Choquequirao Trek to Machu Picchu is an eight days trek. It takes you to both Incan citadels. Often referred to as the “Sacred Sister of Machu Picchu”, Choquequirao in Quechua means, “Cradle of Gold”.
Choquequirao ruins are not easily accessible as Machu Picchu. It takes a minimum of two days of trekking to reach there. As a result, it provides a unique and quiet experience. It’s remote location is one of the reasons why Spanish rulers never invaded Choquequirao. The trek is ideal for adventure lovers.
Also, for those wanting to experience something authentic and off the touristic track. Although, the trek could be somewhat challenging, it offers a rewarding and memorable experience.
The archeological site is over six square kilometres. However, a half of the whole site has been cleared from the encroaching jungle. The construction of Choquequirao began in late 15th century.
It went on till the beginning of 16th century. The Incas built Choquequirao in the same era as Machu Picchu. As a result, the architecture and structure of Choquequirao is somewhat similar to Machu Picchu.
Choquequirao archeological site was built during the last days of Incan civilisation. It was built by Incan emperor Pachacutec. He later passed it to his son Tupac Inca Yupanqui, who expanded it. Almost for forty years the Inca’s held stand against the Spanish conquerors.
The construction of temples, palaces, canals and aqueducts in the complex are really fantastic. Choquequirao is a city which demonstrates the inspiring example of an elite Inca ceremonial centre.
A city dedicated to worship “Pachamama” the Andean mother earth, “Apus” mountain gods and divinities, the river and other elements of nature.
Treks in Cusco, as an outdoor adventure company has well experienced dedicated guides. Our guides are locals. They have an extensive knowledge on culture and history.
Please note that this is a high altitude trek with the highest point of the trek at 4200 metres above sea level. We recommend you to spend at-least 2-3 days acclimatising in Cusco before the trek.
Choquequirao Trek to Machu Picchu is one of the interesting treks in South America. You will get to see both sites which played a significant role for Incas.
Cusco Hotel Transfer
Between 0330 and 0400 in the morning, we will be picking you up from your hotel in Cusco. Then we will embark on a four hours drive to a small town, Capuliyoc (2800 metres). Here we will stop for breakfast while our crew would organise your personal belongings and camping equipments on mule.
We will then start hiking for twenty minutes to a view point. From here you will have a jaw dropping view of Padreyoc peak. This is a part of Vilcabamba Mountain Range. You will also get to see Apurimac Canyon. After enjoying these views, we will start descending for three hours.
This segment of hike to Choquequirao archaeological site will be through a region popular for different types of plantations. You will be trekking through different medicinal plantations. Our guide will explain the use and prominence of different plants.
If we make it at the right time, you will also have the opportunity to see the flight of Andean Condors. We will then descend to the hamlet of Chiquisca at 1800 metres. Here we will have lunch.
After lunch, we will descend for 45 minutes to Playas Rosalinas (1700 metres). It is a part of Apurimac River. This part is divided two states of Peru, Apurimac and Cusco.
From here we will be descending further for four hours to a small village, Marmapata (3500 metres). On our way we will see some native birds and Andean farms. You will also have the opportunity to meet locals and get an overview of their way of life in this remote region. We will then reach our campsite in Marampata.
Early in the morning, we will wake you up to a warm cup of coffee or tea. This will be followed by a hearty breakfast. This will be an interesting day of the trek. We will be visiting to Choquequirao.
Our guide will give you a three hours guided tour of the lost city of Incas. We will be visiting some of the prominent parts of the complex.
After the tour, you will return to the campsite for lunch. Then we will visit a waterfall. This is a hidden gem. Later in the evening we will return to the campsite for dinner.
You will be woken to the sound of chirping birds. We highly recommend you to rise up early to see the sunrise. After lunch, we will visit the upper section of Choquequirao. We will be reaching Choquequirao pass. After hiking for some five hours or so we will reach the farming terraces of Pinchinoyoc.
Here you will be able to see different species of birds and orchid plantations. We will be stopping for lunch near Rio Blanco. While we setup your lunch, you can also take a dip in the clear waters.
After lunch, we will walk across the river to the other side. Then, we will hike up to Maizal. It is one of the best places of the Choquequirao Trek to Machu Picchu. Also this section of the trek is the most challenging one. The trek up the hill is somewhat challenging and takes three hours. We will be camping in a beautiful setting in Maizal at 3000 metres.
You will be waking up in a beautiful setting. After relishing on a nutritious breakfast we will start with an uphill trail. On this way you will have the chance to see the snow capped peaks. This is an arduous full day climb. It will be almost a seven hours uphill climb.
You will also pass through many Inca sites on your way. We will then pass through a colonial mining area, Victoria Mines. Sadly this mine is now abandoned, post colonisation. We will then reach the Victoria Pass. It nestles at 4200 metres | 13773 feet.
From the top, you will have a breathtaking view of the valley below. You will also get to see the original Inca Trail (Qhapaq Ñan). We will stop for lunch up on the pass. After lunch, we will descend to a village, Yamana. It is at 3800 metres | 12467 feet. Here we will be camping for the night.
After the breakfast, we will start with another long day hike. We will be passing through a section that is home to a local community. Here you will feel welcomed to the hospitality of natives.
Then we will hike up to the highest part of the Choquequirao Trek to Machu Picchu. Yamana Pass nestles at 4700 metres | 15419 feet. Along the way, you will be crossing many Andean farms. This region in particular is popular for potato farms. This is another beautiful setting. You will have the sight of the farms snuggled in between the snow capped Andean peaks of Pedreyoc and Saqsarayoc.
Often trekkers get to see the flight of Andean condors on this section of the trek.
Once on top of the pass, we will stop so you could immerse in the tranquility and get the most of the rewarding setting. From here you will have a closer view of Salkantay Peak.
We will be then descending through lush green farms to Totora community. Here we will be stopping for lunch. After lunch, we will continue hiking down the hill to Colpapampa. Here we will be camping for the night.
You will need to wake up early. After an early breakfast, we will be hiking to La Playa. We will be passing through many picturesque sites. At La Playa, we will have lunch.
After lunch, we will be descending further to the highland of the jungle. Here you will be visiting cocoa, coffee and some tropical fruit plantations. You can also savour some coffee or hot chocolate.
Then we will take our van to Santa Teresa village. Here the climate is quite warmer. We will be spending the night here.
Early in the morning we will take the bus to Machu Picchu. Here, you will have a guided tour for two hours. After the tour, you can walk around the citadel. Later, we will take the bus back to Aguas Calientes and stop for lunch. After lunch, you will take the train back to Ollantaytambo. At Ollantaytambo train station, our representative will be meeting you and will transfer you back to Cusco.
This was the best experience we had. Although, was somewhat challenging at some high passes it was totally worth. A big thanks to Carlos and his team who ensured that everything was perfect.