Ancascocha Trek with Short Inca Trail 5D/4N
Peru Wild Treks is specialized in creating exciting and unique multi-day treks that combine the rugged solitude and spectacular beauty of the Ancascocha Trail with a journey to the most famous and photographed site in South America, the sacred citadel of Machu Picchu.
Despite being named by National Geographic as one of 20 “Dream Hikes” in their World Best Hikes list, the Ancascocha trail remains one of the least populated routes in the area. In fact, if you ask about the trail in Cusco, you may well get quizzical looks from tourists and locals alike. Whilst the Classic Inca trail and Salkantay have become household names, often booked out a year in advance, Ancascocha remains almost ‘undiscovered’. But don’t be put off by this lesser-known status, this is a heavyweight trail in all respects!
For this new brand 5-day trek itinerary, the company has combined the most spectacular highlights of Ancascocha with an unforgettable 2-day journey on the famous Inca Trail. Spending your first 3 days on Ancascocha, far from the beaten path and the typical tourist trails, you will be treated to irresistible vistas of the majestic snow-capped Andes. You will walk amongst well-preserved ruins, marveling at the engineering feats of the ancient tribes, and you will pass remote communities who still live and work simply as they have for many generations.
Switching from “Trek to Train”, you then take a wonderful journey along the lush valley floor to the vibrant Sacred Valley town of Ollantaytambo, and its eclectic mix of ancient architecture, Artesan crafts and bustling restaurants and cafes. After a comfortable overnight stay in a quality local hotel, you begin the final stage of your journey on the Short Inca Trail to Machu Picchu.
Whilst your time on this trail is short, it provides access to some of the most iconic views in the area. Taking the same steps walked by the Inca Pilgrims, you will pass the ancient settlements used by travelers for respite ahead of their (and your) final destination. Your first glimpses of this sacred centre of Incan culture are simply unforgettable, and you have plenty of time on the trail to make sure you capture those memories forever. Finally, crossing the spectacular Sacred Valley, you will get at the magnificent Inti Punku, or Sun Gate. From here, breathless and elated, you make your final descent to the jewel in the Peruvian Crown, and one of the new 7 Wonders of the World, the ancient citadel of Machu Picchu.
This sort of reward requires effort of course, and this is a challenging trek recommended for people with a good basic level of fitness. You will have 4 long days of trekking during which you climb to a number of high passes, including the highest point at Huayanay at just over 4,650m (15,250 ft). At Ancascocha Trekking through your safety and comfort are always the primary concern for this company, and your experienced guide will ensure that the pace of the hike, and the number of rest stops are suitable for the whole group.
Peru Wild Treks takes care of booking all of the necessary tickets and reservations you need for the trek, so you can truly immerse yourself in the experience without worrying about anything.
Finally, this company use only the best, most experienced guides to supplement the trekking with local history and information to make this more than just a walking experience. This is truly a step back in time, to the days of the Ancient Incas.
This is a journey to be found on Bucket Lists the world over, and so Peru Wild Treks invites you to join on this ‘Dream Hike’ and create unforgettable memories from your time in Peru!
- Day 1: Cusco – Soqma – Rayan – Chancachuco Valley
- Day 2: Chancachuco Valley – Ancascocha – Huaynay Pass – Quesqa valley
- Day 3: Quesqa Valley – Paucarcancha – Kilometer 82 – Ollantaytambo
- Day 4: Ollantaytambo – Wiñay Wayna – Machu Picchu
- Day 5: Machu Picchu Tour – Return train to Cusco
- Total distance hiked: 62 km/38.5 miles
- Beginning altitude: 3,205 m / 10,512 ft.
- Maximum altitude: 4,650 m/ 15,250 ft.
- Overall trek difficulty: Challenging
You guide from the company will provide a full pre-trek briefing at your hotel in Cusco. This gives you the chance to ask questions about the trek itinerary and you will have your duffle bag too ,so that you can pack your gear for the trek. Briefings are generally scheduled for the morning of the day before your trek starts. If your trek begins on a Monday then the briefing will be scheduled for the Saturday before.
Please take this into consideration when booking your travel plans to Cusco, ensuring you arrive in time for the briefing.
Day 01: Cusco – Soqma – Rayan – Chancachuco Valley
Your guide from the company will pick you up early (4-5am) from your hotel to make the 2-hour drive to the trailhead at Soqma. Your trekking crew will have got up earlier though, and they will be there ahead of you with the horses, all ready to start.
It is not long (around 2 hours) before you reach your first major photo opportunity at the Perolniyoc waterfall. Cascading hundreds of feet into a pool below you, you will hear the waterfall long before you see it. For those feeling brave, there is an opportunity to take a short walk down to the base of the falls to cool off, or you may just want to enjoy the view from the lookout point. Either way, as with all of the major view points on the trek, you will have plenty of time to enjoy the views and take photos.
