Running The Inca Trails – Choquequirao to Machu Picchu

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On this run, we will traverse an incredible Inca highway consisting of over 125 km
(77.7 mi) of ancient roads. The activities include trail running, enjoying the
tranquility of nature, and exploring two amazing and enigmatic archaeological
sites. We will cross through highly varied terrain of diverse ecosystems: from
majestic rivers at 1500 masl (4921 fasl) to high mountain passes at 4650 masl (15,256
fasl); from tropical rainforests to imposing glaciers; from the territory of the
endangered spectacled bear to the skyways of majestic condors in flight; all
combining to make this a unique and memorable experience. The route begins in
the town of Capuliyoc and passes through the famous archaeological complex of
Choquequirao. We’ll visit small villages along the route, running lightly over intact
Inca paths winding through the mountains, and ending at the mystical ancient
citadel of Machu Picchu.




8 Days / 7 Nights


April – November

Group Departure

31 May 2020 and 16 August 2020


6 passengers

Private Departure

On request




Day 1 Cusco - Lamay

The group will be arriving to the ancient Inca city of Cusco this morning, giving us the chance to meet at the delightful Pachapapa Restaurant at 12:00 hrs, where we’ll introduce ourselves and enjoy a welcome lunch together. After lunch, we’ll enjoy a gentle post-prandial walk around Cusco, visiting its main attractions. You’ll be struck by the unlikely yet intriguing combination of ancientness and modernity in this urban wonderland, as you traverse its streets and feast your senses on its eclectic sights and sounds. A city replete with history on every corner, the ancient Inca capital is among the most visited urban areas in South America. Fashionably dressed modern Cusqueñans stride down the streets, intermingling with campesinos, or country folk, often dressed in traditional garb and leading alpacas or donkeys, while carrying great bundles on their backs. During this half-day tour, we’ll visit the most important sites of this folkloric Andean city. You’ll traverse cobblestone streets lined with original Inca walls on the way to the ancient Inca Temple of the Sun (Qoricancha) found inside the Church of Santo Domingo. Once completely covered in gold, and housing hundreds of golden artifacts, the sight of Qoricancha so excited the lust of the conquistadors that they had thousands of irreplaceable artworks and sculptures melted down so that they could send the gold to the king and queen of Spain. Visit the Plaza de Armas, once the Inca’s main city center, and learn about its dramatic and sometimes violent history. Two churches stand on the Plaza, the Cusco Cathedral, the mother church of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Cusco, dating from 1654; and the even more ancient Church of the Triumph, which was built on top of the Suntur Wasi, an Inca religious temple. Note the significant works of art depicting Mary and the infant Jesus, saints, and apostles from the Cusco School of Painting, There is a “Last Supper” painting that depicts the main course in the center of the table as a guinea pig or cuy; it was painted by Quechua artist Marcos Zapata in the 18th century. The Plaza de Armas is a gathering place for locals, especially on weekends, and boasts lovely flower gardens, benches for the repose of locals and tourists, and central statuary. The tour will proceed at a gentle pace to give you time to acclimatize to the high- altitude and to present questions to your guide. In the afternoon, we’ll transfer to the picturesque town of Lamay, where we’ll spend the night at a local boutique hotel. Dinner on your own.

Driving distance: 45km (28mi) – Time: 1 Hour
Duration of the City Tour: 4 hours

Day 2Lamay - Pumamarca - Ollantaytambo - Lamay

We’ll depart early from your hotel, heading past the Sacred Valley town of Ollantaytambo, to Pallata, where we begin our trail running. The trail climbs upward as we pass members of the local community, getting a brief glimpse into their daily lives, to reach Pumamarca, overlooking the verdant Patacancha Valley. The Inca chose this place well, as a high vista point overlooking the surrounding valleys and the convergence of two rivers far below. The archaeological complex of Pumamarca comprises ancient stairs and walls, ceremonial buildings, and enclosed storage areas, all replete with Inca stonework. After time to explore the site, we’ll continue our run through the terracing complex of Musqa Pukyo, accompanied by sweeping, panoramic views of the surrounding Andean landscape the whole way down. Our descent through the terrain of these functional yet beautiful farmed terraces will bring us to the village of Ollantaytambo. This picturesque town still displays much of the original Inca infrastructure from centuries back and is a monument to the soundness of Inca urban planning. The town is divided into well-preserved canchas (blocks) of communal living quarters, each with only one entrance (usually a stone doorway), which leads into a central courtyard. The original Inca drainage canals that line the walkways are also still in use. Peak into the home of one of the residents and observe the guinea pig room: a section where colorful cuy run wild, until they are selected for family feasts! We’ll enjoy our Lunch, aer which we’ll have a chance to explore the local market and traverse the spectacular mountainside ruins. We’ll climb the ancient stone steps of the Inca fortress, which is arranged as a series of terraces and platforms with amazing views of the surrounding mountains.
(B / L)

