Nowadays, the Inca Quarry Trail Tours to Machu Picchu has become one of the novel alternative hikes. Unlike the famous Inca Trail, which has limited spots, the Inca Quarry Ollantaytambo is always available and you don’t need to book months in advance. Most importantly, according to the National Geographic Adventure Magazine, the Inca Quarry is considered as one of the top 6 best alternative hikes to arrive in Machu Picchu.
Furthermore, among the archeological sites you visit during the hike, we have the archeological site of Perolniyoc or Raqaypata. This site engineering challenges nature because of its difficult location. Another attraction that we can visit in this mountain range of the Andes is the Inti Punku (sungate). It is an archeological complex considered as an astronomical viewpoint. From this point, you could observe the snow capped mountain of La Verónica or Wakay Willka (sacred tears) Apu (sacred mountain) of Cusco.
Where is the Inca Quarry Trail to Machu Picchu?
The start point of our fascinating adventure of the Inca Quarry trail is in the town of Soqma (3,205m /10,512ft). Located northwest of the city of Cusco, which belongs to the district of Ollantaytambo, province of Urubamba, Cusco – Huarocondo – Ollantaytambo route.
What is the climate like in the Inca Quarry Trail Tours?
The climate in the Inca Quarry trail tours varies because the first two days we will be in high Andean areas where the weather is very cold. On the other hand, the other days, we will experience much warmer weather. You will notice two distinct weather:
This season is from November to March. The temperature drops to 0°C and reaches 19 °C during the first days of the hike. On the other hand, on the following days, the temperature drops to 10 °C and reaches 21 °C. This season is characterized by cloudy days and precipitation of 108 milliliters. Therefore, the roads are slippery and muddy making the roads challenging. However, with proper outerwear for the rain and good trekking shoes, you can make it.
This season is from April to October. The temperature drops to -4 °C and reaches 21 °C on the first two days of the hike. On the other hand, on the following days, the temperature drops to 0°C and reaches 26 °C since we will be in the eyebrow of the jungle where the weather is warmer.
During this season there is less presence of rain. Precipitation is 3 milliliters. There are more sunny days which make the trek a perfect one. In addition, the roads are less slippery, so you will be able to walk faster each day by day. However, be careful and bring proper outerwear for cold and sunny days.
What is the altitude in Inca the Quarry Trail to Machu Picchu?
Along the Inca Quarry trail tours, we will hike through different altitudes. This is because we will go from the high Andean area to the eyebrow of the jungle. Above all, the different altitudes will make it possible to have incredible views such as unique flora and fauna.
- Highest point is 4,450m / 14,599 ft – Kuychicassa Pass (Second day)
- Lowest point is 2,050m / 6,725 ft – Aguas Calientes town (Fourth day)
DAY 1: CUSCO – PEROLNIYOQ WATERFALL – SOQMA TOWN
- Soqma: 3,205m /10,512ft.
- Perolniyoc waterfall: 3,460m / 11,351ft.
- Perolniyoc or Raqaypata: 3,550m / 11,646ft.
- Rayan: 3,700m / 12,139ft.
DAY 2: RAYAN – SUNGATE – CHOQUETACARPO
- Pukacassa Pass: 4,370m / 14,337ft.
- Kuychicassa Pass: 4,450m / 14,599ft
- Inti Punku or sungate: 3,800m / 12,467ft.
- La Veronica snow capped mountain: 5,682m / 18,641ft
- Choquetacarpo: 3.600 m / 11.811ft.
- Rayan: 3,700m / 12,139ft
DAY 3: CHOQUETACARPO – OLLANTAYTAMBO – TRAIN TO AGUAS CALIENTES
- Canteras de Cachiccata: 3,525m / 11.564ft.
- Wiñaypocco: 3,400m / 11,154ft.
- Ollantaytambo: 2,700m / 8,858ft.
- Aguas Calientes: 2,050m / 6,725t.
DAY 4: AGUAS CALIENTES – MACHU PICCHU – CUSCO
- Machu Picchu: 2,400m / 7,873ft.
- Huayna Picchu: 2,800m / 9,186ft. (booked in advance, subject to availability)
- Machu Picchu Mountain: 3,200m / 10,498ft. (booked in advance, subject to availability).
- Intipunku: 3,400m / 11,154ft
Itinerary of the Inca Quarry Trail to Machu Picchu 4 Day/3 Night
The Inca Quarry Ollantaytambo, also known as Inca Quarry of Cachiccata, is an alternative trek to the classic Inca Trail and Salkantay trek. Most importantly, since it is not that popular, it is quiet and peaceful along the old Inca Trail (Qhapaq Ñan).
