“(Machu Picchu) High reef of the human dawn. Spade buried in primordial sand. This was the habitation, this is the site! here the fat grains of maize grew high to fall again like red hail…”
– Pablo Neruda, Nobel Prize 1971, Heights of Machu Picchu
Ancascocha Trek to Machu Picchu - 5 Days
The Ancascocha Trek is one of the newest trekking routes offered in the Cusco region. The route is based on the classic Inka Trail and takes you past high waterfalls, Inca ruins, beautiful scenery, and unforgettable views.
The Ancasqocha journey is relatively easy compared to some of the others, so it is a great option for less experienced, or less athletic trekkers. A wonderful bonus about this hike is that far fewer hikers go this way — so if you’re looking to get away from the crowds, this is the trek for you!
By booking your Ancasqocha Trail Tour with Vicuna Adventures, you are choosing the best tour company out there!
Total distance hiked: 55 km / 33 miles
Beginning altitude: 3,105 m / 9,512 ft
Maximum altitude: 4,640 m/ 15,298 ft
Overall trek difficulty: Challenging, but less so than Inka Trail
Ancascocha Pre-trip Briefing:
You will have a thorough briefing with your guide 1 or 2 days before your Anqasqocha Trek to Machu Picchu. Your guide will meet you at your hotel and you can take this opportunity to ask questions and make any final preparations.
Day 1: Cusco – Soqma – Chankachuco Valley
We leave Cusco early in the morning and drive 1½ hours to Soqma (3,105 m / 10,512 ft). This is the starting point of our Ancasqocha Trek and where we meet the horsemen that will join us during the trip.
We begin the hike with a one-hour walk to the Perolniyoq Waterfall. The lookout over the waterfall is breathtaking! This is a perfect opportunity to stop for photos and snacks. We will then hike another 45 minutes until we arrive at the Inka site of the same name, where we will have a brief tour and lunch in Rayan village.
After lunch, we will ascend two hours through amazing views until we arrive at the first pass, Kuychi Qasa (4,260 m / 13,136 ft), where we take a break at the magnificent Sacred Valley. From there, we have a final 90-minute hike before we arrive at camp at Chankachuco Valley (3,750 m/12,300 ft).
Lowest Elevation: 3,105 m/ 9,512 ft
Highest Elevation: 4,260 m/ 13,136 ft
Distance to walk: 14 km/5 miles
Approximate walking time: 6 to 7 hours
Level of Difficulty: Challenging
Area: Dry Mountain
Day 2: Chancachuco – Ancasqocha – Wayanay Pass – Inka Raqay Valley
We depart camp at about 6am for a 1 hour and 45 minute up/down trek with incredible views of the “nevados”/snow-capped peaks, valleys, and, if we are lucky, a passing condor. We will see the exquisite Verónica Mountain (5,789 m) while we hike uphill for 4 hours toward Machu Picchu. Part of this hike is over an original paved Inka Trail! On the way, we will see the beautiful waterfall that feeds into the Ancasqocha Lake.
We will have a delicious lunch at this beautiful vantage point. After refueling, we start our ascending zigzag, toward to Wayanay Pass (4,840 m/ 15,365 ft), our highest point of the day.
This is followed by a 1-hour walk downhill to reach camp (3,700 m/12,136 ft).
Highest Elevation: 4,800 m/ 15,365 ft
Campsite elevation: 3,700 m/ 12,136 ft
Distance to walk: 16 km/ 11 miles
Approximate walking time: 7 to 9 hours
Level of Difficulty: Challenging
Area: Dry Mountain
Day 3: Inka Raqay Valley – Muyu Muyu Village – Paukarkancha (Inka village)
Views of a nearby glacier Wayanay Mountain and well-preserved Inka ruins are the highlight of Salkantay Mountain - which is the highest point in this trip (6,215 m/ 19,678ft). After a hearty breakfast we are ready for this amazing day, descending towards the Inka Raqay Valley we will trek up/down for 4 hours. After a break, we will continue up/down for 45 minutes into Muyu Muyu Valley. At this point we will embark on a 3-hour descent into lush vegetation. During this stretch of the hike, we will see the classic Inca Trail in the distance and fascinating views of the communities of Qésqua valley. Then we’ll reach our campsite in the Paurkancha Inka village (3,850 m/12,628 ft).
