The Choquequirao trek is a 4-day round-trip trekking route that runs through mountainous landscapes until arriving at the archaeological site of Choquequirao. This Inca citadel is known as ‘The sacred sister of Machu Picchu’ due to its resemblance to the wonder of the world. This route can be done on your own (it is a free walk). However, most visitors choose to go with an all-inclusive tour. These services can be obtained online or in the city of Cusco itself.
The Choquequirao trek is one of the most famous hiking routes in Cusco. It owes its name to the fact that on the walk you visit the Inca citadel of Choquequirao, which presents an architecture and beauty similar to Machu Picchu. There are 3 and 4 day versions. There is even an 8-day route that also includes Machupicchu. However, the classic route is the one that lasts 4 days and covers 62 kilometers (round trip walk). Due to the impossibility of reaching Choquequirao by car or train, the only way to visit it is with this hiking route.
Route to the ‘Sacred Sister of Machu Picchu’
Choquequirao is famous for its resemblance to Machu Picchu. Both Inca citadels were built on top of an almost inaccessible mountain. The chain of platforms and the mountainous landscape are also similar. The big difference is that access to Machupicchu is possible (with a train trip) while access to Choquequirao can only be done on foot.
The hiking route to Choquequirao is challenging as it crosses the winding canyon of the Apurímac River. In total, visitors will travel 62 kilometers (round trip), both uphill and downhill sections. On the morning of the third day, visitors will tour the buildings of Choquequirao. Then you return by the same route as the outward journey.
In the future it is planned to build a cable car that will transport visitors quickly to Choquequirao (without the need for a hiking trail). For now, this site can only be accessed on foot. As the route is free, it is possible to access there on your own. However, the best choice is to buy a tour through a tourism agency. Tours are purchased both online and in the city of Cusco itself.
Summary Choquequirao trek 4 days
|Total distance||62 kilometers.|
|Camp on day 1||Chiquiska.|
|Camp on day 2||Marampata.|
|Camp on day 3||Aguas Playa Rosalina.|
|Highest section||Choquequirao (3,033 m.a.s.l.).|
|Less elevated section||Playa Rosalina (1,550 m.a.s.l.).|
|Maximum temperature||Playa Rosalina (26ºC. On average).|
|Minimum temperature||Cachora (4ºC. On average).|
|Tourist attractions||Apurímac Canyon, Choquequirao.|
This is the Choquequirao trek: day by day
This hiking route has the following itinerary (which may vary slightly depending on the tourism agency you choose):
Cusco | Cachora and Chiquiska
- The adventure begins early with the visitor’s pick-up in the city of Cusco and the subsequent trip by minivan to the town of Cachora, in the department of Apurímac.
- In this Andean town, there is a stop for lunch at a local restaurant. Then start the light walk to the Capuliyoc viewpoint. From there you have a panoramic view of the Apurimac canyon, and even Choquequirao in the distance.
- After a break, it is time to continue with the walk, this time downhill, until we reach the Chiquiska camp. There you will have dinner and spend the night in the tents and tents already set up by the porters that include the tours.
Chiquiska | Marampata
- The second day is the most difficult but also the most exciting. It starts very early with breakfast. The first section of the walk will be downhill until we reach Rosalina Beach, located next to the Apurímac River. Then a difficult ascent must be made until arriving at the hamlet of Santa Rosa. There a stop is made to learn how the town’s spirits are made.
- Then continue ascending through Andean landscapes full of vegetation and birds until arriving at the Marampata camp. There the visitors will stop for lunch and rest. Then they will have the rest of the day free to enjoy the scenery. At night you have dinner and spend the night in this camp, located a short distance from Choquequirao.
Marampata | Choquequirao and Rosalina Beach
- The day begins with a nutritious breakfast. Then you walk a short distance until you arrive at the archaeological site of Choquequirao. Always in the company of the tour guide, visitors will visit each temple, enclosure, plaza and construction of this Inca citadel.
- After the visit to Choquequirao, it is time to return. This will be by the same way out, only now descending most of the section. In the hamlet of Santa Rosa we will stop for lunch.
- After lunch we will continue the way to the Rosalina beach sector where we will stop for dinner. There will be our last camp.
Playa Rosalina | Cachora and Cusco
- On the last day we have an early breakfast and then make the walk that will take us to the town of Cachora. There we will stop for lunch at a local restaurant.
- Finally, a tourist transport will take the return visitors to the city of Cusco.
Approximate prices of the tour
Prices vary according to the tourism agency you choose for the tour. On average the costs are between 500 and 600 US dollars per visitor.
If the tourist decides to go on their own, they should organize their travel backpack in the best way: tents, tents, sleeping bags, food, various utensils, personal items, etc. The cost varies depending on the luggage you carry with you. The route is free, however, the cost of entry to Choquequirao is 60 Peruvian soles. This ticket allows camping near the archaeological site.
Tips to take into account
The route to Choquequirao is surrounded by mountainous landscapes. However, due to the proximity to the Apurimac canyon, the weather can be hot. It is recommended to bring light clothes for the day and something warm for the nights. Also, do not forget to bring: a hat, sunscreen, mosquito repellent, comfortable shoes, a poncho in case of rain, personal hygiene items and documents.
The best time to do this route is from April to October. In those months it does not rain often. From November to March the rains are more recurrent, especially in January, February and March. If the walk is done at that time of year it is imperative to bring a rain poncho with you.
One of the most difficult and amazing adventures in Peru is the 8-day trek that begins in Cusco, crosses Choquequirao and ends in Machu Picchu, after 115 kilometers of route. There are not many tourists who do this adventure. The cost of the tours varies according to each tourism agency but is around $ 1,200 per person.
Due to the inaccessibility of Choquequirao, it was believed that this was the “last refuge of the Incas” after the arrival of the Spanish in the 16th century. After the discovery of this Inca citadel in 1909 (by Hiram Bingham, the discoverer of Machu Picchu), the research works showed that this was not the case. Despite this, it is currently estimated that only 30% of the archaeological site has been excavated. There is still much to discover in Choquequirao.
By Inca Trail Machu Picchu - Last updated, 04-11-2021
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