Choquequirao (3.103m/10178ft), considered to be a sister city of similar significance to that of Machupicchu and built along similar lines, although harder to reach, was also presumed to have had about the same size and to have served the same religious, political and agricultural functions. However, because archaeologists long underestimated the importance of Choquequirao, the city’s existence was known for almost 300 years before the first restoration was begun in 1993 and it has only recently been accessible to nonacademics, since then quickly joining the ranks of the world’s great Lost Cities.
In this spectacular 60-km trek we drive to the charming village of Cachora, our starting point, and reach this huge archaeological complex still under cleaning and restoration process located in the surroundings of the Salkantay sacred mountain (6.271m/20569ft) and the Apurimac River canyon. The beauty of the Inca citadel, still partially covered by the weeds cumulated by the passing of centuries, its astonishing location and surrounding mountain scenery, as well as lots of Andean flora and fauna, with the chance to spot condors in its natural habitat are some of the most appreciated attractions of this program.
This 5 – day version allows an extra day in Choquequirao archaeological site versus the classical 4-day trek.
Day 1 Cusco to Chiquisca
We leave Cusco at 5.00 am in our private transport and drive towards Cachora, an Andean community located 4-5h from Cusco at 2800m/9184ft, the starting point of the trek where we meet our horsemen and horses. We start our hike climbing for two and a half hours towards the Abra Capuliyoc at 2750m/9020ft, where may we enjoy beautiful views of the surrounding mountains and the Apurimac River Canyon. We then continue descending for two more hours towards Chiquisca, where we set our camp and spend the night.
Day 2 Chiquisca to Choquequirao
We leave Chiquisca as early as 6.00am to go down to Rosalina Beach, which will take about one hour. We then cross the Apurimac River and start climbing towards Santa Rosa, zigzagging up a steep slope. This climb will take an approximated 2h, and it is important that we leave early so that the heat does not make it more difficult than it has to be. In Santa Rosa, we make a half an hour break, where those who wish may try Cambray, a local sugar cane extract. Afterwards, we continue our hike slowly climbing for two and a half hours until we reach our lunch spot in Marampata. From here we walk another two hours until we reach the archaeological complex of Choquequirao, located at 3103m/10178ft, where we will set up camp and enjoy some free time to explore the terraces and buildings. When the sun starts to set, you might want to sit and contemplate the canyon, where condors are sometimes spotted.
B, L, D
Day 3 Choquequirao
Today we enjoy a complete guided tour of the Choquequirao complex: we will visit the high parts (Hanan), and the lower parts (Urin), and some areas that are still covered in wild foliage and ready to be restored into the way it was when the Incas owned it. We will have the full day to explore the site and relax, enjoying the spectacular views that surround the area.
B, L, D
Day 4 Choquequirao to Rosalina Beach
This morning we start our walk back towards Santa Rosa, where we have lunch. We then continue descending for another 2 hours until we reach Rosalina Beach at 1450m/4756ft, where we might have time to take a refreshing dip in the waters of the Apurimac River. We camp and dine here.
B, L, D
Day 5 Rosalina Beach to Cachora
We leave camp after breakfast to start the two to three hour climb to Chiquisca, to then make our way back to the Abra Capuliyoc, close to which we have our lunch. In the afternoon, we continue on our two-hour return route to Cachora, where a private transport will be waiting to take us back to Cusco. Estimated arrival time around 9.00pm.
* Departure and arrival times are approximated.
** Campsites are subject to change according to our guide’s criteria and the group progress
Challenging: The route has steep ups and downs, with changes of altitude in one day of over 1600m/5200ft and usually warm weather during the day due to the lower altitude vs Cusco. We recommend allowing one-day acclimatization in Cusco prior to the trek departure.
Price per person 2017
Prices per person depend on the group size, the larger the group the lower the price per person.
Daily departures are available along the year, although the period March to December is recommended to avoid the heart of the rainy season.
All private service departure dates are adapted to your request.
