CHOQUEQUIRAO TREK

Cross the Canyon of the Apurimac River to Machu Picchu

Choquequirao, or ´cradle of gold´ in its Spanish translation, is an archeological complex that only recently has been discovered. Here one finds an impressive series of unique Incan ruins, terraces, worship centers and more, in the jungle which is borded by the Apurimac river canyon. From there, one may take an alternative hike that opens up the wonders of natural beauty. The hike begins in the village of Cachora and ends in the same spot.

In order to best prepare for the hiking tour, it’s advisable to take two days of acclimatization in the surroundings of Cusco so that our team can offer all the facilities and comforts necessary to enjoy the route to its fullest.

Activity: Trekking in the Cordillera Vilcabamba To Choquequirao, one of the last Inca Cities.
Duration. 5 days and 4 nights
Time of Year: May to November
Departures: Upon Request
Costs and Rates: Price per person in U.S.A. Dollars on the basis of double accommodations. Group rates available upon request.
Service: Private
Minimum number of passengers: 2 or more
Location: In Cusco between the Urubamba Valley and the Cordillera Vilcabamba
Difficulty of the Walk: Moderate

 

Quicklinks

Choquequirao – A Brief History
Choquequirao Trek to Machu Picchu – Itinerary
Route and Altitude Map
Best time for a Choquequirao Trek
Choquequirao Trek Packing List
Alternative Choquequirao Treks
Acclimatisation
Tour Recommendations

Choquequirao Trek to Machu Picchu – Itinerary

Day 1: Cusco – Cachora – Chiquiska 
– Early in the morning, a scenic drive of 4 hours takes us to the village of Cachora where we meet our muleteers (arrieros). We begin our trek of approximately 2 hours to the pass of Kapuiyoq (2800m // 9,186feet) where we catch our first astounding view of the Apurimac river canyon and the snowcapped peaks around it. A 3 hour descent brings us to a our first campsite en Chiquiska (1800m // 5.905feet)
– Number of hours of trekking: 5h a 6h
– Ascent:
– Descent:
– Lodging: Overnight camping in tent.
– LD

Day 2: Chiquiska – Choquequirao
– After breakfast we begin descending all while appreciating the magnificent scenery of the Apurimac canyon until reaching 1495m of altitude. From there we pass over the modern hanging bridge suspended above the Apurimac River. At this point we begin a long and arduous ascent of 5 hours’ duration to arrive at our destination: the beautiful archaeological complex of Choquequirao. Our arrival coincides with an incredible sunset over the snow-capped peaks, followed by a delicious dinner and a well-earned rest in our campsite (3000m)
– Number of hours of trekking: 6h to 7h
– Ascent:
– Descent:
– Lodging: Overnight camping in tent.
– BLD

Day 3: Choquequirao
– Today we visit the restored sections of the ruins and we explore the areas recently discovered which are being excavated and restored by COPESCO.
– After lunch we have an optional visit to the Casa Cascada (about 300m below Choquequirao) and spend an entertaining afternoon partaking of a Pachamanca (typical Andean meal cooked in a sunken earth oven). From the Usno –highest point in the ruins- we again appreciate the sunset over the magical Canyon of the Apurimac, surrounded by the various Apus or tutelary mountains of the region. With a bit of luck we shall see a condor, in all his magnificence, bidding farewell to the Sun God.
– Lodging: Overnight camping in tent.
– B / Pachamanca / D

Day 4: Choquequirao – Cocamazana
– After a delicious breakfast we begin our return journey, descending to the Apurimac River where we stop for lunch. An ascent lasting 3hrs brings us to our campsite in Cocamazana. From here we enjoy one last spectacular sunset before dinner.
– Number of hours of trekking: 5h to 6h
– Ascent:
– Descent:
– Lodging: Overnight camping in tent.
– BL D

Day 5: Cocamazana – Cachora – Cusco
– Today we begin early in order to avoid the intense sun, climbing for about 2 hours, leaving the Valley behind until reaching the Pass of Kapuliyoq (2800 m). From here a gentler trail leads us to the town of Cachora where we arrive around noon.
– After a rest, we bid goodbye to our muleteers and continue by bus to the archaeological site of Saywite. This represents a scale model carved by the Incas on a large boulder, showing all of the ecological systems that they knew of, each with their respective flora and fauna. We enjoy a delicious lunch in the company of this magical monument.
– In the afternoon we continue by bus to Cusco, and a well-earned rest.
– Number of hours of trekking: 3h to 4h
– Ascent:
– Descent:
– B / Box Lunch

Best time for a Choquequirao Trek?

Choquequirao Trek Packing List

Alternative Choquequirao Treks

There are a number of alternatives to the Choquequirao trek. Here are three of the most common:

Standalone Choquequirao Trek

The standalone Choquequirao trek is ideal for trekkers who have already seen Machu Picchu and want to see the Choquequirao site. The trek lasts anywhere between 3 and 5 days, depending how long you want to stay at Choquequirao. For details on recommended operators who offer standalone Choquequirao treks, please contact us, and we’ll get you hooked up. It is possible to get land transport to Aguas Calientes on standalone Choquequirao treks

Vilcabamba and Choquequirao Trek

The Vilcabamba and Choquequirao Trek is also for those who have already seen Machu Picchu but are looking for a super quiet and challenging trek. The trek is shown as the green line on the map above, can be started from either the Cachora side in the south or the Huancacalle side in the north. The great thing about this trek is that it is very quiet (you will probably not see any other trekkers after Choquequirao), and you get to visit a number of notable Inca sites – Sayhuite, Choquequirao, Vitcos-Rosaspata and the Ñustahispana (the White Rock). The scenery on this route is also amazing! There are only a handful of operators who offer this trek. Contact us for their details. You’ll need to set aside 7 or 8 days to complete this trek.

Vilcabamba, Espiritu Pampa and Machu Picchu

The Vilcabamba, Espiritu Pampa and Machu Picchu trek, combines the green route described above (and seen on the map) as well as another Inca site, Espiritu Pampa (seen on the light blue line on the map above). The trek runs south to north and takes approx. 11-12 days to reach Chaunquiri (see map). From here one gets private car transport to Quillabamba and then onto Aguas Calientes to visit Machu Picchu. In total this tough trek takes between 14-15 days, but provides one of the most extensive and varied trekking options in the Cusco region.

Acclimatisation

Tour Recommendations