The Cachicata Trek to Machu Picchu, is one of the newest and best alternate routes to Machu Picchu. On the Cachicata trek, you will visit some little-known Inca ruins and trek through amazing landscapes as you make your way to Machu Picchu. This trek will also take you to an amazing Inca temple above Ollantatambo.
Day 1: Cusco- Watt’a – Marcuray.
Walking distance: 8.7 miles / 12 km (6-7hours)
Campsite altitude: 3,000 meters / 9,842 feet above sea level.
Difficulty: Hiking up a moderate slope
Weather: Warm and windy
Day 2: Marcuray – Perolniyoc – ChoqueTapurko – Cancachuco Pampa.
Walking distance: 8.7 miles / 12 km (6-7 hours)
Campsite altitude: 3,800 meters / 1151 feet above sea level.
Difficulty: Hiking up a moderate slope
Weather: Cold and rainy
Day 3: Ancient Quarry- Veronica Temple – Ollantaytambo -Train to Aguas Calientes.
Walking distance: 8.7 miles / 12 km (5- 6hours)
Campsite altitude: 3,000 meters / 9,842 feet above sea level.
Difficulty: Easy (Down hill walking)
Weather: Warm and windy
Day 4: Aguas Calientes – Machu Picchu – Cusco
Machu Picchu tour and climb to Huaynapicchu or Machupicchu Mountain according to the availability
Day 1: Cusco – Watt’a – Marcuray.
The trek will begin early at 5:30 a.m. when we will pick you up from your hotel/hostel in Cusco. We will drive in a private van for 50 minutes to the peaceful village of Huarocondo where we have breakfast and enjoy the morning tranquility. We will continue for 10 minutes to Parbopiso where we will meet our horsemen and begin the trek. We will start hiking up a moderate slope above the river valley for 2 1/2 hours until we reach the little-known Inca ruin of Watt’a, perched on a mid-altitude peak offering spectacular 360° views of the mountains and valleys below. We will then continue hiking for approximately one hour until we arrive at the small community of Anaphua where we will stop for lunch. After lunch, we will hike for 2 1/2 hours uphill until we reach the look-out point of Anaphua pass where you will enjoy beautiful panoramic views of the route. Finally, we will continue for the last 1 1/2 hours towards Marcuray, our first campsite.
Day 2: Marcuray – Perolniyoc – Charcahuaylla – Cancachuco Pampa.
This day will be another challenging and beautiful day of hiking. In the morning, you will have the option of taking a gentle downhill hike to see a tall waterfall where you can pause to refresh yourself amidst the cool spray or enjoy an alfresco shower and dip beneath the falls. After your visit to the falls, we will continue hiking for half an hour before we visit the Inca ruin of Qorimarca, perched at mid-altitude on a shelf high above the Soccma Valley. After exploring the ruins, we will hike uphill for 3 hours until we reach our second lunch spot, Charcahuaylla. We will then pass across open meadows before reaching a zone of high altitude shrub land, which gives way to treeless grasslands known as puna as our trail winds gently around mountain spurs following an undulating approach to the pass of Chancachucu, located at (4,400 m/14,430 ft). We will continue across a rolling, sparsely inhabited plateau where you can catch a glimpse of the tip of Salcantay and the Huayanays Péak Mountains. After enjoying this amazing view, we will continue to hike uphill for another hour until we arrive at the broken remains of an Inca water channel that once carried water to the ancient quarries. On this night, we will camp at Chancachuco Pampa
Day 3: Ancient Quarry- The Sun gate – Ollantaytambo-Train to Aguas Calientes.
Many of our hikers say that this is the most unforgettable and easiest day. After breakfast, we will have one hour to hike a gentle path until we reach the mountain of Yana Orco, where narrow, zig-zag paths and steep trails start to offer us spectacular views of the valley, its river a silver ribbon far below us. We will encounter a stunning view of Ollantaytambo and the Sacred Valley as we reach the imposing gateway of Intipunku, an Inca temple thought to be dedicated to worshiping the snowcapped glacier Verónica. After pausing at the amazing site, we will continue walking for about 30 more minutes before we reach the ancient Quarry. Once there, you can explore different sectors of the Incan quarries that testify to a great building project that was never finished. You will see impressive rocks that were destined for the Inca temple at Ollantaytambo, (6 km/4 miles) away on the north bank of the Urubamba River. We will have lunch facing a breathtaking mountain and valley panorama, near the well-preserved Inca complex of Choquetacarpo. We will continue our hike for 3 and a half hours downhill to Ollantaytambo, where you will have some time to rest and explore the historic town. In Ollantaytambo, we will catch the 7:00 p.m. train to the town of Aguas Calientes. Once there, you will have a late dinner at a restaurant in the town and discuss with your guide what time you wish to wake up in the morning. Before or after dinner we will settle you into your hostel, (this can be upgraded to a hotel if you wish).
