Inca Rivers Trek - Choquequirao to Machu Picchu

Inca Rivers Trek - Choquequirao to Machu Picchu

15 Days



Inca Rivers Trek - Choquequirao to Machu Picchu

15 Days Starting in Cusco and ending in

Visiting: Peru

Tour operator:

World Expeditions

Tour code:


Group size:

5 - 12

Physical rating:

Moderate to Challenging

$2649 (USD) The Big ADVENTURE Sale: -$139

This tour is no longer available, please see similar tours below or send an enquiry

Tour Overview

Stunning views of snow-covered Andean peaks, ancient cloud forest, abundant wildflowers and the Inca ruins of Choquequirao are just some of the highlights of this outstanding trek. Our route follows a 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 them lies the great Vilcabamba Mountain Range - the last stronghold of the Inca Empire. Unique to this area is the spectacular 'lost' ruins of Choquequirao. 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. Time is set aside to explore this impressive site before continuing our trek to the Inca site at Patallacta which provides a stunning and rarely seen view of our final destination - Machu Picchu.


  • Explore the magnificent and remote ‘lost’ Inca ruins of Choquequirao and experience an incredible and very rarely seen view of Machu Picchu against dramatic mountains from the Inca site at Llaqtapata

  • Undertake a remote and unique trek along the spectacular Vilcabamba Mountain Range between two sacred Inca Rivers

  • Discover ancient Machu Picchu

  • Visit the Sacred Valley and see ancient Inca salt pans

  • Take in the historic city of Cusco, the royal capital of the Inca Empire

  • Be immersed in stunning landscapes and cultural encounters providing endless photo opportunities


Expand All
Day 1 : Arrive Cusco

You will be met at the airport and transferred to the hotel where you are free to rest, essential to initiate successful acclimatisation to the altitude. Our hotel is located in the historic centre so you may also use this time to explore the city. In the evening you will meet with your guide at 6pm at your hotel for an initial trip briefing and receive your kitbags and jackets for your trek.
Overnight: Casa Andina Standard Cathedral or similar.

Day 2 : In Cusco, Sightseeing
Meals Included: B

Today we have a guided tour of Cusco and its nearby ruins. 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 explore the city by foot to appreciate its superbly constructed Inca walls and architecturally extravagant colonial churches and palaces. This also includes a visit of Koricancha, the Golden Temple of the Sun, in ancient times. After this we take a short drive to visit the monolithic walls of Sacsayhuaman along with Tambomachay, better known as ‘the bath of the Inca. Both sites are 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 artisan markets and shops. Overnight: Casa Andina Standard Cathedral or similar.

Day 3 : Tour Of The Sacred Valley Of The Incas
Meals Included: B

We leave Cusco and head to the Chinchero Plateau to explore Chinchero, an important town in Inca times. The most striking remnant of this period is the massive stone wall in the main plaza which has ten trapezoidal niches. There are beautiful views overlooking the Sacred Valley of the Incas, with the Cordillera Vilcabamba and the snow-capped peak of Salcantay dominating the western horizon. Chinchero is believed to be the mythical birthplace of the rainbow. Next we visit the mysterious concentric circular terraces of Moray which, according to some scholars, could have been an agricultural research centre. From here we head to the salt mines of Maras. This village is a salt-producing centre that dates back all the way to pre-Inca times. There are thousands of salt pools all carved into the mountain side. Due to a change in regulations, visitors are not allowed to walk through the salt mine anymore to avoid contamination of the salt. We will go to a lookout point from where we have stunning views of the salt pools. From here we will walk for about 1 hour mainly downhill to Pichingoto. Enjoy this rarely walked path and soak up the incredible setting of the Sacred Valley. Our car will be waiting for us in Pichingoto and we drive to our hotel in Ollantaytambo. The rest of the afternoon is free to relax and enjoy the beauty of this famous town.
Overnight: Sol Ollantay Hotel or similar.

Day 4 : Second Day In The Sacred Valley Of The Incas
Meals Included: B

Today we enjoy another day in the beautiful Sacred Valley with a tour of Ollantaytambo. During our time in Ollantaytambo we visit its remarkable temple/fortress set high on a ridge above the village. We also explore the quaint village itself with a fascinating mixture of Inca and Colonial architecture. This evening we have a pre-trek briefing with our trekking guide at our hotel and prepare for the trek.
Overnight: Sol Ollantay Hotel or similar.

