Entrancingly off the increasingly trod track, Choquequirao (“Cradle of Gold” in Quechua“The Other Machu Picchu”, as a 2007 article in the New York Times called it) is an amazingly preserved Inca outpost, dramatically perched on a promontory nearly 1800 m / 6000 feet above the roaring Apurimac River Gorge.
Choquequirao (3.103m/10178ft), considered to be a sister city of similar significance to that of Machupicchu and built along similar lines, although harder to reach, was also presumed to have had about the same size and to have served the same religious, political and agricultural functions. However, because archaeologists long underestimated the importance of Choquequirao, the city’s existence was known for almost 300 years before the first restoration was begun in 1993 and it has only recently been accessible to nonacademics, since then quickly joining the ranks of the world’s great Lost Cities.
In this spectacular 60-km trek we drive to the charming village of Cachora, our starting point, and reach this huge archaeological complex still under cleaning and restoration process located in the surroundings of the Salkantay sacred mountain (6.271m/20569ft) and the Apurimac River canyon. The beauty of the Inca citadel, still partially covered by the weeds cumulated by the passing of centuries, its astonishing location and surrounding mountain scenery, as well as lots of Andean flora and fauna, with the chance to spot condors in its natural habitat are some of the most appreciated attractions of this program.
Regular Price: $1300.00 USD
Price: Sale: $1200.00 USD per person
We pick you up from your hotel at 5:30 a.m. so we will be arriving at Cachora town at 9:00 a.m. in the morning where we will have our breakfast while we arrange the equipment on mules and horses. Already from the village of Cachora we can observe the majestic Padrayoc snow covered peaks, the highest is 5482 m.a.s.l. The hike on this first day is 21.70 km or 8 hours. On the way we will observe Padrayoc and Wayna Cachora snow covered peaks. We can appreciate the beautiful change of the landscape from precipices to snowy mountains. The walk starts quite flat with views to snow covered peaks and small farms on the step mountainsides. From the viewpoint of Capuliyoc, where we might see condors, the descent towards the Apurímac Canyon starts. As the vegetation is changing from Agave and Tuna cactus forest to dwarftree forest we have lunch break at Chiquisqa (1950 m.a.s.l.). From here we continue the descent to the abundant Apurímac River in 1550 m.a.s.l. in the impressing deep canyon of the same name. After a short brake at the river we start the steep climb towards Santa Rosa, where we camp for the night in a small sugarcane plantation (2115 m.a.s.l.).
Early morning after breakfast, we continue our hike going up to Choquekiraw. The first 2-3 hours are going up steep, but then it will change between flat and climb the rest of the way surrounded by beautiful vegetation with several varieties of orchids. We will arrive to the archaeological place CHOQUEKIRAO after 5 hours. After a good lunch and a little break we will walk to the main square of Choquekirao, to enjoy this majestic place, where we will observe the three levels of the excavated ruin. Approximately at 3 o’clock in the afternoon (depends of the weather) • we can be lucky to appreciate “the flight of the Condors”. The guide will decide where to set our camp in Raqaypata (2910 m.a.s.l.)
After breakfast we have good time to enjoy the majestic archaeological place. We can appreciate houses, terraces and other parts of this late Inca-town. Besides we see the ruin in progress of excavation and finally areas unexplored- that can tell us about this last refuge of the oppressed Inca empire. After the lunch we walk through Choquekirao, with all equipment going to our next camp. We follow the old water canal for a while before we start the 3 hours walk to the Pinchinuyoc ruins found in 1998. First we walk through cloud forest, but then all becomes steep open prairie with open views of the Mountains and valleys. Pinchinoyoc – these ruins are something very special. All of a sudden they appear in the cloud forest, almost invisible because of the thick layer of mosses and other vegetation that covers it. Here we spend the night basically on the old Inca Terraces.
This morning we walk down through an interesting vegetation know as Dry Andean Highland Forest. Trees and plants here look different to what we have seen before. We arrive to the river Victoria after a few hours and use the brake here to get a refreshing bath in the cold and clear river water. We cross walking through the river, since there are no bridges. After our brake we start the long and steep climb to our camp in Maizal, high over the river close to the sacred Apus of the Incas. On the way up we catch our breath in the shade of small trees and other vegetations on the way up. In Maizal we have our lunch and enjoy, that we can relax this afternoon- with only optional physical activity. Maizal is properly the camp in the most beautiful location of them all. From here we see 3 valleys and a great snow peak right across from us. A good place to lean back and think.
We leave our camp at Maizal and walk towards the San Juan pass. Again a long climb, but we walk in a amazingly beautiful area- first with cloud forest and then over Andean Puna with the well known ichu grass. We rest at some of the Victoria mines, where metal shining stones tell about a high concentration of minerals and metals. On our way through the Puna we walk on very well preserved Inca trails, among other characteristics with the classic zigzag. We take lunch at the pass in 4000 m.a.s.l. with view of the mountain Choquetakarpo, before we start the descent towards Yanama, a small isolated settlement at the bottom of a long valley surrounded by mountains.
We continue from Yanama up through the valley towards the highest point of the tour, The Yanama Pass in 4500 m.a.s.l. On the way we have a good view of the snow capped Sacsarayoc. Once again we have the chance to see condors, and this mornings smooth climb bring us through new landscapes- especially the wet grass fields under the snowline that distinguish from everything else seen on the tour. In the pass we might walk in snow, and the descent is a long foggy hike through grassy fields- and bush areas and crossing small wood/dirt bridges on the way towards the community of Totora, where we spend the night.
