Leave Cusco early in the morning to journey to the small village of Cachora, the starting point of the trek. You'll be met by mule drivers who will load all your gear onto their animals (so if you've packed loads, feel guilty) and then it's off on the first day's hike! Begin along the edge of the Apurimac canyon and take in the breathtaking views of the surrounding Padrayoc and Choke Takarpu mountains. Eat lunch at Capuliyoc before walking down a winding road to Chiquisca to the riverside campsite you'll stay at for the night.
Get a good night's sleep as today is a steady, five hour uphill hike to Santa Rosa. You'll have a treat waiting for you though - a cambray, local sugarcane juice, and lunch alongside a scenic mountain stream. The path continues up towards to Marampata village, home to local shepherd families. Your campsite today is overlooking the amazing Choquequirao archaeological site - you'll have beautiful panoramic views of the Apurimac river valley, with Andean condors flying over the horizon.
See the sun rise over Choquequirao and explore this amazing lost Inca city. Afterwards, hike to the Pinchaunuyoc, a range of platforms topped by a small ceremonial site. It's rarely visited so you'll be able to have one up on all the other Machu Picchu boasters! From there, follow a steep and narrow trail descending to the Rio Blanco river. After all your hard work you'll be able to plunge into a refreshing river! Prepare for another three hours walking uphill until you arrive at Maizal, your campsite for the night. You'll sleep like a baby tonight!
You need your energy so make sure to eat your entire breakfast this morning. Ascend toward Mina Victoria, passing through lush and dense cloud forest and spectacular views of the dramatic scenery. You'll reach the abandoned silver mines of Mina Victoria, once used during the Inca and colonial periods, where you can have a much-needed break. After crossing the pass, you'll walk downhill to the small village of Yanama, where you'll tuck into lunch then it's just an easy three hour flat walk to your campsite near Qiswarpampa. A delicious dinner, hot shower and good night's rest are all waiting for you!
Prepare to walk to a high pass at 4,668m - it may be hard but the views of Sacsarayoc and Padrayoc mountains make it completely worth it. Hope you've packed some warm clothes and gloves as once you cross over Yanama Pass it gets pretty chilly. To distract from the cold, keep an eye as you might get lucky - you could spot some condors! Next, descend through grassy fields to Totora. It's finally time to sleep.
Pass through vibrant flora and fauna as you continue downhill to the Totora River, where you'll have lunch. Traipse through the colourful orchids and begonias with the thrum of activity of the varied birdlife filling your ears and wander past rushing waterfalls and sprawling banana, avocado and cocoa plantations on your way to Santa Teresa town. Soak your tired muscles in the hot springs before wolfing down a tasty dinner.
You'll be happy to know today's an easy hike over rolling hills along the Vilcanota River - pretty scenery and you can talk to each other without puffing! You'll stop at the hydroelectric station for lunch and then, after a three hour hike, you'll arrive at Aguas Calientes for a well deserved rest and soak in the hot springs. There will be a tasty dinner and soothing hot shower between you and bed.
It's up and at ‘em this morning - the bus to Machu Picchu leaves at 5.30am! And it's definitely worth it - you'll want to see this ancient city at sunrise. Your guide will take you on a two hour walking tour and then you can wander around by yourselves. Meet your guide in Aguas Calientes, by bus or foot, for lunch and pick up your train tickets for the return trip back to Ollantaytambo and Cusco.