Day 4: Aguas Caliente- Machu Picchu- Cusco
After breakfast, our guide will pick you up from your hostel/hotel and lead you to the bus station where you will board a bus to Machu Picchu. At Machu Picchu, you will have a 2 hour walking tour of this mysterious city, followed by free time for your own exploration. In this time, you may also choose to climb Huayna Picchu or Machu Picchu Mountain if you have reserved a spot. Once you have completed your tour of Machu Picchu, you will take the bus to Aguas Calientes, where you can stop for lunch. Finally, after an amazing journey, you will head to the train station to take the train for your return trip to Cusco.
2 people: US $600 per person
4-8 people: US $580 per person
Group Size: 2-8 people
Please notice: Our Trek service begins and ends in your hotel in Cusco
For the Cachicata Trek, we will provide you with a duffel bag at the briefing for the Trek the night before we depart. to put all of your belongings in. By using standardized bags, we will ensure that all of your belongings will fit properly on the horses. The duffel bags easily fit 8 Kilograms /16 pounds per person including your sleeping bags.
However, You will still need to carry your day pack with all of your essentials like water, sunscreen, passport, etc
We offer a discount of US $20 to students with a valid International Student Identity Card (ISIC) and to children under the age of 16 years old. Scanned copies of your ISIC card or child’s passport must be provided at the time of payment of the deposit for the trek in order to qualify for the international discount.
Storage during your trek: Most of our trekkers leave their belongings that they do not want to bring on the trek in the hostel they were previously staying in. These hostels/hotels usually have a secure, locked room where you can store your belongings. If you do not trust your hostel, we would be more than happy to store your belongings for you.
Train for the end of your Trek
The most common departure times that we book for our tourists is 2:30 p.m. or the 2:55 p.m. train.
The 2:30 p.m. train will arrive in Ollantaytambo train station at 4:05 p.m., and the 2:55 train will arrive a bit later at 4:30 p.m. You will be picked up by your driver outside of the train station. The driver will be holding a sign with your name on it so that there is no confusion. If you do not see the driver initially, just wait for them outside of the train station. Once the driver has picked you up, you will travel for 1 1/2 hours in a van before you arrive back at your hotel/hostel. Arrival time in Cusco is approximately 6:30 p.m., or 7:00 p.m.
You may also choose to update your train ticket to the Vistadome train, for an extra cost of (US $60).
Important: We guarantee these early Expedition departures, as per the itinerary, only if you book your tours 2 months in advance. Otherwise, we may be forced to offer the Expedition train that departs at 6:35 p.m. only.
Included / Not Included
What is included in the price?
A professional guide who is fluent in English
8 kg /17 lb luggage allowance to be carried by our horses (you will trek only with your day pack which is way more comfortable than carrying a big bag!)
Private bus to the start of the trail
Machu Picchu entrance fees
Two-person tents with plenty of room for your backpacks
Meals cooked by an experienced chef: breakfasts, lunches, dinners, and snacks!
Delicious food rich in carbohydrates and suitable for trekking
All our food is prepared from organic vegetables and fresh ingredients
Vegetarian/special diet options available To check our meal on the trek click: www.intisuntrek.com/what-about-food-and-water.html
Water (We will provide you with boiled and filtered cold water during the trek after lunch on the first day). You will need to bring a container to carry your water in. Also, you need to ensure that you pack a sufficient amount of water for the first half-day of the trek
Horse ( to carry the tents and cooking equipment)
Wrangler’s health insurance paid for by INTI SUN TREK
First aid kit including an oxygen bottle and an extra horse for you to ride if the altitude has a strong effect on your strength
Expedition Train From Ollantaytambo to Aguas Calientes
Hostal in Aguas Calientes double or triple rooms, private bathrooms, hot showers, wifi, and storage while you visit Machu Picchu.
Round-trip bus ticket from Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu
Expedition train from Aguas Calientes Ollantaytambo
Bus from Ollantaytambo to your hotel in Cusco
Breakfast on the first morning.
Climb to Huaynapicchu or Machupicchu Mountain
Bathing suit for the hot springs in Aguas Calientes (not included in the price )
Sleeping bags. (These can be rented in our office for US $20 for the entire trek. Every sleeping bag is washed prior to each use)
Tips for the guide, cooks, and wranglers Click to this link to have an idea
What you need to bring:
For students: ISIC card
Walking stick ( Highly Recommended )
Waterproof jacket or rain poncho
Hat and gloves
2 pairs of pants (1 for hiking, 1 for camp)
Long underwear for sleeping
Sun hat or cap
Toiletries/ Toilet paper
Flashlight or headlamp
Extra money for tips/snacks/beer. (We recommend at least 200-350 extra soles).(US $120)
Optional items to take:
Basic First Aid Kit
Bathing suit for hot springs
All briefings are done at our office at 6:00 PM the night before your trek. If you are unable to make this time, you need to coordinate another time with a member of the Inti Sun Trek office team. Briefings are approximately 30 -45 minutes long.