Day 5 : Drive To Trailhead At Capuliyoc To Start Trek
Meals Included: B, L, D

Today we are collected from our hotel for the drive (approx 5 hours) to the trail head. On the way we make a stop at Sahuite, where an astonishing boulder stands, meticulously carved by the Incas into intricate depictions of animals, plants, houses, and streets. Departing the main highway, we venture onto a dirt road that leads us to the village of Cachora (2900m). Our journey then ascends, offering breathtaking vistas of the Apurimac Canyon, until we reach Capuliyoc. It is here that we meet our muleteer team and have lunch. In the afternoon, our trek commences with a descent into the Apurimac Canyon, to our first campsite at Chiquiska at 1875m. The trail, marked by a few well-placed switchbacks, takes us downhill, revealing panoramic views of the snow capped peaks and Choquequirao in the far distance. Camp at Chiquiska.
Walking time/distance: approx 4 hours/8km.

Day 6 : Trek To Playa Rosalinda And Continue To Choquequirao
Meals Included: B, L, D

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). Continue to Marampata (2930m) where we
have lunch. After lunch we continue to Choquequirao (3000m). If we are lucky we
could see some condors and spectacle bears. Camp at Choquequirao.
Walking time/distance: approx 7 hours/15km.

Day 7 : Full Day Exploring Choquequirao
Meals Included: B, L, D

This morning after breakfast we explore 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. Camp at Choquequirao.
Walking time/distance: approx 7 hours/6km.

Day 8 : Trek Choquequirao To Pinchi Unuyoc
Meals Included: B, L, D

We walk down through some beautiful terraces and thick, lush vegetation, all the way to Pinchi Unuyoc at 2100mts, where we camp for the night. This is a hot, dusty spot, but we can refresh and wash in this beautiful stream. Camp at Pinchi Unuyoc. Walking time/distance: approx 5 hours/8km.

Day 9 : Trek Pinchi Unuyoc To Maizal
Meals Included: B, L, D

Descend approximately 2 hours to the Rio Blanco and then ascend 4 hours through some beautiful cloud forest all the way to Maizal (3085mts) for lunch.
Walking time/distance: approx 6 hours/8km.

Day 10 : Trek Maizal To Yanama
Meals Included: B, L, D

This morning we climb for four hours to the San Juan pass (4150mts), for lunch. Then drop down into the Yanama Valley with great views of Panta and Pumasillo snowed peaks. Camp.
Walking time/distance: approx 6 hours/11km.

Day 11 : Trek Yanama To Totora
Meals Included: B, L, D

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). Camp.
Walking time/distance: approx 10 hours/19km.

Day 12 : Trek Totora To Lucmabamba
Meals Included: B, L, D

Today we continue our descent through very lush cloud forest, full of begonias, orchids and crops like coffee and passion fruit, until Wayracpunku. From here we will take a transportation for another hour or so to our campsite at Lucmabamba (1800 mts).
Walking time/distance: approx 5 hours/23km.

Day 13 : Trek Lucmabamba To Patallacta And Train To Aguas Calientes
Meals Included: B, L

Today we ascend from Lucmabamba to Patallacta (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/distance: approx 6 hours/13km.
Overnight: El Mapi Hotel or similar.