Distance in car (Cusco): 150 km (93.2 mi)
Running distance: 14 km (8.6 mi)

Day 3Lamay - Capuliyoc

After an early breakfast, we´ll do a morning run in Lamay, passing through some charming local communities and enjoying great views of the Sacred Valley. On our way back, we´ll visit the town of Lamay before enjoying a sumptuous lunch together. Departing from Lamay by car, we’ll head north and enter a terrain of natural Andean landscapes. Soon we will be within view of the imposing snow-capped peaks of Salkantay, Humantay, Pitusiray, Chicon, and Veronica. Crossing the roaring Apurimac River, we’ll pass through the village of Cachora, until reaching Capuliyoc at 2970 masl (9744 fasl), where we’ll enjoy our first night camping under the stars. From our campsite, we’ll get a glimpse of the Apurimac Canyon and the exciting road that awaits us the next day.
(B / L / D)

Driving distance: 208 km (129 mi) – Time: 4.5 hours

Day 4Capuliyoc - Chiquiska - Santa Rosa - Maranpata - Choquequirao

The anticipated day has arrived, and we are excited to get an early start on the first day’s trail. After a nutritious breakfast, our attentive Explorandes staff will provide us with box lunches, and we’re off!
We’ll start with a descent of almost 9 km (5.6 mi), getting our blood circulating and our legs warmed up, until we reach the Apurimac River, the lowest point of the route (1584 masl / 5197 fasl). We can take a plunge into the waters and cool off for a bit, before beginning our first climb of almost 1400 m (4593 ft) of positive slope in only 6 km (3.7 mi) – the first time we´ll be thankful for having brought walking poles. We’ll know the exhausting climb has been worth it as soon as we reach the sign and entry booth displaying the words “Welcome to Choquequirao,” and in the distance, a complex of stone ruins that takes up our visual field. The excitement of arriving is so great that we’ll unconsciously quicken our pace, finding ourselves only a few moments later atop some historical Inca platforms, with a feeling of palpable excitement permeating the group. Once in Choquequirao, we’ll soak up the incredible energy of this archaeological complex, only 10% of which has been sifted through, leaving many new surprises for us to discover. Among these are whimsical figures of humans and llamas built right into the rock walls bordering the stone terraces. The day ends with a hot shower, a stretching session, and a delicious dinner (vegetarian options available). Sleep and dream well because we have a long and challenging day ahead of us tomorrow!
(B / L / D)

Running distance: 19 km (11.8 mi) – Time: 6 Hours

Day 5Choquequirao - Pinchiunuyoc - Maizal - Abra San Juan - Yanama

Arising early, we will prepare for our day’s journey to Yanama, passing through Choquequirao again to take our leave of this incredible place. We will be full of energy after having rested, and we’ll start out with a short climb to 3300 masl (10,827 fasl) to then begin a descent of almost 7 km (4.3 mi), passing among some Inca platforms where we’ll pause for a few moments to appreciate the landscape. From there, we´ll continue our descent to the second-lowest point of the route, 1950 masl (6395 fasl) where the Yuracmayo (Río Blanco) River awaits us. Here begins the good part: 12 km (7.5 mi) of steadily ascending slope. We’ll traverse more than 2200 m (7218 ft) of positive slope until finally reaching San Juan at almost 4200 masl (13,780 fasl); we’ll attain this point with a smile from ear to ear and very tired legs, knowing that the hardest part is finally over! On the way, we’ll enjoy the incredible views and amazing landscapes this route has to offer, including Maizal, a natural balcony with an exceptional view of Yurahmayo and Yanama; and the Victoria mine, an Inca and later colonial mine surrounded by a sea of clouds. A few kilometers further on, after crossing the pass, we’ll arrive at the beautiful and ancient town of Yanama, where we will wrap up the day’s activities with a good dinner and a shower to warm us before hitting the hay.
(B / L / D)

