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Choquequirao Trail to Machu Picchu

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Choquequirao Trail to Machu Picchu

Choquequirao Trail to Machu Picchu involves 8 day hike with a professional guide, chef, muleteer and horses.
The city of Choquequirao are located at 2,987 meters (9,800 feet) above sea level in a remote corner of the Peruvian Andes and The lost city of the Incas - Machu Picchu are located at 2,350 meters (7,710 feet) above sea level in a cloud florest of Peruvian Jungle.

While Choquequirao has been referred to as “the other Machu Picchu” it should be seen as it’s sister instead. In fact there are other cities linked by Inca Trails that can be seen as a connected city system rather than individual sites. Choquequirao and Machu Picchu cities have many things in common, the sites were meticulously planned and designed in accordance with astronomical alignments, and were precisely built in relationship to sacred rivers, mountains, and celestial phenomena.

There are two hypothosises as to why the city was built. One is that before the Spanish conquistadors arrived, the Incas had dreams of expanding their empire into the Amazon. It’s believed Choquequirao was used along with Machu Picchu and other cities to slowly take control of the jungle. The second hypothesis is that as the Spanish began to take control, the Incas moved into the mountains to take refuge. This is where the name cradle of gold comes from, that they used the city to stash gold and hide it from the conquistadors.

 Book Now! your hike to Choquequirao to Machu Picchu and discover the history, route and beautiful landscapes of the lost cities of the Incas!

 

Quick Itinerary 

Day 01: Cusco - Cachora - Playa Rosalina

Day 02: Playa Rosalina - Marampata - Choquequirao

Day 03: Choquequirao - Maizal

Day 04: Maizal - Minas Victoria - Yanama

Day 05: Yanama - Totora

Day 06: Totora - Collpapampa - La Playa Rosalina

Day 07: La Playa Lucmabamba - Llactapata Inca Trail - Aguas Calientes

Day 08: Aguas Calientes - Machu Picchu - Cusco

 

Highlights of the Choquequirao Trail to Machu Picchu:

  • Visit of the biggest cities of the Incas - Choquequirao
  • Discovery and a guided tour on Choquequirao and Machu Picchu.
  • Following an authentical Inca's path
  • 8 day hike with a professional Tour Guide, Coook, Horseman and horses
  • Observation of Cusco's highlands and a high jungle as well
  • Visit of very remote Andean villages where normal tourists do not have chance to get 
  • Exploration of old Incan mines
  • Spectacular landscape views
  • Enjoy the most beautiful landscapes of the mountains and glasiars

Service Level: Comfortable tourist-class accommodations with character, emergency horse and private transport.

Physical Rating: 4 - Demanding - High-altitude hikes or more strenuous activities.

Age requirement: 12+ / All travellers under age 18 must be accompanied by an adult.

Choquequirao Machu Picchu Tour Operator: Tierras Vivas Travel

Group Available: Small Group - Min: 2 - Max: 8

Accommodation: 6x Campsite, 1x Hotel in Machu Picchu.

Meals: 7x breakfast, 7x lunch, 7x dinner, 5x afternoon tea.

Transportation: Transportation by private van, 1x train (Expedition Service).

 

Resposinble Travel

 

Tierras Vivas Porters

Tierras Vivas DOES NOT permit this exploitation!! We guarantee that our porters carry only an amount given by the Peruvian law!! There is still a long way to go when it comes to a reserve of adequate meals, backpacks and warm dry sleeping accommodation. click here

 

Each Year Tierras Vivas hots a Christmas party in Patacancha. Family porters,

 

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Day 01: Cusco - Cachora - Playa Rosalina

We leave Cusco early in the morning by private vehicle. After 4 hours, we reach Cachora (2,850 m/9,350 ft), a small village and the starting point of this hike. We start descending to the Apurimac River Valley having sensational views of far away snowy peaks. We have first opportunity to see Choquequirao Mountain on the opposite site of the valley after a couple of hours of walking. The way to Choquequirao leads through a highland jungle (or Andean jungle) so the weather is warm, humid and rainy resulting in a very rich tropical vegetation and fauna too. Of the vegetation, lets name native trees such as lambram, chachacomo and inkallaulli. There are also cedars, medicinal plants, ferns, orchids, bromelias, etc. Representans of local fauna are deer, a spectacled bear, felines, foxes, skunks, birds such as a variety of of hummingbird species or Andean condors crisscrossing the sky in the afternoons. In the end, we reach our first campsite at Playa Rosalina (1,550 masl/5,115 ft) located at the shores of the Apurimac River.

