The name Choquequirao means “Cradle of Gold” in the Quechua language. This spectacular archaeological site is located above the furious Apurímac River and is surrounded by towering snow-capped peaks. Very few tourists visit it because it’s not as well-known as Machu Picchu, but it’s 3 times bigger. It’s said to have been one of the last refuges of the Incas that tried to resist the Spanish invasion. Later, Choquequirao was abandoned, and the dense vegetation of the cloud forest ended up hiding it.
Choquequirao trek is an appealing alternative trek to the Inca Trail. The lesser-known ruins of Choquequirao feature similar architecture and layout to the more famous ruins of Machu Picchu.
On this adventurous trek into the world of the past, we will walk on Incan highways, hike through high Andean landscapes with majestic glaciers, descend into deep canyons where the condors fly, and pass through biologically diverse cloud forest ecosystems. You will also see native animals such as Andean Condors, other smaller local birds, and native flora and fauna, including orchids, and so much more!
We’ll start our exciting adventure very early in the morning. We’ll pick you up at your hotel at 4:30 am and travel in our private transport to Cachora. On the way, we’ll contemplate the impressive glacier mountains of Salkantay and Humantay in the distance.
Once we get to Cachora, we’ll visit the town and walk through its picturesque streets that tell us all about its rich culture. We will enjoy a nutritious and delicious breakfast. Then, we continue to Capuliyoc (2,890 m / 9,482 ft) and meet the rest of our trekking team: cooks and muleteers, who will carry our belongings all the way. After going over the last details, we will trek through the Apurimac Canyon. We will zigzag down for approximately three hours to Chiquisca (1,900 m / 6,234 ft), a beautiful hamlet full of fruit fields.
During the trail, we´ll be able to contemplate the impressive scenery offered by the Apurimac Valley, as well as have the opportunity to appreciate the majestic flight of the condor and the impressive views of two giant glacier mountains called Padreyoc and Qoriwayrachina. As we begin to approach deeper into the valley, the heat, the abundant vegetation and the rhythmic sounds of the rushing Apurimac River become more and more noticeable.
Hours later, we´ll arrive at the tropical hamlet of Chiquisca, a warm green camp in the middle of the arid mountain where we will have dinner and spend the night.
After enjoying a delicious breakfast to recharge your batteries, we´ll continue our journey and begin our hike. A zigzagging ascent to Marampata (2,900 m / 9,514 ft) awaits us, where you can take impressive photos of the canyon and the snow-capped peaks that surround you.
We´ll start with a descent of one hour and fifteen minutes to reach the deepest part of the valley known as Playa Rosalinas (1,500 m / 4,921 ft). We will cross the pedestrian bridge to begin the toughest part of our trek.
On the way, we´ll make a brief stop at the hamlet of Santa Rosa (1,970 m / 6,463 ft), where you can enjoy a delicious lunch prepared by our team to recover energy; we´ll continue ascending for approximately three hours until we reach the Marampata camp. In the afternoon, you will enjoy the impressive surroundings and feel the energy that this spectacular place has near the citadel of Choquequirao. In addition, you will take the time to stretch your muscles and enjoy a beautiful sunset that floods the endless valleys and white glacial mountains with its soft orange light.
When it starts to get dark, we will see the beautiful sunset accompanied by a sky full of thousands of stars covering the landscape and the vegetation around us. Then it will be time to have dinner before going to bed to rest.
We´ll start the day with a delicious breakfast that will give you a boost of energy. Then, we´ll take the day to explore every detail of this incredible Inca site located in the mountains and very close to the deepest canyon of the entire South American continent. You can already imagine the incredible landscapes that surround this colossal Inca construction. We´ll visit the most impressive corners of this place and our guide will share with you the fascinating stories of the past and the reason why it was built.
Choquequirao (3,050 m / 10,007 ft) is much larger than Machu Picchu, with plazas, temples, and impressive platforms that will make you constantly ponder the question: How could the Incas build this on top of the mountains? You´ll enjoy a picnic lunch at noon and have time to rest and recover your energy.
Don´t miss the famous white stone llamas that adorn the platforms built on the hillside and are located in the direction of the mountain that protects this sector known as the Apu Qoriwayrachina. According to experts, only an average of 40% of the entire site is visible and, in many ways, Choquequirao remains a mystery. We are sure that in the coming years we will learn even more about this amazing complex.
At the end of the day, we will return to our camp at Marampata (2,900 m / 9,514 ft) and enjoy a delicious dinner. Afterwards, you can go to bed to contemplate the incredible day you have just had and rest.
After another delicious breakfast, we’ll start our return from Choquequirao. It’s goodbye for now to this unique site, so make sure you get a last glimpse before you head off. First, we will have another opportunity to take pictures of the great canyon from Marampata; then, we will descend for two hours until we reach Santa Rosa (2,970 m / 6,463 ft), lunch point. On the way, you will have the opportunity to observe the enormous variety of vegetation on this part of the trail.
