Moon Stone to Machu Picchu Trek (MMP)

Moon Stone to Machu Picchu Trek (MMP)

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Highlights

We all know that there are limited passes for the Classic Incan Trail to Machupicchu per day. Thus, some people want to have alternative hiking options without ti miss visiting Peru´s most popular archaeological monument.

Itinerary

Day 1

Cusco – Quillarumiyoc – Molinuyoc – Chillipahua

After an early start in Cusco and a transfer by van, we´ll travel across the Anta plains on a 45 minute ride, to arrive at Quillarumiyoc, where   we will appreciate the beautiful Incan architecture displayed in many benched terraces, caves and the impressive carvings on a big rock called Moon Stone which shows a half moon shape carved on its top.

After visiting Quillarumiyoc, we will board our van again, as we´ll pass by Zurite´s amazing benched terraces and the colonial town of Huarocondo, to finally arrive at the trail head (Molinuyoc) at 3240 m. / 10627 ft, where our trek wanglers and horses will be meeting us.

The first two hours of the hike will be uphill, to reach the summit, where we´ll get to Huatta (3846 m. / 12 614 ft), a pre-Incan fortress, with very high walls, which protects the inner part of the following valley and  this is a good place to have lunch and rest. Afterwards, you might still have some time to explore the area and then, we´ll go on our hike on an uneven trail, through a forest with small polylepis and all the way to the first campsite, in Chillipahua (3748 m. /12293 ft.) Lunch and Dinner.

Day 2

Chancachuco

After breakfast, we´ll start our hike uphill, on the way to Accoccasa Mountain Pass (4,627 m./15,177 ft.), where we´ll have all the excuses in the world to stop, catch our breath and recover, observing small communities of farmers who live in sun-dried mud brick houses with thatched roofs, along with their domestic animals, such as donkeys, cattle, horses, some pigs and lots of sheep and chicken. Near the pass, there is a small place for us to have lunch.

On the other side of Accoccasa Mountain Pass, the view is impressive, as it is possible to recognize, in the distance, the broad glacier formed valley of Chancachuco and in clear conditions, we might sight the snow-capped La Verónica (5,700 m./18,696 ft.) and part of the Urubamba Mountain Range. Not so far away to the West, we´ll have a view over more mountains which are part of the Huayanay Range. Then, our descent to the second campsite will be easy and we might even have time enough to visit the campsite´s surrounding area, where a small family of shepherds looks after their llamas, alpacas and horses. This campsite is considered as the coldest on this trek, due to its altitude (4,313 m./14,150 ft.). Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner.

Day 3

Cachiqata Quarry

Today, the hike will start downhill, following the course of a small stream, to where the trail joins with a beautiful abandoned aqueduct, quite close to the campsite and from that point on, the trail and stream go almost together, to reach an unexpected canyon, where we´ll have to jump on stones to cross the stream and later on, observe some polylepis trees again, to leave the stream behind. Then, the path will be full of gravel, with ups and downs, all the way to the Qorihuayrachina Mountain Pass (3,929 m./12,890 ft.), the location of which will allow us to see the Urubamba River, part of the Sacred Valley, the town of Ollantaytambo and the farming areas around the valley. After having had lunch, we will hike downhill, passing by Llaqtallaqtayoc´s archaeological site, all the way to the campsite which is located near an area of huge stone blocks. Indeed, the quarries of Cachicata contain many stone blocks left by the Incas, in their cutting and transportation process to the Temple of the Sun in Ollantaytambo. Before sharing the last dinner of the hike, we´ll have time to explore the quarry and identify its characteristics.  Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner.

Day 4

Ollantaytambo – Aguas Calientes

At sunrise, there is a beautiful view of the campsite´s surroundings and after our last breakfast together, we´ll move on, downhill, passing close to the stone structures left by the Incas, still in awe to see the enormous work put into each block..

After our descent to the Urubamba River, we´ll walk towards Ollantaytambo, where we´ll have a chance to visit the archaeological complex and enjoy the people´s life in that ancient Incan town, having lunch before we leave for Aguas Calientes.

The train to Aguas Calientes will depart in the afternoon, as it takes an hour and a half to get there and once in Aguas Calientes, we´ll spend the night at a hotel. Breakfast and Lunch.

Day 5

Machupicchu – Cusco

Today, we’ll have a very early start, to try to be among the first to get in Machu Picchu for the sunrise. So, we’ll have a guided tour in the morning, For lunch we might return back to Aguas Calientes town and later, we will board the train back Ollantaytambo to later have a van ride to Cusco. Breakfast.

 

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