EXPLORING CHOQUEQUIRAO

“The other Machu Picchu”

ABOUT TRIP

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Difficulty: Medium

Many people call Choquequirao “the other Machu Picchu”. It was built for political and military purposes and one of the most demanding and unforgettable of treks. To get there you start from Cachora (2903 m.a.s.l.), a village in Apurimac, on the road from Cusco to Abancay. Choquequirao (“golden cradle”) is the name of the hill on which this citadel was discovered, at 3033 m.a.s.l. The route starts with a walk and descent to Cocamasama (2100 m.a.s.l.) to the first camp site at Playa Rosalina (1750 m.a.s.l.) The following day takes you to the hamlet of Santa Rosa (2100 m.a.s.l.), Marampata and finally Choquequirao. This archaeological site was also one of the secret places of the last Incas as they were threatened by the Spanish Conquistadors.

This trek is perfect for those who like to combine walking and archeology with mountains. You’ll be engrossed to in the diversity of ecosystems you will see along the way will amazing rock formations, flutes of ice created by glaciers and cloud forestround the enigmatic city of Cusco.

INTERACTIVE MAP WITH DESTINATIONS

DAY 1 – CUSCO CACHORA TO CHIQUISQA

From Cusco we take an early morning drive in our private transport to the small town of Cachora, our entrance to the Apurimac canyon. Once on the trail, the mountain range and glaciers in view will amaze and delight, providing strong motivation for this challenging trek. After few hours we will reach the mountain pass and the beginning of our long downhill for today. From this vantage point, if we have a clear sky, we will see our final destination from afar and our reason for being here, the magnificent Choquequirao. The downhill is very steep and quite unforgiving and can be painful for our knees (if you have knee problems we suggest to use “knee braces” or supports). We will hike down almost until the valley floor. Chiquiska will be our piece of green paradise to rest in for this night. As we are lower and near the Apurimac river a strong mosquito repellent is essential. Early dinner and early to bed, ready for the tough uphill tomorrow!

Approximate Walking time: 6 hrs

Distance traveled: 19km / 11.80 ml

Meals:  L, D. Snacks

DAY 2 – CHIQUISQA TO CHOQUEQUIRAO CAMPSITE

After our first night on the trail, we ascend to the Choquequirao camp site (2847m /9340ft), which stands about 1500m above the Apurimac River. The ascent is steep and tough but along the way there are rewarding spectacular views of the surrounding landscape. From the top of this mountain at Marampata we will get our ‘birds eye view’ of the beautiful and powerful Apurimac river. We continue down until we reach our next campsite. If you arrive early and energy levels are high it may be possible to spend time at Pacchayoq, in the lower sector of the complex, where we will see ancient Inca water channels, ceremonial rocks and much more. We will return to the campsite for dinner.

Approximate Walking time: 8 hours

Distance travelled: 14km / 8.69 ml

Meals:  B, L, D. Snacks

DAY 3 – Choquequirao Campsite to Choquequirao Citadel

After a tasty breakfast we leave camp and hike up to the ruins. For now Choquequirao is a breath taking destination of an ‘unspoiled’ trek and you won’t see many tourists. You will find tranquility at the top of a mountain, enveloped in the sound of the roaring river below, and if you are lucky you may even see Condors soaring by. The best part is you get to spend the whole day here and after a guided tour there will be time for you to find a quiet space, lie down in the grass and absorb the experience of being in an ancient Inca City.

DAY 4 – Choquequirao Campsite to Chiquisca

It will be a long yet more leisurely hike back to our first campsite at Chiquisca and after an unforgettable experience well worth the walk. On this day we can really enjoy the journey and take in the vast changes of the countryside.

Approximate Walking time: 9 hours

Distance travelled: 19km / 11.80 ml

Meals:  B, L, D. Snacks

DAY 5 – CHIKISKA - CUSCO

We begin the day as early as possible to avoid the midday sun, which is exhausting.  The first part of the path is uphill for about four hours.  The last part of the climb is challenging.  We arrive at the Capuliyoq lookout, and then continue on level ground to the town of Cachora.  We cross the last valley to reach the end of our trek.  Total time, approximately 6 hours.  We have lunch and begin our return journey to the city of Cusco.

Approximate Walking Time: 8 hrs

Distance Travelled: 19 km / 11.80 ml

Meals: breakfast, and lunch

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Monday - Friday: 10.00 - 18.30

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