Current restrictions on the classic Inca Trail and high volume of travellers visiting Peru each year means booking the classic Inca Trail is becoming more difficult each year. However, we are very excited to be able to offer Intrepid travellers a hiking alternative that is second to none.
This trek has all the components you expect from an Intrepid operated hike in the South American Andes: it’s safe, landscapes are breathtaking, there are opportunities to interact with local communities and to visit smaller and less known Inca archaeological sites.
The overall distance hiked on this trek is 26km, the maximum altitude reached is 4,450 metres above sea level. Since permits are not required for this trek, there are no restrictions when you book your trip.
Inca quarry trail itinerary
We leave Ollantaytambo early in the morning and drive approximately 30min to Choquequilla, a small ceremonial place where Incas used to venerate the moon. A short drive from here takes us to Rafq’a, the starting point of our trek and where we meet the horsemen that will join us during the hike. After an approx. 1hr walk we reach the small community of Socma.
A further 60min walk takes to the Perolniyoc cascade lookout. This is a perfect opportunity to stop for photos and a snack.
From here we continue on to our campsite, at 3700 meters above sea level. All going well, we should reach our campsite by lunch time. After lunch we set off to explore the Q’orimarca archaeological site, which used to serve as a check point during the times of the Incas.
This is the most challenging but most rewarding day of the hike. A 3hr walk takes us to the top of the first pass, known as Puccaqasa (approx 4370 meters). After enjoying the views of the valley below we walk down for 30min to our lunch spot.
Rested and full of energy again we take on a 2hr hike to the highest pass of the trek: Kuychicassa (4450 meters).
From here we head down for 2hr to a site the Incas called Inti Punku, (meaning Sun Gate) with imposing views over the valley bellow and the Veronica mountain raising over the horizon.
Our campsites is a stone throw away at Choquetacarpo (3600m)
Day three is all downhill hiking. The first stop is at the Kachiqata quarry, where we witness the work the Incas could not complete due to the Spanish conquest.
Approximately at midday we finally arrive to the town of Kachiqata - the end of this challenging and fascinating trek.
From here we visit Ollantaytambo. In the afternoon we travel by train to Aguas Calientes where we meet with our fellow travelers who opted to take the “Train Option” of this trip. Tonight we overnight at a simple but comfortable hotel.
Today we take a very early bus (5:30am depending on weather conditions) along the winding road to Machu Picchu (approx. 30 minutes). In Machu Picchu we join the travelers who opted to hike the Classic Inca Trail option of this trip before taking on a guided walk of Machu Picchu.
In the afternoon we travel back to Aguas Calientes by bus, before boarding a train to Ollantaytambo. From Ollantaytambo we travel by minivan to Cuzco. Depending on train schedule, expect to arrive to Cuzco anytime.
How does it work?
When you book a trip that includes the classic Inca trail, we will do everything possible to secure permits for you.
In the event that permits are not available you will be offered to:
- Change to an alternative departure date.
- Hike the Inca Quarry Trail.
- Stay in Cuzco for 2 nights & travel to Aguas Calientes by train.
- A full refund of your deposit.
Why the Inca Quarry Trail?
It not only offers the magnificent Andean scenery you expect on any trek in the Cuzco region, but it also visits three lesser know archaeological sites on the way.
The likelihood of running into other travellers is very small, which ads to the remoteness and the experience of the hike.
This trek passes by two local communities which offer great opportunities to grasp a better understanding of the harshness of living in the Andes.
It’s not a walk in the park! While anyone of reasonable fitness can complete this trek, it also offers that challenging element and sense of achievement that makes it all worth it at the end.
It doesn’t require permits. There are no limitations to the number of travellers that can hike this trek. So just book and go!
What do I need to bring?
You will find a complete list of what to pack for this trip under ‘What to take’ in the trip notes of your trip. However, it’s worth stressing that you may find hiking poles particularly helpful for this trip - particularly on the downhill sections of days 2 and 3.
If you intend to use hiking poles, you can bring your own from home or rent them locally from Cuzco.