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Choquequirao Trek from Cusco, is a four days experience. In Quechua, Choquequirao means “Cradle of Gold”. The Incas considered it as “The sacred sister of Machu Picchu”. The trek is ideal for adventure lovers and for those wanting to experience something off the touristic track.
Choquequirao archeological site sits high up on the Quriwayrachina mountain range. The way to get there is through the Canyons of Apurimac. Trek to Choquequirao from Cusco offers incredible views of the Andes. Furthermore, you will have the opportunity to see native flora and fauna. Often trekkers get to see the flight of Andean condor.
Pachacuti, renowned Incan emperor built Choquequirao and Machu Picchu in the same era. Later, Tupac Inca Yupanqui, son of Pachacuti, expanded the archaeological site. Roughly, Choquequirao is similar in size as Machu Picchu. It is over six square kilometres. However, just a third of the whole site has been cleared from the encroaching jungle. Due to its remote location, Spanish conquistadors could not invade Choquequirao.
Choquequirao ruins are gaining popularity among hikers wanting to see this emblematic archaeological complex that is off the beaten track. It takes you through the Apurimac River and Canyon. As the route involves a lot of uphill and downhill hikes, you will be experiencing different climatic conditions as the altitude will be changing.
Tourism authorities in Peru have a project of installing a cable car pipelined. Due to this, there will be a rapid growth in tourism here. Infact, it is estimated that travellers will be able to visit the lost city of Incas on a full day tour.
Although, the hike to Choquequirao could be somewhat challenging, it offers a rewarding experience. It is one of the prettiest treks in South America.
We at Treks in Cusco, have dedicated English speaking local guides for this tour. They are tourism professionals, born and raised in the region. Also, they have extensive knowledge about the history and culture. This is one of the signature tours operated by Treks in Cusco.
Choquequirao Trek involves arduous hikes through high mountain passes. We highly recommend you to stay in Cusco three to four days acclimatising before the trek. While you are acclimatising, you can experience one of our day treks .
Cusco Hotel Transfer
We will be picking you up from your hotel in Cusco between 0330 and 0400 AM. Then we will drive to Capuliyoc. It is a small town, a four hours drive away from Cusco. Here we will stop for breakfast. While you would eat breakfast, we will organise your personal belongings and camping gears on mule.
After breakfast, we will hike for twenty minutes to a view point. From here you will have a pristine view of snowcapped peak of Padreyoc. It is a part of the Vilcabamba mountain range. You will also have a wonderful view of Apurimac river and canyon. Then we will descend for three hours through breathtaking views. On this section of the Choquequirao Trek, you will be able to see different herbal plantations. Our guide will give you a brief explanation of its use. You may also get to see te flight of Andean condors here. We will then descend to the hamlet of Chiquisqa. Here we will stop for lunch.
After lunch, we will continue descending for 45 minutes to Playa Rosalinas. This area marks the border between Cusco and Apurimac province.
From here we will be hiking up the hill to Marmapata. It nestles at 3500 metres above sea level. On our way we will be crossing many Andean farms. Here you will have the opportunity to meet and get an overview of the life of farmers. We will then reach our campsite.
This is the best day of the trek. We will wake you up to a cup of coffee or tea. Then we will serve breakfast. After breakfast, we will be hiking to Choquequirao. Our local expert will be giving you a detailed tour of the complex. On this tour you will be visiting prominent sites like the main plaza, ceremonial centre, farming terraces among others. The site still retains the original Inca walls.
The way up is beautiful. We will be crossing a zone with lush plantations. Our guide will explain its medicinal uses.
After the tour, we will be returning to the campsite for lunch. After relishing on a freshly cooked lunch, we will visit a lesser known waterfall snuggled between the tropical cloud forest.
In the evening, we will return to the campsite for dinner.
After an early breakfast, we will start our hike back to Chiquiska. This will be along the Apurimac Canyon. On the way, you may be able to see the flight of the Andean Condors again. You will also be able to see exuberant vegetation and a variety of flowers and orchids.
It will be a 10 hours hike. We will be passing thorough the same small settlements as on the way up. We will stop in Playa Rosalina. Here we will have lunch and continue to Chiquiska. Here we will spend the night on our campsite.
After early breakfast you will get ready to return to Cusco. It will be the last 3 hours uphill to arrive to the end of the trek where you will enjoy your last lunch with your guide, porters and horsemen. You will say goodbye to your team other than your guide and then continue for about 3 hours, this time by Private Bus, drive back to Cusco along the nice landscape.
Optional: After spending time enjoying the site we drive to the hot spring of Conoc to relax after several days of walking. After lunch we head back to Cusco dropping you at your hotel.
There are three different routes to trek to Choquequirao. The easiest and the most common is through Capuliyoc which is at four hours drive from Cusco. It involves a two days trek from Capuliyoc to get to Choquequirao ruins.
Yes, it is recommended to book your trek to Choquequirao atleast two days in advance. This would help us to organise things like muleteers, campsites etc.
The only option to reach Choquequirao is by hiking. The government has plans on installing cable car which is still on track.
It is roughly 44 kilometres from Choquequirao to Machu Picchu ruins. You can sign up for a 9 days hike from Cusco which takes you to Choquequirao and onward to Vilcabamba and Machu Picchu.
Choquequirao trek is challenging and requires you to be physically fit for the trek. It is also recommended to spend a couple of days in Cusco before the trek to acclimate and avoid altitude sickness.
The shortest and the most common trek takes four days.
If you are inquisitive about the Inca history, it is worth trekking to Choquequirao. Primarily because, as Machu Picchu, Choquequirao too served as a royal estate to Incas. However, due to its remote location it was not conquered by Spanish rulers.
Choquequirao is 3033 metres above sea level.
This is a very challenging hike, but completely worth it. The views in the canyon are stunning. Visiting Choquequirao all day (the second day) with only a handful of other tourists was magical.