Take an alternative trek in the beautiful Sacred Valley of the Incas, which is a more unknown trek and has been seen by few tourists. See interesting sites including an unfinished Incan Quarry among other ceremonial sites on your way to Machu Picchu, one of the 7 Modern Wonders of the World. This is a good alternative trek if the Inca Trail is full.
We will leave Cusco very early (5:00 am) driving towards Ollantaytambo. From Ollantaytambo, we will drive approximately 30 min to Choquequilla, a small ceremonial place where Incas used to venerate the moon. A short drive from there takes us to Rafqâ€™a, which is the starting point of our trek and where we will meet the horsemen that will transport our equipment during the hike.
From there we will walk an hour to the small community of Socma. Another hour of walking will take us to the Perolniyoc cascade lookout. This is a perfect opportunity to stop for great photos, because of the spectacular picturesque scenery. Afterward, we will continue to our campsite, 3700 meters above sea level, which we should reach by lunch time. After lunch, we set off to explore the archaeological site of Qâ€™orimarca, which was used to be a check point during the times of the Incas.
Day 2: Puccaqasa - Kuychicassa - Choquetacarpo
This is the most challenging but most rewarding day of the hike. A 3-hour walk takes us to the top of the first pass, known as Puccaqasa (4370 meters). After half an hour of walking downhill we will reach our lunch spot. After a delicious lunch and rest, we will hike 2 hours to the highest pass of the trek: Kuychicassa (4450 meters). From there we will descend for 2 hours to a site the Incas called Inti Punku, (Sun Gate) with fantastic views of the valley bellow and the Veronica Mountain, which will appear in the horizon line. Our camp is settled at Choquetacarpo (3600m).
Day 3: Kachiqata - Ollantaytambo - Aguas Calientes
Whole day three we will be descending. The first stop is at the Kachiqata Quarry, where we will observe the work the Incas couldnâ€™t complete because of the Spanish conquest. About midday we finally arrive at the town of Kachiqata - the end of the trek. From there we will visit town Ollantaytambo. In the afternoon, we will take the train to Aguas Calientes. You have the evening free and may choose to visit the natural hot springs if you like. You will spend the night in a hostel in Aguas Calientes.
Day 4: Machu Picchuâ€“Cusco
We wake up at 5:00 AM for breakfast. We leave our luggage at the hostel and take an early bus up to Machu Picchu, where our English-speaking guide will be waiting for us. On this time in the morning, it is most possible that the site is empty, and we will have the best chance to enjoy the beauty and the magic of Machu Picchu.
A walking tour (approximately 2 hours) is given by your guide and after this, you can explore the mysterious city by yourselves. If you still have energy, you can also climb Huayna Picchu (2,720 m/8,923 ft). It takes 45 minutes to reach the top of Huayna Picchu, and you will get a magnificent view over Machu Picchu and its surroundings.
We suggest that after visiting Machu Picchu you can take the bus down to Aguas Calientes by 13:00 at the latest (assuming the train from Aguas Calientes to Cusco departs at 18:45). Busses to Aguas Calientes depart every 10 minutes. Check the guide for actual times. Arrival to Cusco will be expected to be around 10:00 PM. From there we will provide you transfer back to your hostel. Arrival time in Cusco might change depending on availability of trains.