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Inca Quarry Trail to Machu Picchu – Inca Quarry Trek

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Inca Quarry Trail to Machu Picchu Details

Embarking on the Inca Quarry Trail to Machu Picchu, you step into a world steeped in history and culture. Simultaneously, you are surrounded by majestic landscapes that inspire awe at every turn. 

This less-traveled route to Machu Picchu offers a unique perspective on the Incan civilization and the stunning Andean wilderness. The trek begins in the historical construction of Ollantaytambo, an archaeological gem and one of the best-preserved Inca sites.

You’ll traverse a series of high mountain passes, with the highest point reaching an elevation of 4,450 meters (14,600 feet). Here, the panoramic vistas of the Andean mountainscape are nothing short of breathtaking. However, the high altitude also brings the risk of altitude sickness, so it’s essential to acclimatize properly and stay hydrated.

Your trek will lead you through the Inca Quarry, an archaeological site that once supplied stones for the construction of Ollantaytambo. It’s an astounding testament to the architectural prowess of the Incas, offering a tangible connection to the past. Unlike the Classic Inca Trail, the Quarry Trail provides opportunities to explore these Inca ruins up close, often in solitude.

The trail to Machu Picchu is a journey through varying microclimates. You’ll encounter the dry season’s arid landscapes, only to be replaced by lush greenery in the rainy season. Keep in mind that the Lares Trek is an alternative route if conditions become challenging.

Machu Picchu:

As you approach Machu Picchu, you’ll pass through the Sun Gate (Inti Punku). This is the traditional entrance to the city for those traveling on foot. From here, you’ll catch your first glimpse of the ancient city. With Huayna Picchu looming in the background, this sight will make the trek utterly worthwhile.

After your descent, you’ll reach Aguas Calientes, the gateway to Machu Picchu. Here, you can rest and reflect on your journey before continuing to the world-renowned archaeological site.

In essence, the Inca Quarry Trail to Machu Picchu is more than just a trek. It’s a step back in time and a deep cultural immersion. Moreover, this adventure will leave you with memories that will last a lifetime. 

Why experience the Inca Quarry Trail to Machu Picchu with us?

Travel with Kawsay Peru Travel for an authentic and immersive experience. Founded by a seasoned tour guide, Kawsay Peru Travel brings unparalleled local knowledge and expertise to every tour. We pride ourselves on our intimate understanding of our country’s rich history, culture, and geography, making your journey not just a tour but an enlightening experience.

We offer personalized itineraries and exceptional service, ensuring our guests have the most memorable and enjoyable trips. Don’t just take our word for it – we invite you to read our glowing reviews on TripAdvisor. With Kawsay Peru Travel, you’re not just visiting, you’re experiencing Peru through the eyes of a local.

Departure & Return Location

Cusco Hotel Transfer

Departure Time

0530 AM

Inca Quarry Trail to Machu Picchu Includes

  • Pre-trek briefing (Our guide will visit your hotel a day before the trek for your briefing)
  • Early morning transfer by private bus to Huaroncondor - the initial point of the trek
  • Accommodation: Campsites (2 nights) and a Hotel in Machu Picchu (1 night
  • Entrance fee to Cachicata and Machu Picchu
  • Meals: 3x breakfast, 3x lunch, 3x dinner and 2x afternoon hot beverages
  • Professional bilingual Tour Guide
  • Professional Cook
  • Horseman
  • Horses to carry food, camping and cooking equipment and 7 kg of each passenger's stuff
  • Camping equipment: Eureka Mountain Personal double tents (3 person tent which allows for greater comfort, and also storage of backpacks)
  • Sleeping / Inflatable mattress (Term-a-Rest Mattress
  • A sleeping bag (for up to -5°C)
  • A blanket per person
  • A pillow
  • Day Pack Rain Covers
  • Duffel bag (for your personal belongings)
  • Rain Ponchos
  • Water every day (excluding the first 4 hours of the trek when you need to bring your own)
  • Tables and chairs, a cooking tent with cooking equipment, dining and toilet tents and bottled gas
  • A round trip by tourist train (Expedition Service) between Ollantaytambo and Aguas Calientes;
  • A shuttle bus down from Machu Picchu to Aguas Calientes Town
  • Tourist bus from Ollantaytambo to Cusco;

