Inca Rivers Trek - Choquequirau to Machu Picchu

Inca Rivers Trek - Choquequirau to Machu Picchu information and booking

  • Duration
    16 days
  • Group size
  • Difficulty
    Moderate - Challenging
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Schedule Details

  • 16 day trip
  • 9 day trek
  • 7 nights hotel
  • 8 nights camping
Equipment Required
Specialist gear required include walking boots and day pack (a comprehensive gear list is provided in the pre-departure information provided on booking).


  • The splendor of Cusco with its churches, cathedrals, plazas, markets and cultural heritage
  • Walking in the beautiful Sacred Valley to view ancient Inca salt pans
  • Explore the magnificent and remote ‘lost’ Inca ruins of Choquequirau
  • Remote and unique trek along the spectacular Vilcabamba Mountain Range between two sacred Inca Rivers
  • Experience an incredible and very rarely seen view of Machu Picchu against dramatic mountains from the Inca site at Paltallacta
  • 3 hearty meals a day on trek prepared by our cooks
  • Visit Machu Picchu as the sun rises
  • Tourist train from Machu Picchu

Tour description provided by World Expeditions

Pristine campsites, stunning views of giant snow-covered Andean peaks, ancient cloud forest, abundant wildflowers and the Inca ruins of Choquequirau are just some of the highlights of this outstanding trek. Our route follows a brilliant mountain traverse between two sacred Inca rivers - to the west the Apurimac and to the east the Urubamba. These mighty rivers are the main tributaries of the Amazon. Between these rivers lies the great Vilcabamba Mountain Range - the last stronghold of the Inca Empire. Unique to this area is the recently cleared and spectacular 'lost' ruins of Choquequirau. Built by the Incas in the 15th century, like Machu Picchu, it became lost in high jungle which engulfed the ruins until being rediscovered in the early 20th century. A day is set aside to explore this impressive site before continuing our trek to the Inca site at Paltallacta which provides a stunning and rarely seen view of our final destination - Machu Picchu.

What's included

  • 15 breakfasts, 8 lunches and 8 dinners
  • Airport transfers if arriving/departing on first or last day
  • Expert bilingual guide
  • Group medical kit
  • Comfortable and central hotels, primarily casa andina classic hotels
  • Private internal transportation
  • Gear pack including sleeping bag, fibre filled jacket and sleeping mat
  • Group camping equipment
  • Porters to carry personal gear
  • Sightseeing and site entrance fees as listed (including machu picchu entrance fee)


