The HUCHUY QOSQO TREK is a beautiful, short trail that ends in Machu Picchu.
If you have limited time this is an excellent and moderate alternative trek to take. Though the trek is shorter than most others, you see lakes, llama and alpaca herds, small local villages, views of the Sacred Valley, and views of snow-capped mountains. Huchuy Qosqo (Small Cusco) crosses the high altiplano north of Cusco City with lakes like Qoricocha (Golden Lake) and small villages of llama herders where life continues untouched by the modern world, and finishes at the ruins of Huchuy Qosqo, high above the Sacred Valley of the Incas.
There are beautiful views overlooking the Sacred Valley, with Salkantay’s snow capped peak dominating the western horizon. On the trail we will see small villages with mud brick (adobe) houses, and many locals still wear traditional dress. Minimum passengers necessary for trek departure: 2 people (1 person or private/custom treks possible with extra fee). Maximum trekkers per group: 10 people (special, private party groups can exceed maximum).
The Nitty Gritty Trek Details
Off the beaten path, pristine wilderness, mountains, lakes, shorter trail, Machu Picchu
Glacial, snow-capped peaks, turquoise lakes, multiple high passes, rocky terrain, screed.
3 day acclimatization and multi-day trekking experience recommended
3 Days/2 Nights
28 km/17.4 miles
3700m/12,139ft to 4450m/14,600ft
Moderate, high altitude
Fairly quiet, can be a bit crowded in high season
When to Go
Year round but best from March to November
Daily departures with 2 or more people
6-10 trekkers: 670, 3-5 trekkers: 730, 2 trekkers: 875 (per person)
Yes! Private, custom, add-ons all available.
DAY 1: TAMBOMACHAY – PUKUMARCA
We leave Cusco at 6:00am for the 25 minute drive to Tambomachay (3,700m/12,139ft) in our private transport and will have snacks as we drive. We start our hike walking along part of an original Inka Trail used by Incan people to get to the Sacred Valley and probably to Machu Picchu. From this point you can observe panoramic views of Cusco and the Valley of Qorao. We will pass by ancient Inkan terraces before climbing to the first pass of the day (4,180m/13,714ft). As we descend we see beautiful green valleys before hiking up to the second pass (4,300 m/14,108ft)) and into high open country and Lake Qoricocha (Golden Lake). We descend 20 minutes to our lunch spot. After lunch we continue hiking to the highest point (4,380m/14,370ft) where we will have a view of Chincheros, the lake Piuray and snow-capped mountains Salkantay and Veronica. After hiking two more passes we walk downhill to Pucamamarca (3,980m/13,058ft) where we will camp for the night. Walking distance approximately 16 km/9.9 miles (8-9 hours hike).
DAY 2: HUCHUY QOSCO – LAMAY – OLLANTAYTAMBO – AGUAS CALIENTES
We wake up early at 6:00am, have breakfast, and begin our 1 hour hike to the recently restored Huchuy Qosqo ruins (3,450m/11,319ft). Along the way we see lots of flora and fauna as well as panoramic views of Lamay Valley and Calca, Willcamayo (the sacred river of the Inkas), and mountains such as Chicon, Pitusiray, Sawasiray, Waccaywilca and Veronica. Your guide will give you a 1.5 hour tour of the site and then you will have free time to visit and explore the complex on your own. Huchuy Qosqo was originally an administrative and military center, and included granaries called Collcas to store and preserve food, because it was also an important agricultural center. By 10:00 am we continue our hike for nearly 2-hours downhill where we will have lunch. After lunch our private vehicle will take us to Ollantaytambo where we will take the train to Aguas Calientes. After we arrive in Aguas Calientes your guide will take you to your three star Hostel where you can rest and freshen up before dinner. You can also visit the hot springs before or after dinner if you wish. Walking distance approximately 12km/7.5mi (5-6 hour hike).
DAY 3: AGUAS CALIENTES – MACHU PICCHU – CUSCO
HIKES WITHIN MACHU PICCHU
INCLUDED ON THE TRAIL
- Pre-Trek briefing the night before the trek to go over the itinerary, meet your guide(s) and answer any questions
- Collection from your hotel in the morning or our departure point, Plaza Regocijo, (your choice)
- Private bus transport to the start of the trek
- Personal porter up to 8 kg/17.6 lbs to carry your overnight gear
- Dry bag in which to put your overnight gear so it won’t get wet or dusty on the trail
- 3 person, 3 season tents (2 people in large and comfortable Mountain Hardwear tent)
- One inch thick foam mattress pad
- English speaking professional guide
- Entrance ticket to Huchuy Qosco Archaeological Complex
- Dining tent with tables and stools.
- Full meals on the trek (3 meals per day, tea time every afternoon, and snacks on the trail)
- First-aid kit including emergency oxygen tank
- Chef and cooking equipment and kitchen tent
- Toilet, toilet tent, and toilet paper
- Horsemen and horses (to carry tents, food, cooking equipment, and your duffel bags)
- Hot water every morning and evening for hand washing purposes
- Boiled water to fill your water bottle every morning and afternoon
- Round trip tourist train: Ollantaytambo to Machu Picchu and back
- Entrance fee to Machu Picchu Archaeological Complex
- Round-trip bus tickets from Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu and back
- Guided tour of Machu Picchu, plenty of time to explore on your own
- Hotel (double room) in Aguas Calientes and dinner in a local restaurant
- Private Transport back to hotel in Cusco
PRICE AND NUMBER OF TREKKERS
A minimum of 2 trekkers required for this trek. Maximum of 10 trekkers in a group. Price for 6-10 trekkers: 670 USD per person. Price for 3-5 trekkers: 730 USD per person. Price for 2 trekkers: 875 USD per person. Private treks, single trekker, custom treks, large groups, and packages welcome! Please email us to customize.