It was used as an access route to the Sacred Valley of the Incas and is still used by the locals. A wonderful journey that will create a bond with nature. In addition, it has beautiful landscapes, waterfalls, Inca archeological sites. Finally, takes you to wonder of the world, Machu Picchu.
Firstly, we will pick you up from your hotel in Cusco early in the morning (6:00 am according to your guide’s briefing). Then, we will head to Soqma town which takes 1 hour and a half approximately. In Soqma, we will meet the chefs, who are in charge of preparing the meals and the muleteers, who carry the equipment and belongings. After a brief introduction of the staff, we will start the hike to the incredible waterfall of Perolniyoc. We will hike for one hour and a half approximately to get there.
At the bottom of this beautiful marvel of nature, the fascinating microclimate creates an ideal environment. Here you can observe a great variety of flora such as sauco, queuña, chachacoma, among others. In addition, we will have a reasonable time to rest and enjoy the beautiful landscape and take pictures of the area. When we have spent some time in the waterfall of Perolniyoc, we will continue uphill until the archeological complex of Raqaypata. The journey takes 1 hour approximately.
Once in the archeological complex, the guide will talk about the importance of the Pre-inca and Inca constructions. After the guided visit, we will have some time to explore the site and take pictures on our own. Then, we will go to our first campsite, Rayan. Here, the support staff will be waiting with our delicious lunch made by the chefs. In the afternoon, we will have time to enjoy the view and rest. At around 6:00 pm, we will have dinner and plan the activities for the second day of the trek.
- Lodging: Rayan campsite.
- Level of difficulty: Challenging
- Hiking Distance: 8km / 4.97 miles.
Today the hiking is more challenging. However, we will be rewarded by the spectacular surprise we find. We will visit Inti Punku or sungate. Our chef will delight us with a delicious coca tea which is perfect for the altitude and nutritious breakfast. Then, we will get ready to start the hike to the first pass known as Pukacassa. It is an uphill hike that takes 3 hours approximately. In addition, we will have a fascinating view of the Sacred Valley of the Incas and snow capped mountain La Veronica.
After the break, we will go downhill for about 30 minutes until the lunch site. There we will have lunch and rest. We will need to recover our energy because of the high altitude we are at. Therefore, we will continue the hike going towards the second pass, Kuychicassa. Here we will have a brief break before we continue downhill towards Inti Punku (sungate).
This is the most complicated section of the hike because the path is rocky. It will take 2 hours approximately going downhill. Once we arrive in Inti Punku, we will have a guided tour of the site. Furthermore, you will be able to take pictures of the site and the beautiful Apu and snow capped mountain La Veronica with an inspiring sunset that will captivate you. Finally, we will go downhill towards our second campsite Choquetacarpo, located 40 minutes far from Inti Punku. Here our support staff will be waiting for us with our tents set and dinner ready.
- Lodging: Choquetacarpo campsite.
- Level of difficulty: Formidable
- Hiking distance: 12 km / 7.45 miles.
After a pleasant and relaxing night, the support staff will wake you up to have a delicious breakfast. Today, the guide will perform a good-bye ceremony since the chefs and muleteers will leave us here.
During, the hike we will visit the quarry of Cachiccata. Here we will find different remains of carved stones, some of which weren’t finished. Most of these rocks were taken to build the archeological complex of Ollantaytambo. In addition, we will visit some “chullpas”, which are constructions that served as warehouses for the “mallkis” (dead people).
We will continue the hike going downhill for about 2 hours approximately until Ollantaytambo. In the afternoon, we will go to the train station in Ollantaytambo, and board the train to Aguas Calientes town. In this town the hotel staff will be waiting for you to take you to the hotel previously selected.
- Lodging: hotel in Aguas Calientes.
- Level of difficulty: Moderate
- Hiking Distance: 10 km / 6.21 miles.
On this last day, we will get up very early in the morning at around 5:00 am. This way we will be able to have breakfast and take one of the first buses to Machu Picchu. We have two good reasons to arrive in Machu Picchu early in the morning. Those reasons are:
- It is better to be one of the first tourists arriving there to watch and enjoy the Sunrise over Machu Picchu with no crowds. The view is just spectacular.