Day 14 : Visit Machu Picchu
Meals Included: B

Today we start early to explore these remarkable and truly enigmatic ruins. We will enjoy a guided tour of the sanctuary followed by time to explore this fascinating site at your own pace (with the accompaniment of the guide). In the afternoon or early evening we depart from Machu Picchu for the train ride back to Ollantaytambo where we transfer to our vehicle for the drive back to Cusco.
NB: Depending on train schedules, we may arrive into Cusco very late at night.
Overnight: Casa Andina Cathedral Hotel or similar.
OPTIONAL HUAYNA PICCHU CLIMB OR MACHU PICCHU MOUNTAIN CLIMB - For the more adventurous, you can purchase an additional Huayna Picchu or Machu Picchu Mountain permit (ask us for costs), and forego the guided tour of Machu Picchu which is non-refundable and non-transferable. Please be aware that this is NOT a guided climb, and it takes a minimum of 3 hours return. Both climbs are very steep (including many small and narrow steps) and can be slippery and are very exposed with vertiginous drops. Before purchasing the permit on your behalf (non-refundable and non-transferable), we require any passengers to sign a waiver form. Note - there are limited Huayna Picchu permits and they sell out fast, if you are interested in this option, we encourage you to contact us as soon as possible.
*Important: Peruvian authorities have implemented entry restrictions to protect Machu Picchu from the impact of its immense popularity. As of 1st July 2017 there are three time slots in which patrons can enter Machu Picchu for a maximum of four hours and must follow one of three predetermined routes. Admission is not allowed after 4pm. Additionally, all visitors must be accompanied by a guide at all times. These changes have been made to improve the visitor experience and in an effort to deal with overcrowding. World Expeditions endeavours to ensure you get the most of your Machu Picchu experience regardless of these restrictions.

Day 15 : Drive To Cusco Airport, Trip Concludes
Meals Included: B

You will be transferred to the airport in Cusco for your flight where your trip concludes.

What's Included

  • Accommodation
    6 nights hotel

  • Airport transfers if arriving/departing on first or last day

  • 14 breakfasts, 9 lunches and 8 dinners

  • Expert bilingual guide

  • Group medical kit

  • Comfortable and central hotels, primarily Casa Andina Classic hotels

  • Private internal transportation

  • The use of a gear pack including sleeping bag, fibre filled jacket, thermarest and headtorch

  • Group camping equipment

  • Porters to carry personal gear

  • Sightseeing and site entrance fees as listed (including Machu Picchu entrance fee)

What's Not Included

  • International Flights and Taxes

  • Internal Flights and Taxes

  • Travel Insurance (compulsory)

  • Visas

  • Medical treatment

  • Excess baggage costs

  • Cost of laundry and alcoholic beverages

  • Items of a personal nature


6 nights hotel
While in Lima or Cusco, you will typically stay at a Casa Andina hotel, or another property of a similar style. The Casa Andinas specialise in integrating the characteristics of each destination such as architecture, decoration, gastronomy and music to create an authentic experience for our travellers. They are centrally located and come with good service and comfort. Most of the hotels and lodges we use can be described as 3 star accommodation, some of them are categorised as 4 stars. In smaller towns and villages hotel options are often limited and we might have to use more basic accommodation with a lower or without star rating. Please note that the star rating in South America is very fluid and can’t be compared to a western standard star rating, however you can be assured of clean, comfortable and well located lodgings. During the trekking section, enjoy our fully supported camping experience in quality two person tents with plenty of personal space and storage for your luggage. Our team are on hand to ensure your comfort and safety with a dining tent, separate cooking tent and where appropriate, toilet tent erected.

What You Carry

In your daypack you will need to carry extra warm clothing (depending on the altitude, location and weather), a rainjacket, water bottle, camera gear, valuables and personal items such as sunscreen, lip-eze etc. Porters and mules carry all group gear and your trek pack. Please note, the following items are prohibited in Machu Picchu: drones, selfie sticks, tripod for cameras, walking stick without rubber tip, backpack that exceeds 40cm x 35cm x 20cm, aerosol spray, heals, sharp objects, banners or posters. As of December 2018, single-use plastic bottles and any other single-use plastics (bags, cups, straws, etc) are prohibited in the Historic Sanctuary of Machu Picchu, on the Inca Trail and all other protected natural areas in Peru. This regulation was established by the Ministry of Environment, following the Sustainable Tourism Regulation which aims to conserve these protected natural areas. Please ensure to bring your reusable water bottle on all our Peru trips. Water refill stations have been installed in areas near Machu Picchu and other national parks. Your guide will brief you where you can refill your water bottles with drinking water.