The sights keeps coming, and around 30 mins after leaving the waterfall you arrive at the ancient Inca site of the same name. Like something out of a glossy history book, the ruins sit perched on top of a cliff with incredible views of the surrounding valley.
Your guide will share some history of the site, and maybe discuss what you may have read about these engineering geniuses who lived 500 years ago.
Just before lunch, you need to make a steep ascent for around an hour to Rayan at 3,700m
(9,350ft). This will be your first opportunity to sample the incredible meals that your kitchen team are able to create on the mountainside.
To reach the Kuychicassa pass (4,450 m /14,596 ft) it is a challenging 3 hours hike up! But as you walk through remote Fincas where generations of farmers have tended their livestock, as you pass wild Llamas roaming on the mountain, and as the climb reveals spectacular views across snow-capped peaks, perhaps your mind will be distracted from your aching muscles! Certainly, as you rest at the summit surrounded by the Chancachuco and Sacred Valleys, your effort will feel well rewarded.
You will arrive at your campsite via an easy 45-minute downhill trail. Your team will have arrived ahead of you to prepare the site, and so you can immediately rest in your tent, or change into warmer clothing and lie back to watch the sky gradually fill with the most incredible display of constellations and shooting stars (clouds permitting!)
The evening finishes with a sumptuous group dinner, where you can relax and share stories of the day before retiring for the night to rest weary limbs.
- Meals: Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
- Lodging: Camping
- Lowest Elevation: 3,205 m/ 10,512 ft.
- Highest Elevation: 4,450 m /14,596 ft.
- Distance to walk: 18 km/10 miles
- Approximate walking time: 9 to 10 hours
- Level of Difficulty: Moderate
- Area: Dry Mountain
Day 02: Chancachuco Valley – Ancascocha – Huaynay Pass – Quesqa valley
Every day on your trek begins with your team gently walking you with a cup of fresh coffee or tea, and a bowl of hot water to wash with. You then take breakfast together, making sure everyone is suitably fueled for the efforts of the day ahead.
Hiking with views of Mt. Veronica in the distance, you’ll start with an undulating path for around an hour along the banks of a quiet stream, before descending for around 2.5 hours to the remote community of Ancascocha. You may well marvel at the perfectly simple way of life of these communities.
Then, continuing uphill for about an hour, incredible views emerge of the nearby glacier and well-preserved Inca remains. Finally, you reach the beautiful crystal blue Ancascocha Lake where you’ll stop for your lunch.
Taking a deep breath, you make your climb to the highest point of the trek at the Huayanay Pass (4,650 m/ 15,250 ft). This is a challenging 2-hour ascent along a steep switchback trail, but you will take your time taking in the views of the lake and valley behind you as you climb to the summit.
Day 2 ends with a 3-4 hours descent. You will notice the change from barren mountaintop to the lush green vegetation of the lower valley. On a clear day you will have distant views of the classic Inca trail to Machu Picchu as well as the communities of the Quesqa valley. You will also pass the small Inca site of Incaracay.
Finally, reaching your campsite nestled in the Quesqa valley (3,850 m/12,628 ft) dinner awaits!
- Meals: Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
- Lodging: Camping
- Highest Elevation: 4,650 m/ 15,250 ft
- Campsite elevation: 3,850 m/12,628 ft
- Distance to walk: 18 km/ 10 miles
- Approximate walking time: 10 hours
- Level of Difficulty: Challenging
- Area: Dry Mountain
Day 03: Quesqa Valley – Paucarcancha – Kilometer 82 – Ollantaytambo
Day 3, and the hiking is almost all downhill!
After breakfast, you’ll take a 2-hour path to the Inca site of Paucarcancha where your guide will provide a comprehensive commentary about the site. You then join a section of the Classic Inca Trail for around 5 hours until you’ll reach Km 82 (the official start of the Classic Trail). Along the way you will be able to see the Inca site of Llactapata, and this is likely to be the first time that you will have seen other hikers on the trail (although they will all be going the other way!)
At Km82 you will have lunch, and say goodbye to your trekking team. Your guide will then take you by private local van to Ollantaytambo.
After checking into the comfortable hotel , there should be time to walk around this charming town, sampling some local cuisine, or perhaps buying some locally made souvenirs from the Artesian street sellers.
You will have your diner in the evening at one of the local restaurants in town (drinks not included) before retiring for a good night’s sleep, since Day 4 starts early!
- Meals: Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
- Lodging: Hotel
- Highest Elevation: 3,850 m/12,628 ft.
- Lowest Elevation: 2,792 m/9,158 ft.
