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Inca Quarry Trail to Machu Picchu Travel Guide

May 3, 2024
Inca Quarry Trail to Machu Picchu Travel Guide - 69explorer

The Inca Quarry to Machu Picchu is the newest alternative hike to the Inca trail and has largely stayed out of the public eye. A great hike especially if you want to stay away from the crowds and get closer to nature and Andean traditions. Journey through the high Andean jungle, down into beautiful valleys, over mountain passes, and by Incan ruins and waterfalls.

A 4-day 3-night adventure, the Inca Quarry Trail to Machu Picchu takes you to the quarry that supplied the massive stones used to build the impressive city of Ollantaytambo. You’ll also have the unique opportunity to visit some remote Andean villages. Ask your guide to teach you some Quechua, you may get the opportunity to practice with the locals on the trail.

Why hike the Inca Quarry to Machu Picchu?

There are many different hikes to the Incan Citadel of Machu Picchu. The Classic Inca Trail is by far the most famous and crowded hike to Machu Picchu and can sell out very quickly especially during the busy tourist season. The Inca Quarry Trail however, does not have any limit on the number of daily hikers which means you’ll be guaranteed to hike the trail no matter the time of year.

Being one of the newest trails to Machu Picchu the Inca Quarry is rarely hiked. It’s verry likely you’ll see no other hikers on the trail for the entire 4 days which is great for hikers who prefer to stay away from crowds. Additionally, you’ll get the opportunity to visit the quarry where the stones for Ollantaytambo were harvested. There are also various Incan ruins along the hike some of which still contain mummies sacrificed to the mountain spirits many years ago.


Inca Quarry Trail to Machu Picchu Itinerary

Day 1: Cusco – Soqma – Rayan – Puccaqasa

Like all of the multi-day hikes in the area your day will start very early with your guide picking you up from your hotel at 5am. From Cusco it’s a two-hour drive to the trailhead near the small Andean community of Soqma. At the trailhead you’ll have breakfast and ready your day bags for the adventure ahead.

The first place of interest on the hike is a beautiful waterfall by the name of Perolniyoc. Take some pictures maybe splash your face and continue on the trail. After enjoying the falls, you and your group will continue until coming to another remote Andean community called Rayan. At Rayan you will have lunch and take a short rest. From Rayan you’ll have to cross the mountain pass of Puccaqasa (4300m) before finally arriving at the first campsite.

Day 2: Puccaqasa – Quychicassa Inti Punku – Inca Quarry

Start the morning early with a cup of hot coffee or tea provided by your guide and get ready for the day ahead. The first place of note you’ll arrive at is the mountain pass of Quychicassa (4450m). Take a brief rest and enjoy the great views of the surrounding landscape.

 From the mountain pass hike another hour to Inti Punku or the Sun Gate. Please keep in mind this is not the same famous Inti Punku of Machu Picchu. At the Sun Gate there will be incredible views of Mt Veronica off in the distance. Make sure to get all the pictures you can before continuing on the trail until arriving at the Inca Quarry. At the Inca Quarry your guide will tour you through the site and explain the history and purpose of the Quarry including the techniques used to cut and move the massive stones. The next campsite is not far only a half an hour or so from the Inca Quarry.

***PLEASE NOTE: There are authentic mummies still in their burial chambers make sure to ask you guide if you can take a peek inside!!!

Day 3: Ollantaytambo – Aguas Calientes

Wake up bright and early and start the two-hour hike down to the city of Ollantaytambo. At Ollantaytambo you will have lunch and catch the afternoon train to Aguas Calientes. Enjoy the picturesque scenery as you make your way through the Sacred Valley to Aguas Calientes.

Once you arrive in Aguas Calientes you have some time to explore the small town and have a soak in the relaxing hot springs. Once you have explored all you can you’ll have dinner with your group and check into your hotel for the night.

The town of Aguas Calientes, At the foot of Machu Picchu - 69explorer

Day 4: Aguas Calientes – Machu Picchu – Cusco

This is it, the main event! Wake up early to take the first bus to Machu Picchu in order to catch the sunrise. Once you have entered into Machu Picchu your guide will take you in a 2-hour tour of the Incan Citadel of Machu Picchu. Ask as many questions as you can think of as the guides are very passionate and full of valuable knowledge.

Once the tour is over you will have a few hours to explore the complex on your own. If you have a ticket for on of the mountain hikes this is the time to start it. After you have explored the Machu Picchu to your hearts content take the bus down to Aguas calientes where you will take the train back to Ollantaytambo. In Ollantaytambo there will be a private van waiting to take you directly to your hotel either in Cusco or Ollantaytambo. You should arrive back to your hotel around 7:00pm.

Sacred Valley to Machu Picchu And Rainbow Mountain Tour Package (3 Days) - 69explorer

Packing List

Off the Beaten Path

The Inca Quarry Trail to Machu Picchu is a great alternative to the classic Inca Trail and is a great option if you’re looking to get away from the hordes of tourists and visit some of the least know but still impressive Incan ruins. On this trek you’ll get to cross high mountain passes get great views of the surrounding Andean landscape and get the opportunity to see authentic Incan Mummies still in their original resting places. If you’re looking to hike something a bit different and off the beaten path the Inca Quarry trail to Machu Picchu is a great option!