- Our guide will give a 2-hour guided tour of Machu Picchu where you will learn more about its history, temples and altars of this Inca citadel. After that, we recommend climbing Huayna Picchu Mountain (optional hike, must be booked in advance to secure a spot). It takes 1 hour and half roundtrip to hike the mountain.
After the visit, we will take the bus back to Aguas Calientes town. Then, you will head towards the train station to take the train back to Ollantaytambo. Finally, private transportation will take you back to your hotel in the city of Cusco.
Level of difficulty: Easy.
Fauna and Flora
Flora and Fauna in the Inca Quarry Trail tours to Machu Picchu
During our adventure in the Inca Quarry trek, we will hike along beautiful landscapes with a great variety of flora and fauna. The most amazing thing of the hike is the microclimates you will experience. For example, you will go to the highlands of Cusco and then to the eyebrow of the jungle where the Machu Picchu is located. Furthermore, we will find some species such as:
When you go through the tropical zone and high Andean area, we will observe a variety of flowers and plants. Below we have a list of a variety of flora that you will observe along the hike
FLOWERS & PLANTS:
- Queuña (Polylepis racemosa).
- Peruvian Feather Grass (Stipa ichu).
- Llaulli (Barnadesia horrida)
- Potato (Solanum tuberosum)
- Lady’s purse (Calceolaria glauca).
- Panti panti (cosmos peucedanifolius)
- Faba bean (Vicia faba)
- Tayanca (Baccharis)
- Qiswar (Buddleja incana)
- Curlycup gumweed (Grindelia squarrosa)
- Ñucchu (Solanum palitans)
- Muña (Minthostachys mollis)
- Achanqaray (Begonia veitchii)
- Fuchsia alpestris Gardner
- Chimpu chimpu (Fuchsia boliviana)
- Tucnay (Hyptidendron arboreum).
- Floripondio (Brugmansia arborea)
- Rose evening primrose (Oenothera rosea).
- Chachacomo (Escallonia resinosa)
- Tree Ferns (Cyathea Caracasana).
- Japanese honeysuckle (Lonicera japonica).
- Aya zapatilla (Calceolaria glauca).
- Begonia (Begonia bracteosa).
- Red Vein Abutilon (Abutilon striatum).
- Garden balsam (Impatiens SP)
- Little cup (Cyathea)
- Sages (Salvia SP)
- Wiñay Wayna (Epidendrum Secundum).
- Oncidium pentadactylon
- Prosthechea crassilabia
- Waqanki or Veitch’s masdevallia (Masdevallia veitchiana).
- Oncidium cimiciferum
- Pleurothallis Lamellaris Lindley
- Pleurothallis racemiflora
Along the Inca Quarry trek, we can observe a great variety of birds and some mammals. Below you find a small list:
- Chinchilla (Chinchilla chinchilla).
- Northern Viscacha (Lagidium peruanum).
- Spectacled Bear (Tremarctos ornatus).
- Andean fox (Pseudalopex culpaeus).
- Skunk (Mephitidae).
- Andean mountain cat (Leopardus jacobita).
- Puma (Puma concolor).
- Llamas (Lama glama).
- Cows (Bos taurus).
- Sheeps (Ovis aries).
- Taruka or Deer (Hippocamelus antisensis).
- Andean Condor (Vultur gryphus).
- Hak’achu or Andean flicker (Colaptes rupicola)
- Gull (Laridae).
- Mountain Caracara (Phalcoboenus megalopterus).
- Mirlo chiguanco(Turdus chiguanco).
- Glossy-black thrush (Turdus serranus).
- Blue-gray tanager (Thraupis episcopus).
- Beryl-spangled tanager (Tangara Negroviridis).
- White-winged dove (Zenaida asiatica).
- House wren (Troglodytes aedon)
- Olivaceous siskin (Carduelis olivacea).
- Rufous-collared sparrow (Zonotrichia capensis)
- Royal Cinclodes (Cinclodes arico)
- American Kestrel (Falco sparverius cinnamominus)
- Sharp-shinned hawk (Accipiter striatus)
- Band-tailed Seedeater (Catamenia analis)
- Thick-billed Euphonia (Euphonia laniirostris)
- Giant Hummingbird (Patagona gigas peruviana).
- Mexican violetear (Colibri thalassinus)
- White-bellied hummingbird (Amazilia chinogaster)
- Sparkling violetear (Colibri coruscans).
- Chestnut-breasted coronet (Boissonneaua matthewsii).
- Spot-throated Hummingbird (Leucippus Viridicauda).
