WHAT IS THE 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.
HOW MANY DAYS IS THE INCA QUARRY TRAIL?
It’s a four-day trek, about the same amount of time as the Inca Trail, but the last morning is just a transfer from Kachiqata to Aguas Calientes. You will only walk for about three days.
WHAT’S THE SCENERY LIKE, ON THE INCA QUARRY TRAIL ?
You’re still trekking through the best of the Andes, so expect soaring green peaks, granite boulders, isolated villages like Socma and archaeological sites like the famous Q’orimarca ruins. Many trekkers who’ve done both say The Quarry trail actually beats the Inca for pure scenery: you’ve got high passes like Puccaqasa (4,370m), views of the Nevado Veronica mountain and stunning valleys falling away on all sides.
WHEN IS THE BEST TIME TO DO THE INCA QUARRY TRAIL?
If you want to beat most of the crowds (not that the Quarry Trail ever gets really busy), pick a shoulder season. May or October are good months. Peak time is the same as the Inca Trail, June, July and August. Weather here will be great, but you will be fighting for photo space at Machu Picchu. The difference is, you will have had the Andes to yourself for the last few days.
HOW IS THE ROUTE OF THE INCA QUARRY TRAIL
You’ll set off from Soqma, where you’ll meet the horsemen and guides that’ll be your best buddies for the next four days. Set off on the trail and you’ll soon hit the little town of Socma, then it’s on to the stunning Perolniyoc cascade lookout. A good spot for a selfie and a snack. After a rest, push on to the campsite, which sits about 3,700m above sea level.
The second day of the Quarry Trail is probably the toughest. You’ll climb to the pass of Puccagasa (4370m) for some of the best views in the Andes, then hike for about two hours to the highest point on the trek: the mammoth Kuychicassa pass (4450m). After that it’s downhill for a while (phew), two hours of easy walking down to a site the Incas called Inti Punku (which means the Sun Gate, although it’s not THE Sun Gate). You can see the Veronica mountain shooting into the sky from here. It’s magic. Camp out near Choquetacarpo, about 3,600m above sea level.
On the third day it’s mostly downhill . You’ll walk past Kachiqata quarry (hence the Quarry Trail). This is a rock quarry that the Incas never completed during the Spanish conquest. By midday you’ll be at Kachiqata town, where you’ll take a train to Aquas Calientes (with a dip in the hot springs on arrival). The next morning it’s a short bus ride and all the glory of Machu Picchu.
HOW FIT DO I 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.
WHAT IS THE CLIMATE LIKE IN THE INCA QUARRY TRAIL?
The climate in the Inca Quarry trail 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, 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)
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
- Severe Symptoms:
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.
PHYSICAL TRAINING FOR INCA QUARRY TRAIL
To do the Inca Quarry Trail, 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 Trail, you should visit a physiotherapist to determine if you have any injury from the past.
HOW LONG BEFORE THE HIKE SHOULD I ARRIVE TO CUSCO?
The acclimatization process plays an important role when you decide to hike the Inca Quarry Trail. 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.
WHAT ARE THE RESTRICTIONS TO DO THE INCA QUARRY TRAIL ?
The Inca Quarry trail 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 Inca Quarry Trail 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!
HOW ARE THE TOILETS IN THE INCA QUARRY TRAIL?
Andean Great Treks, always cares about the comfort of our clients on the different trekking trails. For this, in the Inca Quarry Trail, we offer the service of portable toilets, and strictly complying with the biosecurity protocols.
IS THERE ELECTRICITY ON THE INCA QUARRY TRAIL
There is no electricity in the Inca Quarry Trail. So it won’t be possible to charge your cell phone, or camera in the route. It will only be possible when you arrive to Ollantaytambo. Therefore, we recommend bringing extra batteries or a solar portable charger. Otherwise, you will miss the chance to take photographs along the hike.
IS THERE INTERNET ON THE INCA QUARRY TRAIL
The Inca Quarry Trail doesn’t have wi-fi in the campsites 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.
WHAT ARE THE CAMPSITES ON THE INCA QUARRY TRAIL ?
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.
- DAY 2: Choquetacarpo: 3.600 m / 11.811ft.
- DAY 3: Hotel in Aguas Calientes: 2,050 m / 6,725ft.
DO I NEED TRAVEL INSURANCE FOR THE INCA QUARRY TRAIL?
Although it is not mandatory to have travel insurance to do the Inca Quarry trail 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.
DO I NEED TREKKING POLES FOR THE INCA QUARRY TRAIL?
We recommend bringing trekking poles for the Inca Quarry trail 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 20.
