Choquequirao Trek to Machu Picchu is an action packed 9 days lifetime experience. This is one of our signature treks. The trek takes you to both prominent lost city of Incas – Choquequirao and Machu Picchu.
Coquequirao in Quechua means, Cradle of Gold. It was built in the same era as its sister city, Machu Picchu. Both these cities were developed by ninth Inca Sapa (Emperor) , Pachacutec. These cities depicts more or less similar style of architecture. However, there is one thing that differs them vastly.
Machu Picchu being a popular site, it attracts around 5000 people a day. Choquequirao on the contrary, gets around 5-8 visitors a day. This is because of its secluded location. It nestles at 3300 metres high up in the Vilcabamba Mountain Range.
Infact, due to its remote location even the Spanish conquistadors were not able to conquer it. The handful of people who hike up there get a rewarding experience. They often get the whole archeological complex to themselves. The trek route is quite attractive too.
Local authorities are planning to install a cable car from the nearby village. This would see a rapid boom in tourism here.
You will be hiking through the Apurimac Canyon. Often trekkers encounter with some rare species of quetzals, pumas, deers and foxes. At one point of the trek you will also get to witness the flight of Andean condors.
Choquequirao is quite a massive complex. Infact, almost half of the complex still is blanketed with dense vegetation. However, the part which is open for tourism is spectacular. You will be walking through the remains of temples, prisons and ceremonial remains.
The most attractive are the beautiful mosaics of ‘llas’. They are split into nine different parts that include the temple, squares known as Hurin and Hanan(Upper and Lower) and the main square Huaqaypata.
As an outdoor adventure company, we offer a rewarding experience to our guests. Our guides are local experts. They have an immense knowledge about culture, traditions and history.
We are well experienced in high altitude treks. So you will be in safe hands all the way through. Our guides are also trained on first aid and on usage of Oxygen. We are a fully locally owned tour operator in Cusco.
Join us in retracing the footsteps of Incas on this 9 days Choquequirao Trek to Machu Picchu.
Cusco Hotel Transfer
Early in the morning at 5:30 AM, we will be picking you up from your hotel in Cusco. Then, we will embark on a journey in our private vehicle from Cusco to Cachora (2,850 m/9,350 ft).
It is an Andean village. We will be starting the Choquequirao Trek to Machu Picchu here. After organising our things, we will start two and a half hours descend to Apurimac Valley.
Along the way we will stop at the viewpoint named Capuliyoc (2915 meters / 9560 feet). You will be able to see the enormity of the canyon from here. Here we will be stopping for lunch.
After lunch, we will continue descending for another three hours to our campsite in Chiquiska. It is deep in the Apurimac canyon. Upon reaching we will setup the tent and serve you some tea. Later we will be serving a freshly cooked Peruvian meal for dinner.
After relishing on a nutritious breakfast, we will start hiking deep into the canyons. We will be hiking for an hour towards Playa Rosalina Bridge. It is across the Apurimac River (1550 meters / 5085 feet).
From here we will start hiking through Santa Rosa for four hours to Maranpata (2925 meters / 9595 feet). Here we will be stopping for lunch.
From here, you will be able to get the first glimpse of Choquequirao archaeological site. The region is home to rare species of butterflies, deers, spectacled bears and Andean condors.
It is a two hours hike further up to the archaeological complex of Choquequirao from Marnapata. We will be setting up the tents closer to the site. In the evening, we will be visiting the ruins and have an introduction tour.
After breakfast, we will be leaving Choquequirao archeological complex to Choquequirao Pass (3,300 m/10,890 ft). It will be a three hours hike up the hill. From here we will start descending to Rio Blanco. It is located at (1,900 m/6,270 ft). From here, we will be entering the cloud forest.
This section of the trek is quite rewarding. You will be able to see different types of flora and faunas. Most of them are typical to the region. Our guide will give you a detailed explanation of each and will explain its characteristics.
We will be stopping at Pinchiunuyoc (2,487 m/8,160 ft). It is an Incan farming terrace. Here we will give you a guided tour.
