m/9239 ft
  • Descent: 1058 m/3473 ft
  • Ascent: 614 m/2017 ft
  • Difficulty: Moderate

You made it! Today, you’ll get to experience Peru’s historical holy grail — Machu Picchu, the “Lost City of the Incas”. If you wake up early enough, you’ll get to see the sun rise on Machu Picchu, a sight you won’t soon forget. Haku will provide a fully guided tour of the citadel and, if you would like, we can add on Huayna Picchu or Machu Picchu Mountain as well.

Most people spend upwards of five hours here. Explore the ruins, have a snack, take lots of photos, and just enjoy the views. At some point, however, you’ll have to make it back down in time for your return train to Cusco. A car will be waiting for you at the train station in Cusco to take you to your hotel.

What’s the price for this 7-day Choquequirao Trek to Machu Picchu? And what’s included?

The price for this trip is $1950 per person, and requires at least two people in order to run.

Discounts available for groups of 4 or more.

Price includes:

  • English-speaking guide and all of his expenses
  • Cook, kitchen tent and necessary items for meals
  • All meals from lunch on day 1 to lunch on day 7
  • Water and snacks from lunch on day 1 to lunch on day 6
  • Tents 
  • Horses and horsemen 
  • Entrance to Choquequirao
  • All campsite fees
  • Lunch at Llactapata at a lodge overlooking Machu Picchu
  • Train tickets from Hydro-electric to Aguas Calientes after Llactapata Inca Trail
  • 3* Hotel in Aguas Calientes
  • Machu Picchu tickets with Huayna Picchu or Machu Picchu Mountain
  • Vistadome train home (depending on availability)
  • 3-course meal at the Tree House restaurant in Aguas Calientes
  • Bus ticket down from Machu Picchu to Aguas Calientes
  • Transport from Cusco/Ollantaytambo train to hotel in Cusco
  • Lodging at a local organic coffee farm in a local’s cabin-style lodge, and a complete tour of the coffee plantation and the entire coffee process.

Not included:

  • Trekking poles
  • Sleeping bag and mat
  • Dinner on the last night after you leave Machu Picchu Pueblo
  • Transport back to Ollantaytambo if you stay in Ollantaytambo instead of Cusco
  • Hot springs excursion
  • Water and snacks for day 7 at Machu Picchu (these can be purchased in Aguas Calientes) 
  • Tips

The Choquequirao Trek to Machu Picchu is for advanced trekkers with a minimal fitness level of 4.

Advanced Trekkers

  • For those who spend a good time of the year in nature doing multi-day adventure treks
  • For those who’ve got top gear and significant experience in adverse conditions
  • 7-12 or more days in the mountains doesn’t faze people on these treks. Usually, they think they start smelling good on day 4
  • Fitness level 4

Fitness Level 4

Level 4 – You exercise 3-4 times a week on a regular schedule and enjoy physical activities such as biking, hiking, skiing. You are constantly active and like to be fit and healthy. 

You enjoy longer hiking days such as 5-8 hours.

Note: If you are not at this level of fitness nor an advanced trekker you can contact us and talk about your options. 

All international flights require a layover. Most layovers will be through Lima, Peru or Bogota, Colombia. In the case of flying through Lima most flights will arrive late at night in Lima and flights to Cusco will fly out in the morning. Many people get arrivals at 3-4 am and flights out around 5-6 am. 

Your options for layovers in Lima, Peru.

  • Choose a flight that has a late arrival and early departure and sleep in the airport for a few hours (Most common choice)
  • Choose a flight that has a semi late arrival like 11 pm and a very late morning departure like 10 am and get an airbnb with airport pickup near the airport. (Choose something 5 min from the airport so you can sleep)
  • Get a room at the hotel connected to the airport. This hotel is called the Wyndham Costa del Sol
  • Purchase two separate flights. One to Lima and stay the night  in Miraflores. Visit Lima a bit for the day and fly out on a later flight to Cusco. 

Things to note when arriving in Lima:

  • On arrival you will need to pass through migrations. These are very long lines and can take more than an hour sometimes.  If you have young children up to two years old, are over 65 or handicapped, by law, you can use the preference line. 
  • After passing migrations you will need to pass through customs and declare any goods you may have brought. 
  • Once through Migrations and customs you must recover your checked bags, leave the international arrivals part of the airport and then re-check your bags at the check-in. Here there are often extremely long lines. If you have paid for extra baggage or oversized baggage make sure you have the receipt so they do not charge you a second time. Also, oversized bags are dropped off in a special line so ask before you wait in the normal line. 
  • Once the baggage is checked you can go through the normal process and screening to get to your national flight to Cusco

As you can see there is a lot that you must do on arrival to Lima. You will need a bare minimum of two hours (if you have only carry-on luggage) in between flights.

We do not include airport pickup or drop off on this trek, if you would like us to provide it please ask.