Inca Quarry Trail to Machu Picchu Excludes

  • Breakfast on the day 1 and lunch on the last day
  • International and domestic flights nor airport departure taxes
  • Travel insurance
  • Entrance fee to Huayna Picchu or Machu Picchu Mountain ($ 25)
  • A shuttle bus between Aguas Calientes and Machu Picchu ($ 12 - one way, $24 - a round trip)

Recommended To Carry

  • Good Quality Hiking Boots: Comfortable and waterproof, with strong ankle support to navigate rocky terrains.
  • Clothing: Weather-appropriate clothes are crucial. Pack layers, including moisture-wicking shirts, warm sweaters or fleeces, waterproof rain jackets, and quick-drying pants or shorts.
  • Sun Protection: A hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen are a must to protect against high-altitude sun exposure.
  • Reusable Water Bottle: Stay hydrated throughout the trek. While you'll have opportunities to refill, always have water on hand.
  • High-Energy Snacks: Pack lightweight, high-protein snacks like nuts, dried fruit, and energy bars.
  • First Aid Kit: Include bandages, antiseptic cream, insect repellent, and medication for altitude sickness, diarrhea, or any personal medications you require.
  • Toiletries: Travel-size toiletries, wet wipes, hand sanitizer, and toilet paper will come in handy.
  • Headlamp or Torch: Essential for early morning starts or finding your way around your campsite at night.
  • Passport and Tickets: You'll need your passport for entry to Machu Picchu. Also, keep your entrance tickets and permits handy.
  • Cash: Small bills are useful for tips, small purchases along the trail, or in case of emergencies.
  • Camera: You'll want to capture the stunning views, so bring a camera or your smartphone, along with a portable charger or extra batteries.
Inca Quarry Trail to Machu Picchu Itinerary

Day 1Cusco - Huarocondo - Pachar - Corimarca

Your journey on the Inca Quarry Trail to Machu Picchu begins bright and early in Cusco. We will pick you up from your accommodation at around 5:00 AM. From Cusco, you’ll travel to the small town of Huarocondo, known for its traditional bread ovens. There, you can enjoy breakfast and fuel up for the day ahead.

After breakfast, we will drive to Pachar. In Pachar, you’ll start the trek, heading towards the remote community of Corimarca. The path is a moderate uphill climb. It offers stunning views of the Urubamba Mountain range, helping the hours pass quickly.

By noon, you’ll reach Corimarca. Here, you’ll find an ancient Inca checkpoint that’s remarkably well preserved. You’ll have ample time to explore and learn about the site’s historical significance.

After lunch, you’ll settle into the campsite. The rest of the day is free for you to relax and acclimatize to the altitude. The first night on the Inca Quarry Trail is a chance to stargaze and experience the tranquility of the Andes.

Now, let’s look at some statistics for the first day of the Inca Quarry Trail:

  • Distance covered: Approximately 8 kilometers or 5 miles
  • Highest altitude: The campsite at Corimarca, located at 3,600 meters (11,811 feet)
  • Lowest altitude: Pachar, situated at 2,800 meters (9,186 feet)
  • Level of difficulty: Moderate, due to the uphill terrain and the altitude
  • Duration of the hike: Approximately 5 hours, excluding breaks for meals and exploration.

Day 2Corimarca - Queuñacancha

Rise and shine to a new day on the Inca Quarry Trail. After breakfast at the Corimarca campsite, you’ll commence the second day’s trek at 7:00 AM. You will journey towards Queuñacancha, a site that houses ancient Inca ruins.

The trek is uphill, crossing the challenging Chancachuco pass. It stands as the highest point of the day’s trail, situated at a staggering 4,450 meters (14,600 feet). Here, you’ll be greeted by panoramic vistas of the Veronica Mountain and the Urubamba River. These sights are sure to take your breath away.

Descending from the pass, you’ll encounter a stark change in scenery. The trail leads you through a series of wetlands and pastures, home to llamas and alpacas. This change in landscape indicates your arrival at the Queuñacancha ruins.

