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Cachicata Trail to Machu Picchu is an off the beaten track experience. Although not as popular as Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu or Inca Trail, Cachicata Trail is a perfect combination of nature, adventure and history.
Cachicata trek primarily takes you to the ancient Inca stone quarries which played a significant role during the Inca civilization. However, you will also get to witness the life of the untouched Andean community who call this remote place their home.
Most of the trek is dotted with Andean farms. You will be trekking with a sight of where you will get a closer look at different snow capped peaks. You ill also get a chance to experience a nice tall waterfall here.
Ollantaytambo in Sacred Valley of the Incas was once an administrative capital. The Incas, especially under the leadership of Pachacutec, did a rapid development. This included building many aqueducts and fortresses.
Many new buildings were built in Ollantaytambo and most stone works were done in Cachicata Quarry. Even today, you will be able to see many finely cut pink stones and fine marbles scattered in a dismay. On Spanish conquest, all projects were cancelled and the stone quarry was left abandoned by Incas.
On this Cachicata Trail, you will be retracing the footsteps of Incas on the same path through which they transported the stones from the stone quarry to Ollantaytambo.
Cusco Hotel Transfer
At 0600 AM, we will pick you up from the hotel in Cusco. We will then embark on a road trip to a town called Pachar. It is located in the Sacred Valley of Incas.
From here, we will travel to the trailhead in Huaroncondor. Here we will meet our muleteer and horses.
We will organise our personal belongings and camping equipment to start the four days Cachicata Trail to Machu Picchu.
Our first activity will be a hike to the agricultural terraces in the town. We will then start our hike to Raphcca. A remote town 2900 metres above sea level. Here we will stop for lunch.
After lunch, we will continue our hike through the valley. We will be walking through many canals and agricultural terraces.
This region is home to many native communities. They still maintain their traditions and customs. In Fact they continue conversing in Quechua.
It gets a bit more interesting on the next segment of the trek. We will follow a steep trail that would take us to a highland waterfall. It is absolutely stunning here. We will take a short break so you can refresh your body and mind.
From here, we will walk to an Incan archaeological site named Corimarca. Here we will spend the night in the camping area.
After breakfast, we will start the day with a hike through open meadows. We will be hiking through Puna. It is a high altitude shrub area. We will continue to the highest pass of the trek, Chancachuco pass at 4,400 meters above sea level.
You will get a panoramic view of “Apu” Ausangate Mountain from here. Also, this place is home to many distinct birds and animals.
We will then continue through a high plateau. This route passes through some high altitude lakes.
From here, we will descend to Qeuñacancha, 4080 metres above sea level. Here we will camp for the night.
We will serve a nutritious breakfast. After breakfast, we will walk down the hill to an Inca Channel. This channel comes from Lake Maracucha. After spending some time here, we will hike to an ancient Incan temple called Intihuatana.
This is located on the edge of the mountain called Apu Alambre. The view from here is out-worldly.
Back in the days, people here managed the Inca quarries and performed ceremonies at Intipunku to express their gratitude to nature.
We will continue our downhill hike to Choquetacarpo. It is an archaeological site. This was the residence of architects who worked at the quarry. Here, we will stop for lunch.
After lunch, we will continue to Cachicata, the largest quarry of Incas. Here you will see some blocks of pink rhyolite, scattered in disarray. These stone blocks are a testimony of a huge Incan construction that never took place. Our guide will give you a detailed tour here.
We will then descend to Ollantaytambo train station. Here we will board the train to Aguas Calientes.
Once in Aguas Calientes, we will accommodate you in a basic ensuite hotel room for the night.
We will start early in the morning from Aguas Calientes town. After breakfast, we will board a bus to Machu Picchu. As you will enter the citadel, you will see the clouds clearing by. We will give you a two and a half hours guided tour of the citadel.
If you have booked a trek to Huyana Picchu or Machu Picchu mountain, do advise our guide. They will assist you in finding the entrance to the respective mountain.
Alternatively, you can walk to the Sun Gate. Sun Gate offers an exclusive view of Machu Picchu. A view that only those on Inca Trail get to see.
After the tour, we will meet at the train station. You will board the train back to Ollantaytambo from here. Our representative will meet you at the train station. We will then drop you back to your hotel in Cusco.
Decided to go with the alternative to the Inca Trail as we were too late to get permits for the 4 day Inca Trail trek. This was the best choice we could have made, as myself and 3 friends spent 3 days hiking through the Andes and saw not a single other tourist. The only people we ran into along this hike were locals, making it that much more of an authentic experience.
Our second to last day we took a train from Cachicata to the base of the Inca Trail and did the single day hike to Machu Picchu through the Sun Gate. Our last day we took a 5am bus to Machu Picchu to really explore the ruins and catch the sunrise over the mountains. The food on our hike was incredible and healthy, high in protein and carbs to keep us going through the grueling 4000 foot ascent. I recommend bringing bars or snacks though, as only main meals are provided and I found myself starving during he latter parts of the hikes. Overall, A truly unforgettable experience!