ANCASCOCHA HIKE TO MACHU PICCHU 5D/4N
Since we finished just 20 minutes from Ollantaytambo train station, this is one of the alternative routes to the Inca Trail, favorites by adventurers who then want to visit the Inca citadel of Machu Picchu.
The Ancascocha Trek to Machu Picchu in the Peruvian Andes is a remarkable trail that remains off the beaten path. It is listed as one of National Geographic’s 20 dream hikes on their World Best Hikes list. The trek wanders through traditional villages like Chillipahua and its namesake Ancashcocha (3,700 m/12,136 ft). Along the way, it humps over big passes, including the high point at the Huayanay Pass (4,550 m/ 14,925 ft), and takes in views of towering 20,551 foot (6,266 m) Apu Salkantay.
trekking to Machu Picchu has become the ultimate bucket list item for many and usually it’s the classic Inca Trail trek that people have their sights set on. With such high demand and permits almost always snatched up six months in advance, the Inca Trail can be an out-of-reach option if you’ve planned your Peru vacation five months in advance instead of six. Allow us to introduce you to a no less challenging or less scenic alternative to the classic Inca Trail.
The Ancascocha Trek to Machu Picchu is a four-day trek through the foothills and passes of the Cordillera Vilcabamba. If natural beauty, storybook settings, brushes with Andean village life, and the snow-capped peaks of the Andes sound enticing to you, this trek is for you. Listed as one of National Geographic’s 20 dream hikes, the Ancascocha trek has a lot going for it including that ever-popular appeal of being considered off-the-beaten-path. Here’s what you can expect on the Ancascocha Trek to Machu Picchu.
Day 1: Cusco – Soqma – Rayan
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 Ancascocha Trek and where we meet the horsemen that will join us during the Ancascocha 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).
Lowest Elevation: 3,205 m/ 10,512 ft
Highest Elevation: 3,700 m/ 12,136 ft
Distance to walk: 8 km/5 miles
Approximate walking time: 4 to 5 hours
Level of Difficulty: Moderate
Area: Dry Mountain
Day 2: Rayan – Ancascocha
We depart camp at about 6:30 AM for a 4 hour uphill trek with incredible views of the “nevadas”/snow-capped peaks, llamas, valleys, and if we are lucky, a passing condor – the largest bird in the Andes with a wing-span of up to 10 feet across. Here we reach the Kuychicassa pass (4,450 m /14,596 ft) where we take a break and soak in the magnificent views of the Chancachuco Valley on one side of the pass and the Sacred Valley of the Incas on the other side.
Then we start our descent and hike for another hour until we reach the location where we will take our lunch break.
After lunch we ascend for 30 min by way of a narrow trail following a stream with beautiful views of Mt. Veronica (5,822 m/ 19,100 ft).
This is followed by a 4 hour walk downhill to reach the small community of Ancascocha (3,700 m/12,136 ft), our campsite for the evening, in a small, gorgeous wooded valley with a stream running through it.
Highest Elevation: 4,450 m/ 15,250 ft
Campsite elevation: 3,700 m/ 12,136 ft
Distance to walk: 16 km/ 10 miles
Approximate walking time: 8 to 10 hours
Level of Difficulty: Challenging
Area: Dry Mountain
Day 3: Ancascocha – Huayanay pass – Muyu Muyu community
Views of a nearby glacier and well preserved Inca remains are the highlight of this day. After a hearty breakfast we are ready for this challenging day. Ascending towards the Huayanay Pass (4,650 m/ 15,298 ft) for 4 hours, the highest point of our Ancascocha Trek to Machu Picchu, which is a steep zigzag trail uphill, we find an original cobblestone paved Inca trail. On the way, we see the beautiful waterfall that feeds into the Ancascocha lake
After this stunning view, we descend for 45 minutes until the Inca site of Incarajay. We will have lunch here.