You’ll arrive at Queuñacancha by late afternoon. Here, you can explore the archaeological site and learn about its historical significance. Afterward, you’ll settle in at the campsite, rest, and enjoy the tranquility of the Andes.

Let’s summarize the day’s statistics:

  • Distance covered: Approximately 10 kilometers or 6.2 miles
  • Highest altitude: Chancachuco pass, at 4,450 meters (14,600 feet)
  • Lowest altitude: The Corimarca campsite, at 3,600 meters (11,811 feet)
  • Level of difficulty: Challenging, due to the steep ascent and high altitude
  • Duration of the hike: Roughly 7 hours, including breaks for meals and exploration.

Day 3Queuñacancha - Inca Quarry Trail - Cachicata - Aguas Calientes

The third day of the Inca Quarry Trail to Machu Picchu begins at sunrise. After breakfast at the Queuñacancha campsite, you set off on the trail around 7:00 AM. The destination for today is the Inca Quarry of Cachicata.

This segment of the trek is a gentle descent, offering relief after the previous day’s challenging journey. As you hike, you’ll pass several small Inca ruins, a testament to the extensive network of the Inca Empire.

By mid-morning, you’ll arrive at the Cachicata Quarry. This archaeological site was a source of stones used in the construction of Ollantaytambo. You’ll see various chullpas (burial towers), abandoned stones, and building remains, offering a glimpse into the Inca’s stone extraction process.

Post exploration, you’ll descend further to the town of Ollantaytambo. Here, you’ll board a train to Aguas Calientes, the gateway to Machu Picchu. This train ride offers captivating views of the Andean landscapes and the Urubamba River.

Upon arriving in Aguas Calientes by late afternoon, you check into your accommodation. The evening is at your leisure to explore this charming town, nestled in the cloud forest.

Here are the day’s statistics:

  • Distance covered: Approximately 7 kilometers or 4.3 miles on foot, plus a train ride
  • Highest altitude: Queuñacancha campsite at 3,600 meters (11,811 feet)
  • Lowest altitude: Aguas Calientes at 2,040 meters (6,690 feet)
  • Level of difficulty: Moderate, mainly downhill terrain
  • Duration of the hike: Roughly 4 hours, excluding the train ride to Aguas Calientes.

Day 4Aguas Calientes - Machu Picchu - Cusco

The final day of the Inca Quarry Trail to Machu Picchu is a highlight. This is the day you reach the revered Inca citadel. Starting in Aguas Calientes, you wake up early, around 5:00 AM. We will be boarding one of the first buses up to Machu Picchu.

Upon arrival, you will see the ancient city unfold before you, with the towering Huayna Picchu in the backdrop. The sight is nothing short of mesmerizing, an image that leaves an indelible imprint on your memory.

A guided tour of Machu Picchu follows, giving you insights into the historical and architectural significance of the various sites. This includes the Sun Temple and the Room of the Three Windows. The tour takes about two hours, after which you have some free time to explore further on your own.

After immersing yourself in the grandeur of Machu Picchu, you take the bus back to Aguas Calientes. From there, you board a train to Ollantaytambo. Upon reaching Ollantaytambo, a private transport awaits to take you back to Cusco, marking the end of your memorable journey.

Here are the day’s statistics:

  • Distance covered: Approximately 2 kilometers or 1.2 miles on foot, plus bus and train rides
  • Highest altitude: Machu Picchu at 2,430 meters (7,972 feet)
  • Lowest altitude: Aguas Calientes at 2,040 meters (6,690 feet)
  • Level of difficulty: Easy, primarily a day of exploration
  • Duration of the hike: Roughly 2 hours, excluding the time for the guided tour and travel back to Cusco.
1 Review
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Solo Traveller

We trekked through breathtaking landscapes and encountered ancient ruins along the way, immersing ourselves in the rich history of the region. The well-planned itinerary allowed us to witness the awe-inspiring beauty of Machu Picchu at the perfect moment. For those seeking a transformative and awe-inspiring experience, I highly recommend the Cachicata Trek to Machu Picchu.

March 3, 2023