Trek to Choquequirao

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Overview

This trek is perfect for those who wish to combine remote high-mountain hiking with archaeological exploration. The sheer diversity of terrain you will experience on this route will provide a feast for your eyes, and the remoteness and rarefied atmospheres will nourish your soul. You’ll see fantastic rock formations, deep, colorful canyons, flutes of glacial ice, and nebulous cloud forests during this incredible eight-day trek, culminating with a visit to the Inca citadel of Machu Picchu.

The route starts at the famous citadel of Choquequirao, passes through the Apurimac Canyon and the Cordillera Vilcabamba, and finally reaches the ancient complex of Machu Picchu.

We invite you to check out the full itinerary for a preview of the incredible discoveries you’ll make along the way. Don’t forget to check our tips on the left-hand side of the page. They will advise you on how to prepare for this intense, life-elevating experience.

Location

Cusco – Apurimac

Duration

4 Days / 3 Nights

Season

April – November

Group Departures

Every Sunday 

Minimum

2 passengers

Private Departure

On request

Difficulty

1-2-3-4-5

Itinerary

Day 1Cusco – Cachora – Chikisca

In the morning we will be leaving from Cusco headed due north on the main highway to Antapampa, a fertile agricultural valley. Once we begin to descend into Limatambo, we’ll visit the Inca site of Tarawasi, with some beautifully precise Inca geometry found in its structures and stone walls. The road continues until we reach the Apurimac River, an impressive gorge, where we can observe the frothy river winding below. We will drive past the village of Curawasi and on to the Sayhuite archaeological site. Among its features is an enormous monolithic rock carved with various geometrical and animal figures. Some archaeologists consider it to have been a kind of engineering map that showed the extensive hydraulic systems and irrigation channels used to convey water in the area.

A small side road over a ridge brings us down to the village of Cachora, where we start today’s hike. Here we will meet the rest of our field crew. We will begin trekking along the mountain’s edge. At Capuliyoc, we’ll attain our first view of the Apurimac Canyon with the snow-capped peaks of Nevado Padreyoc front and center, and Nevado Qoriwayrachina to the left. We begin our descent and make camp at a cozy site on the riverside at Chikiska, at 1850 masl (6069 fasl).
(L / D)

Driving distance: 165 km (102.5 mi) – Time: 4 hours
Trekking distance: 18.4 km (11.4 mi) – Time: 6 hours

Day 2Chikiska – Maranpata – Choquequirao

We get up with the sunrise, and after a hearty breakfast, begin the day’s trek, crossing the river over a footbridge. From here an uphill walk of half a day brings us to a small meadow where we’ll enjoy a picnic lunch. As we ascend the steep trail, we will be confronted with panoramic views, sheer drops, and the beauty of the Apurimac Canyon. The afternoon hike is less steep as we approach the hanging valley through greenery and verdant misty forest to the site of Choquequirao. We’ll set up camp on the level ground at the section known as Marampampa, as we begin our explorations of this isolated Inca site and the surrounding cloud forest. We can also visit the Choquequirao main plaza, which features a network of terraces with Llama Figures called ¨the Llamas of the Sun¨. Sometimes it´s possible to camp in this area.
(B / L / D)

Trekking distance: 12.8 km (8 mi) – Time: 8 hours

Day 3 Choquequirao - Playa San Ignacio

We’ll spend the day exploring the Choquequirao complex, whose structures, stonework, staircases, and buildings sprawl across the landscape, covering over 1800 hectares! In splendor, it rivals Machu Pichu but is much less crowded. We’ll soak up the atmosphere of this ancient site, learning about the purpose of the various structures and the lives of the people that lived here. Choquequirao was one of the last strongholds of the Inca: it is speculated that Manco Inca Yupanqui took shelter here here after fleeing Cusco in 1535. The complex comprises 12 sectors, with buildings used for ritual purposes, residential structures for the priests, food storage areas, and highly complex terracing and water systems throughout. There are llama and handler figurines carved into the stone in the terraced areas, which is where crops were cultivated. After lunch, we´ll to start our descent towards Playa San Ignacio for approximately four hours. The first part downhill is mild, but as the trail continues it becomes very steep. We will enjoy panoramic views as we hike towards Playa San Ignacio, at 1430 m (4962 ft).
(B / L / D)

Trekking distance: 6.2 km (3.9 mi) – Time: 3-4 hours

Day 4Playa San Ignacio – Tambobamba – Huanipaca – Cusco

We’ll make an early morning departure for the last part of our trek. The trail starts going up again, until reaching the former Hacienda San Ignacio at 1700 m (5577 ft). After another hour of steep trail, we’ll arrive at the El Carmen Bridge, where we´ll enjoy a well-deserved lunch. After lunch, we´ll drive back to Cusco, a panoramic ascent out of this side valley, with dramatic views of the surrounding peaks. We will arrive in the city in the late afternoon. Return to your hotel for a well-deserved rest.
(B / L)

Trekking distance: 8 km (5 mi) – Time: 4-5 hours
Driving distance: 186 km (116 mi) – Time: 4 hours

End of services
B- Breakfast / BL- Box Lunch / L- Lunch / D- Dinner

Gallery
INCLUDED
NOT INCLUDED
WHAT TO TAKE

– Transportation
– Professional bilingual guide
– Double occupancy tents with Thermarest sleeping pads
– All meals during trek
– Non-alcoholic drinks
– Kitchen and dining tents
– Cook and field staff
– Horses and drivers
– Entrance tickets
– Solar energy lamps
– Eco toilets
– Adequate garbage disposal
– First aid kit and oxygen tank

– Personal travel insurance
– Laundry service
– Airline tickets
– Sleeping bags (rent available)
– Personal gear
– Alcoholic beverages
– Additional services
– Tips
– Extras

– Regular and long wicking first layer for cold weather, like polyester, nylon, or merino wool
– Short-sleeved shirts or t-shirts, breathable fabrics, like nylon and polyester
– Light-colored long-sleeved shirts or t-shirts
– QuickDry Pants, trekking pants, and shorts
– Insulated long-sleeve jacket (fleece, synthetic, down, merino wool)
– Liner gloves
– Light cap and beany
– Rain jacket (in the rainy season, bring rain pants)
– Breathable sports socks or hiking socks
– Warm socks for nights
– Swimsuit
– Multifunctional headwear (e.g. Buff)
– Waterproof and breathable hiking boots
– Comfortable and lightweight shoes for campsite
– Sleeping Bag (0°/32° to -15°/ 5°) (rent available)
– Day Pack (preferably with rain cover)
– Trekking Poles (available to rent)
– Waterproof duffle bag
– Sunglasses
– Headlamp
– Microfiber towel
– Sunblock, lip balm, and insect repellent
– Reusable water bottle or vacuum bottle
– Portable Power Bank (to charge lamps, etc)
– Personal First Aid Kit (recommended)

Personal First-Aid Kit On each trip we carry a medical kit, but we suggest you bring a small personal First-Aid Kit for bruises and blisters. Knee and ankle braces are sometimes useful especially if you suffer from weak knees or ankles. Include any special medication your doctor might suggest for you.

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Dates
START DATEEND DATEDETAILSSTATUS
08/10/201912/10/2019Trek to ChoquequiraoTwo more to open
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