What is included
- Pre-departure briefing
- Collection from your hotel in the morning and transfer in private transport to Cachora, starting point of the trek
- Choquequirao entrance fee for visitors and agency staff
- Personal tents: 2 people in each 4-people-capacity tent, to allow for higher comfort and a safe keeping of backpacks. Our tents are 3-season, highly maintained to ensure an excellent performance in field. Eureka Timberline 4 Outfitter tents are employed when double accommodation is requested and Eureka Timberline 2XT for single travelers
- One inflatable sleeping pad per person
- One sleeping bag per person: our sleeping bags are -18ºC-comfort (0ºF), mummy form and include a sleeping liner. They are cleaned after every use and have a maximum usage of 30 trips
- One pillow per person
- Dining tent with tables and chairs
- Kitchen tent
- Toilet tent with biodegradable toilet facilities
- English speaking professional and official tourist guide (2 guides for groups of over 8 people)
- Chef and cooking equipment
- Pack animals (to carry tents, food and cooking equipment)
- Pack animals to carry personal gear up to a maximum of 9kg per person (including sleeping pad and sleeping bag)
- 1 emergency horse every 6 persons
- Accommodation for all our staff
- Meals (04B, 05L, 04D + daily morning snack + daily tea service except last day). Vegetarian or special menus are available at no extra cost
- One textile snack bag per person, to avoid the usage of plastic bags that contaminate our environment
- Filtered boiled water from lunch time on 1st day onwards
- Bio-degradable personal hand soaps
- Bio-degradable dishwashing detergents used by our kitchen staff
- Others: hot water every morning and evening for washing purposes / boiled water to fill in your water bottle every morning and night, and at lunch time if requested with enough time ahead
- First-aid kit including emergency oxygen bottle
- Private transport from Cachora to Cusco, including transfer to your hotel in Cusco
- 24-h guest service: please ask for the emergency number available during your time of visit
What is not included
- Breakfast on the first day
- Dinner on the last day
- Tips: please note that our agency staff is well paid so please feel free to tip or not as you wish
What we recommend that you bring
- A backpack with a change of clothes for the whole period of the trek
- Rain gear (jacket and pants if available) or rain poncho (plastic ponchos can be purchased in Cusco)
- Strong footwear, waterproof trekking boots recommended
- Sandals or jogging shoes for a higher comfort while at camp
- Warm clothes, including jacket, fleeces
- Flashlight/headlamp and batteries
- Camera and batteries (batteries consume more quickly under cold conditions)
- Hat or cap to protect you from the sun, rain and cold
- Sun block
- After-sun cream or hydrating cream for face and body
- Insect repellent – minimum recommended 20% DEET – no malaria risk has been reported
- Toilet paper
- Snacks: biscuits, energy bars, chocolate, raw fruits, muesli, etc. Please note that we do provide a daily morning snack and our meal service is very complete and well supplied. This recommendation applies for all clients being used to a specific snack, as it may happen that it is not included in our selection
- Water container and water for the first morning
- Optionally: water- sterilizing tablets in case you pick up water from streams or rivers along the route. Otherwise, we provide filtered boiled water, which is safe to drink and has not reported any health problem so far
- Small towel
- Swimsuit (if you wish to take a bath in the river)
- Cash in soles and/or US$
- Original passport
- Original International Student Identity Card (in case you have applied for a student discount)
- Optional: walking sticks or poles (rubber covers required in order not to damage archaeological sites)
Appropriate clothing along this hike
Hiking pants and T-shirts are recommended during the day, eventually complemented by sweaters, fleeces and jackets in the evening. We recommend convertible hiking pants and / or shorts as some parts of the route run at low altitude and warm weather. It is also very convenient to have light raingear available in the daypack (rain poncho or jacket and/or rain pants) as the weather changes easily and rains can suddenly occur. At night, warm clothing is required along the route. The rest of necessary implements are included in the “What we recommend that you bring” list.
Cusco’s climate is divided into two differentiated seasons: the rainy season, from November to April (the heaviest rainfalls occurring usually between January – March); and the dry season, from May to October. The dry season is colder, so temperatures can drop to below 0 degrees at night.
Along the route to Choquequirao, temperatures range from 15-25ºC during the day if it’s sunny, to 10-20ºC during the day if not sunny. Temperatures drop in the evening and at night, especially in Choquequirao, at a higher elevation, reaching 5ºC although rarely below. Warm clothes are hence however necessary for this hike.