Day 1 Fly to Lima
You will be met at the airport and transferred to the hotel where you are free to rest in the hotel or just wander around Miraflores, the area of Lima where our hotel is located. Some of Lima's best galleries and shops and restaurants are found in this area. Founded by Francisco Pizarro in 1535, Lima is the oldest capital in South America, with a superb combination of Spanish Colonial and 19th century European architecture. If you have time to visit a museum we would recommend the Museo de La Nacion or the Larco Herrera Museum.
Day 2 Flight across the Andes to Cusco.
Early morning wake-up call (in some cases very early as most flights leave for Cusco early morning!) for breakfast and short drive to the airport for the flight to Cusco. You'll be met by your guide and transferred from Cusco airport to our hotel for a short initial briefing and then a few hours of rest, essential to initiate successful acclimatisation. In the evening you'll have a longer briefing to discuss aspects of the itinerary & in particular the trek.
Day 3 After breakfast we take a tour of the city and nearby ruins.
Every alleyway we enter or corner we turn brings another surprise or enigma in the form of the superbly constructed Inca walls or the more architecturally extravagant colonial churches and palaces. The city, once capital of the extensive Inca Empire, has seen many changes since Francisco Pizarro's men took the city with such apparent ease in November 1533. We also take a short drive to visit the monolithic walls of Sacsayhuaman, spectacularly set above the city. In the afternoon you may have time to explore some of the central parts of the city and a chance to look at some of the great varieties of local craft work on sale in open air stalls and shop.
Day 4 Drive and walk down into the Sacred Valley of the Incas.
We leave Cusco and head to the Chinchero Plateau from where we get impressive views of three mountain ranges. We then down through the remarkable Inca Salt Pans below Maras. We end up in the Sacred Valley near a good restaurant where we can savour dishes made with locally grown produce. After a leisurely lunch we head for our hotel in the valley. The rest of the day is free to relax and enjoy beauty of this famous valley.
Day 5 Second day in the Sacred Valley of the Incas.
Another day in this beautiful place. The valley actually follows the course of the famous Urubamba River, one of the main tributaries of the Amazon River. During our time in the here we visit some of the enthralling citadels, fortresses and temple ruins that are found along the valley including the site at Ollantaytambo. The village itself is a fascinating mixture of Inca and Colonial architecture. If the weather is good and we have time we can enjoy some short walks in the valley - a good way to prepare for the trek ahead. The evening is spent preparing for the trek at our hotel.
Day 6 Drive to Trailhead at Cachora to start trek.
Today you will be collected from your Sacred Valley hotel for the drive (approx 5 hours) to the town of Cachora (2600mts) above the Apurimac River. On the way we stop in the famous Sayhuite carved rock for a picnic lunch. Arriving at Cachora we walk for about 30 minutes to our first campsite, right outside town.
Day 7 Trek Cachora to Santa Rosa
On this our first full day of trekking we descend in places very steeply to the spectacular Apurimac river canyon. At first the descent is quite gentle, then it gets steeper and hotter as we go deeper in to the canyon to Playa Rosalina (1550 mts) where we have lunch. We then cross the river before starting a steep ascent to our next campsite near the hamlets of Santa Rosa (2100mts). If we are lucky we could see some condors and spectacle bears. Walking time 8 hours approx.
Day 8 Trek Santa Rosa to Choquequirau
An early departure this morning as we continue the hot ascent for most of the day. After a few hours walk we reach Marampata (2850mts) for lunch, a place with incredible views of the whole Apurimac canyon. In the afternoon we walk all the way to Choquequirau (3050mts), where we camp. Walking time 8 hours approx.
Day 9 Exploring Choquequirau and trek to Rio Blanco
This morning after breakfast we spend some time simply wondering around this marvellous site, which actually is larger than Machu Picchu! There are many similarities with Machu Picchu, this enigmatic monumental site was also built during the mid to late 15th century, it became lost for many centuries as the high jungle in this area soon covered the ruins and it was re-discovered by Hiram Bingham in the early 20th Century. We then walk down, through some beautiful terraces and thick, lush vegetation, all the way to the Yuracmayu (Rio Blanco) at 1860mts, where we camp for the night. This is a hot, dusty spot, but we can refresh and wash in this beautiful stream. Walking time 6 hours approx.
Day 10 Trek Rio Blanco to Pajonal Victoria
Today we ascend through some beautiful cloud forest all the way to Maizal (3085mts) for lunch. We then keep ascending a few more hours to our campsite at Pajonal (3785mts). Today is very spectacular for bird watching as well as for the varieties of flowers along the trail, especially the orchids. Walking time 8 to 9 hours approx.
Day 11 Trek Pajonal Victoria to Batea Paquisha
This morning we climb a couple of hours to the San Juan pass (3900mts), then drop down into the Yanama Valley with great views of Panta and Pumasillo snowed peaks. After lunch in Yanama village (3530mts), we walk for 2 more hours to the breathtaking camp at Batea Paquisha (4000mts). Walking time 7 hours approx. Camp.
Day 12 Trek Batea Paquisha to Collpapampa
Today we climb from our campsite to the top of Yanama Pass (4665mts) where we have amazing views of Veronica, Salcantay and Humantay peaks to the south. Then we drop down to Totora (3425mts), and continue on to Collpapampa (2880mts), our next campsite where we can enjoy the hot springs. Walking time 8 to 9 hours approx.
Day 13 Trek Collpapampa to Lucmabamba
Today we continue our descent through very lush cloud forest, full of begonias, orchids and crops like coffee and passion fruit, to Playa (2091mts). From here we continue another hour or so to our campsite at Lucmabamba (2450 mts). Today we can try and spot Torrent Ducks and the elusive Cock of the Rocks, Peru's national bird. Walking time 7 hours approx.
Day 14 Trek Lucmabamba to Paltallacta and train to Aguas Calientes
Today we ascend from Lucmabamba to Paltallacta (2655mts), where we have lunch with incredible, and very rarely seen, views of the back of Machu Picchu. After lunch we descend to the mighty Urubamba River - the main source of the Amazon (1900mts) to catch the afternoon train to Aguas Calientes (200mts) where we check in to our hotel. This evening we will be free to enjoy the town and the hot shower! Walking time 5 hours approx.
Day 15 Machu Picchu. Time to explore these remarkable and truly enigmatic ruins.
After a professionally led tour of the site we're free to explore the rest of the amazing sights. Mid-afternoon we depart from Machu Picchu for the extremely pretty train ride back to Ollantaytambo where we transfer to our vehicle for the drive back to Cusco. Here we transfer to our hotel for one night.
Day 16 Fly to Lima where trip concludes.
After checking out of your hotel you will be transferred (if requested) to the airport for your flight to Lima airport where services end.