INCA QUARRY TRAIL TO MACHU PICHU
Cusco 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 tours everywhere around the central plaza and surroundings. Now, in this brief post, we present a simple general guide to the Inca Quarry trail connecting Machu Picchu. Yes! And Join us!
WHAT IS A INCA QUARRY TRAIL
The term quarry says it all. It is a 3-day hike over the mountains of Ollantaytambo, intending to visit the sun gate or Inti punku, and of course, the Inca quarries on the mountainside overlooking the Urubamba River. But apart from visiting the quarries, there is also a visit to a waterfall and other small Inca sites on the way.
FACTS ABOUT THE HIKE:
- Difficulty: Moderate to difficult
- 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
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?
There is no need to be a trailblazer to undertake the Inca Quarry trail, but it will require a moderate level of fitness because the second-day hike takes a long way and presents two mountain passes over 4 000 m. From the first mountain pass, the footpath leads with some ups and downs to the second and highest pass, and that doesn´t mean there is another big valley between the mountain passes on the second day. No!
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.
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.
From the beginning at Socma Village, in a sixty-minute walk through a rural track and connecting an original Inca trail, the waterfall of Perolniyoq comes into view. It is a pretty nice two-level drop waterfall with water plummeting down and the breeze setting down. Located in a small humid valley below a huge rock cliff.
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.
A QUICK STROLL TO OLLANTAYTAMBO
For a brief stroll through the Ollantaytambo Park, know that you should buy a nighttime 19:00 hrs train ticket to Aguas Calientes so you won´t be in a hurry but take your lunch and a walk at Ollantaytambo streets or park.
*Extra permit is required to enter the park, which you can get the same day at the checkpoint.
INCA QUARRY CAMPSITES
There are no hotels on the Inca Quarry trek to Machu Picchu. All the travel companies use tents to organize their group. The first campsite is located close to Rayanniyuc town, and the second campsite is located close to the Inca Quarry. Those are the official campsite where all groups spend the night.
The final destination is probably going to be the most enjoyable as it is the arrival of Machu Picchu. There you will be to once fine Inca city, where Incas lived, and just imagine those glorious days in which they could have inhabited the old rooms and temples. What was left remains to this day as mute witnesses of them, and yet it seems as if they have gone leaving their Llamas because Llamas still graze all over Machu Picchu Park. The last thing you are meant to do is to hike up to Huayna Picchu mountain or Machu Picchu Mountain, but if not, try the Inti Punku sun gate or the Inca bridge.
You will start your Quarry Trail expedition from Socma town, where you will be introduced to your horsemen and guides who will be your companions for the next 4 days. Then continue to the awe-inspiring Perolniyoc waterfall viewpoint – an excellent location for taking selfies and having a snack. After a brief respite, continue your journey to the campsite situated approximately 3,700m above sea level.
The second day of the Quarry Trail could be the most challenging, as you will ascend to the Pucak´asa pass (4370m) for an amazing panoramic view of the Andes. Then, after hiking for approximately two hours, you will reach the highest point of the trek – the colossal Kuychicassa pass (4450m). After that, it’s mostly downhill for a while, with 3 hours of effortless walking down to a site known as Inti Punku (the Sun Gate of Ollantaytambo)You can catch a glimpse of the Veronica Mountain soaring high into the sky from here. It’s pure magic. Spend the night camping near Choquetacarpo, about 3,600m above sea level.
The third day is mostly downhill. As you hike by Kachiqata quarry (which explains the name Quarry Trail), you’ll come across a rock quarry that the Incas left unfinished during the Spanish conquest. By midday, you’ll arrive at Ollantaytambo, where you’ll board a train to Aquas Calientes (and even take a dip in the hot springs upon arrival). On the day fourth, a brief bus ride will take you to the grandeur of Machu Picchu.
INCA QUARRY TRAIL VIDEO 4K