Huchuy Qosqo Trek
3 Days / 2 Nights
The Huchuy Qosqo trek is the shortest and easiest of alternative treks to Machu Picchu. The route is situated just north of Cusco, making access easy and is ideal for visitors who either don’t have much time in the region or would like to do a little hiking without too much of a strenuous workout. Most tour companies offer the trek on a two-day schedule, with one-night camping, and an additional night spent in Aguas Calientes before visiting Machu Picchu on day-three.
Day 1: Cusco – Tambomachy – Pucamarca
After being picked up early, around 06:00, you will be driven 7km north of Cusco (3,400m) to an Inca ruin called Tambomachy (3,700m). This is the starting point of the Huchuy Qosco trek. After a brief visit to these ruins you will begin trekking up a gradual hill that gets steeper and tougher as you approach the first pass called Sicllaccasa (4,020m). The views of the Sacred Valley and Cusco city are great from the top of this pass.
From here the trail ascends and descends over number of undulating hills (small passes). The first is called Queullococha (4,185m). The views of the snow-capped Cordillera Urubamba along this part of the trail are awesome. Ask your guide to point out the peaks of Veronica, Pitusiray, Chicon and San Juan.
You will then pass by an impressive alpine lake called Queullococha before continuing up to the Challu Challu Pass (4,220m), where you will be afforded great views of the Chinchero plains and the Piuray and Qoricocha lakes below.
The trek continues a little further up to Rumicruz (4,230m) before descending to the homestead of Pucamarca (3,980m), where most trekkers camp for the night.
The total trekking distance is ~13km and takes the average trekker 7-8 hours to complete. Interaction with locals is minimal but you will likely see llamas and alpacas eating Ichu (Andean gras), Puyas (Bromelia bushes) and small cactuses. The scenery is also fantastic.
Day 2: Pucamarca – Huchuy Qosqo – Ollantaytambo – Aguas Calientes
Today is a lot easier than the first day. You will have breakfast relatively early and then trek down to the ruins at Huchuy Qosqo (3,600m). The site takes a good hour to explore and most tour operators will provide a guided tour (typically your trekking guide will give you the tour of the ruins).
After the tour of Huchuy Qosco you will either continue trekking to the village of Tauqaq (sometimes spelt Taucca), or follow a steep descent to the village of Lamay, where you will have lunch. From Tauqaq or Lamay you will be transported to Ollantaytambo. If your tour takes you to Tauqaq, it is likely that you will be transported to Moray (aka “The Greenhouses of the Incas”), to briefly visit the Inca ruins there before continuing on to Ollantaytambo. It is thought that this Inca site, which consists of terraces carved into a huge bowl, was used by the Incas to investigate the optimal conditions for growing their crops.
From Ollantaytambo you will catch a train to Aguas Calientes, which takes approximately an 1 hour 30 minutes. You will overnight in a hotel in the town of Aguas Calientes.
Aguas Calientes, the town below Machu Picchu (often referred to as Machu Picchu town)
Day 3: Aguas Calientes – Machu Picchu – Cusco
Waking early on day three you will take one of the first buses up to Machu Picchu. The first bus departs around 05:30 and during the peak season (May-September) queues for buses start forming before 05:00. The bus journey takes about 30 minutes, which if you leave early gives you enough time to trek from Machu Picchu to Inti Punku (the Sun Gate), to witness sunrise.
Most tour operators organise a guided tour of the Citadel for trekkers which lasts 2-3 hours. If you are not afraid of heights and are relatively fit, it is worthwhile organising a ticket to climb Huayna Picchu, the large mountain behind Machu Picchu. There are only 400 permits available per day to climb Huayna Picchu so make sure you book early.
After visitig Machu Picchu you will need to get a bus back to Aguas Calientes to catch your train back to Ollantaytambo. Most tour operators will have booked your train tickets for that afternoon. It takes about 30 minutes to return by bus from Machu Picchu to Aguas Calientes, but there are often 30-60 minute queues to catch a bus in the afternoon, so make sure you give yourself enough time to catch your train. It is possible to walk back to Aguas Calientes from Machu Picchu (allow 2 hours).
- Professional English Speaking Tour Guide
- Assistant Tour Guide for groups of 9+
- Mules to carry cooking and camping equipment plus 7kg of your personal items.
- Pick-up from Plaza Regocijo
- Transportation by bus to Tambomachay and from Lamay to Ollantaytambo
- 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)
- 2 Breakfasts, 2 Lunches, 2 Afternoon Snacks and 2 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 2
- Sleeping mattress
- Oxygen bottle
- First aid kit
- Entrance to Huchuy Qosco and Machu Picchu
- Return bus from Machu Picchu to Aguas Calientes
- Sleeping Bag (Can be hired from us)
- Breakfast on Day 1 and lunch and dinner on Day 3
- Entrance to Huayna Picchu Mountain
- Travel Insurance - you are strongly recommended to take out travel insurance for the duration of your trip.