Get to know Choquequirao, Machu Picchu’s sacred sister


Choquequirao is an Incan site located near the Salkantay in the spurs of the Vilcabamba mountain range in Santa Teresa district, La Convención Province of the Cusco Region. The region is characterized by mountain topography and covered with Amazonian flora and fauna of great diversity. Choquequirao is at an elevation of 3,050 m and has 1,800 hectares, of which only 30–40% is excavated.

Choquequirao means “cradle of gold” in Quechua language. It is usually is called Machu Picchu’s sacred sister because it is similar in structure and architecture to Machu Picchu. Discover more about this amazing ancient city.


Choquequirao was built between 15th and 16th century. Pachacutec founded Choquequirao and his son, Tupac Inca Yupanqui, remodeled and extended it. Choquequirao was probably one of the entrance check points to the Vilcabamba, and also an administrative hub serving political, social and economic functions.

Choquequirao was one of the last bastions of resistance and refuge of the incas, who abandoned Cusco after being sieged by the Spaniards. In this place, Manco Inca and the rest of Incas of Vilcabamba resisted the Spanish attacks until 1572, when Tupac Amaru I was captured and executed.


Choquequirao’s urban design has followed the symbolic patterns of the imperial capital. The main structures, such as temples, huacas, elite and residences are concentrated around two plazas along the crest of the ridge.

The archaeological complex of Choquequirao is divided into 12 sectors. While the contents of each sector are different, terraces used for various purposes are common throughout. Most of the buildings here were either for ceremonial purposes, residences of the priests, or used to store food.


Access to Choquequirao

Choquequirao is only accesible by foot. While at a lower elevation than the classic Inca Trail, the ascents and descents are very steep making for a challenging and extremely rewarding adventure. The common route begins at the village of Cachora, which is approximately a 4-hour drive from Cuzco. It includes crossing the Apurimac river, the Apurimac canyon and stone terraces, but also seeing stunning vistas and gorgeous campsites.

  • Choquequirao trek

Explorandes offers an amazing 11-day-trek to Choquequirao that will embark you on one of the most challenging hikes into the heart of the Tawantinsuyo. Across the Apurimac Canyon and the Cordillera mountain range, we combine a number of different activities to create a perfect trip to Choquequirao and then to our final destination: the citadel of Machu Picchu.

Do you want to visit Machu Picchu’s sacred sister? Explorandes offers you a unique and incredible trip to Choquequirao. To know more about dates, itinerary or any other information, please contact us.[:]

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