INCA QUARRY TRAIL TO MACHU PICHU INFORMATION 2024
Hike through the Sacred Valley of the Inca along a trail etched by the Incas and in local use today. Visit ancient Inca ruins and unravel some of the mysteries of how stone was excavated to build the structures still standing in the nearby Ollantaytambo Town. Pass over mountain peaks and witness spectacular Andean scenery. The bonus of all this is, the Inca Quarry Trail requires no permit to book and you can do on any date that is best for you!
Cuscoco is a land of endless beauty that it would take a long time to see every tourist attraction. And While visiting Cusco, you come across a whole bunch of information and treks everywhere around the central plaza and surroundings.
WHAT ARE THE HIGHLIGHTS & WHAT TO SEE A LONG THE INCA QUARRY TRAIL TREK TO MACHU PICCHU?
Explore the Ñaupa Iglesia
There’s whispers in the incredible Sacred Valley, of a dimensional gate, a door, a portal to another world. This peculiar portal is said to be found at the site of Ñaupa Iglesia, an ancient sacred ruin, which may actually predate the Inca dynasty. The Archaeological Park of Ñaupa Iglesia is completely free, and it’s easy to independently visit this special place and feel the power of the magical cave and the few remaining surrounding ruins.
Cool off in the mist of Perolniyoc Cascade
When hiking the Inca Quarry Trail you can expect to see jaw dropping mountain views, but this unexpected little stop on the first day brings you to the opening of a pristine waterfall, carrying fresh water down from the mountain. The perfect place for a breather.
INCA SITES ALONG THE HIKE
Right Above the waterfall, the ancient Inca settled a set of big houses, shrines, and temples that nowadays is named also the Perolniyoq Inca site. And, following the original Inca trail with its unique lookouts one after the other along, in a 40-minute walk up from the waterfall, this Inca site finally will be reached.
Reach new heights at Kuychicassa Mountain Pass (4450mt)
Channel your inner mountain goat while tackling Kuychicassa on the second day. At 4,450 metres (14,599 feet), this is the highest pass on the trek. Going up is one thing, but you will not believe what you’ve scaled once you reach the bottom.
Survey the Stunning Valley from Inti Punku
In Quechuan, Inti Punku means ‘Sun Gate’, and the Incas built structures like these throughout the Andes to honour the sun god. While the Quarry Trail does not go to the famous Sun Gate overlooking Machu Picchu, this intriguing archaeological complex overlooks Ollantaytambo and the valley below, a fantastic reward on the challenging second day.
Peer into the Inca past in Ollantaytambo
In this ancient town you get a real sense of how the Inca civilisation once thrived. Home to two impressive ruins and sitting in the beautiful Sacred Valley, this is where the Inca Quarry Trail ends as you walk along the cobblestone path to the main square. Read more about Ollantaytambo here!
Machu Picchu Inca City
The UNESCO World Heritage site of Machu Picchu is what you have been waiting for! Witness its breathtaking sites and fascinating history.
FACTS ABOUT THE HIKE:
- Difficulty: Moderate to difficult (becuase the high altitude)
- Distance: 26 km / 16 mi
- Duration: 2 nights camping, 3 days hiking
- Permits: Not required
- Top elevation: 4 449mts./14 596 ft. Kuichikasa pass
BEST TIME TO HIKE THE INCA QUARRY TRAIL
The best time to hike the inca trail is in the Winter season, fromApril, May, June, July and August and September.
Because there’s NO RAIN and the weather is the best in comparison to the other seasons of the year.
It is advisable to choose the dry season or the Peruvian Winter, which runs roughly from May to September. The night temperature in the Andes is cold. During the day, there is a high chance to have almost the entire day sunny. Sometimes the rays of the sun can be strong and days hot, but with a proper dress, hat, and sunscreen, it will turn out more enjoyable, seeing distant landscapes and everything else around.
HOW FIT DO YOU NEED TO BE?
Anyone trekking for three solid days over 3,500m above sea level needs a reasonable level of fitness. Altitude sickness is a real risk, but we’ll try to acclimatize you with some time in Cusco before the trip. Most people complete the Quarry Trail without any problems. Drink lots of water as you go, pace yourself, wear polarized sunglasses and appropriate boots
DO YOU NEED HIKING POLES?
Yes, trekking poles are going to be a great help, mainly for the uphill hikes and the steep descent on the second day afternoon heading to Inti Punku.
