The Ultimate Hiking and Amazon Adventure in Peru

By | September 13, 2021

Join the adventure to the unknown Inca ruins of Choquequirao, hike along ancient incasas through the Andes to Machu Picchu and venture deep into the pristine part of the Amazon in Manu National Park. See map of Peru on directoryaah.

This travel proposal is intended for active adventurers who want to visit areas in Peru that only a few can experience. The journey begins in Cuzco, where you have a few days free at your disposal. The city takes the must out of most people, not only because of its location at an altitude of 3,400 meters, but also because of its historic buildings and its exciting history. The city is buzzing with life, and you will find a variety of activities such as mountain biking, canoeing, ziplining and hiking in the area around the city.

After a few days of acclimatization, the nine-day trek through the Andes to the unknown Inca ruins Choquequirao and the world-famous ruin complex Machu Picchu begins. The Inca Empire’s road network during its heyday consisted of countless branched paths, which in total stretched over 23,000 kilometers. The trails were very useful for the envoys of the time, also called “chasquis”, who used them to convey messages. The trip from Choquequirao to Machu Picchu invites you to follow in the footsteps of the Chasquis and experience the incomparable landscapes with their snow-capped mountain peaks, lush valleys, small pleasant villages and rushing rivers. Hiking along the Andes’ cascades to the legendary ruin complexes Choquequirao and Machu Picchu is an authentic and inspiring nature and cultural experience for the adventurous.

From Macchu Picchu, the tour returns by train to Cuzco. Here you can relax and enjoy the city’s fine restaurants before continuing your journey deep into the Amazon. The reserved part of Manu National Park is part of the world’s largest contiguous rainforest, the Amazon. The area you come to is one of the world’s most protected rainforest areas and houses one of the world’s largest number of animal and plant species gathered in one place. That is why Manu National Park is today recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Deep inside this part of Manu, you meet indigenous people and learn how they live with and by the rainforest. It is forbidden to hunt several of the animal species in this part of Manu, so the chance of seeing more rare animals is greater in the protected part. The national park has more than 1,000 different bird species, such as seven different macaw parrots, the large jabirus stork, the harpy eagle and many kinds of toucans. There are also a lot of mammals in the park, such as spectacled bears, jaguars, giant otters, capybara (river pigs) and tapir. If you are lucky, you may also see tamarins, woolly monkeys and howler monkeys.

After seven days among indigenous peoples and wildlife in the Peruvian Amazon, the trip returns to Cuzco, where you spend the night before the trip back home to Sweden.

Day 1: Departure from Scandinavia

Departure from Scandinavia to the ancient Indians’ capital Cuzco in Peru.

Day 2: Arrival in Cuzco

Arrival in Cuzco, beautifully situated in the Andes at about 3,400 meters altitude. On a clear day, the approach to Cuzco is absolutely fantastic. In Cuzco you will be picked up at the airport and driven to your hotel, where you will spend the next three days.

Day 3-4: On a voyage of discovery in and around Cuzco

The days in Cuzco are spent on their own. For example, you can visit the Plaza de Armas, Cuzco’s beautiful historic center, or San Blas, which is teeming with life and activity. You will find nice markets where you can buy fresh fruit, as well as countless shops selling tours and souvenirs. There are many good restaurants serving both local and international dishes. In the afternoon Day Four, an information meeting will take place regarding the hike to Machu Picchu, where you can get answers to any further questions you may have before leaving the next day. ( F )

Day 5: Cuzco (3,350m) – Chiquisca (1,930m)

You will be picked up early in the morning at your hotel in Cuzco and driven towards the village of Cachora with the rest of the group. Here you can relax a bit while the luggage is loaded on the mule locks. The tour begins in flat gravel terrain that slowly becomes more hilly before the first stop in Capuliyoc, where you have lunch. During the day’s hike you get views of varied landscapes with lush valleys, rivers, snow-capped mountain peaks (Padrayoc and Wayna Cachora) and deep ravines. We continue down towards Coca Masana (2,330m). Here the climate becomes significantly warmer, and flowers and wildlife begin to change. You camp at Chiquisca (1,930 m). ( L , M ) Hiking time: about five to six hours (minibus – hiking) Difficulty: Moderate