About Machu Picchu
Machu Picchu visit during the Inca Quarry Trail Tours
Yes, as long as you book the trek through an agency, they will provide the entrance ticket to Machu Picchu citadel, but, it does not include the entrance to the extra hikes to the mountains from where you can see the citadel from above. Since there are limited spots, you need to book these extra mountains in advance. In case, you want to hike one of them, you have to pay USD35.
On the last day of the Inca Quarry Ollantaytambo, you will visit Machu Picchu. The guide will take you on a 2 hour guided tour. Once you are inside the ruins, you can’t leave and reenter the site. Therefore, make sure to do anything you have to do before you enter Machu Picchu.
On the other hand, you can add an extra hike to your Machu Picchu tour. These extra hikes are Machu Picchu Mountain or Huayna Picchu. It is important to consider the entrance time since there are 3 different shifts. In addition, the guide will show you the route you should take to get to the checkpoint or he may take you to the checkpoint after the Machu Picchu guided tour.
Most importantly, you need to be aware of the time your train departs. Note that when you leave the ruins you have to wait for the bus to take you to Aguas Calientes (once the bus is full it departs). It takes around 40 minutes to get to the town. Keep in mind that you have to be at the train station 30 minutes before the train leaves.
On day 4 and after the guided tour of the Llaqta of Machu Picchu, it is possible to do one of the famous extra hikes that are called Machu Picchu Mountain or Huayna Picchu. However, none of these extra hikes are included in any tour that tourist agencies offer. What you have to do in case you want to hike these mountains is to pay an extra cost of an average of 35USD.
Likewise, it is important to book them in advance, at least 4 or more months in advance. This is because there are limited spots for each day and many tourists are eager to hike one of them. In addition, with the ticket of this extra hike you can re enter the ruins once. Something you can’t do if you only have the normal ticket.
Machu Picchu Mountain:
It takes one hour and a half going up and an hour going down approximately to hike this mountain. Your physical condition will determine the time it takes for you to reach the top. The path is wider and not as risky as the Huayna Picchu. In addition, you will have more time to take pictures compared to the time you have in Huayna Picchu.
Huayna Picchu Mountain:
It takes 1 hour going up and 45 minutes going down. To do this hike you need to be in good physical condition since it is more challenging than Machu Picchu mountain. The path is steep with small steps. Therefore, we don’t recommend climbing it with children or people with vertigo or heart problems.
Once you arrive in Aguas Calientes on the third day, you will stay in a hotel there. Then, on the following day early in the morning, we will visit Machu Picchu together with your guide. You can leave your luggage at the storage room of the hotel you are staying in. It is safe and free. This way, you won’t have to worry about carrying all your things on the hike. We recommend packing light to enjoy your visit to the wonder of the world, Machu Picchu. Before taking the train back to Ollantaytambo, you can go to the hotel and pick up your belongings.
About the hike
What you should know about the Inca Quarry Ollantaytambo to Machu Picchu
The Inca Quarry trail tours – Inca Quarry Ollantaytambo doesn’t have any restrictions since there are no standards that prohibited this trek. What is important is to be in good physical condition. However, it is not recommendable for children under 8 years old and elderly since it is challenging and very cold during the first 2 days of the trek.
Although the trek is appropriate for a general audience, health is an important factor to take into account. It is not recommended for people who have respiratory and heart problems. Great part of the hike will be done at an altitude over 3500m / 13,123ft. which will have an effect on your health since there is less oxygen available. Note that at the moment of booking you have to inform the agency if you have any health problems. This way they can assist you and share some useful tips. Remember that your health is very important!
The acclimatization process plays an important role when you decide to hike the Inca Quarry Ollantaytambo. You should know that you need some days for your body to adjust to the change in pressure, in temperature, and food. Therefore, tourist agencies recommend arriving 1 or 2 days before you start the hike.
It is important to take advantage of these days visiting sites around the city of Cusco as long as they are not challenging. If you have altitude sickness we recommend drinking coca tea and resting for a few hours. In case the symptoms don’t disappear, don’t self-medicate, visit the doctor instead.
To do the Inca Quarry Ollantaytambo, you should be aware of your physical condition. Therefore, training in advance is the key to success in hiking. You should strengthen your muscles, and your hiking resistance since the route is not uniform and presents different levels of difficulty.
According to the opinion of some specialists, you should do the following things:
To do the Inca Quarry trail tours is important to keep the pace of our steps with our breathing to avoid getting tired easily. Therefore, we recommend doing deep breathing exercises, diaphragmatic breathing, complete breathing and alternate nostril breathing.