Renewal or change passport number?
If you plan to renew or change your name on your passport between making your trek booking and starting your trek, you can book your trek or tour with your current passport number or name, but you must send us a copy of your old passport and a copy of your new passport when you have them. We can then make the change with the government before you arrive. The extra cost to make the change is US$25 per person. (This will cover the change in number or name for your Inca Trail Permit, Machu Picchu Entrance, and train.)
If you do not advise us of the change or do not want to pay the fee, bring the original of both passports (the old and new one). You can enter Peru with your new passport but you must show the government authorities your old passport in order to enter the Inca Trail, Machu Picchu or train. If you cannot do so, you will not be allowed to start your trek by the government officials. All names and numbers must match!!
Inti Sun Trek is one of the only companies to pick you up directly from your hotel. As long as your hotel is in the center of Cusco city,we will coordinate this pickup based on a time that your guide will discuss at the briefing. Pick up times may vary 30 – 45 minutes based on traffic conditions and previous pickups.
Cusco is an old city with cobblestoned streets and very narrow passageways. Very small hotels and Air BNBs are often located on streets that cars can not pass through. They also are often located up on the hillside, with long steep climbs to the property, difficult to maneuver with luggage. We highly recommend that you do not stay at one of these places.
Is the Cachicata trek difficult?
Not at all, on the first two days, we will visit some Incan sites and hike up a moderate slope to a high mountain pass. You will be able to walk at your own pace and take plenty of breaks to catch your breath and enjoy the stunning views of the mountains and valley around you. Our chef will provide you with snacks and water to keep you strong during your hike.
However, we recommend that you prepare for the trek by trying to walk 10km a day or start going to the gym a month before the trek. We will cover a lot of distance on the second day. But do not worry, if you are really struggling, we have emergency horses that you can ride if you are not fit for the trek.
How do I book This trek?
If you are interested in booking the Cachicata Trek, please go to our website and fill out all the information under the “Book It” tab in the top right corner of the page. Please follow the instructions for placing the deposit. Once we have received your deposit, we will be able to purchase your tickets and reserve a spot for you on the tour. Also, to avoid any trouble, make sure that the passport number you book the trek with will still be valid when you arrive in Peru. Officials at Machu Picchu will check to make sure that the passport number on your ticket matches the number on your passport.
How cold are the Cachicata campsites?
All of our former trekkers agree that the 2nd we use on this trek is fairly cold. During the nighttime, temperatures can drop to below freezing. This is especially true during the months of June, July, and August. We recommend that you keep these temperatures in mind while packing for the trek.
Are there toilets on Cachicata Trek?
There are no permanent toilets available along the trail, However, the good news is that we carry a portable toilet that we will set up at each lunch stop and Campsite. We will also provide you with biodegradable soap to wash up with as part of our effort to make a positive impact on our local environment.
We recommend that you pack your own toilet paper and bring hand-sanitizer to use after visiting the toilets.
Do I need to bring hiking boots and walking sticks?
Hiking boots are highly recommended, as they provide ankle support that reduces the risk of injury, especially when trekking through the mud and rocks which are common in the wet season (December to March). It is also important that your boots are comfortable and well worn-in.
Many people prefer to trek in tennis shoes but extra care should be taken. We do not recommend trekking in sandals, using new boots, or renting boots prior to the trek. Make sure the shoes are sturdy enough for the duration of the trek and will not fall apart.
Can I use trekking poles on the Cachicata Trek?
Yes, We highly recommend you to bring trekking poles or walking sticks for this trek as they provide stability and support when trekking during the second day. Recently, government authorities have stopped trekkers from using wooden sticks that could have come from local forests to prevent deforestation of the protected Andean region.
What type of hostal does Inti Sun Trek use for Cachicata Trek?
At Inti Sun Trek, we always book through the Continental, El Tambo or Machu Picchu hostals which offer private, double rooms. These hostals offer comfortable beds, hot water for showering, WiFi, and breakfast.
NOTE: We guarantee these hostals will be reserved as per the itinerary if you book your trek 2 months in advance, otherwise we may be forced to offer substitutes.
Can I upgrade the hostal to a hotel in Aguas Calientes?
Every traveler has their own expectations for accommodation and that is why we offer you the option to book your own hostel independently.
The three hostels that Inti Sun Trek books are considered basic and so if you wish to upgrade to a hotel you need to:
1) Do this yourself or,
2) Ask Inti Sun Trek to do it for you.
If you wish to book a hostel independently, a $15 discount is given per person off the tour price and you can use this money to pay for an alternative hostel.