DO YOU NEED TO BOOK IT IN ADVANCE?
If you wish, you book it in advance, you can do it, but it is not necessary for here there is no entry limit. On the contrary, it is unlimited. Yes, foreplay without despairing because dates are movable too, as long as you arrive in Machu Picchu on the right date, check it out the availability with Orange Nation Peru!
There is no way to guarantee no altitude sickness with only a day or two days in Cusco. It is a big mistake to rush over the mountain hikes without being not even slightly acclimatized. Instead, take some time on short Cusco city tours and walk at a slow pace. However, a slow and gradual ascent is not always possible, so certain medications can help it to prevent such as acetazolamide or others under doctors’ medication. Tour guides and companies carry an oxygen bottle for helping with the lack of oxygen as well as a basic first aid kid.
TOUR TO THE QUARRY TRAILS
For a more enjoyable walk to the Inca quarry trail, the best option is to pick up a tour operator. It is a 4-day package including Machu Picchu and is available year-round. Also, this is your second chance to hike if you missed the classic Inca trail hike and Inca trail ruins.
WHAT TO EXPECT ON THE INCA QUARRY TRAIL
The first big difference is that you won´t see as many people as on the famous Inca trail walking the same route. It may be you will be the only group and have the landscape all to yourself.
Socma village is home to the Peruvian natives, direct descendants of the Inca, whose still Inca blood runs through their veins; so there they will be to talk or at least to greet if you wish to. They farm all types of grains, corn, and crops, raise their animals, and make their life somehow.
WHAT’S THE SCENERY LIKE?
Despite the variance, you’ll still be hiking through the most breathtaking scenery the Andes has to offer. Anticipate towering green peaks, rugged granite boulders, remote communities such as Socma, and historical sites like the renowned Q’orimarca ruins. Several hikers who have experienced both routes argue that The Quarry Trail triumphs over the Inca Trail in terms of picturesque views: you’ll encounter lofty passes such as Puccaqasa (4,370m), catch glimpses of the Nevado Veronica mountain, and witness stunning valleys cascading down on all sides.
HORSES, NOT PORTERS
During the Inca Trail hike, all the camping equipment is transported by porters. However, on the Quarry Trail, it is transported by horses. This presents the additional advantage of walking through the Andes in the company of magnificent equines. Naturally, you will still be accompanied by knowledgeable guides who will assist you throughout the journey, a chef prepares the food, and the horsemen set up camp each evening.
When is the raining season?
From November to March is the wet season; the temperature rises and the region receives heavy rainfall.
How many hours will I hike per day?
Each day you will wake up at about 7 am and hike for between 5 and 7 hours. The longest hiking time is on the second day.
What type of accommodation can I expect on the Inca quarry Trail?
Accommodation on the Inca Quarry Trail is camping (two nights). Double tents (twin-share) and foam camping mats will be provided. The porters will set up the tents while the cook prepares meals at the end of each day.
A FEW USEFUL THINGS TO KEEP IN MIND WHEN HIKING THE ANDES:
- A pair of good quality, comfy hiking shoes is a must. I highly recommend Merrell brand. Get them one size bigger, and waterproof if possible, and make sure you do some hiking before the trip, to break them in.
- Sturdy, medium thick, moisture wicking hiking socks, and a pair of slides to walk about camp.
- Bring lots of layers, it gets really cold at night, and quite hot during the day. Scarves, hats, gloves, and warm leggings are a must.
- Bring lots of sunscreen for both your body and lips.
- Wear a hiking hat with wide brim, and adjustable drawcord.
- Bring a poncho, in case it rains.
- Bring a water bottle with a 2-liter capacity. Don’t worry about the water – the porters will provide clean water at all times.
- Bring some altitude sickness pills, and start taking them before you get to Cusco so your body can more easily acclimate. Although I did not get mountain sickness, I got headaches which could’ve been the result of both high altitude and mild dehydration, so pack some Advil or other pain killer too.
- You will hear this advise multiple times, drink lots of water, and stay hydrated at all times, to prevent or alleviate mountain sickness symptoms.
- No need to bring snacks, they are provided by the guides.
- It’s best to rent a hiking pole (at least one). We rented one pair and each of us got one pole. It helps especially going downhill.
- Sleeping bags are provided, but pillows aren’t, so bring portable, inflatable pillows – they can easily fit in your backpack, and aren’t heavy.
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