Salkantay trek and Inca Trail are often touted as Cusco’s must-do trek, but there is a rising star in a far more remote pocket of Machu Picchu Historical Sanctuary – the five-day Ancascocha trek. It takes you to the high alpine or highland and cloud forest wilderness here and has the trail pretty much to everyone. With Peru’s famous Inca Trail, and Salkantay Trek, becoming increasingly overrun – forcing travellers to battle stiff competition for peak season permits – the lesser-known Ancascocha Trek is quickly gaining a reputation as both a less-crowded, scenic historical trail due to the Inca Trail, and more strenuous alternative.
A good level of fitness is required due to the high altitude. But the extra effort pays off. The Ancascocha trek offers mind-blowing vistas and takes in a variety of ecosystems – from cloud forests and alpine peaks to glacial lakes and tropical jungles. Following in the footsteps of the highly trained Inca messengers, the four- to five-day odyssey culminates at the ancient site of Machu Picchu.
On Ancascocha trek, the trail goes through very remote andean communities, where locals try to keep living in happiness moving their llamas and alpacas as they’ve been doing so far. This trail forms part of the network of classic Inca Trail which is linking Machu Picchu from the other towns located in the highlands, therefore, we’ll have the chance to witness ancient Incan ruins along the path to Machu Picchu, Inca ruins that are still covered by shrubs waiting for becoming uncovered by you.
If you are even more an intrepid one, and have longer time to hike, you have a chance to continue hiking the Classic Inca Trail to Machu Picchu as the trail gets to same path, so this would be even more a WOW experience for you.
Come and join us in our adventure to hike this amazing historical trail to create an experience that changes your life–Ancascocha Trek
WHAT YOU’LL DO
Hiking between 7 to 8 hours every day covering the 58 km / 36,04 miles of trail, with stops to enjoy the unique nature visuals along the trail, and we’ll hike through the ancient Inca Trail, and a part of Classic Inca Trail as the path finishes at KM 82 which is the starting point of Classic Inca Trail, we’ll learn about the local culture, local flora and fauna, history, counted by our great storyteller Tour Leaders, getting to two high passes, which are over 4,400 m.a.s.l, and exploring Inca ruins along the trail where we’ll enjoy the history of each place by our local expert. We’ll interact with local children engaging them in games, this will be a memorable experience for both you and the children of the local community. We’ll end this amazing adventure exploring the stunning ancient inca city of Machu Picchu with our tour leader discovering its mysteries.
We’ll eat amazing food (breakfast, lunch, dinner, brunch time, tea time), all fresh, just made and organic food, all prepared by our Quechua chef. All this food experience we’ll be always in our dining tents with chairs, tables, at night with lamps, and many more.
At night we’ll take a time to get our cameras ready to spot some constelations and take some awesome shots of milky way. And our accomodation for night we’ll be in four season tents with therma rest sleeping pads, and sleeping bags.
WHAT YOU’LL SEE
Discover remnants of a well-preserved historic civilization, as well as a thriving modern culture. Relish in the beauty of nature, breathtaking mountain peaks, and artifacts from one the most powerful empires in human history. Meet local people, and grassroots leaders who’ll share their contributions to Andean society. Hike a part of classic Inca Trail, and hike up to the highlands then to immerse into the cloud forest, enjoy the magical ancient city of Machu Picchu, as well as other archaeological sites along the trail.
A TYPICAL DAY
Start the day in your tent with wake up call, which is a nice and hot coca tea, after that, to have breakfast at camp base, a great Andes mountains with lush forest, highland deserted vistas, and stunning views generally. Spend the day hiking, getting different types of microclimates, different nature views every single minute, getting some archaeological sites, enjoying some fascinating stories counted by our Tour Leaders. Stop about mid-day for lunch, generally on the half way to the next camp site.
End your day with a nice tea time, then a typical-cooked dinner made from our locally-sourced ingredients.
At night, we’ll take a glance the sky to learn about the andean constelation, and take some great shots of milky way. End your activity of the day, resting in a confortable four season tent with nice sleeping pads, and sleeping bags.
DATES, GROUP SIZE AND FEES
For Ancascocha trek to Machu Picchu 5 days we need a minimum of 02 people to depart. Family groups, couple travelers, friends, or even if you’re a SOLO traveler, you are welcome to our team. Prices are per person which are based on two people who might share a room / tent. The itinerary is described and based on shared services; however, you are looking for a private service, that would be upon request.
From: USD 750 per person
PHYSICAL GRADING: 1 2 3 4 5 6
STRENUOUS: Full-day hikes (6-8 hours), mountainous, steep terrain (hiking up or down as much as 3,500 feet) on many hikes. Trips with hiking at average altitudes of 10,000 to 14,500 feet are in this category.
Hiking / Trekking, Archaeology, Cultural Adventures
While we expect the tour will run as the itinerary describes to Ancascocha Trek. Participants should accept that there is the possibility of changes, being necessary liable to local conditions, e.g, strikes, natural desasters, these changes might be at the discretion of your travel company.