- Distance to walk: 13 km/ 7 ½ miles
- Estimated walking time: 7 hours
- Level of Difficulty: Moderate
Day 04: Ollantaytambo – KM 104 – Wiñay Wayna – Machu Picchu
After an early breakfast at your hotel, the pick up time will be around 6 AM to transfer you to the nearby train station. The train journey is stunning and provides yet another unique perspective of the surrounding mountains and countryside. you carve along the valley floor in the early daylight for almost 2 hours until reaching Kilometer 104, and the start of the Short Inca Trail.
Your hike starts with a 3-hour trek up to the Inca site of Wiñay Wayna (‘Forever Young’) located at 2,680m (8,792ft). After catching your breath and enjoying the views, you then join the path to Machu Picchu. Arriving at the famous Sun Gate of ‘Inti Punku’ (2,720 m / 8,920 ft) you will get your first breathtaking panoramic views of this spectacular site.
Taking plenty of time to take in the view, and take some incredible photos, you walk down the last portion of the trail to reach the ancient city itself.
Saving your tour of Machu Picchu for fresh legs and fresh eyes, you will take the 25-minute bus journey to Aguas Calientes. After checking into the hotel , you may want to wander around the town, or even visit the hot baths after which the town is named. Then you can regroup with your guide for the dinner at local restaurants in town (drinks not included) before retiring for a well-deserved rest, and to prepare for your early start and Machu Picchu tour.
- Meals: Breafast/Box Lunch / Dinner
- Accommodations: Hotel
- Maximum altitude: 2,720 m / 8,920 ft.
- Minimum Altitude: 2,040 m / 6,691 ft.
- Distance to walk: 13 km / 8 miles
- Approximate walking time: 5 – 6 hours
Day 5: Aguas Calientes – Machu Picchu – Cusco
The hotel provides a very early buffet or boxed breakfast so that you can be in the queue for the bus as early as the group would like. It is about 25-minute drive along the winding road to Machu Picchu, and on a clear day the sunrise can be spectacular.
As you enter through the gates of this new wonder of the world, you may well be breathless again – but this time from the views of one of the most famous sites in South America, if not the world. Your guide provides a 2-hour walking tour of the site, and then you are free to wander through the ruins yourself, perhaps finding a solitary spot to just sit, look and take in the spirit of the ruins!
If you have elected to climb Huayna Picchu or Machu Picchu Mountains (ticket not included) you can begin the hike once your guided tour concludes.
Your guide will arrange the time for you to return to Aguas Calientes by bus in time to make your train connection back to Poroy or Ollantaytambo. From here you will travel by van to Cusco and back to your hotel. Arrival times will vary depending on traffic and connections, but should be around 8 pm.
- Meals: Breakfast
- Lowest Elevation: 2,040 m/ 6,691 ft,
- Highest Elevation: 2,440 m/ 8,052 ft.
- Level of Difficulty: Easy
- 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
- Professional Chef and assistant chef
- Wranglers and horses to carry all equipment
- Horse to transport up to 6 kg of your personal gear
- Duffle bag for your personal gear
- Emergency horse (in case you need it!)
- 5 breakfasts, 4 lunches, and 4 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 KM 104
- Train ticket from Aguas Calientes to Ollantaytambo or Poroy
- Private van transportation from Ollantaytambo or Poroy to your Cusco hotel
- 1-night hotel accommodation in Ollantaytambo (double occupancy)
- 1-night hotel accommodation in Aguas Calientes (double occupancy)
- 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
- Ticket for Huayna Picchu mountain (can be purchased for an extra US $75 per person)
- Day 5 Lunch in Aguas Calientes
- Tips for the trek crew (tipping optional and guidelines provided)
- Travel /Health / Emergency insurance
Private Group Service: Price in US Dollars per Reservation:
- one Person: USD 1500.00
- 2-3 People: USD 900.00 per person.
- 4-6 People: USD 850.00 per person
- 7-+ People: USD 800.00 per person
- 18 to 25 years old: US$30 Information required on student card: name of university, student name, photo of student, expiration date etc. A copy of the card at booking is required & government approval for discount.
- Under 18 years old: US$30 Please send us a copy of your passport at the time of booking.
- Under 11 years old: US$40 Please send us a copy of your passport at the time of booking.
- Walking Poles – US$15 per pair per trek (Professional Poles that can be extended)
- Vistadome Train Upgrade – US$57 per person (For the return to Cusco (Poroy) at 4:43 pm)
- Huayna Picchu Mountain – US$35 per person (Please request when you book your Trek)
- Machu Picchu Mountain – US$30 per person (Please request when you book your Trek)
- Single supplement US$30 per night (for solo travellers with single room)
- 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 energised)
* nb. batteries run down faster at high altitudes
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