From here, we will continue descending further down to the tropical forest. On the way, we will be crossing many coca plantations. From a freezing highland climate we will be entering the warm tropical zone. Here we will be stopping for lunch.
After lunch, we will climb for three hours to Maizal. It is a small village at (3,000 m/9,900 ft) . We will be camping right next to a view point. You will have a pristine view of sunset from here.
After breakfast, we will start hiking up the hill towards Victoria Pass (4,150 m/13,695 ft). After a four hours hike up the hill, we will be reaching Victoria Mines. This was a renowned silver mine during the colonial era. It was later left abandoned.
At Victoria Pass, you will be able to see the flight of Andean condors. The pass also offers enchanting views of Humantay Mountain and Salkantay Peak. We will then descend to Yanama Village. It is at (3,800 m/12,540 ft) . Here we will be camping for the night.
After breakfast, we will start hiking towards the village of Yanama. We will be crossing many Andean farms. From here we will be hiking to the highest point of the trek, Yanama Pass (4,668 m/15,315 ft). This is a challenging day of Choquequirao Trek to Machu Picchu.
From the summit, you will have a pristine view of snow capped Andean peaks. You will also get to see Andean condors flying high above.
As we will be nearing the pass, you will witness small pieces of stones piled on top of each other. This is an Andean ritual. It is called Apacheta. It is a process to thank the Apus (Mountain Gods) for bringing them safe.
From here, we will be descending down to Totora Pampa. We will be camping near the Totora village for the night (3,630 m/11,979 ft).
This is an interesting day of the trek. After breakfast, we will be hiking along the course of Totora river. We will be gradually descending to a highland jungle. Here, you will witness a drastic change in weather. It would get more warmer. This tropical jungle is famous for many tropical fruits farms. Our guide will give you a tour of some farms.
From here, we will descend further to a village named Collpapampa (2,850 m/9,348 ft). Here we will stop for lunch. After lunch, we will continue descending further to Santa Teresa.
On this segment of the trek you will be able to see some coffee plantations. We will then reach closer to Wiñaypoco Mountain at (2,680 m/8,793 ft). We will be camping here for the night.
After breakfast, we will start the trek to Aobamba River. We will be passing some more coffee plantations and bamboo grooves. This section of the trek will take you through a less trodden path. This region is popular for strawberry and passion fruit plantations.
We will then be reaching La Playa (2,100 m/6,890 ft). Here we will stop for lunch. Then we will continue to Lucmabamba. It is a village at (2,250 m/7,381.89 ft). This region is known for many Avocado and other fruits plantations. We will be camping here for the night.
After breakfast, we will start a gradual uphill hike to Llactapata. We will be reaching there after hiking for five hours. Here we will stop for lunch. From here you will get to see both Machu Picchu and Salkantay peak. Our guide will then give you a guided tour of Llactapata ruins. These are part of the renowned Inca Trail. It offers an exclusive view of Machu Picchu.
From here, we will be descending down to Hidro Electric Plant at (2,050 m/6,726 ft). From here, we will be hiking along the railway lines to Aguas Calientes. This is the same route that the renowned American Explorer, Hiram Bingham took when he rediscovered Machu Picchu.
Upon reaching Aguas Calientes, we will be accommodating you in an ensuite hotel room.
You will need to wake up early in the morning. At around 0430 AM, we will start hiking up to Machu Picchu citadel. Optionally you can take a bus, this costs USD 12, each way.
We will be giving you a guided tour of Machu Picchu. You will be visiting some of the important sites in the citadel. After the tour, you will have some free time to walk around the citadel. Alternatively, you can walk to the Sun Gate. It is a two hours walk round way.
From Sun Gate you will get a stunning view of the citadel. This view is enjoyed only by those on Inca Trail.
After the tour, you will be hiking back to Aguas Calientes. At a designated time, you will be taking the train to Ollantaytambo. Here our representative will meet you and will organise your transfer back to Cusco.
It was a dream come true visiting the two iconic lost cities of Incas in one tour. I am very grateful to the Encuentros Peru team and specially to Jose Luis, the guide. The experience was second to none.