Ancascocha Trek to Machu Picchu 4D/3N
The Ancascocha Trail in the Peruvian Andes is a remarkable trail that, unlike other more popular trails, remains off the beaten track and away from crowds. Yet don’t be put off by its lesser known status.
Named by National Geographic as one of 20 dream hikes on their World Best Hikes list, this stunning trek takes you past ancient Inca ruins and through traditional Andean villages such as Chillipahua and the trail’s namesake Ancascocha (3,700 m/12,136 ft). Here you may briefly share the trail with farmers, shepherds and their livestock tending to their daily lives, so far removed from the tourist crowds of Cusco.
Your fitness will be stretched as you climb a number of big passes, including the highest point at the Huayanay Pass (4,650 m/15,255 ft). The rewards for your efforts though are staggering, with panoramic views across the Andes, cascading waterfalls, crystal blue lakes and the towering 20,557 feet (6,266 m) Apu Salkantay. At all times, your guide and crew will ensure that the pace is suitable for everyone in the group, taking breaks for rest and food whenever needed.
- Day 1: Cusco – Soqma – Rayan – Chancachuco Valley
- Day 2: Chancachuco Valley – Ancascocha – Huaynay Pass – Quesqa Valley
- Day 3: Quesqa Valley – Paucarcancha – Kilometer 82 – Ollantaytambo – Aguas Calientes
- Day 4: Aguas Calientes – Machu Picchu – Cusco
Total distance hiked: 49 km/30.2 miles
Beginning altitude: 3,205 m /10,512 ft.
Maximum altitude: 4,650 m/15,255 ft.
Overall trek difficulty: Challenging
You will be given a thorough briefing by your guide from the company Peru Wild Treks 1-2 days before your trek starts. Your guide will meet you at your hotel to talk you through the trek itinerary, and you can take this oportunity to ask questions and make any final preparations. You will also be given your duffle bag so that you can pack your gear for the trek.
Day 1: Cusco – Soqma – Rayan – Kuychiccasa Pass – Chancachuco Valley
After meeting you at your hotel, you will leave Cusco early in the morning and drive 1h 45m to Soqma (3,205 m/10,512 ft). This is the starting point of your trek and where you will meet the horsemen and horses
The hike begins with a 1h 45m hour walk to the Perolniyoc cascade lookout. The waterfall is breathtaking, and you can even take the short climb down to the base of the falls for some fantastic photo opportunities (and cool down if the weather is good)! Then, hiking for a further 45 minutes you will visit the Inca site of the same name. Perched on a cliff-top with spectacular views of the surrounding valley, your guide will share some of the history of the site and the Incas and you will be free to wander through the ruins, imagining life 500 years ago.
Next you will make a steep ascent for around an hour to reach your lunch spot, Rayan (3,700 m/12,139 ft). Here you will sample for the first time the incredible culinary skills of your chef from the company, with a chance to rest, relax and refuel for the afternoon’s hiking.
The afternoon begins with a challenging 3 hour uphill hike to reach the Kuychiccasa pass (4,450 m /14,599 ft). Passing the rustic houses of the farmers, at every turn you will see sumptuous views of the snow-capped peaks , wild llamas, sprawling valleys, and if you are lucky, a passing condor (the largest bird in the Andes with a wing-span of up to 10 feet across!).
As you reach the top of the pass (perhaps a little breathless) you take a break to soak in the magnificent views of the Chancachuco Valley on one side and the Sacred Valley of the Incas on the other.
From here it is an easy 45 minute downhill hike to reach your camp for the evening at the Chancachuco Valley (4,312 m / 14,147 ft). Here, with the campsite already prepared when you arrive, you can change into warmer clothing and lie back to watch the sky gradually fill with the most incredible display of stars (clouds permitting!) before joining your guide and your fellow trekkers for a well-earned, hearty dinner.
- Meals: Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
- Lowest Elevation: 3,205 m/10,512 ft.
