The Inca Quarry Trek to Machu Picchu (also known by the names Cachiqata, Soqma and Chaski Trek) is a unique trek that remains off the beaten path. It is a great trek for those who want an immersive experience for learning Inca history and getting a first hand look at life in the high Andes. The trek was recently included in the top six Alternative treks to Machu Picchu by National Geographic.
In addition to all the amazing scenery, flora, and fauna, you will visit the Perolniyoc Inca site, several small communities in the region and the Cachiqata quarry. The Cachiqata quarry is where the stones were carved to build Ollantaytambo. You can still see rocks that were cut by the stone masons in the Inca times.
After three days of hiking you will make your way to Aguas Calientes by train. On the fourth day you will visit the magnificent citadel of Machu Picchu. Our standard package includes the premium services of the Vistadome train from Ollantaytambo to Aguas Calientes, lodging in a very nice hotel in Aguas Calientes on night 3 and dinner at the best restaurant in Aguas Calientes. Your ticket to climb Huayna Picchu Mountain after your Machu Picchu Tour is also included.
You will have a thorough briefing with your guide 1 or 2 days before your Inca Quarry Trek to Machu Picchu. Your guide will meet you at our office in Cusco and you can take this opportunity to ask questions and make any final preparations.
We leave Cusco early in the morning and drive 1 hour and 45 minutes to Soqma (3,205 m / 10,512 ft). This is the starting point of our Inca Quarry Trek to Machu Picchu and where we meet the horsemen that will join us during the hike.
We begin the hike with a 1 ¾ hour walk to the Perolniyoc cascade lookout. This is a perfect opportunity to stop for photos and a snack. The waterfall that you will see at this location is breathtaking! We will then hike a further 35 minutes until we visit the Inca site of the same name, where we will have a brief tour. This will be our lunch site.
After a refueling lunch, we will ascend 45 minutes until our camp at Rayan (3,700 meters/12,136 ft).
After an early breakfast, we ascend 3 hours to the first pass of the trek, known as Puccaqasa (4,370 m/ 14,333 ft). At the top of the pass, there are incredible views of the Sacred Valley. This is a perfect place to take pictures!
We then head downhill for 25 minutes to our lunch location. After lunch, we hike 2 hours with alternating ascents and descents. The final 20 minutes of this segment will take us uphill to the highest pass of the trek, Kuychicassa (4,457 m/ 14,619 ft)
From here we trek downhill for 2 ½ hours to a site the Incas called Inti Punku, (meaning Sun Gate), where there is a spectacular view of Mount Veronica (5,682 m/ 18,637 ft) and the Sacred Valley of the Incas.
Our campsites is 30 minutes downhill from Inti Punku at Choquetacarpo (3,600m/ 11,808 ft).
We will have an early breakfast and then walk one hour downhill to the Cachiqata quarry (3,525 m/ 11,562 ft), where we observe the location where stones were cut for Ollantaytambo. We will have a tour and talk about how you can still see remains of stone work that was interrupted by the Spanish conquest.
From the quarry we descend for 3 hours until we reach Ollantaytambo (2,840 m / 9,315 ft). We will have lunch in Ollantaytambo.
In the afternoon we travel by the luxury Vistadome train to Aguas Calientes. When we arrive you will check in to your hotel room. The natural hot springs in town are an unbeatable way to spend a late afternoon/early evening if time is available before dinner. Dinner will be at the finest restaurant.
You will have breakfast at your hotel before we take a very early bus (5:30am) along the winding road to Machu Picchu to see the magnificent sunrise. Once there you will be given at 2 hour walking tour of the site.
If you have elected to climb Huayna Picchu Mountain (the price of this is included in your Inca Quarry Trek price), you will begin the hike at 10 AM. If you are not climbing the mountain you will have free time to explore the site, hike to the Sun Gate, or hike to the Inca Bridge before you return to Aguas Calientes by bus.
Upon arrival in Aguas Calientes you will board the expedition train to Ollantaytambo. From Ollantaytambo you will travel by private van to Cusco and we will drop you off at your hotel. Arrival time in Cusco depends on the time of your train ticket.