The Chancachuco Trek is one of the newest trekking routes offered in the Cusco region. Based in the area around Ollantaytambo, the Chancachuco trek takes you past waterfalls, Incan ruins and beautiful scenery.
This magical experience will take you to areas rarely seen by tourists – and you will share with the locals living along the way. First, start off with a scenic drive through the Sacred Valley of the Incas, passing through beautiful snow capped mountains and farmlands ablaze with the colors of local crops. Our trek starts with us up the valley behind the Andean community of Socma as we make our way to a small Incan site and beautiful Perolniyoc waterfall that lies at the top (50m. high, located at 3,520 meters above sea level). Walking past potato, corn, and quinoa fields, we’ll have the opportunity to see a variety of birds and native plants and to learn about the customs of the Andean people. Your guide will teach you a little Quechua so that you can communicate with the people you meet on the trek. All of your senses will feel alive -one of the few plants that seems to thrive at this altitude is a type of mint (muna), which infuses the air of the Andes. Our chefs will prepare hot chocolate to share with children in a small community along the way. Experience the incredible night stars as we camp by the ancient ruins of Perolniyoq. This little known site has recently started to be excavated by the INC (National Cultural Institute.)
Walk across the high plateau through a strange landscape of what appear to be burial mounds but are actually glacial morraines; piles of rock deposited by glaciers during the Ice Age.
We will hike past other sites such as the lake of Ancas Cocha, follow the original Inca trail, hike up through the Chanca Chuco Pass at 4300m while viewing a full scope of the Sacred Valley. One of the many destinations of our trek is the Incan quarry of Chancachuco. This main attraction is the famous quarry that was used to mine the huge stones that were used to build the military and sacred empire of Ollantaytambo. We will spend a good part of the day exploring this site and learning of the rich cultural history of the mighty Incans who inhabited the area. This part of the trek will whet your appetite for the following explorations – we will actually hike down the original ramp that was used to transport these multi-ton stones to Ollantaytambo!
Once we arrive in Ollantaytambo, the jewel crown of the trek awaits us in our final leg. We board the luxury VistaDome train to the ancient town of Aguas Calientes (Machu Picchu town.) The following day we awake early to visit one of the New Wonders of the World – Machu Picchu! By this time, you will have a new-found appreciation for this ancient Incan marvel!
This particular hike is relatively easy compared to some of the other treks, so it is a great option for less experienced trekkers.
Another great thing about the trek is the lack of crowds, so if you’re looking to get away from the crowds then this is the experience for you!
- Starting Altitude – 3300m / 10,827ft.
- Highest Altitude – 4500m / 14,764ft
- Walking Distance – 25 km / 15.5 miles
- Longest Day – Day 2, approximately 12 km/7.5 miles
- Overall Difficulty – Easy-Moderate
Day 1: Cusco – Socma – Rayan
Leaving from Cusco early in the morning, we’ll drive to the Sacred Valley, headed for the village of Socma. Just before we arrive to Socma we’ll stop to take photos of some stone-age petroglyphs. This trek takes us up the valley behind Socma as we make our way to a small Incan site and beautiful waterfall that lies at the top. Walking past potato, corn, and quinoa fields, we’ll have the opportunity to see a variety of birds and native plants and to learn about the customs of the Andean people. Your guide will teach you a little Quechuan so that you can communicate with the people you meet on the trek
After this leisurely walk we’ll finally arrive to our destination: the Incan site of Perolniyoc. After a guided tour of the site, we’ll carry on a short distance to our campsite at Rayan (3650m) where we’ll stop for the night. In the afternoon, we will visit one of the local families. You can practice the Quechuan you learned earlier (much to everyone’s amusement!)
