The Choquequirao Trek is perfect for those looking to get away from the crowds or who are looking for something other than Machu Picchu during their trip. The trek takes you to the sister city of Machu Picchu, Choquequirao (The Cradle of Gold) which sits high above the Apurimac Valley.
Cusco is a city with a special charm, whose Spanish Colonial and Inca structures tell an epic tale of the rise and fall of two great empires. During this cultural experience you will see the most significant Inca places and around Cusco as well as appreciate the grandeur of the main square and the cathedral. In the Plaza de Armas, or Main Square, of Cusco, we will see the 17th century baroque Cathedral built on the site where Inca Wiracocha’s palace once stood, in part with stones taken from Sacsayhuamán Fortress. It boats an altar of solid silver, paintings by the lauded Cusco School (including Zapata’s last supper with Andean guinea pig gracing the table), the largest bell in South America, known as the María Angola, and various chapels filled with masterpieces of precious materials, including the Señor de Temblores (Lord of the Earthquakes), credited with saving Cusco during the 1650 earthquake. We will then move backwards in time to the prior religious center of Cusco and most sacred spot in Cusco during Inca times, Qoricancha (Golden Temple), the Temple of the Sun, where offerings were rendered to the supreme Inca deity, Inti (Sun). Though its gold was looted by the Spanish, you’ll still get a chance to see some of the finest Inca stonework in Cusco.
Sacsayhuaman – Qenqo – Tambomachay - Pisaq
We will move along the outskirts of Cusco, where you can marvel at the massive stones which form Sacsayhuaman and after we continue to Qenqo (Labyrinth/Zigzag), a shrine dedicated to the earth deity Pachamama and astronomical calendar, Tambomachay (Resting Place, canals and aqueducts channeled through the terraced rocks, supplied by nearby springs, and Puka Pucara, believed to have been a fortress protecting the entry to Tambomachay. The Sacred Valley of the Incas or Urubamba Valley is a valley in the Andes of Peru, close to the Inca capital of Cusco and below the ancient sacred city of Machu Picchu. The valley is generally understood to include everything between Písac and Ollantaytambo, parallel to the Urubamba River, or Vilcanota River or Wilcamayu, as this Sacred river is called when passing through the valley. It is fed by numerous rivers which descend through adjoining valleys and gorges, and contains numerous archaeological remains and villages. The valley was appreciated by the Incas due to its special geographical and climatic qualities. It was one of the empire's main points for the extraction of natural wealth, and the best place for maize production in Peru. Here we experience a vibrant atmosphere of communities, traditions and bartering. There are many handicrafts and textiles made in true pre-Columbain style to purchase.
Sacred ValleyIt is here in this most beautiful, strategic spot, 60 kilometres from Cusco, that the Inca Pachacutec built his fortress of Ollantaytambo. It is a beautiful setting and the hills that surround it hide some of the most impressive ruins in the Valley. It contains structures such as the Temple of the Sun, the Royal Hall, the Incahuatana and the Banos de la Princesa (Princess Baths). This site is one of the few places that the Spaniards lost a battle during the conquest.The remains of what was the royal hacienda of Tupac Inca Yupanqui, as well as a beautiful colonial temple built on Inca foundations. After this we are going to continue to Moray the unique places that has circular terraces was used as a laboratory or greenhouse.
Choquequirao trail to Machupicchu
This experience will bring us to one of the most beautifull sites in the Cusco-area and Peru CHOQUEQUIRAO. The archaeological site of CHOQUEQUIRAO is part of the complex system of Andean towns in Vilcabamba Valley. In the time of the Incas, it was united and in communication with Machu Picchu by a complex network of trails. Choquequirao is situated in the spurs of the mountain range of Salcantay, at 10.000ft, surrounded by the snow capped mountains of Yanama, Ampay, Choquetacarpo, Pumasillo and Panta on the right side of Apurimac river in the Santa Teresa district, the Convention province of the department of Cusco. Choquequirao is an Inca town formed by small sites spread out in rubblework that in its adjoining constructs a complex metropolis similar to those of the other regions placed on the crest of the hill by the same name- Choquequirao.
