Choquequirao is relatively inaccessible. The southern approach to the site requires a steep descent from almost 3200 meters, near the village of Cachora, down to the Apurimac River at 1200m. This is followed by an even steeper ascent of 1800m up to the ruins. Machu Picchu is situated on the eastern slope of the Cordillera Vilcabamba and Choquequirau on it’s opposite western slope at about the same parallel. Both citadels are located half way up steep, densely forested mountain slopes. Today the ruins have been partially cleared by COPESCO, the government body responsible for tourism in Peru. They can be explored easily by those intrepid enough to undertake the difficult trek required getting there.
The beautiful site can even be visited by travelers. It is advised for you to book at an agency in order to be able to visit is as easily as possible. Infrastructure in the area is not adequate for receiving masses of tourists. Individual travel is rather difficult.
The trail goes through an amazing variety of habitats from pastoral valleys full of blossoming fruit trees to glacial mountains. As we hike this fantastic trail, we have some of the most glorious campsites in the Andes.
Choquequirao has been called “Machu Picchu’s sacred sister”, because of the striking similarities of design and ceremonial architecture to its famous counterpart above the Urubamba Gorge. Yet it remains an enigmatic place whose history is a matter of speculation. One theory of its origins holds that it was a royal estate built for the emperor Topa Inca, perhaps in an attempt to rival his father Pachacuti’s spectacular domain at Machu Picchu.
We will depart Cusco at approximately 4.30 a.m. and arrive in the town of Curahuasi where we will have breakfast. This will take around 3 hours. We will then head to Capulilloc pass, passing by the towns of Saywite and Cachora, where we will organize our team of mules (to carry our bags and equipment) and then start the descent of our hike. From here we can appreciate the majestic snow-peaks of Padriyoc and Wayna Cachora as well as see the beautiful change in landscapes from precipices to the impressive gorge of Apurimac Canyon. In Chikiska we will have lunch and after head to our campsite in Playa-Rosalina where we will have dinner and spend the night.
Early in the morning after breakfast, we continue our hike ascending to the villages of Santa Rosa and Marampata where we can appreciate the spectacular scenery. From Marampata we continue towards the complex archaeological site of Choquequirao, which will take approximately 1 hour and half. During this part of the hike you can see the complex of Choquequirao and located nearby is our campsite where we will have lunch. After lunch we will spend the whole afternoon on a guided tour exploring the Inca construction “Choquequirao” with time also to enjoy this majestic place on our own and appreciate the houses, terraces, principal plaza, llama sector, and if we are lucky see the “flight of the condors”. Our guide will also explain the history and importance of this site. At the end of the tour we will return to the campsite that was mentioned earlier.
After an early breakfast we will depart Choquequirao descending back the way we came, where we have the opportunity to appreciate again Apurimac Canyon, the lush vegetation, flowers and orchids, and finally arriving back at Playa where we will have lunch. This will be followed by a 1-hour siesta before continuing our hike up to our campsite in Chikiska where we will have dinner and spend the night.
Early in the morning after breakfast we will follow the trail up where we can enjoy again the spectacular view of the majestic snow-capped mountains of Padriyoc, which decorate the Canyon of Apurimac. When we arrive in Capuliyoc we will have lunch and await our transportation that will take us back to Cusco.
Campsites are subject to change, dependent on the size of the group and their physical condition.
Since this is considered a strenuous hike , we strongly recommend the use of horses
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