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The Cachicata Trek is a different adventure, exploring Inca ruins missed by most adventurers. Cachicata Trek features ancient Inca trail, settlements, and the Intipunku gateway. This journey provides an in-depth look at this magnificent civilization Inca.
During the Cachicata Trek, you will discover the ancient Inca town Ñaupa temple, Perolniyoc and the Inca quarry Cachicata . The quarry is the place where the Incas unearthed rocks to build Ollantaytambo. On this trek, you will experience the fascinating and diverse landscapes of the Sacred Valley, high-altitude grasslands, and lush forests dotted with rushing waterfalls. This trek offers you plenty of time to experience the highlights of the Sacred Valley away from the crowds!
We will begin the Cachicata Trek by driving to Pachar in the Sacred Valley of the Incas. From here, we start to hike uphill to see Ñaupa Templo, an archeological Inca site where we will have a guided tour. After the inriching tour, we will continue to walk to Socma, (2900 m/9,510 ft). From here, we hike up a lush valley of scattered farmhouses and crop terraces, where Andean bird species such as the giant hummingbird and golden-billed saltator flit among the abundant native trees and shrubs. We will eat a picnic lunch by a rushing mountain stream before deciding which route we will take next. We may take an easier route, or an optional steep trail via a tall waterfall where we can pause to refresh ourselves amidst the cool spray, or enjoy an alfresco shower and dip beneath the falls.
Climbing further along the Cachicata Trek, we will visit the little-known Inca ruin of Corimarca (perolniyoc), perched at mid-altitude on a shelf high above the Socma valley. An Inca-built channel still carries water rushing past this small, elegantly designed settlement, which was probably built by the Incas to collect and control the agricultural produce of the surrounding valley. We will camp here for the night, or at a spacious set of Inca terraces a short distance up the valley.
On day two of the Cachicata Trek, we will climb across open meadows before reaching a zone of high altitude shrubland. This shrubland soon gives way to treeless grasslands known as Puna as our trail winds gently around mountain spurs following an undulating approach to the pass of Chancachucu, (4,400 m/14,430 ft). With any luck, we may be able to see Andean Condors today. We will set off on one of two routes: Fitter, more experienced groups will follow the Chancachucu valley downstream, following the broken remains of an Inca water channel that once carried water to the ancient Inca quarry. The stream plunges through Punkuyoc, a narrow ravine enclosed by vertical cliffs draped in ferns and orchids. It then emerges amidst a small wood of native Q’euña trees. A narrow trail zig-zags steeply down open, grassy slopes, offering spectacular views of the Camicancha valley, its river a silver ribbon far below us. We will climb once more, and again pick up the Inca water channel, which has traversed a near-vertical cliff far above us. Now we follow the channel on a gentler path, enountering stunning views of Ollantaytambo and the Sacred Valley as we reach the imposing gateway of Intipunku, an Inca temple dedicated to the worship of snowcapped Verónica.
The alternative, an easier route for this day climbs gently from our second camp across rolling grassland to the south flank of Yana Orco, a rocky crag high above the Sacred Valley and the Inca quarries. Viewpoints allow us to look straight down on Ollantaytambo and its valleys (1,400m/4600ft) below us, as if from an airplane. We will wind our way along the rim of the valley, reaching a pass where we descend steeply through native Q’euna woodland, leveling off as we approach the Inca site of Intipunku. We will have lunch facing a breathtaking mountain and valley panorama, near the well-preserved Inca complex of Choquetacarpo. This site was most likely the residence of architects, masons and visiting dignitaries who managed the Inca quarries and performed ceremonies at Intipunku.
After a hearty lunch, we will descend to our second and last camp, located on Inca terraces topped by small burial towers known as chullpas, near the village of Cachicata.
After an energetic breakfast, we will explore different sectors of the Inca quarries and natural rock falls. The rocks from the quarry were destined to be used for building an Inca temple in Ollantaytambo. We will see a lot of rocks on our descending path to Ollantaytambo, where you will have some time to rest and explore the historic town. After our time in Ollantaytambo, we will take the train to Aguas Calientes where we can visit the hot springs and enjoy a nice dinner and a night in a hotel. We will need a good night’s rest for our tour of Machu Picchu early the next morning.
On the final day of the Cachicata Trek, you will wake up early and either hike for one and a half hours to the front gate of Machu Picchu, or take the bus to the gate from Aguas Calientes. You will arrive just in time to witness the sun rise over this magnificent city. Once inside Machu Picchu, you will have a 2 hour guided tour of this ancient city. After the tour, you will have free time for your own exploration.Finally, after the tour of Machu Picchu and to end the Cachicata Trek, you will meet your guide in Aguas Calientes. You can have lunch here before you board the train back to Cusco.