  • Our all Inclusive treks include meals prepared by local chefs with a love for cooking and the outdoors. The chef and his assistant are with you for the entire hike and are a great companionship. The delicious meals generally consist of a soup with fresh vegetables and potatoes with a main meal afterwards. The main meals are generally chicken or trout along with rice, potatoes and vegetables. Most lunches do not contain flour. Thankfully all of our meat is free range, grass fed and produced by local farmers with small farms. We do cater to both vegetarian and vegan diets. 
  • We provide a cook tent with attached dining area, stools and foldable tables to protect you from the elements and make you most comfortable in the down times.
  • We provide nutritious, locally made snacks for the hiking days. However, Peru does not have all of the same high calorie snacks that you may enjoy at home. Feel free to bring extra energy bars for the trail that you may find yourself craving.
  • We provide fresh water for the entirety of the hike. You will need a bottle or camepack to fill in the mornings. 
  • Cusco has an amazing food scene and there are many places to choose from, take advantage before and after this amazing trek! 

The accommodations are a perfect mix of campsite tents, locals home on coffee plantations and hotels. The hotels are comfortable with hot water, wifi, breakfast and a helpful and accomodating staff.

Each person is required to have a specific travel/trip insurance outside of your credit card or regular medical insurance.

You should get comprehensive coverage with trip interruption/cancellation and with personal liability. Mention all activities that you will be involved in such as mountain biking, hiking at high altitude and whatever other activities you may have planned. 

We do not provide refunds.  If you should get hurt or sick not only will travel insurance cover your medical expenses it will also cover the lost portion of the trip. Make sure you have trip interruption or trip cancellation included! South America is famous for people striking and shutting down all activities. If you miss your Machu Picchu trip, your Amazon trip or your flight due to strikes the insurance will cover the loss or additional costs that are incurred. 

Check out our blog on travel insurance and why it is a must for any South America Vacation!

Peru’s currency is called the Nuevo Sol. You’ll be able to exchange US currency for the Sol easily in Cusco. The exchange rate often fluctuates between 3.29-3.33 sol per US dollar.

We recommend you bring cash. Peru is still a cash society. Most people don’t have bank accounts as Peruvian banks charge up to $15 per month just to have the account open. So, services like Venmo, Pay-Pal, and Apple Pay aren’t used here. Most local stores, taxis, and local restaurants are cash only.

ATMS charge around $8 to take out $60-200. Banks only allow a small withdrawal daily. Thus, it’s probably a good idea to withdraw a good sum of cash before you come to Peru unless you have a bank that returns the ATM fees. You can also try the app called ATM hero and do a little research before you come to decide if an ATM card or cash is best for you.

The USD, EURO, CAD cash you bring should be non-ripped bills. Small rips or bills that are written on are not accepted for exchange.

Seeing as Peru is a cash society and it is difficult to withdraw large amounts of cash, we require your balance be brought in cash.

TIPPING: Local restaurants generally do not require a tip, however, leaving a few soles is a nice gesture. Tourist restaurants are generally a 10% tip. Tipping your guide in Peru is generally 5-10% of the price you paid for the tour.

TIPPING: Local restaurants generally do not require a tip, however, leaving a few soles is a nice gesture. Tourist restaurants are generally a 10% tip. Tipping your guide in Peru is generally 5-10% of the price you paid for the tour.

If you have a smartphone, we suggest you download WhatsApp. This will allow us a very quick messaging system. We do not check emails more than twice a day, so for emergencies or quick contact on arrival WhatsApp will be the way to go. 

Here’s how to set it up:

  • Put us in your normal PHONE contacts. Not the whatsapp contacts.
  • Use a plus before any international number
  • +51984501311 Nicole / +51984501692 William
  • Look for us on WhatsApp and say hello!
  • Headlamp
  • Sleeping bag
  • Water bottle or two for refilling or Camelbak bladder in your day pack/ hiking pack
  • Rain gear
  • Waterproof boots 
  • Sandals, flip flops, or sneakers for camp
  • Hiking poles (highly recommended as there is plenty of downhill)
  • Gear for cold weather down jacket, hat, gloves, scarf
  • Hiking clothes: quick-dry layers, long underwear, hiking socks, etc.
  • Swimming clothes for optional hot springs
  • Quick-dry towel
  • Sunscreen 
  • Sun Hat and Sun glasses
  • Bug spray
  • Any medicines you may need: epi-pens, inhalers, ibuprofen, aspirin, or something similar for headaches or muscle pain 
  • Camera or phone
  • Charging devices for phones and camera
  • Official passport for entrance to Machu Picchu
  • Day pack for carrying water, rain gear, camera, snacks, medicines
  • Larger pack or duffle for additional clothing and snacks — this will go on the horse (please keep the weight maximum of 8 kilos/18 pounds.) We can provide you this on arrival.
  • Blister kit 
  • Bug bite cream
  • There are horses to carry your gear. You’ll need a large pack to put on the horse with your extra gear and a small pack for the day. Each day you’ll carry your water, snacks, camera, rain gear, layers, sunscreen, meds, and bug spray.
  • You cannot get anything off the horse until camp, so bring all you need for the day in your day pack.
  • There are steep valley walls you will descend and ascend, so, again, please consider hiking poles. 
  • Any changes to the itinerary after the hike begins can incur charges.
  • We strongly require that you get travel insurance with trip interruption. Your 60% deposit is non-refundable and would be returned to you by your insurance should you get sick or need to go home in an emergency.
  • You will be in the middle of nowhere, so if there is an accident you will need to ride a horse out or walk. There is no heli evacuation. 
  • There is no cell service for most of the hike.
  • We cannot be responsible for acts of nature such as, but not limited to, earthquakes, landslides, flooding, etc. Nor can we be responsible for strikes by the people closing down roads and transport. We will do our best in these situations to get you to the necessary destination; however, you may need to depart earlier than expected or take a transport that is longer than stated in the itinerary or make changes to the itinerary
  • The Cocalmayo hot springs are nice and relaxing. They are about 1 hour away from your lodging on night 5 at the coffee farm. If you should decide to go on this night, talk with your guide about how to get there and how much it will cost. You will need to pay for transport and entrance or ask for it to be included in the price.
  • We’ll take care of cooking gear, all meals, water purification, tents, mattresses, and sleeping pads. Accompanying you on the trek is your English speaking guide, 1-2 arrieros (horsemen), a cook to prepare your meals, and an assistant if needed.