WHEN TO GO AND DEGREE OF DIFFICULTY
Year round. This trek is rated a moderate/intermediate hike considering the high altitudes and length of walking especially on the 1st Day. It is recommended that you acclimatize in Cusco for at least 2-3 days before trekking.
NOT INCLUDED ON THE TRAIL
- Hotel before/after trek
- Lunch and dinner on the last day
- Sleeping bags and walking poles (poles must have intact rubber bottoms)
- Entrance to hot springs (10 soles)
- Wayna Picchu or Machu Picchu Mountain Hike (25USD each) – advanced booking essential
- Travel/medical insurance
- Tip for your guide(s) are optional but highly encouraged if you enjoy your trek
ON THE TRAIL
On the trail you should carry a day pack with your camera, water bottle or bladder, snacks, cold weather clothing and rain gear or poncho in case of rain (unlikely in dry season – May to October) and anything you will need before dinner as horses do not walk alongside you. Your bag will be waiting for you at every campsite. We can provide you with a duffel bag for extra luggage to be carried by porters.
TERMS AND CONDITIONS
Itinerary is subject to change and Killa Expeditions is not responsible for loss of personal effects, interruption in your travels (from illness or other reason), or inclement weather/natural phenomena. Please see our disclosure agreement for further information. All trekkers will be required to sign an accident waiver form at time of departure and travel/medical insurance is highly recommended.
WHAT TO BRING ON YOUR TREK
What to bring: for your trek: The weather varies a lot in Peru, having 28 climates and 84 of the worlds 104 ecosystems. Cusco is set high up (3,380 mts, 11,089 ft) near the Andean Mountain Range and the dry season (winter) is from April/May to October/November with the wettest part of the year (summer) being January through March. Temperatures don’t vary too much between these seasons but the amount of precipitation does. If the sun is out it can be quite warm, but in the shade it gets cool fast. Temperatures change quickly and you will need layers as you hike during the day. At night it is quite cold in the mountains (usually near or below freezing) and most people will need long underwear and layers to sleep in, nice warm socks, gloves, and a hat. Everything you need for the day should be kept in your daypack that you carry because all the items you leave with your porter will not be available to you until the evening at the campsite. It is recommended not to hike in cotton or jeans in the event of rain as cotton takes a very long time to dry. It is also recommended to bring true hiking boots or trail running shoes as regular running shoes do not get very good traction especially when it has rained
- Sleeping bags and walking poles (poles must have intact rubber bottoms)
- Sleeping bag liner (for your sleeping bag if you wish)
- Mattress pad – while we provide a mattress pad, being rested is essential for a great hiking experience and we find that sleep habits are very individualized. Therefore we recommend bringing your own pad that you know you are comfortable sleeping on, as well as any other sleep items you might want to have (camp pillow, etc).
- Sunscreen: the sun is very strong in Cusco
- Sun hat
- Lip balm
- Hiking shoes/boots
- Hiking pants and shirts (layers)
- Layers – long underwear and/or warm sleep pants for cold nights
- Hand warmers if you wish
- Warm hat, gloves, scarf and thick warm socks (or you can buy a traditional Peruvian hat and scarf – they are beautiful!)
- Daypack and rain cover
- Rain gear – rain jacket and rain pants (optional for the pants), can buy an inexpensive poncho before the trek
- Cash for tipping porters, cooks, horsemen, guides, buying items along the trail, for in town, emergencies, etc. Note: Cash should be in perfect condition (ripped, damaged soles are NOT accepted anywhere in Peru)
- Swim suit, flip flops, towel for the hot springs in Aguas Calientes if you wish to go
- Torch/flashlight/headlamp (and batteries)
- Insect repellent
- Extra snacks if you wish (beyond snacks provided by us)
- E.g. if you have a favorite protein bar as Cusco doesn’t sell items like this
- First aid kit, including blister protection (though your guide will have one, you may wish to carry one of your own)
- Personal medication and toiletries you might want
- Camera, extra memory cards/film, batteries
- Water bottle or water bladder to refill
- Passport (must be valid 6 months past your travel dates for most countries)
- Copies of passport (keep copies separate, give to travel friends to keep, etc)
- Power adapter/converter
- Travel lock(s) approved by TSA (or they cut them off – US only)
- Tickets, itinerary, emergency contact information
- Any medications you currently are taking or need/may need (see suggestions below)
- Small quick-dry pak towels and/or wipes for a quick wipe down at the end of the day
What to bring: medications – medications are optional and depend on your specific needs
- Antibiotic for travelers diarrhea or UTI
- Antibiotic for a severe bacterial infection
- Medication for upset stomach/indigestion
- Anti-diarrhea medication
- Anti-nausea medication for motion sickness/altitude sickness if needed
- Cold/flu medication
- General pain killer/fever reducer
- Vaccinations – recommend bringing all boosters up to date (MMR, tetanus, etc)
View latest travel advisories and recommended vaccinations and medications for the regions you plan to visit. For Lima, Cusco, and Machu Picchu there are generally no vaccinations required. If you are going to the jungle or any other higher risk area you may need: yellow fever vaccine, medicine for malaria, typhoid vaccine, etc. Click here for updated info: http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/destinations/peru.aspx NOTE: Please visit your doctor several weeks before your trip to discuss any health restrictions you may have, medications he/she might recommend for you personally, and to seek more information about any vaccinations or medications recommended for Peru (or any of your other destinations). Additionally: speak with your doctor before taking any over-the-counter and/or prescription medications alone or combined.