Highest Elevation: 4,650 m/ 15,298 ft
Campsite elevation: 3,850 m/12,628 ft
Distance to walk: 10 km/ 6 miles
Approximate walking time: 6 hours
Level of Difficulty: Easy Day
Area: Dry Mountain
Day 4: Paucarcancha – Kilometer 82 – Ollantaytambo – Aguas Calientes
We begin the day with breakfast and a tour of the Paucarcancha ruins.
After the tour we will hike downhill for 5 hours until we reach Kilometer 82, which is the start of the classic Inka Trail. Along the way we will be able to see the Inka site of Llactapata. This is the first site on the Traditional Inka Trail. Our chef will make us a delicious lunch at Kilometer 82, in the town of Pisqacuchu.
After lunch we will be picked up by a private van at Km 82 and transported to Ollantaytambo (2,792 m/9,158 ft) where we will catch the Vistadome train to Aguas Calientes.
When you reach Aguas Calientes, you will check into your hotel room. The natural hot springs in town are a great place to relax if there is time before dinner.
Highest Elevation: 3,850 m/12,628 ft
Lowest Elevation: 2,792 m/9,158 ft
Distance to walk: 12 km/ 7 ½ miles
Estimated walking time: 7 hours
Level of Difficulty: Easy
Day 5: Aguas Calientes – Machu Picchu – Cusco
You will have breakfast at your hotel before we take a very early bus (5:30am) along the winding road to Machu Picchu, one of the new seven wonders of the world. Upon entrance to Machu Picchu, you will be given a 2-hour guided tour of the spectacular ruins.
If you have elected to climb Huayna Picchu Mountain, you will begin the hike at 10am. The ticket price for Huayna Picchu is included in the price of your Ancascocha trek. If you are not climbing the mountain you will have free time to enjoy Machu Picchu on your own before returning to Aguas Calientes by bus.
From Aguas Calientes, you will board the express train to Ollantaytambo. From Ollantaytambo you will travel by private van to Cusco, and we will drop you off that your hotel. Arrival time in Cusco depends on the time of your train ticket.
Lowest Elevation: 2,040 m/ 6,691 ft
Highest Elevation: 2,440 m/ 8,052 ft.
Our Ancascocha Trek Included:
English-speaking tour guide (additional tour guide for groups of 8 people or more)
Pre-departure briefing at your hotel 1 or 2 days before your Ancascocha Trek
Pick up from your hotel and transportation to Soqma village trail head
Four-person tent for every 2 people
Dining tent with tables and chairs
Horses to carry all the equipment (food, tents, chairs, table, etc)
Horse to transport 8 kg of your personal gear
Duffel bag for your personal gear
Emergency horse in case we need it
4 Breakfasts, 4 lunches, and 4 dinners
Emergency oxygen bottle and medical kit
Vistadome train ticket from Ollantaytambo to Aguas Calientes
Expedition train ticket from Aguas Calientes to Ollantaytambo
One-night hotel accommodation in Aguas Calientes (double room)
Ticket for Huayna Picchu Mountain
Entrance to Machu Picchu
Roundtrip bus from Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu
The Ancascocha Trek to Machu Picchu Not Included:
Sleeping bag (can be rented from us)
Day 1 Breakfast
Day 5 Lunch in Aguas Calientes, after you tour Machu Picchu on your own
Gratuity for the crew (guide, chef, porters, about 10 people total)
What to bring for this Ancascocha Trail:
Original passport (if you have acquired a new one after you made your booking, 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)
Sunblock (35+ recommended)
Sunglasses and sun hat
Trekking poles (recommended especially for the steep descents, can be rented from us)
Prices for Ancascocha Trek
$780.00 USD PER PERSON