Day 6: Chiquisca (1,930m) – Choquequirao Camp (3,033m)

This day is the toughest of the hike. After an early breakfast, you start with an hour’s descent to Playa Rosalina (1,550m), where you cross the Apurimac River. You can now look forward to about four to five hours of climbing along a narrow path towards Marampata (2,850m). After half the distance, you pause for a while in Santa Rosa, where you also have the opportunity to buy soft drinks or chocolate to recharge your batteries. In Marampata you can enjoy your lunch and get some well-deserved rest. On the way you will see orchids and other wild flowers, as well as various bird species. The trip from Marampata to the camp at Choquequirao (3,033m) takes about an hour and a half, and along the way there is the opportunity to see condors floating elegantly over the gorge. The camp is located near the Choquequirao ruin, and it is also possible to take a cold bath. ( F , L, M ) Hiking time: approx. seven hours Difficulty: High

Day 7: Choquequirao Camp (3,033m) – Pinchinoyoc (2,450m)

After breakfast, spend the morning exploring the ruins on your own. Choquequirao was built in the 15th century by Topa Yupanqui, son of Machu Picchu’s founder, Pachacuti. Choquequirao is constantly under archeological excavation, and very few tourists come here. You will feel like a real Indiana Jones as you wander among houses, terraces and other parts of the mighty Inca city. It may also be possible to experience the ongoing excavations and to walk around the still completely untouched parts of the complex. The visit gives you great insight into the Inca people’s everyday life and rich culture. You have lunch among the ruins before you hike up for an hour before descending towards a valley, where after about two hours of hiking we reach the camp at Pichinoyoc at 2,540 meters altitude. Again, you may be lucky enough to see the impressive condors. The group camps for the night at the Pinchinoyoc ruin, which was first discovered in 1998. You camp right next to the Inca terraces. (F , L , M ) Hiking time: approx. seven hours Difficulty: moderate

Day 8: Pinchinoyoc (2,450m) – Maizal (3,000m)

This morning the tour continues through a forest area and down to the Victoria River, where the opportunity is given for a refreshing cold dip. You cross the foaming river before it carries up a long and steep hike of about three hours to the camp in Maizal. The tour goes along narrow paths surrounded by dense vegetation. As you climb upwards, you notice that the view changes with each step, and when you reach the camp in Maizal, a fantastic view of three valleys and at least ten snow-capped mountain peaks spreads out in front of you. You eat both lunch and supper in the camp, whose idyllic surroundings you have most of the afternoon and evening to enjoy and relax in. ( F , L , M ) Hiking time: approx. seven hours Difficulty: moderate-high

Day 9: Maizal (3,000m) – Yanama (3,530m)

Hike up to the San Juan Pass (4,200m) which zigzags along ancient inlets through rainforest and plains. Lunch is enjoyed with the group in the San Juan Pass (4,200m), with stunning views of Choquetakarpo Mountain (5,520m). In the afternoon you arrive at the beautiful and peaceful village of Yanama, where you camp. The village is completely isolated, and very few tourists come here. In the afternoon you can walk through the village, greet the locals and enjoy the atmosphere in the middle of the Andes. ( F , L , M ) Hiking time: approx. nine hours Difficulty: High

Day 10: Yanama (3,530m) – Totora (3,200m)

Today, a long day awaits towards the highest point of the hiking trip, the Yanama Pass, at an altitude of 4,600 meters. The tour goes uphill from the whales, along the Yanama River and waterfalls flowing down from the snow line above. After about five hours of hard hiking, you reach the pass. You get a fantastic view of seeing the snow-capped peaks Padrayoc (5,584m) and Sacsarayoc (5,991m), and in clear weather you may be lucky enough to see Salkantay (6,271m). The descent runs through grass beds and over small wooden bridges to the small village of Totora, where you camp. ( F , L , M ) Hiking time: approx. eight to nine hours Difficulty: High