We recommend going hiking gradually. You can start with 2 kilometers to 10 kilometers per day. Above all, hiking strengthens the muscles and improves your resistance. In addition, you can go mountain hiking which is a bit more challenging. Note that most of the time of the journey we will be at an altitude over 4000m / 13,123ft.
Staying hydrated during the hike is vital. Doing so, you will avoid loss of energy and headaches. Constant hydration will contribute to a better blood circulation towards the brain.
A balanced and nutritious diet is very important when doing this hike. Therefore we recommend eating food rich in iron and vitamin B which help to improve blood flow. You should preferably eat green vegetables and fish.
NOTE: Before starting the Inca Quarry Ollantaytambo, you should visit a physiotherapist to determine if you have any injury from the past.
Altitude sickness is a group of symptoms that can strike if you walk or climb to a higher elevation, or altitude, too quickly. Any time you go above 2,500 meters (8,000 ft), you can be at risk for altitude sickness. The pressure of the air that surrounds you is called barometric pressure. When you go to higher altitudes, this pressure drops and there is less oxygen available.
You may have symptoms if you travel to a high elevation without giving your body time to adjust to less oxygen. Even if you’re physically fit, you can still experience altitude sickness. In addition, high altitude and lower air pressure can lead to fluid leaking from blood vessels.
Researchers don’t understand exactly why this happens. This leakage causes fluid to build up in your lungs and brain. Here you find a list of some Altitude Sickness symptoms:
The first symptoms you will have when arriving at a higher altitude can be avoided using natural remedies like drinking coca tea which is the most effective way to cope with mild symptoms. Another option is to take some prescribed pills to relieve the pain. It is recommendable to stay in a place at a lower altitude, and rest the first days. If the situation doesn’t get better, call a doctor. You can opt for the best option if you have the following symptoms:
- Sleeping disorders
- Fatigue and loss of energy
- Diarrhea or constipation
- Increased heart rate
- Shortness of breath
Unlike the previous symptoms, the symptoms listed below are more aggressive. Ignoring moderate or severe symptoms can lead to a life-threatening situation. You can relieve the pain using tank oxygen. It is important to go immediately to a lower altitude and have medical assistance to prevent any deadly complication. In addition, it is recommendable to keep hydrated. Drink from 3 to 4 liters of water, avoid alcoholic drinks, and start a diet based on carbohydrates and sugars. Some of the severe symptoms are:
- Shortness of breath
- Loss of consciousness
- Loss of sense of direction
- Inability to walk
How to prevent altitude sickness?
- It’s recommendable to spend some days acclimatizing until your body adjusts to the altitude.
- Avoid eating heavy foods and keep a healthy diet.
- Abstain from drinking alcohol.
- Drink hot tea, preferably coca tea.
- Chew coca leaves or coca candy.
- Eat fried fruits.
In the Inca Quarry Ollantaytambo trek, it is possible to have access to some restrooms that are improving as time goes by. Since it is a new route, they are implementing more services along the route. Although there are no showers, the restrooms available are free of cost. Don’t forget to carry toilet paper, though.
Notice that the restrooms are available only at the campsites, but not along the trek.
There is no electricity in the Inca Quarry trek. So it won’t be possible to charge your cell phone, or camera in the route. It will only be possible when you arrive in Ollantaytambo. Therefore, we recommend bringing extra batteries or a portable charger. Otherwise, you will miss the chance to take photographs along the hike.
The Inca Quarry trek doesn’t have wi-fi in the campsite nor along the route. However, there are parts where you can make phone calls. Therefore, we recommend informing your relatives and friends that you won’t communicate with them for at least 3 days. This way you can avoid any misunderstanding and inconvenience to others. Keep in mind that the idea is to create a bond with nature and leave everything from our monotonous life aside.
The campsites where you will spend the nights are not pre-established. This is because there are different places where you can spend the night. It will depend on the agency that you choose to do the trek. If you decide to hike on your own, you can spend the night in the following places we recommend on the following list. These campsites have the best areas for camping and the most frequent ones are:
- DAY 1: Rayan: 3,700m / 12,139ft.
- A DAY 2: Choquetacarpo: 3.600 m / 11.811ft.
- DAY 3: hotel in Aguas Calientes: 2,050 m / 6,725ft.
Tips to Book
How to book the Inca Quarry Ollantaytambo Trek to Machu Picchu?