Day 1. Cusco – Socma Village – Perolniyoc Incan Ruins – Chacachuco
We head out to Soqma Village 10,512 ft, early in the morning, by driving for about 1 hour and 45 minutes, which is the trailhead to start our hiking. At this point we’ll meet up our horses and muleteers, get ready our hiking gears, and we’ll have our breakfast, after enjoying the breakfast we’ll start hiking up following a small valley to Perolniyoq a small Incan site perched atop the mountain, but previously we’ll see a nice waterfall, a perfect place to shoot some pictures. Once our arrival to the Incan site, you’ll have an explanation about the history of this site by our Trek Leader. We will then continue to our lunch spot for about 1 hour where we’ll enjoy a just prepared lunch, which comes with starter, soup, main course, dessert, tea (coca), in our dining tent overlooking to a great scenery around. After having our lunch, we’ll continue hiking up for about 2 hours to reach the first pass Called Kuichicasa 14,596 ft, at this point we’ll have stunning vistas of the Urubamba range where some snowcapped mountains are located, and the Sacred Valley of the Incas below us. From the pass we’ll hike downhill for 1 hour to get the first camp site called Chacachuco 14,268 ft. All meals included.
Hiking Time: 7 – 8 hours
Hiking Distance: 7.45 miles / 11 km
Physical Rating: Moderate – Strenuous
Day 2. Chacachuco – Ancascocha Lagoon
Today’s breakfast makes us ready for a great adventure day, after having our breakfast at 6:00 am, we’ll start hiking on a highland plain with great views around, after trekking for about 3 hours we’ll arrive at next lunch spot located in Ancascocha community. After lunch we’ll hike up for about 2 hours to reach the second camp site 14,432 ft, located close by to Ancascocha lagoon. All meals included.
Hiking Time: 7 – 8 hours
Hiking Distance: 7:45 miles / 12 km
Physical Rating: Challenging
Day 3. Ancascocha Lagoon – Paucarcancha
We start the day having a nutritious breakfast at 6:00 am, we then start our trek, following the switchback trail up to the highest point with amazing vistas in every direction, snow-capped mountains. After 2-hour hiking, we reach the highest pass on the whole trail, Guayanay pass 15,252 ft, with stunning views around, where we’ll take our snacks, before making our way to lunch spot. Next, the trail goes downhill to lunch spot for about 2 hours, on the way we’ll see a small Incan ruins, and walk close by to some alpacas. In the afternoon, once we enjoy our meals, we’ll continue with our trek trough the highland valley to the next camp site Paucarcancha 10,335 ft for 2 more hours, on this section of path we’ll walk on the ancient Inca trail which is connecting to Machu Picchu and Sacred Valley with stunning glacier peaks beyond. Close by to this camp site is located the Paucarcancha Incan Site a great place to learn about the Inca history while exploring with our Trek Leader. All meals included.
Hiking Time: 8 – 9 hours
Hike Distance: 8.70 miles / 14 km
Physical Rating: Challenging
Day 4. Paucarcancha – km 82 – Ollantaytambo – Machu Picchu Town (Aguas Calientes Town)
We take our breakfast early in the morning to hike down to km 82, this section of the trail is pretty much the section of the Classic Inca Trail, so on the trail we’ll see a lot of Inca Trail hikers who are starting their adventure. On the trail we’ll see Llaqtapata, a beautiful Incan ruins nestled in the Sacred Valley with amazing crop terracing around, and other small Inca ruins. After, 5 hours hiking, we’ll have arrived to km 82 where we’ll have our last lunch prepared by our chef, and a place to say goodbye to our horses, muleteers, and chefs. Next, we’ll drive for 45 minutes to Ollantaytambo town, a quaint town with Inca cobble stone streets. From this place we’ll have a train ride to Machu Picchu Town for about 1 hour and 45 minutes. Upon our arrival hotel check-in. All meals included, exept dinner, for a good choice of the restaurant get some recommendations from your Trek Leader.
Hiking Time: 5 hours
Hiking Distance: 6.83 miles / 11 km
Physical Rating: Moderate
Day 5. Exploration And Guided Tour At Machu Picchu – Free Time to Explore or Hike to Huayna Picchu Mountain – Cusco
A full morning exploration of Machu Picchu affords us the luxury of exploring at a leisurely pace while learning more about the Inca culture and the latest theories behind the construction of this marvelous complex. We have an early breakfast and head up to the ruins by shuttle bus before the morning tourist train arrives in order to fully enjoy the peace and solitude of this mystical place. Our knowledgeable Leader leads us on a fascinating tour, recapping Machu Picchu’s rediscovery by Hiram Bingham in 1911 and explaining the significance of the various structures that cover the grounds. We then have the chance to indulge ourselves with a hike to the dramatic viewpoint of Intipunku (the Sun’s Gateway), or a variety of other intriguing possibilities including an easy walk to an ancient Inca drawbridge or more vigorous hike to Huayna Picchu or Machu Picchu Mountain based on permit availability both peaks loom above the ruins. Of course, we can also choose to independently continue our exploration of the main site and daydream about what life must have been like here centuries ago. We catch the afternoon train to Ollantaytambo and from there take the bus back to Cusco, arriving at hotel at about 7:00 p.m. The day concludes with our Leader joining us for a final celebration dinner at a traditional local restaurant. Only breakfast included, the rest of meals don’t include.