Running distance: 24 km (15 mi) – Time: 8 hours

Day 6Yanama - Abra Mariano Llamojas - Totora - lucmabamba

The roosters begin their cacophony early, waking us up to let us know that the day we cross the mountain range by the highest point has arrived. We begin our ascent at 1000 m (3281 ), traveling for 10 km (6.2 mi) until we reach Mariano Llamojas at 4600 masl (15,092 fasl); having crossed a deep ravine surrounded by the majestic glacier peaks Quriwayrachina, Kiswar, and Pumasillu. This pass is the gateway to the incredible valley of Totora where our transportation will be waiting us for a 33 km (20.5 mi) drive. Along the way, we will find excellent coffee and local fruits in this region, due to the tropical climate. The day will end after an astonishing winding descent to Lucmabamba, where we can sample this region’s excellent locally grown coffee. Very tired after this beautiful day’s run, we will eat dinner early and turn in for some well-deserved rest.
(B / L / D)

Running distance: 17 km (10.5 mi) – Time: 6 hours

Day 7Lucmabamba - Llactapata - Hidroeléctrica - Machu Picchu Village - Machu Picchu - Cusco

After trail running for so many kilometers, our legs will be quite sore, but nothing will get in the way of arriving at the magnificent sanctuary of Machu Picchu. We’ll start this day’s route with a short climb to Llactapata, an exciting vista point from which we can see extraordinary views of Salkantay and Machu Picchu Mountain beckoning in the distance. Very excited now, we’ll begin our descent to the hydroelectric dam, until we catch our train to reach Machu Picchu Village. Here we will take our bus to get to the top and explore one of the most ancient and powerful civilizations in South America. After exploring to our heart’s content, we’ll return to Machu Picchu Village, where we’ll take the train to Cusco; having completed one of the most amazing adventures of our lives! (B / L )

Train ride: 8 km (5 mi) – Time: 45 minutes
Bus ride to Machu Picchu: 6.2 km (3.9 mi) – Time: 30 minutes
Train ride from Machu Picchu to Ollantaytambo: 32 km (19.9 mi) – Time: 2 hours
Driving distance Ollantaytambo to Cusco: 79 km (49 mi) – Time: 2 hours

Day 8Cusco - Out

The day has arrived where we must take our leave of magical Cusco and the Sacred Valley of the Incas, carrying with us memories that will enrich our lives for years to come.

End of Service

Not Included
What to take

– Transportation
– Professional bilingual guide
– Train from Machu Picchu Village to Cusco
– Bus ticket Machu Picchu – Machu Picchu Village
– Double occupancy tents with Thermarest sleeping pads
– Guided tour in Machu Picchu
– All meals during trek
– Non-alcoholic drinks
– Kitchen and dining tents
– Cook and field staff
– Horses and drivers
– Entrance ticket to mentioned aractions
– Solar energy lamps
– Eco toilets
– Adequate garbage disposal
– First aid kit and oxygen tank

– Personal travel insurance
– Laundry service
– Airline tickets
– Sleeping bags (rent available)
– Personal gear
– Alcoholic beverages
– Additional services
– Tips
– Extras

Running gear:
– Shoes (1 pair)
– Socks (6 pairs)
– Compression socks (3 pairs)
– Shorts (3)
– Long Tights (2)
– T-Shirts (5)
– Long sleeves T-Shirts (2)
– Compression sleeves (3 pairs)
– Light wind layer (3)
– Rain jacket (1)
– Visor/Hat (3)
– Buffs (5)
– Gloves (1)
– Watch (1)
– Trekking poles (1 pair) (rent available)
– Poncho (1)
– Camelback (1): 2 Lts capacity
– Watch
– Warm sleeping bag (rent available)

Travel clothes:
– T-Shirts (4)
– Shorts (2)
– Comfortable pants (2): Camping or
trekking pants recommended
– Warm socks (5)

– Trekking poles
– Rain Jacket
– Change of t-shirt
– Change of shorts
– Poncho
– 2 Lts of water

Energy supplements:
– Salt pills: 3-4
– Gels: 2-3
– Electrolytes: 2
– Cereal Bars: 2

Travel Clothing:
– Comfortable pants (Camping or trekking
pants recommended)
– T-Shirts
– Tights
– Technical t-shirt
– Long-sleeved and short-sleeved shirts

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