The best option to do the Inca Quarry trek is hiring the service of a tourist agency. In addition, you have to ask for very important information such as the equipment and logistics that will be given to you. Being well informed will prevent from being tricked by unscrupulous agencies. Furthermore, a reliable agency will have everything set in advance. Therefore, we recommend doing some research about the best tour operators in Cusco.
One way to find the perfect agency for you is visiting some online platforms. These platforms are very interactive and you can read the travelers recommendations. In addition, you can visit the website of the agency they recommend and email or call them for further details. Here we have a list of some of the most important platforms worldwide:
The cost of the Inca Quarry Ollantaytambo to Machu Picchu varies. Each tour agency has its own prices which depends on the type of service you ask for and the number of people that will be in the group:
It is a service in which 7 to 10 people join the group. The cost of the group service varies from 600 USD to 800 USD per person. Something you should take into consideration is that you should hire an average service. On the other hand, if you hire a low cost service, there will be 15 or more people in the group. Furthermore, the support staff and the guide will receive a poor salary which will influence the quality of the service they give and your trip won’t be as pleasant as you have expected.
It is a more personalized service, only for the people who have chosen to be in your group. The cost of the private service varies from 900 USD to 1100 USD per person and needs at least 2 people to depart. It is worth mentioning that all the staff will offer a high quality service and equipment to make the most of the experience.
NOTE: Since the Inca Quarry is not as popular as other treks, there are not many people who sign for this trek. That is why it is more common to hire private service.
The availability of the Inca Quarry Ollantaytambo trek to Machu Picchu depends on the agency you choose. This is because there are no restrictions on the admission and you don’t need a special permit. In addition, the trek doesn’t have a limited number of trekkers as it is the case of the Inca Trail. Moreover, it is available all year long.
It is worth mentioning that the availability depends on the type of service you hire. Private service offers daily departure anytime of the year. On the other hand, the agencies that offer group service depart only on specific days where there more people. In case you hire the group service, you should ask the agency the days available.
To do the Inca Quarry Ollantaytambo trek to Machu Picchu, you don’t need to carry many documents. The most important document that you have to bring is the one you used to book your Machu Picchu ticket. This can be your passport or Identity Card; the one that you gave the agency to book your tour. In case you have asked for a student discount, you have to bring your university student card.
Note: Keep in mind that to travel to Peru, your passport or Identity card has to be updated and must not expire at least in 6 months before your traveling date. If your documents are about to expire, you should update them to avoid any inconvenience at the moment of entering Peru and Machu Picchu.
For instance, if your trip is in November, your documents must not expire before April next year.
It is usual that the tourist agencies recommend booking your tour at least 2 months in advance. Doing so the agency you book through will have enough time to arrange your trip with complete logistics, support staff, and professional guides. Above all, they will buy the entrance tickets to visit Machu Picchu and the train tickets.
On the other hand, if you decide to do an extra hike inside Machu Picchu citadel, you have to ask for it in advance. These extra hikes are to climb Machu Picchu Mountain or Huayna Picchu. We recommend booking them at least 4 or 5 months in advance since there are limited spots and they are sold fast.
Chefs and Porters
Staff – Chefs and Muleteers in the Inca Quarry Ollantaytambo Trek
Support staff during the hike is as important as the guide. Among them we have:
He is the person in charge of preparing the meals for 4 days of the hike. They were trained at Culinary Schools where they learned how to prepare delicious dishes that will surprise you. It is usually the guide who introduces the chef on the first day of the hike.
He is the person in charge of guiding the horses that carry the equipment, and food supplies that will be used on the hike. They are people who live in the high Andean area of Cusco. Most of them are farmers. Therefore, hiring their service through a reliable agency contributes to generate a new source of income.
During the Inca Quarry Ollantaytambo, there won’t be any ATMs, or exchange houses. Therefore, we recommend taking cash with you. It will be OK to take about 400 or 500 Peruvian Soles for personal expenses. You may want to buy some snacks or drinks. Likewise, you need cash for tips that you might want to give the staff who have helped along the trek and contributed to the memorable experience.
After hiking the Inca Quarry trail tours and getting well acquainted with the support staff and guide, you may wonder how much to tip them. You should keep in mind that it is not mandatory to tip the guide or support staff. However, if you feel that you have received a high-quality service, you are free to tip the staff. You need to take some cash with you to do so or you can say some words expressing how much you appreciate their help and motivate them to keep up with their hard work.
What most tourists who hike for more than 3 days are a goodbye ceremony. It is then when muleteers, chefs, and guides say goodbye and thank tourists for choosing to go on the Inca quarry trail tours. At this moment, you can leave the staff a tip for the service you have received.
