1st day / Cusco - Saywite - Villa Los Loros lodge
Travelers are picked up at their hotel at 7:00 am on a private bus. First stop will be Saywite Archaeological Park. This mysterious monolith and the nearby archaeological remains including the “ushnu” and the “pacchas” must remain in our memory to contrast their correspondence with the ceremonial architecture of Choquequirao. After a healthy box-lunch, we continue down the remote Huanipaca Valley, a place in the Peruvian highlands reserved for travelers. Villa Los Loros lodge awaits at the bottom of the gorge. The rooms ready and after a necessary rest, a short meeting is held to dispel the anxiety a trip like this brings up in every traveler. Dinner and overnight.
2nd day / Villa Los Loros lodge - Playa San Ignacio - Choquequirao
We leave at 5:30 am right after breakfast, walking down a footpath that leads to the Hacienda San Ignacio and then tumbles downhill towards the raging Apurimac River (Playa San Ignacio). Across the hanging bridge is where the serious hiking starts; ascending from water level (4757 feet) to Choquequirao campsite (9415 feet) is nothing less than overwhelming. On the one hand, the beauty of the landscape, rivers, waterfalls, flowers, all is movement... On the other, the wild environment: the steep slope and your heartbeat combine in an intimate connection with the environment. At the campsite and after lunch, a quick visit to the Phaqchayoc Sector (a terraced agricultural system where corn is still grown) and The House of Waterfalls (according to archaeologists, the home of the Inca of Choquequirao.) Back at the campsite, tired and proud, a warm meal is enjoyed before a good night’s sleep. (Bathrooms and cold showers available)
3rd day / Choquequirao full day
Beautiful day. We are stricken to observe how the vast majority of visitors take 4 days trekking but only a few hours or even minutes (!) to enjoy exploring the different sectors of Choquequirao. Bearing in mind that Choquequirao is scattered on both sides of the spur of Apu Corihuayrachina we know a fair amount of time is needed to understand the integrity of its context. Travelers will enjoy lunch near the ruins and hopefully view condors’ flight over the deep canyon. Back at the campsite, dinner and overnight. (Bathrooms and cold showers available)
4th day / Choquequirao - Villa Los Loros lodge
We head back to our lodge early after breakfast. The known route makes returning easier. The ever changing landscape is fully appreciated with our now recovered muscles. The voice of the river as background and the imposing Apurimac Canyon seems to swallow the traveler. Finally, Playa San Ignacio. "Black Whip", "Machuco", "Cayguash" or some others are waiting for us. Our return on horseback is the perfect chance for a last look at the landscape we are now part of. Riding allows a great way to photograph friends who are traveling with us and the new friends this journey has given us; our fellow horsemen and their way of life will remain deep in the traveler’s heart. Beside the ruined walls of the Hacienda San Ignacio, lunch is served. The final stage takes us riding to Villa Los Loros lodge. Dinner and overnight.
5th day / Villa Los Loros lodge - Ollantaytambo - Machu Picchu Village
After breakfast the bus takes us on a scenic ride to Ollantaytambo in about 5 hours. Lunch is enjoyed at the last still-living Inca town before the train ride to Machu Picchu Village. Leave your bags at the hotel and wonder around town enjoying a relaxing swim in the famous hot springs. Dinner and overnight.
6th day / Machu Picchu - Cusco
Early wake up to catch the first bus and watch the surreal sunrise at the Inca Sanctuary. Climbing to the top of Wayna Picchu Mountain or to Intipunku ( the Sun Gate) is up to you. Back down at Machu Picchu Village a well deserved buffet lunch is enjoyed before the train back to Cusco. Transfer to your hotel in the Imperial City.
Briefing at your Cusco hotel the day before departure; private transportation (Cusco - Villa Los Loros lodge - Ollantaytambo); professional bilingual guide (English - Spanish); professional field chef; two night hotel accommodation (Villa Los Loros and Machu Picchu village); two nights camping with high quality outdoor equipment (tent, sleeping bag with personal hygienic sheets, mattress, kitchen and dining tents, dining tables and chairs, kitchen and all dining utensils, lighting equipment, etc.); first aid kit; all meals and beverages (6 lunches, 5 dinners, 5 breakfasts); horsemen and pack mules; emergency saddled horse (1 every 5 hikers); entrance tickets to the Saywite, Choquequirao and Machu Picchu; personal saddled horses for the return from Playa San Ignacio to VLL; train Ollantaytambo - Machu Picchu village; bus round trip Machu Picchu village – Machu Picchu Sanctuary - Machu Picchu village; Vistadome train to Cusco.