Hiking Optional Huayna Picchu. Hike may be unguided and is steep with some exposure. Permits are limited to 400 spaces a day. An alternative optional hike may be available if Huayna Picchu permits cannot be obtained.
Note on Itinerary
Although we do our very best to adhere to the schedule above, the itinerary is subject to change for numerous reasons beyond our control, including strikes, weather and terrain conditions.
Average daytime temperatures in and around Cusco generally range from 55° – 75° F with evenings cooling down into the 40s and 50s. Much of this itinerary takes place in the mountains where weather can change very quickly and evening temperatures regularly drop into the 25s and 40s. As our treks are planned during the “dry season”, days are typically clear and pleasant, with afternoon clouds occasionally building and leading to small amounts of precipitation. While April and November departures may experience slightly higher amounts of rainfall, all-day rain is unusual. We will be hiking over multiple mountain passes which are above 15,190′ so guests should be prepared for unpredictable mountain weather.
What’s Included in Ancascocha Trek
– Private transport from your hotel to the start of the trail.
– Entrance fee to Machu Picchu.
– One night hotel*** in Machupicchu town.
– Bus tickets up and down in Machupicchu town, the day of guided tour.
– Round trip train ticket.
– Camping Equipment Black Diamond 4 season tent (04 people tent for 02 people).
– Other camping equipment, a dining tent with table and chairs, and a kitchen tent, manned by a professional cooking staff.
– Private transport from the train station to hotel in Cusco.
– Trek Leader for whole trail and Machu Picchu.
– First-Aid Kits, Oxygen tank.
– Meals: Breakfast (5), lunch (4), dinner (3), and snacks, with option for vegetarians, gluten free, lactose free.
– A professional Quechua chef who grew up in the countryside.
– Horses and muleteers to carry your personal gears. Where you’ll pack as max amount 18 pounds.
– Sleeping pad (Therma-Rest mattresses) and Pillow.
– Duffle bag.
– Outdoor toilet tent.
– Emergency horse, that will be staying with us during the hike to upload our personal day gears or ride.
What’s Not Included in Ancascocha Trek
– Sleeping bags, you might get them rented from us US$ 5 per day.
– Hiking poles,you might get them rented from us US$5 per day a pair of poles, Black Diamond or leki brand.
– Last dinner on 4th day.
– Last lunch on 5th day.
– Extra expenditure during the trek, such as: soda, alcoholic drinks, extra snacks, tickets for the hot springs in Machu Picchu town (Aguas Calientes).
– Travel Insurance.
– Travel and health insurance (bring copies with you please), we highly recommend to get an insurance of trip cancellation, interruption; an insurance to protect your travel investment, Included with your pre-departure package, bring your travel insurance to cover trip cancellation, interruption, baggage loss and delay, emergency medical evacuation insurance and emergency medical expense insurance. Any unexpected situations occurred during the journey and which are beyond our control, including changes in scheduling trains or flights, delays, strikes, cancellations, missed connections, etc. it should be covered by the passenger as a whole. Also, if you for physical reasons of health cannot continue the trek or walk, and will need emergency evacuation then all charges incurred such as transportation, hotel, ambulance, doctors, medication, hospitalization, etc. will be at passenger’s expense.
– International or internal airfare, transfers for independent arrival or departure, any meals not specified after each itinerary day in the Detailed Itinerary, airport departure taxes, optional tipping or gratuities to leaders or staff, additional hotel nights that may be necessitated by airline schedule changes or other factors, expenses such as medical immunizations (if any), travel insurance, or passports and visas, and other expenses of a personal nature (alcoholic beverages, laundry, etc.).
– Original passport and Student ISIC card (if applicable), and some copies.
– Travel insurance (and some copies).
– Sleeping bag (or you can rent one from us).
– Backpack (rucksack) to carry your things.
– Phone, power bank battery, camera charger and adapter.
– Torch or headlamps.
– Deet or mosquito repellent ( recommendable 30% deet).
– Hiking poles ( or you can rent one pair from us).
– Rain gear (especially if traveling in the wet season, from October to March).
– Comfortable hiking clothes, including warm clothes for the nighttime.
– Good hiking boots with protector ankle or similar, and one pair of flip-flops or light sandals.
– Sunblock and sunglasses.
– Hiking long sleeve T-shirts.
– Hiking trousers.
– Ear Plugs.
– Thermal underwear.
– Hiking socks.
– Water bottle or canteen.
– American dollars and peruvian soles in cash.
– Sun hat, cap, and warm hat and gloves for the nighttime.
– Toilet paper, and face tissue paper.
– Crédit or debit card.
– Luggage Tags and Locks.
– Anti-inflammatory tablets (e.g. Ibuprofen).
– Personal first-aid kit (should contain lip salve, Aspirin, Band Aids, anti-histamine, Imodium or similar tablets for mild cases of diarrea, re-hydration powder, extra prescription drugs you may take).