Day 2: Rayan – Chancachuco
Today is the longest day of the trek. Setting out from our campsite, we’ll make our way to the first pass on the trek. This area is still inhabited by the local people despite the high altitudes. One of the few plants that seems to thrive at this altitude is a type of mint (muna). The scent infuses the air throughout. It takes about four hours to reach the pass (4440m) where we’ll stop to catch our breath before carrying on for about another 20 minutes to stop for lunch. After lunch the walking will get easier; having reached the top of the mountain, the terrain levels out and we walk across the high plateau through a strange landscape of what appear to be burial mounds but are actually glacial morraines; piles of rock deposited by glaciers during the Ice Age.
Our destination of today is the Incan quarry of Chancachuco. Working our way down the high plateau we’ll arrive at Chancachuco (3820m) by late afternoon, passing by an Inca ruin called the Sun Gate along the way.
Day 3: Chancachuco – Ollantaytambo – Aguas Calientes
This day is dedicated to exploring Chancachuco. Despite it’s proximity to Ollantaytambo and the wide variety of interesting features, hardly anyone actually visits this site. Chancachuco was the quarry used by the Incas for the construction of Ollantaytambo.
After a guided tour of the site we’ll continue our way down the mountain following the original platform used for transporting the stones to Ollantaytambo and arrive to the town by early afternoon. From Ollantaytambo we’ll take the train to Aguas Calientes.
Day 4: Machu Picchu
Waking up early we’ll take the first bus up to Machu Picchu to enter the site as it opens. We’ll have a 2 hour guided tour of the site during which you’ll learn about the Incas and visit all the most important areas of the citadel. After your tour you’ll have free time to explore the site by yourself and if you have permits to climb either Huayna Picchu or Machu Picchu mountain. In the afternoon you will take the train back to Ollantaytambo from where you will carry on by bus back to Cusco.
- Ceremony with your tour guide and locals
- Professional English Speaking Tour Guide
- Assistant Tour Guide for groups of 9+
- Mules to carry cooking and camping equipment and 7kg of your personal items.
- Pick-up from your hotel
- Transportation by bus to Socma
- Train from Ollantaytambo to Aguas Calientes
- Return transportation by train and bus to Cusco
- Water (excluding the first 4 hours of the trek when you need to bring your own)
- 3 Breakfasts, 3 Lunches, 3 Afternoon Snacks and 3 Dinners. If you have a dietary request such as vegetarian food please let us know.
- Dining tent with tables and chairs
- 4 man tent for every 2 trekkers
- 3 Star Hotel on Day 3
- Sleeping mattress
- Oxygen bottle
- First aid kit
- Entrance to Machu Picchu
- Round Trip Bus Tickets
- Return bus from Machu Picchu to Aguas Calientes
- Breakfast on Day 1 and lunch and dinner on Day 4
- Tips for staff. Tips are not mandatory but are recommended as a gesture of gratitude.
- Travel Insurance – you are strongly recommended to take out travel insurance for the duration of your trip.
Trekker’s Packing List:
- Walking boots
- Waterproof jacket / rain poncho
- Warm jacket
- Hat and gloves
- Comfortable Trousers
- Sun hat
- Sun cream (factor 35 or higher)
- Insect repellent
- Toiletries and hand sanitizer
- Personal medication
- Camera and film
- Torch with spare batteries
At PumaPath, your comfort and safety are of our utmost concern. Therefore, we provide all necessary camping equipment for your trek. Included in prices are: sleeping tent, rollmat and pillow for your comfort. Please feel free to bring your own sleeping bag if you prefer.
Group Service Prices
- Price per person : US$685
- Student Discount: US$20 (Requires ISIC Card to qualify)
- Sleeping Bag US$25
- Walking Pole US$20
- Inflatable Mattress US$25
- Single Tent Supplement US$75
- Extra 7kg of personal items US$75
Private Service Prices
- 2 people : US$695 per person
- 3 people: US$655 per person
- 4 people : US$590 per person
- 5 people : US$575 per person
- 6 people : US$545 per person
- 7 people : US$535 per person
- 8+ people : US$525 per person
TRAIN TIMES: On the fourth day we will take the 2:55, 4.42 or 6:45PM train from Aguas Calientes to Ollantayatambo and then we will transfer you back to your hotel in Cusco.