- Highest Elevation: 4,450 m/14,599 ft.
- Distance to walk: 16 km/9.9 miles
- Approximate walking time: 8 to 10 hours
- Level of Difficulty: Challenging
Day 2: Chancachuco Valley – Ancascocha – Huaynay Pass – Quesqa Valley
You will be woken with a cup of freshly brewed coffee or tea, followed by a full breakfast to fuel you for the morning ahead.
You’ll begin with a 45 minute undulating hike followed by a 20 minute ascent by way of a narrow trail that follows a stream with beautiful views of Mt. Veronica (5,822 m/ 19,100 ft).
You then take a 2.5 hour walk downhill to reach the small community of Ancascocha (3,700 m/12,139 ft), in a small but gorgeous wooded valley with a stream running through it.
Continuing uphill for 1 hour you will enjoy views of the nearby glacier and well preserved Inca remains, before reaching the beautiful crystal blue Ancascocha Lake where you stop for lunch.
After lunch you’ll continue your ascent towards the Huayanay Pass (4,650 m/15,255 ft). This is a strenuous 2 hour climb along a steep switchback trail which brings you to the highest point of your trek. Along this section you will see an original cobblestone paved Inca Trail.
After taking time to enjoy the incredible views from the summit, you embark on a 3 hour descent into greener vegetation. Along this stretch you will have a distant vista of the classic Inca trail to Machu Picchu as well as fascinating views of the communities of the Quesqa valley. You will also pass the small Inca site of Incaracay.
Finally you will reach your campsite, nestled in the Quesqa valley (3,850 m/12,631 ft). Once again, your chef will serve an excellent dinner as you reflect on the sights and sounds of the day.
- Meals: Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
- Highest Elevation: 3,700 m/12,139 ft.
- Campsite elevation: 4,650 m/15,255 ft.
- Distance to walk: 18 km/ 11,1 miles
- Approximate walking time: 10 – 11 hours
- Level of Difficulty: Challenging
- Area: Dry Mountain
Day 3: Quesqa Valley – Paucarcancha – Kilometer 82 – Ollantaytambo – Aguas Calientes
On your final day of trekking you’ll descend from Quesqa Valley for 2 hours until you reach the Inca site of Paucarcancha (3,133 m/10,278 ft) where your guide will provide a comprehensive commentary about the site.
Then you will join a section of the Classic Inca Trail and make an easy hike downhill for 5 hours until you’ll reach Km 82, which is the official start of the Classic Trail. Along the way you will be able to see the Inca site of Llactapata. Lunch will be served at Km82.
After lunch you will be picked up by your private local van and transported to Ollantaytambo (2,792 m/9,160 ft) to catch the scenic train to Aguas Calientes. Photo opportunities are endless as you carve through the valley floor into the lush green vegetation of the Aguas Calientes area.
After 2 nights in the mountains, your comfortable hotel room will be a welcome sight. The natural hot springs in town are also a great place to relax if there is time before dinner.
You will take dinner together at a nice local restaurant (drinks not included) before retiring to the hotel to prepare for the early start on Machu Picchu.
- Meals: Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
- Lodging: Hotel
- Highest Elevation: 3,850 m/6,692 ft.
- Lowest Elevation: 2,040 m/12,631 ft
- Distance to walk: 15 km/9,3 miles
- Approximate walking time: 7 hours
- Level of Difficulty: Moderate
Day 4: Aguas Calientes – Machu Picchu – Cusco
After a very early breakfast at your hotel you will take one of the first buses (5:30am) along the winding road to Machu Picchu to see the magnificent sunrise. Your guide will then give a 2 hour walking tour of this breathtaking site, named as one of the new 7 wonders of the world. Your entry ticket to Machu Picchu is included in the price of the trek.
