The Choquequirao trek is a truly unique and surprising route that crosses the Apurimac canyon to ascend to the fascinating ruins of Choquequirao.
The Inca citadel of Choquequirao has become the best tourist destination in the region of Cusco in 2017, according to the ranking of the prestigious Lonely Planet tourist guide.
Thanks to its majestic archaeological ruins and the lush vegetation that covers almost 80% of its surface, Choquequirao is considered the “sister city of Machu Picchu“.
The ruins of Choquequirao, perched on a ledge above the Apurímac, are not as extensive as Machu Picchu, but probably many travelers will find them more fascinating and remote.
Choquequirao astonishes its visitors simply by the place that surrounds them, beauty and isolation, and condors can often be seen flying over the skies.
A unique trail in the Andes Mountains.
The first day of the hike to Choquequirao, we will leave at 5:30 am from Cusco in a private car making a 4 hour trip to reach the charming village of Cachora.
We will stop in Cachora to buy any last-minute supplies before continuing by car until shortly before Capuliyoc (2915 masl) from where we have our first beautiful views of the Apurimac Valley that stretches below, as well as the snow-capped peaks of Padrayoc and Wayna Cachora.
From here, we descend through the Apurimac Canyon, where we will enjoy spectacular views while walking some 3.5 to 4 hours to Chiccisqa (1836 masl).
One hour from Chiccisqa we reach the roaring Apurimac river (1550 meters) and Playa Rosalina.
From the river, we start climbing to Camping Santa Rosa, (2095 masl.). This is a climb that lasts approximately 2 hours but makes the next day easier.
We will settle in the campsite which, being further away from the most popular campsite, is less crowded and calmer to enjoy the stars.
Accommodation: Camping in Santa Rosa 1950 masl – our goal is to be in our campsite before 6pm.
Our total walking time today is 6 hours / 16 km.
Descent 1200m / 4 hours
2 hrs ascending – Apurimac River to Santa Rosa
Departing early again to get the best out of the day (around 6am) we will continue upwards onto Maranpata where we will have a break to have a lunch.
The climb from the Santa Rosa to Maranpata (3110 masl / 10120 ft) takes about 3 hours and is a tough uphill stretch.
A little further on from our break we will get our first view of the ruins of Choquequirao. From here we have 2 more hours hiking to the ruins (aprox 4.30 p.m.).
We take our lunch at the Choquequirao campsite nearest to the ruins, before we head to the Choquequirao ruins for the afternoon and keep our fingers crossed for the chance to see condors.
Accommodation: Camping at Choquequirao campsite 3050m (10,000 ft)
Total hiking time today to campsite is: around 4. 5 hours
13 km ascending 1600 m in altitude – Santa Rosa to Choquequirao
We have a chance to more fully explore the ruins and have a little rest in the morning. After a few hours we will take a break to enjoy a snack and continue discovering the citadel.
In the afternoon we return along the edge of the Apurimac Canyon, descending to our campsite at Playa Rosalina.
Upon arrival, we will have tea, dinner and spend the night there.
Accommodation: Camping at Playa Rosalina (2095 masl / 6873ft)
Depending on the progress of the group, the guide may elect to camp at Chiccisqa (1836 masl / 6023ft).
Early in the morning, we will descend to the river and begin a stretch of hard ascent that will reward us with spectacular views.
Afterwards we will climb for about four hours, and have a rest in Capuliyoc (2915 masl). From there, a shuttle service will take us to Cachora, where we will have lunch.
Once finished, you will be transferred to your hotel in Cusco. We will arrive in Cusco between 7 pm and 8 pm.
* Some people wish to spend a whole day exploring the ruins of Choquequirao and its surroundings, and enjoy a slower pace of the hard trekking characteristic of this route. If this sounds like you – the above itinerary is changed so Day 3 is spent in the ruins of Choquequirao and exploring the surroundings, and then Day 4 and 5 is like Day 3/4 on the above itinerary.