After lunch, we’ll continue to Playa Rosalinas and dip our feet and freshen up in the cold waters of the Apurimac River in the middle of the canyon. Then, we’ll go up to Chiquisca camp (1,900 m / 6,234 ft), located in the backyard of the home of a local family. Use this time to make new friends and learn about the Andean lifestyle, like their customs and traditions. You’ll be able to closely observe the deep relationship that the Andean communities have with Pachamama or, as you know her, Mother Nature.
After a delicious dinner, you can rest peacefully for the night in our cozy camp and reflect on your journey up to this point.
Today we will enjoy the last breakfast of our epic adventure while listening to the mighty roar of the river. Afterwards, we´ll leave as early as possible to avoid the sun hindering our hike, as it can make things very difficult at high altitudes. Take a deep breath and focus on the energy of mother nature as you hike for 4 hours to Capuliyoc.
Once there, we´ll say goodbye to the trekking team and board the private transportation that will take us to see the famous Saywite monolith, a colossal rock sculpted with more than 200 geometric and zoomorphic figures. You´ll discover that this place was a center of religious worship for the Inca people, centered on water and of great importance to their culture.
After learning all about the place’s history, we’ll continue to the hot springs of Conoc to relax and unwind in the warm waters. Our lunch will be ready after enjoying these refreshing pools, and then we’ll start our drive back to the city of Cusco.
Take advantage of this last opportunity to observe the immense glacial mountains that have embraced you with pure affection during the route and that have allowed you to arrive safely to each destination along the route. Your body will likely be very tired, but the joy and satisfaction that you’ll feel in your soul will be incomparable. We’ll arrive in the city of Cusco at approximately 6:00 p.m. and drop you off at the door of your accommodation for you to finally kick back and relax.
We want to make your trip to Peru as memorable and as easy as possible. In this section, you will find speedy answers to all those questions you had about Choquequirao Trail in one place. Please read the following information carefully – it will help you with any questions about our services.
Has another question that we haven’t answered here? Drop us a line, and we will get back to you asap!
All information meetings are held in your hotel at 6:00 p.m., one night before the tour begins. If you cannot attend, you must coordinate another time at the (Peru Hike) offices. These meetings last approximately 30 to 45 minutes and there you will be given a small duffel bag, in which you’ll put all the belongings you intend to bring on the trek that won’t be in your day pack.
ou’ll receive a canvas case or duffel bag during your briefing. The porters will take them on the way and will deliver them to you when you get to each camp. They measure 66 cm / 2 ft. Long x 36 cm / 1 ft. Wide.
A maximum of 5 kg is allowed for each duffel bag that includes the weight of your sleeping bag, mat, clothes and other personal items.
The trek has to be paid for in full by at least 7.30 pm two days before departure. For example, if your tour departs on a Wednesday, then you must come to our office before 7.30 pm on Monday.
It would be much appreciated if you pay the trek balance in cash US dollars or local currency. You can withdraw some money from several ATMs along Avenida Sol (either in US dollars or local Peruvian Soles). You can pay by credit card or PAYPAL online, but you will have to pay an 8% service charge, charged by VISA and PAYPAL. We do not accept bank checks or payment of the balance by traveler’s checks.
Of course! During the travel, your main luggage can be stored at our office(you can organize briefing day or by email) or at your hotel, both free of charge.
Any equipment that you are not going to need on the trek can be stored safely in your hotel. Nearly every hotel will provide this service. Don’t leave items of value with your bags, put them in the hotel safe and obtain an itemized receipt (In the unlikely case of theft many insurance companies require that you have a copy of the receipt itemizing all the items). Best put items such as credit cards inside a sealed, signed envelope for extra peace of mind.
Peru Hike Company can pick you up from your hotel, as long as it’s in the Historic Center of Cusco. The pickup time will be coordinated with your guide in the briefing. The pickup time may vary between 30 and 45 minutes due to traffic. Cusco is a very old city, therefore, it has many narrow cobbled streets. Some hotels and Airbnbs may be located on streets without access to cars or on long, steep slopes, making it difficult to transport luggage. We strongly recommend that you book accommodation with good access.
Group tours are made up of different types of people. Physical conditions and ages can vary. By agreeing to be part of a group tour, you also accept that some people may be faster or slower than you. Therefore, each person can go at their own pace on the route. It may be the case that a group wishes to modify the tour; however, it will be the guide who decides, after consulting with all the participants, if said modifications can be made.
Strikes and demonstrations are usually frequent in Peru and this may interrupt some of our tours. Roads can be blocked and train tracks can be taken over. However, we will try to keep your excursion as planned, even if it means leaving the night before the scheduled date. Under these circumstances, tours may also be cancelled. In case of changes or cancellations, all situations will be coordinated with you by our operations department. Your safety is our highest priority and our decisions will be made to protect it.
You’re responsible for your objects during the tour. Please pay attention to where you leave your things and remember to take everything once you leave our trucks, tents, or restaurants.
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This choquequirao trek was amazing from start to finish. My guide Zugar was fantastic and very knowledgeable. The cook whipped up really good meals. Lucked out with the weather too.
Had the site to ourselves for 2.5 hours what an incredible experience. Lunch was also planned and delivered to the site which was so atmospheric.
The trek is not easy but the rewards are well worth the effort.
If you fancy visiting a site away from the crowds to enjoy the beautiful archeological site with very few people this is the place for you.