If you have elected to climb Huayna Picchu or Machu Picchu Mountains you can begin the hike once your guided tour concludes. The ticket price for Huayna Picchu or Machu Picchu Mountain is not included in the price of your trek. If you choose not to climb the mountain you will have plenty of free time to explore Machu Picchu before returning to Aguas Calientes by bus.
Arriving back in Aguas Calientes you will board the expedition train to Poroy or Ollantaytambo. From there you will travel by private van to Cusco and back to your hotel. Your arrival time in Cusco will depend on the time of your train ticket.
- Meals: Breakfast
- Highest Elevation: 2,440 m/ 8,005 ft.
- Lowest Elevation: 2,040 m/ 6,691 ft.
- Level of Difficulty: Easy/Challenging*
*If you want to climb Huayna Pichu Mountain which is a fairly easy 1 hour hike. However, you need to book in advance.
- Pre-Departure Briefing at your hotel
- Pick up from your hotel and transportation to Soqma (start of trek)
- Bilingual English speaking tour guide
- 4 person tent for every 2 people
- Kitchen tent
- Dining tent with tables and chairs
- Portable Eco-friendly toilet and toilet tent
- Professional Chef and assistant chef
- Wranglers and horses to carry all equipment
- Horse to transport up to 5kg of your personal gear
- Duffle bag for your personal gear
- Emergency horse (in case we need it!)
- Four breakfasts, three lunches, and three dinners
- Hot water for washing twice daily
- Daily morning boiled and cold water to fill the water bottles.
- Emergency oxygen bottle and medical kit.
- Train ticket from Ollantaytambo to Aguas Calientes
- Expedition train ticket from Aguas Calientes to Poroy or Ollantaytambo
- Private van transportation from Poroy or Ollantaytambo to your Cusco hotel
- 1 night hotel accommodation in Aguas Calientes
- Round trip bus from Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu
- Entrance to Machu Picchu
Services Not Included:
- Sleeping bag (can be rented from us)
- Trekking poles (can be rented from us
- Day 4 Lunch in Aguas Calientes
- Tips for the trek crew (tipping optional and guidelines provided)
- Travel/Health/Emergency insurance
- Tickest for huaynapicchu or machupicchu mountain
What to bring:
- Original passport (nb. if you have acquired a new one after you made your booking you MUST bring both)
- Down or synthetic feather sleeping bag (can be rented from us)
- Clothes (trekking boots, warm fleece jacket, tops, a few t-shirts, socks, sun hat, thermal underwear, light long pants, gloves, poncho, rain jacket)
- Toiletries (toilet paper, wet wipes, personal towel)
- Sun block (factor 35+ recommended)
- Head lamp + batteries*
- Sunglasses and sun hat
- Camera + batteries*
- Trekking poles (recommended especially for the steep descents, can be rented from us) MUST have rubber tips
- Insect repellent – 15% DEET
- Snacks (while your crew will prepare the most amazing meals, everyone’s energy needs are different, particularly at altitude, and so you should pack some suitable snacks to make sure you are always fully energized)
* nb. Batteries run down faster at high altitudes
- USD $650 per person
- Under 18 years Discount: US $20.00
- Under 7 years Discount: US $35.00
- Hiking poles – US $20.00 (pair)
- Sleeping bag – US $25.00
- Original Passport ( same you have used for booking your trek)
- Good daypack (25 to 30 liters)
- Water storage: 2-3 litre Camelbaks are encouraged.
- Comfortable hiking boots with ankle support
- Toilet Paper
- 1 t-shirts
- 1 hiking or comfortable pants
- Hiking socks
- Polar or sweater for early mornings and evenings
- Face moisturizer
- Hand Sanitizer
- Wet wipes
- Toothbrush and paste
- Personal medications
- Sun Hat
- Wool Hat if cold season for evenings or early morning
- Rain jacket – rainy season
- Snacks like chocolate bars, cereal bars or any dry fruit
- Rain plastic poncho (provided by SAM)
- Extra Money for Souvenirs, Drinks & Tips
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