Highseason: Whole year
Level of difficulty: Moderate
Hiking time: Approximately 6 hours
We will leave Cusco early in the morning at about 5:30 am. First we will head for the little village Cachora (2850m/9350f), a nice place surrounded by beautiful mountains and the majestic glacier Padreyoc (5571m/18278f). Here, we will also meet our horsemen who will accompany us during the trip. After having passed the overlooking Capuliyoc (2800m/9186f), we will continue descending to our campsite called Chiquisca (1930m/6332f).
After breakfast, we will first descend to La Playa Rosalina (1550m/4921f) and then climb up to the village of Marampata (2850m/9350f). From here, we will have a nice view of the archeological complex of Choquequirao (3033m/9951f). If we are lucky, we will even see a condor flying at nightfall. Our camping site in Choquequirao is about 25 minutes from the Choquequirao inca site at 2950m/9678f.
Climate: both warm and cold
Hiking time: 7 hours
At dawn, we will first head for the ancient cityl of Choquequirao (3033m/9950) called “Cuna de Oro” - the ‘Cradle of Gold’ - and enjoy the quietness at this place. Beyond, we will explore this archeological site, of which only 35 % is restored, in more detail: we will visit the section of the palaces, the liturgic fountains, the temple of the high priest, the section of the llamas and the Ushnu. Thereafter, our trek continues towards the pass of Choquequirao (3270m/10728f) and passes the archeological site of Pinchaunuyoc (2450m/8038f). Finally, we will head down to the deepest point of the small canyon known as Río Blanco (1900m/6234f) or Río Silvestre where our camping site is situated.
Climate: warm with mosquitoes
Hiking time: 6 hours
Due to the ecosystem’s constant changes, this day is both the most ardous and the most spectacular one. In Maizal (3000m/9843f) we will have a short break to catch some breath and to enjoy the view of the beautiful landscape. Since the Inca trail in this region is not in good conditions during the rainy season, we ask you to watch your steps carefully. In San Juan (4170m/13681f) we will enjoy the beautiful view of the valleys, the mountains and the glaciers, from which some of the latter peak more than 5000m/16404f. Our camping place will be in the little village of Yanama (3530m/11581f).
Climate: warm and cold with mosquitoes
Hiking time: 5 hours
Early in the morning, we will head for the highest pass of this trip - the Yanama (4670m). If we are lucky we will even see a condor flying. During the day, we will enjoy frequently the view of snow capped mountains such as Salkantay (6264m) and Pintuyu (5450m). Our camping place will be in the valley of Totora pampa (3200m).
Climate: warm with mosquitoes.
Hiking time: 8 hours
In Totora pampa we will get the chance to meet Quechua-speaking Andean people who live from agriculture and cattle breeding. The vegetation on our way gets more and more bizarre and reveals its diversity of orchids, bromelains and other plants. We will also see some plantations for coffee, papaya, passion fruit and avocado. Our camping site will either be in La Playa (2100m/6890f) or in Lucmabamba (2020m/6627f).
Climate: warm whit mosquitoes
Hiking time: 7 hours
Our journey starts early in the morning. First, we will follow the Inca Trail till Llactapata (2650m/8694f). This archeologic site is situated amidst a bizarre vegetation and offers an exceptional view of the mountain Machu Picchu. Our trek continues towards the hydroelectric station (1950m/6398f) from where we will take the train to Aguas Calientes (2050m/6726f). In Aguas Calientes we will spend the night in a hotel
Hiking time: 6 hours
We will leave our hotel after breakfast at 5:30 am and head for Machu Picchu (2400m/7874f) by tourist bus. We will arrive at the citadel around 6:00 am. After a guided tour around the archeological site, including information about life and culture of the Incas, you will have enough time to enjoy Machu Picchu and Wayna Picchu (2750m/9022f) on your own. We will leave Aguas Calientes by train either at 2:55 pm or at 6:10 pm. Until then, you will have time to have lunch in one of the nice restaurants. Moreover, you can visit the hot springs in Aguas Calientes to relax a bit.
Climate: moderate warm
Hiking time: 02 hours