Day 11: Totora (3,200m) – Lucmabamba (2,000m)

In Totora you visit local Quechua families and get an insight into how they live. Then you start the day’s hike with a long descent to La Playa at 2,100 meters altitude. You thus walk a full 2,000 meters down to warmer temperatures in the valley. On the way you pass small and large waterfalls, and get the chance to see Peruvian bird species and orchids along the way. You stop at a banana and coffee plantation and visit the locals in the villages you pass. You are camping in Lucmabamba. ( F , L , M ) Hiking time: approx. seven hours Difficulty: Easy

Day 12: Lucmabamba (2,000m) – Aguas Calientes (2,050m)

After breakfast you walk to the Inca ruin Llactapata at 2,650m. Here you can enjoy the view of Mount Machu Picchu and the Vilcanota Gorge. After that, the hike continues to the train station in Hydro-Electrica. The road for you through coffee and fruit plantations. In Hydro-Electrica you take the train to Aguas Calientes. Here you spend the night in a hotel, not far from Machu Picchu. Here is the opportunity to take a dip in the city’s thermal baths, which make you go after seven days of hiking in the Andes. ( F , L , M ) Hiking time: six hours (hiking and bus / train). Difficulty: Easy

Day 13: Machu Picchu Ruins (2,430m) – Cuzco (3,350m)

Today’s big event is the visit to the magnificent ruin of Machu Picchu. You start early and have breakfast at the hotel before either hiking or taking the bus up to Machu Picchu, which is located on top of the mountain. Here, your guide gives you an exciting and real tour for about 2.5 hours and explains everything about the place’s historical significance and its architecture. Next to Machu Picchu is Mount Wayna Picchu. Wayna Picchu is 2,720 meters high and is 360 meters higher than Machu Picchu. From here you get a magnificent panoramic view of the entire ruin area and Machu Picchu. It only takes about an hour to get up, but it is a tough hike with small steep steps, and you have to be in good shape to reach the top. Only a limited number of visitors are allowed to visit the top per day, so if this is something you want to experience, you should book and pay for it from home, while booking the tour. The tour may be canceled during the rainy season if the trail is too slippery. In the afternoon, the group meets in Aguas Calientes, located at the foot of the mountain (there is a bus that runs from Machu Picchu to Aguas Calientes). Here you can have lunch and visit the thermal baths, before in the afternoon or early evening (the time is announced by the guide and depends on the train company) take the train back to Ollantaytambo or Poroy and drive back to your hotel in Cusco. ( before the afternoon or early evening (the time is announced by the guide and depends on the train company) take the train back to Ollantaytambo or Poroy and drive back to your hotel in Cusco. ( before the afternoon or early evening (the time is announced by the guide and depends on the train company) take the train back to Ollantaytambo or Poroy and drive back to your hotel in Cusco. (F , L )

Day 14: Relaxation in Cuzco

After a week in the Andes, it’s time to relax and enjoy Cuzco’s many pleasant restaurants.

Day 15: Cusco – Rainforest Lodge

Today, your Amazon adventure begins deep inside Manu National Park. Around 04:30 you leave Cuzco in a minibus. The journey goes through the sacred valley of the Inca people and over the Andes. Along the way you stop in the town of Huancarani where you can see Ninamarka and Lupaca Cemetery, both from the 12th century, as well as the cultural city of Paucartambo. From here, the tour enters Manu National Park and Rainforest Lodge, where you will spend the night. In this part of the rainforest there are orchids, giant ferns and vines. Here you are given the opportunity to walk on your own and keep an eye out for many different types of hummingbirds and Peru’s national bird, the red rock bird, which in English is called “The Cock of the Rock”. ( L , M )