Working out in a gym, running, or going on long extended hikes with weighted backpacks will definitely help you out. Good rest, healthy eating and hydration is a good idea as well.

We recommend you take vitamin C supplements and probiotics before you come, and while here. As great as Peru’s food is, it’s different from what you’re used to, so it’s important to make sure your body is ready for the transition. Food safety is crucial when traveling abroad, and Peru is no exception.

Bring cash. Peru is still a cash society. Most people don’t have bank accounts as Peruvian banks charge up to $15 per month just to have the account open. So, services like Venmo, Paypal, and Apple Pay aren’t used here. Drivers, guides, local restaurants — all will be expecting cash.

This means that we too will ask for the balance of your trip in cash for the simple reason that we must pay everyone we work with in cash.

Our groups are often private. However, if this is a group trek then we will have a small group of 6-8 clients.

It’s open and dependent on their physical limitations. We have had families with  7 year old children and groups of older folks, 70 years old, accomplish this trek.

The distances are noted for each day on our itinerary. This hike requires 6-9 hours of hiking daily.

You are required to carry a small backpack for your water, snacks, rain jacket, etc…

Our guides are local men or women who are excellent companions on the trail. They have a keen knowledge of both their history and their surroundings, it’s a pleasure to be with them.

You can leave your extra luggage either in your hotel or our office.

You will be given a tourist visa at the Lima airport, typically they are for 90 days. Check that you do not need a visa for any of the countries you will be passing through on your layovers.

Weather is dependent on the time of year, May-Aug is generally blue skies and hot in the sun, cool in the shade with cold nights and early mornings. This Choquequirao Trek will require clothing for both cold and warm weather.

This trip is based on shared room and shared tents. 

Bringing more gear means bringing more horses and horsemen on our trek.

for your own tent, private room at coffee farm and private room in Aguas Calientes.

Price: $400 USD for your own tent, private room at coffee farm and private room in Aguas Calientes.

All add-ons can be purchased at checkout.

Sleeping bag rental

Price: $25 USD

All add-ons can be purchased at checkout.

Make your vacation even easier! Let us book additional hotels or airbnbs for you in Aguas Calientes, Ollantaytambo or Cusco !

We make sure to book you a place that has a central location and real hot water!

Hotels include breakfast. Private apartments (airbnbs) do not.

Price: $60 USD for 1-2 person group

All add-ons will be offered to you at checkout.

Add on a full day of mountain biking to your trip.

We will take you out on some of our epic Andean singletrack! Don’t miss the chance the shred 2600 m/8000 ft of downhill MTB!

Price: $180 USD

All add-ons can be purchased at checkout.

Choquequirao trail to Machu Picchu

Is this 7-Day Choquequirao Trek for you?

This 7-day Choquequirao Trek in Peru is for advanced trekkers who are physically fit, have experience hiking for long periods of time and are looking to be challenged and amazed with world-class trekking.  This trek in the wilderness of Peru is not fit for beginners. If you are looking for something a little less demanding and just as scenic check out our 3-5 day Ausangate treks.

Our 7-day Choquequirao Trek to Machu Picchu is ideal for you if:

  • You are determined to conquer the challenges of a long sustained backpacking trip
  • You prefer traveling and visiting places with minimal tourism
  • You desire authentic encounters with locals when you travel to new places
  • You’ve have experience with backpacking trips and camping
  • You are looking for a trekking operator who provides sustainable tourism and gives back to the local communities

The adventure in images

Choquequirao Photo Gallery

Giving back

1% For Charity

Haku Expeditions donates 1% of all profits to support local education programs.

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