SHOULD I RENT AN ADDITIONAL HORSE?
If you are concerned about the walk, you have the option of hiring an additional horse. The cost is US $ 60.00. You can only ride the first two days of the promotion. In the last days, you will sometimes have the opportunity to unsubscribe and take a car or train for certain stages of the trek. In addition, you should keep in mind that the first day you will take a different route than those who choose to walk. You do not have to organize this in advance.
WHY SHOULD I GO TO THE BRIEFING?
The briefing is very important because that is when you will meet your guide. At this meeting, your guide will provide you with important details about the hike. If you participate in the Inca Quarry Trail, you will receive a duffle bag for your personal belongings. During the briefing, you will also pay the balance of your walk. You will receive a map of our offices with your reservation information.
SHOULD I BRING ADDITIONAL MONEY FOR THE INCA QUARRY TRAIL?
Yes. It’s very important!!! We recommend that you bring 300-400 Peruvian soles. You may not need this money, but in an emergency you should make sure you have enough money. If you have difficulties on the route, you can use the money to buy alternative means of transport such as: car, horse and train. If you’re on the 5-day hike, there are some additional activities along the way, including the hot springs.
DO YOU PROVIDE WATER DURING THE INCA QUARRY TRAIL?
Yes, we will give you clean water with every meal and in the morning when you wake up.
At meal times we will give you teas, coffees etc to drink. You’ll come across a mountain spring, fountain or small stream approximately every 1½ hours along the trail where you can fill up your water bottle. Take a bottle of at least 1½ liter capacity per person. Although the water looks it is always safer to use sterilizing tablets or a water filter. The sterilizing tablets can be bought in most pharmacies in Cusco. With these tablets you have to wait between 30 and 40 minutes before drinking. Bottled mineral water can also be taken from Cusco or bought at Ollantaytambo.
HOW ARE THE GUIDES FOR THE INCA QUARRY TRAIL?
Having a good guide is an essential part of a good walking experience. For this reason, “Adean Great Treks” hires and works with some of the best guides in the business. Our guides have knowledge in the fields of history, archeology, ecology and are from the Cuzco region.
To continue working with our guides, we pay them a higher salary than most agencies and make sure they are treated well. They can use good quality sleeping bags, mats and food for free. The same goes for our porters and our riders.
WHAT IS THE FOOD AT INCA QUARRY TRAIL?
One of our strengths is the food we provide on the Inca Quarry Trail to Machu Picchu, which is why our company has been working with high mountain cooks for more than 10 years. They are going to bring you the best gastronomy of Cusco and Peru. At breakfast there will be scrambled eggs, omelets, pancakes, coffee, milk, butter, etc. Lunches are very nutritious (quinoa chaufa, steak, chicken stew, sauteed tenderloin, stuffed avocado, etc). And dinner is designed according to the type of weather, for example the first night you will have a refreshing soup for the cold and altitude sickness. The last day we will have dinner at a restaurant in Aguas Calientes. If you have any food restrictions, do not worry, since our chefs are prepared for all types of food restrictions, such as vegetarians, vegans, or allergies to gluten and others. All foods are prepared with fresh and organic ingredients, produced by the farmers of the Sacred Valley of the Incas.
THE INCA QUARRY TRAIL INCLUDES THE ENTRANCE TICKET TO MACHU PICCHU
Yes, this route include the entrance to the citadel of Machu Picchu. Therefore, on this route the visit to Machu Picchu takes place on the last day for a guide of 1 hour and 45 minutes. During this time the main centers of the Inca Citadel are visited, once the guide is over you no longer have the option of re-entering the citadel. For this reason, you should ask the guide for some recommendation to be able to spend a longer time inside the Citadel of Machu Picchu.
HOW LONG CAN I STAY IN MACHU PICCHU
The visit time in the citadel of Machu Picchu is an average of 1 hour and 45 minutes to 2 hours, this time is the maximum that is used to be able to make the main circuit that contains the most outstanding sites of the Historic Sanctuary.
Note: You should know that there is no free time to visit on your own after the guide, unless you buy one of the extra hiking tickets (Huayna Picchu or Machupicchu Mountain) so you can re-enter the attraction.
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN HUAYNA PICCHU AND MACHU PICCHU MOUNTAIN?
Huayna Picchu :
The hike to the summit is approximately 45 minutes, along narrow and steep Inca stairs. Once at the top, you get to see the Citadel of Machu Picchu and its surrounding hills and valleys. This is the famous peak in the background of every iconic Machu Picchu photo. Summiting Huayna Picchu is always a top item on most Machu Picchu visitor’s lists which means that you usually need reserve this mountain 6 months in advance. Only a certain amount of people are allowed to hike this mountain each day (currently 400). Along this trek you’ll see breathtaking views of the Machu Picchu ruins. The limited number of tickets is a restriction set forth by the ministry of culture in Cusco, not by Andean Path Trek. This is completely out of our hands unfortunately.Tickets for this mountain are non-transferable.
