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Choquequirao (Inca City): 4 Days
Set in remote jungle wilderness, surrounded by snowcapped peaks, Choquequirao is an Inca city that rivals Machu Picchu for size, features and complexity. However, Choquequirao is a genuine alternative to the much busier and better known Machu Picchu. We suggest you visit this original 'lost city of the Incas' before the crowds discover it. It is a similarly arduous trek, with lower elevations but a steep descent into the Apurimac Valley, where we cross the river and climb the similarly steep opposite side up to the ruins. The route takes us through a beautiful Andean landscape and climate, with the vegetation and fauna of the area abundant, and many small villages along the way.
Day 1: Cusco - San Pedro De Cachora - Chiquisca
We depart Cusco very early and head northeast by private bus toward the community of San Pedro de Cachora, 2.5 hours away. In the presence of the majestic Padrayoc Glacier, above us at 5,570 m elevation (18,275 ft), we meet up with our horsemen and their horses who accompany us and make sure that this adventure is comfortable.
After inspecting all the camping gear and preparing the horses, we begin our walk. Starting in Cachora at 2,800 m (9,186 ft) our walk at first has a relatively gentle grade. We sometimes make contact with the people in the small villages we pass through, like La Colmena and La Aguada.
We then reach the look-out on Capuliyoc road from where we can see the entire Apurimac Valley.
Surrounded by this impressive panorama we have lunch before we continue our journey, which begins our long downhill section. We walk alongside the farmhouses of Huayhuacalle, Tinajayoc, Cocamasana, Torwisqana, until we finally reach Chiquisca where we have a delicious dinner and spend the night (2,000 m / 6,562 ft).
Day 2: Chiquisca - Rosalina - Choquequirao
Again we get up early and after breakfast begin the walk to our ultimate objective, Choquequirao. We continue downhill toward the shores of the Apurimac River, called Playa Rosalina, where you'll want to scoop up some crystalline water flowing from the glaciers of the area.
We continue through the marvelous canyon of the Apurimac, cross the river and climb toward Marampata. From there we see the impressive sight of the archeological complex of Choquequirao. We camp here and spend the night (2,800 m / 9,186 ft).
Day 3: Choquequirao - San Ignacio - Carmen
After watching the sunrise in Choquequirao we tour through the archeological site, admiring the great mastery and intelligence of the people who built this complex and learning about the glorious time of the Inca Empire. Surrounded by the scenic Apurimac Canyon, we descend to the Playa San Ignacio, where we stop for lunch. After that we continue to the Orchard Carmen, named so because of the paradise-like environment of the area. We set up our camp here, have a hearty meal and spend the night (1,650 m / 5,313 ft).
Day 4: Carmen – Tambobamba - Huanipaca - Cusco
After breakfast we begin our walk through a lovely forest toward the Tambobamba Hacienda, a place that reminds us of the colonial era and the hard work of the local farmers. Today this area is rich in agriculture and livestock. We continue on to visit the community of Pacobamba before we enter into Huanipaca where we can view the whole chain of the Sacsarayoq glaciers, in the Vilcanota region, in all their splendor. From here we board a bus back to Cusco.
- All transportation indicated above
- Entrance fee to Choquequirao
- Professional guide (fluent in English, Spanish, German, Quechua)
- Camping equipment
- All meals indicated above plus snacks
- First aid kit
- Sleeping bag
- Breakfast on first morning
- Discretionary spending, tips
For tips on what to bring, check our Travel Tips page.