Notice: Due to the current political situation, and for the safety of our our trekkers, we are not currently offering this itinerary.
The itinerary below is a sample. Hiking times are an average and will vary depending on the group. Additionally, lunch and camp sites may change to meet the needs of the group and conditions.
The day before the Punkuyoc trek, your guide will meet you at your hotel for an in-depth briefing. This provides an opportunity to ask questions and do any last-minute shopping before leaving Cusco.
We pick you up at your hotel early in the morning and travel by private van through the Sacred Valley of the Incas to Ollantaytambo. From here we climb on a new highway passing behind Wakahuillka (Mount Veronica), crossing Malaga Pass at 4200 meters, a route which follows that which was taken by Manco Inca when, after defeating the Spanish at Ollantaytambo, he took his followers to a stronghold at Vitcos. Descending to the Urubamba River at Challay, we cross and follow the Vilcabamba River through coffee and coca fields, farms, and small villages. Arriving at the end of the road end at the town of Huancacalle, we visit the important Inca ruins of Vitcos and Ñustahispana(White Rock), the most sacred site in the region. We camp by the river close to Huancacalle.
In the morning we follow the road for about an hour, passing through Pucyura before arriving at Lucma with its famous colonial church. Here we leave the road and begin a steep climb past small farms to a meadow high above a lake where we rest and have lunch. Leaving the forest we begin to travel across the puno, where the only vegetation is a bunch grass called ichu, to Huarinapata, where we have dinner and camp.
Leaving camp, we traverse the hillsides and descend to the Puncuyoc valley. Here we follow well-preserved Inca road, built sometimes up to two feet above the ground in order to traverse the swampy areas, through changing landscapes with views down the Puncuyoc valley. The road comes to Inca Wasi, a two story structure that is largely intact and undisturbed. This unusual site was perhaps an oracle, consulted by Sayri Tupac Inca before he returned to Cusco. From the site, if the weather is fine, we can see the Vilcabamba Valley, Vitcos, and Huancacalle, where five important Inca roads meet. We explore the many components of site and take in the ever-changing view before returning by the same route to our camp at Huarinapata.
The next morning we travel on a wide, but largely destroyed, Inca road over Huarinapata Pass (4600 meters) and descend to a narrow valley along a well-preserved Inca trail. Crossing the valley, we gradually climb to Machaypata Pass (4500 meters) and have our lunch with a beautiful view in all directions. We descend again to a wide valley, Huarinapampa, crossing on an elevated Inca trail since this area is often wet or muddy. We camp on a high spot on the meadow at about 4400 meters.
We leave the main trail, which leads to the jungle, and climb a steep ridge to Uchopata Pass (4500 meters). Here the switchback trail is broken up and we might decide to just scramble directly up to the pass, clinging to the ichu and rocks. At the knife-edge pass we will rest awhile and then begin the steep descent down to Machaypampa. Here we follow a steam, finding our way along a paved Inca road. After lunch we continue climbing gradually until we camp beside a steam just before the Puncuyoc pass. With luck we might have small mountain trout for dinner.
We finish the gradual climb through the meadows to Pucuyoc Pass (4700 meters) then continue along the side of a valley on an Inca road made with huge paving stones. We follow the trail into a cloud forest, stopping to rest at a small waterfall. Finally we begin to a gradual descent down a broad valley to reach the road where our van is waiting. We drive back to Cusco, arriving late in the evening.
This option follows the same itinerary as above for days 1-3, but returns from Huarinapata to Pucyura on day 4 along the route taken on day 2.
For more information on trekking with Apu Andino, see Trekking with Apu Andino.