We now walk the about 2000 meters down through the changing vegetations to the warmer camp in the village of La Playa. Approx. 7 hours walking. On the way we see small waterfalls and get a refreshing natural bath. The area also has a big variation of bird life and it is now obvious that the climate and vegetations have changed totally, and now we see plants recognizable from the living rooms in Europe and several types of orchids. The Playa is the biggest village on the way, where we can find some small shops to buy snack etc. In this area we can see small plantations of coffee and bananas and then we take public transportatiion to the Hydrolectrica and then we walk for about 2 hour more to get to Aguas Calientes town where we going to stay in a nice hostal with hot shower , is recommended to go to the natural hotspring in here.
From Aguas Calientes we walk or take bus to Machu Picchu. We start our visit with a 2-3 hours guided tour, that will bring us to the most important locations at the archaeological site and the guide will tell us about the great importance Machu Picchu enjoyed as astronomical and religious center. The rest of the day we spend at this amazing ruin and you will have the chance to climb Wayna Picchu or visit the beautiful moon temple. We meet in the afternoon in Aguas Calientes where we take the train to Ollantaytambo, and from here bus to Cusco. In Cusco we go to at central placed hotel close to the colonial style Plaza de Armas. This is the end of our service
Included / Not Included
What is Included:
- Private Transport to the beginning of the walk.
- Spanish – English speaker authorized guide
- Muleteers, Mules for carryng the food and camping equipment and 8 kilos per person of your personal stuff
- Tents 4 people capacity provide for two people in each tent, kitchen tent, dining room tent, t
- Tables, seats, cloths and menajeria
- All the foods during the walk
- 1night Hotel in Aguas Calientes town
- Entrance ticket to machupicchu
- Private transport back to cusco
- Train back to Ollamtaytambo
- Boiled water for drinking
What is not Included:
- Bus to machupicchu up or down
- The last lunch in machupicchu
- Huynapicchu entrance fees
What we Recommend that you Bring:
- A backpack.
- Original passport.
- 04 change of clothes.
- Warm Clothes .
- Trekking shoes.
- Small towel.
- Bathing suit (in case of going to the hot springs)
- Rain coat.
- Canteen of Water.
- Camera and batteries.
- Repellent, Sun block and a Hat.
- Toilet paper.
- Bottle of water and purifying pills.
- Walking stick covered with rubber tips for the walk.
- Snacks: Cookies, sweet chocolates, energizing bars (optional)
Appropriate Clothing Along this Hike:
- Hiking pants and T-shirts are recommended during the day, complemented by sweaters, fleeces and waterproof jackets. It is very convenient to have light raingear available in the daypack (rain poncho or jacket and/or rain pants) as the weather changes easily and rains can suddenly occur. At night, warm clothing is required, down jackets can be useful, otherwise a fleece and a jacket. During the fourth day (if sunny) and in Machupicchu, convertible hiking pants are useful, as can be switched into shorts if necessary. Machupicchu has a warm climate, getting only cold at night. The rest of necessary implements are included in the “What we recommend that you bring” list.
Prices & Availability
Prices per person depend on the group size, the larger the group the lower the price per person.
|GROUP SERVICE PRICE 2018 – 2019|
|Number of People for group :|
|2 Passenger||3 Passenger||4 Passenger||5 Passenger||6 – 10 Passenger|
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Available discounts (these discounts are not cumulative)
- Students: US$ 20.00 (students require a valid International Student Identity Card. Please note that Youth Travel Cards are not valid)
- Teenagers: US$ 20.00 (up to 15 years of age, passport copy required for all bookings)
- Children: US$ 40.00 (up to 7 years of age, passport copy required for all bookings)
Departure Dates: Daily departures are available along the year, although the period March to December is recommended to avoid the heart of the rainy season. All private service departure dates are adapted to your request.
OUR FIXED DEPARTURE 2017
Appropriate clothing along this hike:
Hiking pants and T-shirts are recommended during the day, eventually complemented by sweaters, fleeces and jackets in the evening. We recommend convertible hiking pants and / or shorts as some parts of the route run at low altitude and warm weather. It is also very convenient to have light raingear available in the daypack (rain poncho or jacket and/or rain pants) as the weather changes easily and rains can suddenly occur. At night, warm clothing is required along the route. The rest of necessary implements are included in the “What we recommend that you bring” list.
Cusco’s climate is divided into two differentiated seasons: the rainy season, from November to April (the heaviest rainfalls occurring usually between January – March); and the dry season, from May to October. The dry season is colder, so temperatures can drop to below 0 degrees at night.
Along the route to Choquequirao, temperatures range from 15-25ºC during the day if it’s sunny, to 10-20ºC during the day if not sunny. Temperatures drop in the evening and at night, especially in Choquequirao, at a higher elevation, reaching 5ºC although rarely below. Warm clothes are hence however necessary for this hike.
Very Challenging: The route has steep ups and downs, with changes of altitude in one day of over 1600m/5200ft and usually warm weather during the day due to the lower altitude vs Cusco. We recommend allowing one-day acclimatization in Cusco prior to the trek departure.