The amount of money for the muleteer can be between 50 to 100 soles. In addition, the chef receives double (between 100 to 200). Finally, there is the guide who was always taking care of you. In this case, he receives your personal appreciation, but it has to be more than what you leave the chef since the guide is all the time with you.
Along the adventure in the Inca Quarry Ollantaytambo, the professional guide is one of the most important elements of the staff. It is thanks to him that you can get more information about the local and Inca history, flora, fauna, customs, traditions, and other interesting aspects of the hike. There is no doubt that the guide will be the person in charge of making this trek a memorable experience.
Recommended Equipment for the Inca Quarry trail tours to Machu Picchu
To do the Inca Quarry Ollantaytambo is important to bring only the most essential equipment. Therefore, some days prior to your trek, you will meet your guide and he will give you further information about the tour. He will also hand you your duffel bag.
If you wonder what is the duffel useful for, we will give you more details. The duffel bag is a small bag where you put all your belongings for the trek and it will be given by the tourist agency you hire. Inside the duffel you can carry until 7kg/15.4 pounds.
It is important to mention that the sleeping bag and airmat, that go in your duffel bag, both weigh 3.5 kg. In addition, you will see your duffel bag and have access to it only at the end of the day. This is because the muleteers, who also carry the equipment and food, always walk faster than the tourists and arrive first at the lunch or campsite.
For the Inca Quarry trail tours, we recommend packing light.
Here you have a list of the most essential things you should bring for the Inca Quarry ollantaytambo:
- 1 warm jacket.
- 1 rain jacket / rain poncho.
- Beanie, 1 pair of gloves, a hat, and sunglasses.
- 3 long sleeve polo shirts and 1 sleeve polo shirt (quick-dry)
- 2 pairs of trekking pants and 1 pair of waterproof trousers.
- 3 pairs of socks and underwear.
- 1 pair of trekking boots
- Trekking shoes or sport sandals.
- 1 pair of leggings (optional)
- Sandals and swimsuits in case you want to go to the hot springs in Aguas Calientes.
- Headlamp and batteries.
- Bottle of water or camelbak.
- Personal medication
- Camera and film recorder.
- Sunscreen (SPF 35+)
- Plastic bags of trash
Inside your backpack you should carry the items that will go with you and that you will need while hiking the Inca Quarry trail tours to Machu Picchu:
- Personal Medication
- Toilet paper
- Wet wipes
- Mosquito repellent (Eco friendly option highly recommended)
- Alcohol gel
- Coca leaves
- Trekking poles
Here you have a list of the items you should bring to the Inca Quarry trail tours to Machu Picchu:
- Face Moisturizer
- Alcohol gel.
- Wet wipes
- Quick-dry towels
- Toothbrush and paste
- Soap and Shampoo
- Toilet paper
- Personal medication.
- First aid kit: bands, cotton, alcohol, etc.
Note that you should take only the most essential things for the Inca Quarry trail tours – Inca Quarry Ollantaytambo. All the extra luggage that you have brought for your trip to Peru can be stored in the storage room of the hotel that you are staying at in Cusco. In case, the hotel doesn’t have a storage room, you can leave your luggage in the storage room of our agency at no additional cost.
Frequently Asked Questions
Inca Quarry trail Tours Frequently Asked Questions
The best season to do the Inca Quarry trail tours is from April to October since there are no rainfalls. These months are part of the dry season. In addition, the sky is clear and days are sunny which creates beautiful landscapes. Furthermore, the road is firm and safe which makes it possible to hike this section in less time.
As there is a perfect time to do the Inca Quarry trail tours to Machu Picchu. It is not recommendable to go hiking in January and February. During these months there is great presence of rains, landslides, fog and the roads are not safe. Therefore, the trek is more challenging and you may not have a good time during the hike. However, if it is not possible to pick other months, we recommend taking extreme care and asking the agency the alternative treks you have in case this one is not available.
Although it is not mandatory to have travel insurance to do the Inca Quarry trail tours to Machu Picchu, we highly recommend getting one. This way you can prevent any inconvenience that can happen during your trip. It is also essential to have travel insurance to enter other countries in the world. Agencies don’t offer travel insurance. If you need one, you should know that the cost of travel insurance is not always the same. It depends on the type and the length of the insurance.
- Ahart Frinzi & Smith.
- World Nomads.
- Berkley International.
- Amex Assurance.