Machu Picchu Mountain:
The hike to this summit is approximately 1.5 hrs. Once at the top, you get a much higher vantage point so you have an amazing view of the Citadel of Machu Picchu and its surroundings. This hike is a great alternative to Huayna Picchu. It is ideal for those who don’t want the hassle of fighting for a ticket, or who were unable to get one. Technically, spaces for Machu Picchu Mountain are also limited to 400 per day, as well it’s use to sold We simply need to reserve a space when we buy your entrance tickets. This trek is great because it will also take you high up like Huayna Picchu, offering great views. This trek has an easier incline (also making it accessible for those who fear the heights of Huayna Picchu), but the path is much longer making it equally as challenging in it’s own way.
HOW DO I MAKE A BOOKING FOR THE INCA QUARRY TRAIL?
- Fill out the form
- Fill out the passenger details form in a word document. This should be attached in your email.
- Pre payment
- Pay your deposit, and let us know when you have paid! This is important because our system does not automatically notify us when you’ve paid your deposit.
- Confirm reservation
- Once you’ve received your booking confirmation in the form of a PDF, please check it over to confirm that everything is correct.
- Informative session
- Your all set!! Remember to come to our offices the day before your departure date at 5:00 PM for your briefing.
HOW FAR IN ADVANCE DO I NEED TO MAKE INCA QUARRY TRAIL RESERVATION?
For Inca Quarry Trail, we recommended booking at less 1 or 2 months in advance. The government has strictly limited the number of people permitted on Machu Picchu (permits are issued to about 2500 per day). We therefore recommend that you try to make your reservation for Inca Quarry Trail to Machu Picchu as far in or as soon as you know the dates of your international flights.
Nov, Dec, Jan: the trek permits for some departure dates were sold out 3 months in advance. we therefore recommend making a reservation at least 5 months in advance, although I am sure there will still be trek permits available for some dates 3 or 4 months in advance. Departures around Christmas and New Year tend to sell out fast.
March, April, May and June: Many trek departure dates during these months have sold out as soon as the trek permits go on sale at the beginning of January so we would recommend making a booking before the beginning of December to allow us time to process your booking.
IF I DECIDE TO CANCEL, WILL I BE REIMBURSED?
Our company will be able to refund a part of your reservation deposit, in case you cannot do the Inca Quarry trail circuit. But this request must be sent to the company’s mail, with a minimum of 15 days before starting your Trekking. Otherwise you could be charged some administrative costs.
A very important issue to give, is that if you paid for the entire tour, and for any reason you decide to cancel the tour less than 48 hours, this can only be done under certain conditions, by your travel agent, who will inform you of the expenses that should cover.
WHY DO I NEED TO MAKE A DEPOSIT FOR INCA QUARRY TRAIL?
We recommend making your reservation in advance and we will guarantee your Spaces for this hike.
Each reservation needs 50% of deposit as first payment. The final balance will be paid in Cusco (On the Briefing Day).
About Payment you must choose where you would like to make the deposit:
By Pay Pal or Credit Card
WHAT HAPPENS AFTER I MAKE THE RESERVATION DEPOSIT?
First, we will send you an email to confirm your payment.
Two weeks before your tour date, we will contact you by email to request the final payment. We will also ask you where you will be staying in Cusco, to be able to pick you up on the day of your hike.
After we receive the final payment, we will send you an email confirming your tour date and informing you of important contact information for our tour agency, as well as some final tips to prepare for the trek.
CAN I CHANGE MY STARTING DATE FOR THE INCA QUARRY TRAIL?
Once we have purchased your tickets, with your security deposit, you can only change your start date if you pay an additional amount. This amount is usually around $50 USD. The reason for this is the tickets we purchase are non-refundable and non-transferable, so we are not allowed to simply change your tour date.
WHY IS THERE AN 5% CHARGE FOR PAYPAL AND VISA? IS THERE ANY WAY TO AVOID THIS CHARGE?
Unfortunately, the 5% charge is completely out of our hands. This fee does not go to us, but to PayPal and VISA. There is really no way around it.
WHO ARE THE CHEFS & MULETEERS?
Support staff during the Inca Quarry Trail 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.
HOW MUCH SHOULD I TIP THE COOK AND MULETEER?
After hiking the Inca Quarry trail 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.