This trip is graded moderate to challenging and is suitable for fit and healthy people. Prior trekking is not necessary, although you would be expected to be comfortable in the outdoors and enjoy camping for successive days. These adventures involve trekking for up to 6 - 8 hours a day at a steady pace and may include longer days up to 10 hours. These trips may spend successive days at altitudes not generally exceeding 5,500m and the actual treks are usually between 10 and 15 days in duration. You will need a good level of fitness and be in good health. *Suggested preparation: 45 minutes of aerobic type exercise, three to five times a week for the three months leading up to your trip. Hill walking with a pack in variable weather conditions is also recommended. To prepare for a walking holiday we recommend you take every opportunity to walk up and down stairs and/or hills, for leg strengthening and aerobic fitness. Please remember the fitter you are the more you will enjoy your holiday.

Check out our Q&As

  • Who will be my travelling companions on the tour?

    We have offices on three continents which means your travelling companions will be just that – international and wonderfully eclectic. Part of small group travel means that although travellers come from various locations and backgrounds, you will be travelling with like-minded companions who, like you, are keen to share the experience and forge lifelong friendships.

  • What about environmental impact?

    We believe that adventure travel revolves around establishing a strong relationship with the people and environments in which we operate. Our responsible travel policies have been carefully developed to ensure that we minimise the impact of our presence and help to protect the regions we visit while contributing positively to the local community.

  • What should I pack?

    Your pre-departure documents include a detailed packing list with items that you need to bring. While most of the equipment for daily activities is included in your tour cost, some items like helmets and hiking boots are best brought from home. The pre-departure documents also include information on layering and recommended brands for various items to ensure you are fully prepared for your trip.

  • Do you operate a “single share” option and how does it work?

    Yes. World Expeditions does not require single travellers to pay a surcharge for travelling alone on the vast majority of our trips. Our holidays are primarily on a twin share basis, so if you are joining the group as a solo traveller, we will match you with someone of your own gender. The choice is yours however; if you prefer not to share, we do offer single supplements for private occupancy.

  • Are tips included in my trip price?

    Tips are not included in the tour cost. Tipping is a personal thing, do not worry about how much, or when, to tip. Tipping guidelines are provided for certain destinations in our pre departure information upon booking, however the best advice will be provided by your tour leader.

  • Am I suited to small-group travel?

    We recognise that many of our travellers have not been on a ‘group trip’ before. Yet what our departures provide is both structure and flexibility, allowing you plenty of freedom within the framework of the itinerary. You’ll find that with our maximum group size at 16, you’ll travel in a minimal impact style with a great group of like-minded travellers.

  • Can you advise which vaccinations are recommended?

    While our pre-departure kit provides information on vaccinations, we suggest that you consult your doctor, local government inoculation centre or a travel medical specialist in order to get the most current advice regarding vaccination requirements.

Reviews from Travellers on this Tour

K. Johnson(Helensburgh, NSW)  

Inca Rivers Trek - Choquequirao to Machu Picchu

05 Aug 2017

Very professionally run trip. Food was amazing which really added to the enjoyment of the trip. The crew was helpful and friendly, scenery spectacular!

F. Kwok(Earlwood, NSW Australia)  

Inca Rivers Trek - Choquequirao to Machu Picchu

13 Aug 2017

A challenging hike but it was worth the effort. Itinerary was good and trek from Choquequirao to Machu Picchu was intense. Very steep going up AND down - at times the up and up felt like it was never going to end! Loved the descents though, dust and all! The scenery along the way, especially through the cloud forests was beautiful and isolated. I am not a keen camper but the camping on this trip was amazing! The campgrounds throughout the trip were phenomenal and the most surreal was camping under the stars, on the Inca terraces of Choquequirao, with dominating mountains in front of you and river deep down below. Having stayed at some pretty luxurious hotels, this campsite beats them all! It was simply too stunning for words.

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  • Transfer as credit to Future Tours

    World Expeditions allows you to transfer existing payments to a future tour to avoid cancellation fees if you can't travel and inform world expeditions, 70 days before departure.

  • Low Deposit

    World Expeditions requires a minimum deposit of 250 GBP per person or the full booking value, whichever is less, with the final balance not due until 70 days before departure.

  • Cancellation Policy

    We don't charge a cancellation fee, here is a summary of world expeditions charges.

    Up to 70 days before tour starts: Forfeit 100% of deposit.

    At 69 days before tour starts: Forfeit 50% of booking price.

    At 35 days before tour starts: Forfeit 100% of booking price.

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