At this point we will embark on a 3-½ hour descent into greener vegetation. During this stretch of the trek we will have views of the classic Inca trail to Machu Picchu appear in the distance, and fascinating views of the communities of the Qésqua valley. Then we’ll reach our campsite in the Muyu Muyu community (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: 13 km/ 7 miles
Approximate walking time: 8 to 9 hours
Level of Difficulty: Challenging
Area: Dry Mountain
Day 4: Muyu Muyu – Paucarcancha – Kilometer 82 – Ollantaytambo – Aguas Calientes
From Muyu Muyu we will descend for 2 hours until the Inca site of Paucarcancha. We will have a comprehensive tour of the site.
After the tour we will hike downhill for 5 hours until we reach Km 82, which is the start of the classic Inca trail. Along the way we will be able to see the Inca site of Llactapata. This is the first site on the Classic Inca Trail. Our chef will make us a delicious lunch at Kilometer 82.
After lunch we will be picked up by 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 in to your hotel room. The natural hot springs in town are a great place to relax if there is time before dinner. Dinner will be at the finest restaurant.
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 to see the magnificent sunrise. Once there you will be given a 2 hour walking tour of the site.
If you have elected to climb Huayna Picchu Mountain you will begin the hike at 10 AM. 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 explore Machu Picchu before you return to Aguas Calientes by bus.
When you arrive 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.
Lowest Elevation: 2,040 m/ 6,691 ft
Highest Elevation: 2,440 m/ 8,052 ft
Bilingual English speaking tour Guide
Pre-Departure Briefing at your hotel 1 or 2 days before your trek
Pick up from your hotel and transportation to Start of the Hike
Four person tent for each 2 persons.
Dining tent with tables and chairs
Professional chef and assistant chef
Wranglers, porters and horses to carry all the equipment (food, tents, chairs, table, etc) and eight kg (15 lbs) per hiker for your own belongings
Duffle bag for your personal gear
Emergency horse in case we need it
Four breakfasts, four lunches, and three dinners
Twice daily hot water for washing.
Daily morning boiled and cold water to fill the water bottles.
Train ticket from Ollantaytambo to Aguas Calientes
Expedition train ticket from Aguas Calientes to Ollantaytambo
Private van transportation from Ollantaytambo to your hotel in Cusco
Emergency oxygen bottle, medical kit and emergency
Entrance to Machu Picchu
Round Trip Bus ticket from Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu on Day 4
Lodging in Aguas Calientes on night 3 of the trek (double occupancy)
Dinner in Aguas Calientes on Night 4 Indio Feliz Restaurant
Day 5 Lunch in Aguas Calientes Totos House
Services Not Included:
Sleeping bag – you can rent one from us
Tips for the crew (guides, porters, cooks, wranglers)
What to bring:
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, a few t-shirts, socks, sun hat, warm underwear, light long pants, gloves, rain jacket)
Toiletries (toilet paper, wet wipes, personal towel)
Sunscreen SPF 35+ recommended
Camera with spare batteries (batteries run down faster at high altitudes)
Trekking poles (recommended especially for the steep descents (can be rented from us)
Insect repellant (minimum 30% DEET)
Price: Private tour USD PER PERSON
Private Service Price 2021
- 1 people: US$1250.00 per person
- 2 people: US$850.00 per person
- 3 people: US$800.00 per person
- 4 people: US$750.00 per person
- 5 people: US$700.00 per person
- 6 people: US$650.00 per person
- 7+ people: US$600.00 per person
STUDENT DISCOUNT: $35 off per personStudent Discounts apply to anyone who has a valid GREEN ISIC card at the time of the trek or is 16 years old or younger. For those using an ISIC card to receive the discount, we do need to see a copy of the card at booking. For those booking children 16 years old or younger, we need a copy of their passport at booking time. Please send all to [email protected]
Under 15 years will pay as student: US$35.00
Under 7 years Discount: US$50.00
ADDITIONAL ITEMS:As you see in our Additional Items under Trip Overview, there are several optional upgrades you can include in this trip. Below is a quick list of prices, but check our Overview section for more details.
Huaynapicchu: $75 per person
Vistadome Train (One Way): $80 per person
Sacred Valley Tour:
City Tour: $
Maras Moray Tour: