One of the more recent alternatives to the Inca Trail is the Moon Stone Trek 5 Days, a route well worth looking into if you want to avoid the Inca Trail’s crowds. Additionally, this five-day trek takes you to locations not accessible via other trails.
As you travel along this trail, you’ll see some significant archaeological ruins that are less visited by tourists, stop at isolated rural communities, and pass through breathtaking landscapes. The trek is named after Quillarumiyoc, also known as the “Moonstone” or “a stone with a moon” in Quechua. This refers to the lovely moon symbol etched into a rock at the location, which was used as a temple to worship the moon.
On our Moonstone trek to Machu Picchu, we follow an ancient Inca route from Cusco to the mountains. On the way, we’ll encounter an intriguing quarry where the stone was mined to construct Inca settlements like Ollantaytambo. Additionally, we’ll see an Inca canal or aqueduct—possibly their most extended creation. We’ll also pause at vibrant Andean villages along the way, encircled by quinoa, corn, and potatoes and herds of alpacas and llamas. Deep canyons, soaring mountains, and rough Andean vistas are all part of the diverse and breathtaking natural landscape.
Departure & Return Location:
Pick up from your hotel (6:00 am – 6:30 am).
Moon Stone Trek 5 Days highlights:
A non-refundable deposit (varies depending on tour) is payable from the Client to Huaynas Expeditions when reserving any Product. If the reservation is made 7 days or fewer before departure, full payment is required at the time of booking. Depending on the original booking method, the client should send the non-refundable deposit to Huaynas Expeditions or the authorized Agent through whom they made their reservation.
A pre-tour briefing is given to you, ideally two days before the start of the trek. This is comprehensive information on the tour schedule, required gear, altitude, weather, etc. Questions and concerns will be clarified so that you fully comprehend the tour schedule.
It is strongly suggested to be progressively acclimatized; thus, you should arrive in Cusco 2 days previous to trek departure. Altitude sickness causes you a headache, stomache, hands tingling, etc. There is certain medicine you may take to avoid altitude sickness, for instance acetazalomide; moreover, it is helpful to have coca tea; and hot liquids to not become dehydrated. You must descend as the ultimate emergency if you develop serious altitude sickness.
If your hotel is located in the Historical Center of Cusco, Huaynas Expeditions will pick you up there. Although your guide will schedule the pickup time during the briefing, please be aware that the pickup time could change by up to 20 minutes due to traffic.
Cusco is an ancient city, and there are lots of winding cobblestone streets there. It may be challenging to move luggage to some hotels and Airbnbs because they are situated on car-free streets or long, including inclines. Booking lodging with adequate access is something we strongly advise.
You’ll be given a canvas case or duffel bag during your briefing. Our horses will transport them, and the horsemen will hand them to you as you arrive at each camp. They are 60 x 24 x 22 centimetres (23.6 x 9.45 x 8.66 in).
Each duffel bag can only contain a maximum of 7 kilogrammes (15.4 lb), which includes the weight of your clothing, sleeping bag, and other personal belongings.
Strikes and demonstrations are frequent in Peru, which may stop some of our tours. Roads can be stopped, and train tracks can be taken over. However, we will attempt to keep your vacation as initially planned, even if it means leaving the night before the scheduled date. Under these conditions, trips may potentially be cancelled. In case of changes or cancellations, our operations department will manage everything with you. Your safety is our priority, and our decisions will be taken to protect it.
Because group trips are made up of various persons, physical states and ages may differ. You acknowledge that some persons may be faster or slower than you if you choose to participate in a group trip. As a result, everyone on the road may proceed at their own speed.
It is conceivable that a group may want to change the itinerary; however, after discussing with all participants, the guide will determine if such changes are allowed.
We highly advise you to buy comprehensive travel insurance before departing. A comprehensive travel insurance coverage that covers everything from high-altitude treks to unforeseen trip adjustments is a must-have travel gear. Please remember that your standard medical insurance plan will not cover some possibilities in your own country. We suggest searching for a plan that covers the following coverage:
While we try to be understanding when situations arise, the fact is that Trip Changes and Trip Cancellation incur penalties.
To book the below things in your name, we require a photo of your passport’s bio page (Peruvian Government Requirement). Please keep in mind that each traveler must be aware of the re-entry laws for their place of residence/citizenship. Some nations require a passport valid for 6 months beyond the travel date. Please confirm that your passport is current and meets your country’s and residency standards. We can purchase your flights with an expired passport, but we will require a copy of the current passport as soon as you receive it in order to update your tickets.
Most countries are permitted to obtain a visa at the point of arrival. Only a few nations require visas to be obtained in advance. Please remember that each tourist is responsible for determining whether or not a visa is required before admission. Please remember that tourist visas are usually valid for 90 days or less and require proof of return travel.
Please be aware of where you leave your belongings, and remember to take everything with you once you leave our transportation, tents, or restaurants. You are solely responsible for your items throughout the trip.
Our objective is to provide great treks, tours, and adventure experiences while adhering to environmental, sustainable, ethical, and socially conscious travel practices. We make every effort throughout our excursions to avoid negative affects and enhance benefits to the local people and natural ecosystems we visit. We pay fair, livable rates to ensure that we employ and retain the best guides and support workers. We follow worldwide sustainable tourism criteria and have continuous community projects and charity activities that benefit four or more local Andean villages.
We take pleasure in offering five-star service before, during, and after your vacation. Huaynas Expeditions is committed to providing exceptional customer service and adventure experiences.
When walking over tough mountain terrain at high altitudes in unpredictable weather, it is critical to have the best equipment possible. We supply Mountain Hardwear 4-season tents (3 seasons for Inca Trail because of warmer weather), extra thick mattress mats, dry bags for your overnight gear, and other amenities to ensure a safe and enjoyable trek.
Any hike or tour can be tailored to your travel, fitness, financial, and time constraints. Do you need a journey or tour for a business or work event, a charity organization, or any significant occasion? Get in touch; we can handle everything!
As it should be, our journeys leave nothing but smiles and footprints.
We care about the environment, which is why we reduce, reuse, and recycle. Our equipment is reusable (no paper or plastic plates/cups/utensils), we buy locally and avoid paper/plastic packaging, and we recycle anything we can. This is not the norm in Peru, but we intend to make it so one day soon!
All of our staff are enthusiastic about their jobs. Who wouldn’t want to work in an office surrounded by gorgeous mountains and endless vistas? We are happy to provide our guides and employees with the highest rates in the industry.
We start the first day of your Moonstone Trek to Machu Picchu with an early pick-up from your hotel. We take a 1-hour drive to Quillarumiyoc (the Moon Temple). This is the namesake of the trek. We will have a nourishing, gourmet breakfast at this location. Following breakfast, we will drive a further 40 minutes to the trailhead, Varpiso (3,257 m / 10, 682 ft). Here we will meet our horses and horsemen. We will pack all the gear onto the horses and start the trek.
We cross a bridge over the Huaracondo River and then are off to this incredible, rarely visited region! This segment is 3 ½ hours uphill. Then we arrive at Huatta (3,924 m / 12, 870 ft), a pre-Inca site. Huatta is a substantial pre-Inca fortress dominating the crest of a ridge. Archeologists currently excavating the site are revealing burial sites and occupation levels from the Formative Period (2,500 years ago), on through the enormous fortifications of the 4th-century Regional Development period; a scattering of late-period Inca structures seems like an afterthought on the top of the highest hill. The site is classic: a defensible ridge with dominating three-way views along intersecting valleys. We will have lunch and a tour here.
Following lunch, the remainder of the day´s trek is 3 ½ hours of up and down sections. At that point, we will arrive in our camp for the night, the hamlet of Chillipawa (3,750 m/12,300 ft). As a side note, Chillipawa is the native village of many of our guides. You will experience remarkable Peruvian hospitality in this village.
This morning, you will be woken up with delectable coca tea or local heavenly coffee. After that and your robust breakfast, the trek for the day will begin.
The beginning of the trek is uphill for 3 ½ hours. We will then stop at a small open space for lunch (4,438 m/14,557 ft).
Following lunch, we have one more hour to go uphill to the high point of the trek, the Puccacasa pass (4,643 m/15,229 ft). This is a unique vantage point. On one side, you see Cusco and Mt Ausangate (6.372 m/20,900 ft), the tallest peak in the Urubamba Mountain Range. On the other side, you have a close-up view of Mount Veronica (5,882 m/19,096 ft). Mt Veronica represents the end of the Urubamba Mountain range, and its pyramidal shape makes it particularly impressive.
After we enjoy this astonishing vista, we start our trek downhill to the camp. During this 2 ½ hour stretch, we will see abundant llamas, alpacas, and potato farms. We will then arrive at our campsite, Chancachuco (4,177 m/13,700 ft) for the night, where we will enjoy a well-earned bountiful dinner. We will have a gorgeous view of the Huaynay Glaciers at the camp.
Featuring a breathtaking canyon, this is the most beautiful section of the Moonstone Trek to Machu Picchu. Additionally, this portion is part of an original Inca Trail. Since we are the only company that uses this route, we will definitely be alone!
After breakfast, we start our journey through the canyon. We will be surrounded by lush green vegetation and polylepis trees while following a lovely flowing stream. The beginning of our journey through the Puncuyoc canyon and the Silque Valley is an easy 2 hour downhill stretch. We will follow the 16 km Inca Canal, the longest Inca Canal constructed. This canal was built from Chancachuco to Ollantaytambo. We will also have the possibility to see the native Spectacled Bear.
We will then head back uphill for 2 hours. Along the way, we will stop at Inti Punku (the Sun Gate) and tour the Inca Quarry. From here we can see Mount Veronica and parts of the Sacred Valley.
This is a site where history is literally frozen in time. You will see the Inca constructions where the stone masons lived. You will see the “tired stones” that were ready to be skidded down the steep slope to the Vilcanota River below, but abandoned before that was possible. These stones were the pink stones that were used to build Ollantaytambo. You will see an early wheel design. Finally, there is a rare mummy at this site.
The remainder of the day´s hike is 45 minutes of gentle up and down sections until we reach our camp, the Inca Quarry (3,525 m/ 11,564 ft). We will have lunch at our camp.
We will have the remainder of the day to relax. We will have happy hour, a plentiful dinner and then enjoy the sunset over the Sacred Valley.
After another delectable breakfast, we begin a relaxed day where we will have ample opportunity to enjoy the sites between the Inca Quarry and Ollantaytambo. This is a rarely visited region and we will likely not encounter any other trekkers. This is an exceptional opportunity to see sites that others never have the chance to see. The hike is 3 ½ hours downhill until we reach Ollantaytambo (2,792 m / 9,158 ft).
We will have lunch in Ollantaytambo.
After lunch, we will catch the train to Aguas Calientes. Upon arrival to Aguas Calientes, you will check into your hotel room. Since we will get to Aguas Calientes in the early afternoon, you will have plenty of time to relax, enjoy the town and visit the hot springs. Dinner will be at a great local restaurant.
You will have breakfast at the hotel before we take an early bus along the winding road to Machu Picchu to see the magnificent sunrise. Once there you will be given a 2-hour walking tour of the site.
After you have concluded your tour of Machu Picchu, you will probably have some time to be at Machu Picchu before you return to Aguas Calientes by bus.
When you arrive in Aguas Calientes you will board the expedition train to Ollantaytambo. From Ollantaytambo, you will travel by private van to Cusco and we will drop you off at your hotel. Arrival time in Cusco depends on the time of your train ticket. Your Moonstone Trek to Machu Picchu will then conclude.
We also offer a special service only for you or your group, you have the power to choose the size of your group and the date of departure, we will never add other people since it will be organized only for you.
Our Moon Stone Trek 5 Days private service, includes additional items such as:
Our prices for the Moon Stone Trek 5 Days are reasonable and are in different packages with the prices that are handled in the city of Cusco, and discounts will apply automatically for groups of over 5 people when booking this tour together at the same time.
We are a local tour operator that never shares service with any other company in Cusco, most agencies in Cusco share their service to save operating costs with poor quality. We guarantee to make the trip even if there are only 02 people in your group.
Our booking process is simple and you can secure your trip with only a 30% deposit and pay the rest at the destination.
We want your vacation to Peru to be as enjoyable and stress-free as possible. This section contains answers to any inquiries regarding going with Huaynas Expeditions. Please read the following information; it will assist you if you have any queries regarding our services.
We have the best and easy booking system; learn here how to book any tour with Huaynas Expeditions.
You’ll pay your remaining balance once you arrive in Cusco and in cash in US dollars or soles (Peruvian currency) to the change of the day. If you prefer payment through PayPal, you’ll be charged an additional 6% due to bank commissions. It is better to pay us with cash because there is no transaction fee.
Of course! During the tour to Machu Picchu, your main luggage can be stored in our office or at your hotel. Both of them are free.
Usually, it is not accepted since the permits, and the train tickets are not allowed to change the date or transfer to another name.
But if you need it, we’ll need to buy new permits and train tickets and the cost you’ll pay for it.
Yes! You must bring your original passport, which must be the same one you sent us at the booking time. Your passport will be checked at Machu Picchu checkpoint and when you board the train.
Updating passport numbers: If you are renewing your passport, go ahead and email us a copy of your old passport to book your Machu Picchu ticket. If you no longer have your old passport, any government issue ID will be accepted, as long as the name is the same. Once you receive your new passport, please email us a copy of your new passport ASAP to change the information about your permits and train tickets.
Yes, you can book your hotel. It will decrease the price of $30 per person. If you decide to book your own hotel, don’t forget to tell us where you plan to stay so our guide will take you there safely.
We receive reservations at least 1 week in advance. However, seats are limited and are always subject to availability. Both the permits for Machu Picchu and the train ticket and permits for the mountains of Machu Picchu and Huayna Picchu are in high demand, sometimes selling out months in advance. For this reason, we recommend that you make your reservation as far in advance recommendable 2 or 3 months in advance.
The Expedition and Vistadome categories offer comfortable leather seats and include a snack and hot or cold drink per person. The first and main difference between both categories is that the Vistadome train has windows on the roof of the cars, which allows a panoramic view of the outside. The second difference is that the Vistadome train offers entertainment services on board, such as typical dances and parades.
If you want to get the student discount, the following requirements must be met:
The university card must meet the following requirements:
If you meet the requirements above, you will get the following discount:
All students have to send a copy of their passport and student card at the time of booking to get the student discount.
Tipping is not required, but it is appreciated if you are satisfied with the services. Even though it might not be familiar in your country, the people who will look after you during the tour place a lot of importance on it. Many Huaynas Expeditions’ destinations encourage top-notch service and are a foundational aspect of the travel and tourism sector. It’s up to you how much to tip based on how well you thought out the tour and how long it lasted. Remember that leaving a tip is optional and should only be done if you receive first-class service.
Yes, Huaynas Expeditions is a local sustainable & responsible tourism operator; for that, we incorporate the universal principles of tourism: protect the environment and benefit the local communities by respecting their culture and religion. With this in mind, we have trained all our staff to know, understand and appreciate the local places and their people.
Our guides make us so happy! Their English is excellent, and they are extremely professional. They have a great deal of knowledge and love for the history and heritage of the Incas. Constant professional and personal growth is a priority for our tour guides. They conduct research to make sure that the Inca and Andean cultural theories you are given are accurate and widely accepted. Our team members are smart, athletic, and fun-loving. All of them have academic backgrounds in archaeology, tourism, botany, history, or anthropology.
You should have at least 48 hours or more in Cusco. It’s recommended to enjoy these days in the city of Cusco and in the Sacred Valley.
When making plans for a long-awaited dream journey, choosing the right travel agency or tour operator is the most crucial option you will make. Initially, some businesses might appear more affordable. But if you dig a bit further, you’ll discover why booking with Huaynas Expeditions ensures that your trip will be as remarkable as it can be.