HUAYNAPICCHU MOUNTAIN: If you are thinking of climbing Huaynapicchu mountain, you must book this at the same time as your trek. Only 400 people can hike Huaynapicchu per day. You will climb it on your own after the tour in Machu Picchu around 10:00 am. The price is $25 per person.
HORSES OR PORTERS: On this trek we provide horses to carry food and camping equipment. There will be one cook, his assistant, two horsemen, and one porter who will be picking up trash on the trail. You will have a personal allowance of 7kg for your gear. This will not be available during the day as the horsemen will be ahead of the group.
OUR GUIDES: Most of our guides began as porters before they went to Cusco University and Institute where they learned about the Inca history. They are always learning in order to be the best guide. They each speak English fluently, along with Spanish and Quechuan, the Inca Language. They are all able to communicate with natives from around the area and have lots of history to share with you.
OUR FOOD: Definitely one of the highlights of the tour is the food. It is always fresh and most of it is organic. There is always a lot to eat and a variety of options including vegetables, meat, chicken, fish and other types of protein and carbohydrates. Everyone sits down to eat together and we go out of our way to accommodate all dietary requirements including vegetarian options and any food allergies. We do not provide any alcoholic drinks on the trek but if you would like you can bring your own.
OUR EQUIPMENT: We provide 4 man tents for only 2 people and foam mattresses for everyone. Our dining equipment includes a spacious dining tent, tables and chairs, plates and utensils. We do not supply walking sticks, but they can be rented from PumaPath. We bring an extra blanket for all our hikers for those especially cold nights. Just ask and your guide will provide you with this.
Please note that if you are over 1.95 meters / 6´4″ tall then you won´t be able to rent a sleeping bag in Cusco. In this case it is recommended to bring your own.
WE ARE SUSTAINABLE: We always pick up waste along the trail as we go. We respect the local people, teach them to keep the land clean, and help the local children. We always take one extra porter who will be on the trail just to clean up the bottles and plastic bags that those who came before us threw away.
WE ARE RESPONSIBLE: We treat our hikers, porters and all the local people from the villages with the utmost respect. We travel in small groups to give personalized tours to each traveler. We pay good salaries to our porters and follow the Porter’s Law. We provide all our porters with their hiking gear such as shoes, pants, jackets, t-shirts, hats, sleeping bags and most importantly, health insurance.
FITNESS: The trek is certainly not easy but you do not need to be an athlete or a trekking expert to complete it. Fitness is naturally important but this is the kind of trek that anyone with a positive attitude and determination can do. Obviously the more fit you are the more you will enjoy the trail and the more chance you will have to take in the scenery and appreciate the Inca ruins dotted along the way. If you do not exercise regularly, it is advisable to do some extra walking or some kind of aerobic activity in the months leading up to your trip.
Many people worry whether they will be able to cope physically but complete failure is rare and would usually only result from severe altitude sickness or a person lacking even a basic level of fitness. People of all ages (from teenagers to pensioners) complete the trek and age itself is no barrier if you are positive minded and live an active lifestyle. Before departing for your tour, we recommend visiting your doctor who will be able to provide you with more information.
STORAGE DURING THE TREK: During the trek your main luggage will be stored in Cusco and you will receive a small duffel bag at your trail briefing (briefings are normally set for the evening before the trek) to pack clothes for 3-4 days. Your team of porters will carry these bags together with the food and equipment. Please note that you will not have access to these items until the end of each day as the porters will always be ahead of the group. You should therefore bring a day pack in which you can carry personal belongings such as your camera, water, sun screen, etc. By Peruvian law the duffel bag carried by the porters must not weigh more than 7kg (14pounds). You can either store your luggage at your hotel or you can leave it with us.
BOOKING: The Chancachuco Trek to Machu Picchu is available to depart any day of the week so long as we have two people. You still need to book in advance.
Thanks for traveling with PumaPath, a 100% local company!