Following the path of the last Incas from Vitcos to Choquequiaro.
This exceptional hike takes you through the ragged mountain ranges of the Vilcabamba with majestic snow-capped peaks and deep valleys of cloud forests. You will hike along the Inca Trail which Manco Inca used to escape from the Spanish conquerors. The end of the trail marks a visit to the legendary archeological site of Choquequirao.
Day 1: Enjoy the panoramic view on your drive into the Cordillera Vilcabamba.
Day 2: First ascend do the sacred Inca site of Nusta Hispana / hiking time 6 hours
Day 3: Following the Inca Trail to the glacier pass / hiking time 7 hours
Day 4: Hiking through cloud forest and hiking up two mountain passes. Pure Nature! / hiking time 9 hours
Day 5: A day to relax with an amazing panoramic view
Day 6: Visit the small rural school of / hiking time 7 hours
Day 7: A long descent into the river valley of Yuracmayo / hiking time 6 hours
Day 8: Today you will visit the legendary Inca site Choquiquerao / hiking time 7 hours
Day 9: Descent to the river valley of the Apuimac, which feed into the Amazon / hiking time 6 hours
Day 10: Last ascent to the town of Cachora and return drive to Cusco
You will leave early today heading in your private transport from Cusco into the Sacred Valley and on over the Malaga Pass at 14.100 feet. Here you are just below the mountain Vicotria (18.860 feet) the highest peak in the Urubamba Cordillera. E curvy road takes you down into the cloud forests. Temperatures are slowly rising, it gets more and more humid and son the first tea and coffee plantations appear along the road. Stalls along the roadside sell mangos, papayas and oranges. In the late afternoon we reach the small town of Huancacalle at 9.600 feet where we will set up camp.
Early in the morning we visit the sacred Inca site Nusta Hispana and Vitcos. This was the last hideaway of Manco Inka, the legitimate successor to the Inca Atahualpa who had been executed by the Spaniards. From here the hike takes us past corn and potato fields to a wide valley. Small homesteads will give you an idea of farm life here in the Andes. At about 12.500 feet we reach our camp site below the Chocetacarpo pass. (hiking time 6 hours)
Our ascend takes us along an old Inca Trail. Cobbled paths and well preserved stone steps as well as remains of an old supply sentry give testimony to the importance of this historic route. The first glaciers appear in the morning light before we reach the pass at 14.270 feet. Stone piles – so called Apachetas – mark the pass. We continue along the Inca Trail into the valley and reach our next camp site at Quelcamachay (12.300 feet). Surrounded by cloud forest and granite formations we can enjoy the afternoon light and some delicious food prepared by our crew. (hiking time 6-7 hours)
Today will be one of the more challenging days. First we descend further into the cloud forest. Natural tunnel formations formed by bamboo, bromeliads and orchids mark the path. We have to cross two passes at 13.120 feet while in between we drop down into the humid cloud forest again. The peaks of the Pumasillo group get closer every minute. Our camp site will be near the beautiful waterfall of Pacchac at 12.280 feet (hiking time 8-9 hours)
How wonderful that today you don´t have to pack up all your things after your morning tea. Our tents will stay another night and so do we. A day of rest after the exhausting previous climbs is a welcome break. If you want to, you can take a short hike into the nearby Moyoc valley where you will be rewarded with a beautiful mountain panorama.
After our day of rest we are ready to climb a pass (13.700 feet) above the Yanama valley. From here you get a view of the glaciers of the Yanama range as well as the gigantic Pumasillo peak. We descend towards Yanama where we will visit a small school in the village. From Yanama we ascend once again, the path turns narrow and exposed until we suddenly reach an old tunnel of the Victoria Mine. Upon the pass we can see the whole Vilcabamba range with their snow-capped peaks. If we are lucky, one of the Andean Condors may soar in the afternoon winds. After a short descend we reach our camp site at 12.500 feet (hiking time 6-7 hours)
We will descend almost 6.500 feet to the river Yuracmayo. The path takes us through dense cloud forests and if needed our horse drivers will have to cut the way through the vegetation with their machetes. Once close to the river the vegetation will dry out and you will see quite a few cactuses. Finally we reach the riverbanks and can enjoy a cool and refreshing bath. Afterwards we do have to climb up to 8.530 feet to our camp site. (hiking time 6-7 hours)
Early in the morning we leave the camp site and ascend until we reach a cloud forest peppered with orchids with a stunning view into the Apurimac Canyon. After a short hike we can see the first terraces and buildings of Choquequirao. Similar to Machu Picchu this site was unknown to the Spaniards. Famous explorers and archeologists like Antonio Raimundi, Hiram Bingham – who discovered Machu-Picchus, and Max Uhle reached Choquequirao on their Expeditions. They describe the detailed and beautiful architecture which indicates that this complex was probably extremely important and coequal to Machu Picchu. After a thorough visit of the large complex we return to our tents which have been set up just below the archeological site (hiking time 6-8 hours which includes the visit of Choquequirao)
Today we will descend far into the Apurimac Canyon, the longest feeding river of the Amazon. Down below at about 5.000 feet we cross the Apurimac over a suspension bridge. From here we have do ascend again to our last camp site near Chiquisca (hiking time 5-6 hours)
The last ascend towards Cachora offers us breathtakingly beautiful views of the canyon and the surrounding mountains. Once we leave the canyon, we will say good bye to our crew and horses. Without them this trek through the Vicabamba would not have been possible. We board our private transport and head back towards Cusco (Hiking time 4-5 hours)