- Liberty Insurance.
During this great hike that will take you on the Inca Quarry trail tours – Inca quarry Ollantaytambo, you don’t need to worry about the food you will be served. As long as you book the trek through a reliable agency, they will make sure there is enough and delicious food for all days of the hike. The chef will prepare typical dishes of the Cusco region and Peru. The typical dishes will be prepared with products from the region bought at the traditional market of San Pedro in the city of Cusco. Among the dishes you will enjoy, we have the following:
- Risotto of quinoa
- Mixed salads
- Ceviche of vegetables with corn and mushroom
- Stuffed Fried Wonton with ham, cheese or sausages
- Guacamole with nachos
- Stuffed Caigua
- Papa a la huancaína
- Causa rellena
- Criolla soup (vegetable soup with pieces of chicken)
- Wheat soup, Vegetable soup with noodles, quinoa with vegetables, Minute Soup
- Cream of corn, chuño (dehydrated potato), moraya soup, asparagus soup
- Mild chicken soup
- Rolled Trout
- Fried rice
- Lomo saltado
- Spaghetti with beef stew
- Tallarin saltado
- Fried Trout
- Chicken with pineapple sauce
- Chicken stew
- Stuffed peppers
- Rice with vegetables
- Rolled chicken
- Locro of Olluco
We recommend bringing trekking poles for the Inca Quarry trail tours to Machu Picchu and for any other trek, especially if you have any knee problems. Trekking poles help you keep the balance and provide two more points of support reducing the pain on the knees when going downhill. Bring trekking poles with rubber tips to avoid damage. They must be light, average weight of 250 to 350 grams per trekking pole, easy to adjust, and with a locking mechanism.
On the other hand, they must be made of aluminum or carbon fiber which are resistant materials. Most agencies don’t include the cost of the trekking poles on the price tour, this means you will have to rent them paying an additional cost. They usually cost USD 15. Or if you have them you can bring to the inca quarry trail tours – inca quarry ollantaytambo.
For the Inca Quarry trail tours to Machu Picchu, your tourist agency will provide everything you need for the lodging and logistics. The first 2 nights you will go to the campsite and on the 3rd night you will stay in a hotel. Note that the trek does not include sleeping bags. You can rent one from the agency or bring one from home. It costs USD25. We recommend bringing one that is -10 °C at least.
On your own:
It is possible to do the Inca Quarry trail tours to Machu Picchu on your own. Since there is no regulation established to do this hike, you can do it without hiring a tourist agency nor a guide. However, it is important to show respect taking care of the environment. If you decide to do the Inca Quarry Ollantaytambo on your own, you can read some tips to do this hike, things to do before and during the hike:
Transportation from Cusco to the start point:
The route is Cusco – Huarocondo – Ollantaytambo which is located 62 km from the city of Cusco. It takes almost 2 hours to get there. You have to take a minivan that departs from Grau Av. and Pavitos street. Note that it may cost S/ 10.00 and the minivan leaves each 15 minutes.
Then, you have 2 options:
- 1st Option: Leave the minivan at “Soqma bridge” bus stop and from this point start hiking towards the town of Soqma. You will have to walk a distance of 3.5 kilometers for about 1 hour and 40 minutes approximately along the roadway until you get there.
- 2nd Option: Arrive in the town of Ollantaytambo and hire a taxi (it may cost S/ 30.00 to S/ 40.00 depending on the number of travelers). The taxi will take you to the town of Soqma in about 30 minutes.
Once you arrive in the town of Soqma, we can start the hike inca quarry trail tours. Something important to keep in mind is that if you have a heavy backpack or luggage, you can hire the service of a muleteer. He will ask for 200 Peruvian soles per each day and can only be with you until the Inca bridge of Ollantaytambo. When you get to the town of Ollantaytambo, you should take the train towards the town of Aguas Calientes.
Return transport – inca quarry ollantaytambo:
After visiting the fascinating Machu Picchu, you have to return by train to the city of Cusco. The route is Aguas Calientes – Ollantaytambo. You have to buy the train tickets in advance and make sure you choose the right time to go and return. This way you can arrange transportation from Ollantaytambo to Cusco and find a better train offer.
- Food: You need to bring non-perishable food for the hike since there isn’t any restaurant on the first two days. On the third day you will find restaurants in the town of Ollantaytambo.
- Lodging: You won’t find any hotel or lodging during the first 2 days. Therefore, you need to bring your camping equipment (sleeping bag, airmat, tent, etc).
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