Day 16: Rainforest Lodge – Bonanza Ecological Reserve

After early breakfast, the tour continues down to the port of Atalaya. Along the way you stop at local fruit farmers and coca plantations. From Atalaya you travel by boat on the river Madre de Dios, a tributary of the Amazon River. On the way you have good chances to experience the rich bird life up close and see e.g. herons and parrots. You stop near Shintuya’s naturally hot springs, where you have lunch and enjoy a swim. After lunch you will follow your guide on a hike through the jungle, where you can see a lot of different aparts and capyvaras (river pigs) as well as different plant species. In the afternoon you will arrive at Bonanza Lodge, where you can enjoy a swim and relax. After dark, take a walk through the rainforest with the guide – this is the best time to see tarantulas, scorpions and snakes. (F , L , M ) It is possible to spend the night at Tapir Clay Lick instead and this “camouflage house” is strategically located if you want to look for tapirs and other nocturnal animals.

Day 17: Bonanza Lodge – Casa Matsiguenka

You wake up to the sound of the rainforest and can enjoy your breakfast before continuing your journey deeper into the Amazon. You leave the river Madre de Dios and now take a boat up the Manu river. You stop for a short while at the Limonal forest ranger station to show off the park permits. From here follows an approximately five-hour journey along the Manu River. Along the way you will see a lot of different bird species, howler monkeys, caimans, turtles, jaguars and more. In the afternoon you arrive at Casa Matsiguenka, an eco-lodge owned by the locals. In the evening there is the opportunity to go on a night safari through the rainforest in order to see animals and insects. ( F , L , M )

Day 18: Casa Matsiguenka – Cocha Salvador – Cocha Otorongo

After breakfast, head to Lake Coch Salvador, where you can take a boat along the shores of a floating observation platform. Here you can observe giant otters, lots of bird species and playful monkeys. From Cocha Salvador you walk through the rainforest, with good opportunities to see black spider monkeys in the treetops. In the afternoon, the tour continues to Cocha Otorongo Lake, where from a 20 meter high observation tower you can experience the rainforest from the treetops and see lots of wildlife. Overnight at Casa Matsiguenka. ( F , L , M) Day 19: Casa Matsiguenka – Hummingbird Lodge Today you follow your guide on a longer hike in the rainforest. The guide tells about the ecosystem of the Amazon rainforest and the medical significance of the plants for the local population. After lunch, the tour continues along the river at a leisurely pace, so there are good opportunities to see wildlife and maybe even a jaguar. The actual boat ride to Bonanza Lodge & Wildlife Center takes about 6 hours and in the evening you can join a hike on the trails near your lodge. ( F , L , M )

Day 20: Hummingbird Lodge – Rainforest Lodge

If you want, you can get up early and visit the bird observatory – a 25 meter high tower from where you can see, among other things, macaws and toucans. You then leave the lodge and travel up the Madre de Dios river by boat to the Rainforest Lodge owned by Amazon Wildlife Peru, a local organization working to preserve the rainforest. Dinner is served at the lodge and afterwards you can take it easy or explore the area’s trail system. There are many different parrot species around the lodge, and it will be possible to go on a night safari in the rainforest together with the guide. ( F , L , M )

Day 21: Rainforest Lodge – Cusco

Today the trip goes from Rainforest Lodge to Atalaya. From there, take the minibus back to Cuzco, where you will arrive late in the afternoon. ( F , L )

Day 22: Departure from Cuzco

After some fantastic weeks in Peru, the time has come to fly home to Scandinavia. The timing depends on which airline you fly with. ( F )

Day 23: Arrival in Scandinavia Arrival in Scandinavia. The time of arrival depends on which airline you fly with.

Overnight stays

Three nights in Cuzco in a 2-star hotel
Seven nights in a tent
One night in Aguas Calientes in a 2-star hotel
Two nights in Cuzco in a 2-star hotel
Two nights at Rainforest Lodge
One night at Bonanza Lodge
Two nights at Casa Matsiguenka Lodge
One night at Hummingbird Lodge
A night in Cuzco at a 2-star hotel

The Ultimate Hiking and Amazon Adventure in Peru