 

Estimated trekking time: 7-8 hours
Trekking distance: 19 km
Max. elevation: 2,850 m (9,350 ft)
Min. elevation: 1,550 m (5,115 ft)
Climate: Warm
Difficulty: Easy

Day 02: Playa Rosalina- Marampata - Choquequirao

After a solid breakfast, we start a gradual ascend to Marampata (2,850 m/9,350 ft) consequently, the treks gets harder; however, it offers spectacular views of the deep Apurimac River Canyon and the river itself that is the main tributary of the Amazon River! We can also spot condors soaring in the mountains! When we get to Marampata, we have lunch there and a short rest. At around 4 pm, we arrive to the enigmatic and fabulous lost Inca city - Choquequirao (3,100 m/10,168 ft)! The city is considered bigger in extension than the Sancturary of Machu Picchu! Our Tour Guide shows us around the city and explains us about its each part such as Hauqaypata (main square) with the principal Sun Temple, Urin (upper square) with its open temple, Ushno (ceremonial platform), houses of priests, qolqas (storages), irrigation channels and agricultural terraces. However, investigation works have not discovered all the site yet so we can still expect more surprising excavations in future!! From there, we also can view spectacular mountain scenery surrounded by the cloud forest! We set a camp near the archaeological site and overnight.

 

The Archaeological Park of Choquequirao is situated in southern Peru on the right side of Apurimac River, at the slopes of the same named mountain just next to Qoriwayrachina Mountain of the Salkantay Mountain Range. The park covers an area of 1,810 hectares.

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Choquequirao was constructed probably between the second part of the 15th century and the first decades of the 16th century, it means the period when Incas started to conquer new territories of Antisuyo (located northwest of Cusco in high Andes inhabited by so called “Antis” – a collective name for the many varied ethnic groups living in this area). Choquequirao is considered as one of the last resistance bastions and refugees of the Incas, who abandoned Cusco in 1535 by order of the Incan ruler Manco Inca to regroup as Cusco was besieged by Spaniards.

Although, there were a couple of persons, who wrote about or visited Choquequirao, this Incan site had not received a big attention until the American historian Hiram Bingham along with the topographer Clarence visited and described the place in details in 1909!

Due to its location, it is probable that it served as a very important religious centre occupied by Inca’s priests. It also served as a big political, economic and cultural centre that was in touch to the coastal, highland and jungle parts of the empire. The site ended unfinished as well as it let many questions unanswered to confuse today’s archaeologists.

 

Estimated trekking time: 6 hours
Trekking distance: 11 km
Max. elevation: 3,100 m (10,168 ft)
Min. elevation: 2,850 m (9,350 ft)
Climate: Warm as well as cold
Difficulty: Moderate

Day 03: Choquequirao - Maizal

After breakfast, we leave the Incan city of Choquequirao to first gently hike for 3 hours up to the Choquequirao Pass (3,300 m/10,890 ft) and after that, we start descending to Rio Blanco (White River; 1,900 m/6,270 ft) entering a cloud forest. There, we can appreciate polylepis trees (native mountain trees with shredded, multi-layered bark), epiphytes, bromeliads, orchids, diverse bird species as well as water fountains. Lush vegetation of the cloud forest still cover a part of the Inca farming terraces of Pinchiunuyoc (2,487 m/8,160 ft). After our Tour Guide explains us about this Inca site, we keep descending passing through coca plantations and gradually changing nature into a dry Andean forest. After having lunch there, we climb for another three hours towards the village of Maizal (3,000 m/9,900 ft) where we set up our next campsite. From this natural view point, we can appreciate imposing views of the gorges of Yanama and Yurahmayo that later join the Apurimac River Canyon! Also the sunsets there are really stunning!

 

Estimated trekking time: 6 hours
Trekking distance: 5 km
Max. elevation: 3,300 m (10,890 ft)
Min. elevation: 1,900 m (6,270 ft)
Climate: Warm with mosquitoes
Difficulty: Moderate

Day 04: Maizal - Minas Victoria - Yanama

We start ascending after early breakfast towards the Victoria Pass (4,150 m/13,695 ft). After a 4 hour steep ascend, we reach the Minas Victoria, an Incan and later colonial silver mining centre that is abandoned nowadays. Then, we hike along a hill called Qoriwayrachina, a place where archaeological explorations have been done recently. Closer to the Victoria Pass, we start following an incredibly well- preserved authentical Inca trail with stone steps in its middle! When we reach the Victoria Pass, we enjoy a breathtaking view of the snow-capped mountains of Humantay (5,700 m/18,700 ft) and Salkantay (6,271 m/20,574 ft), considered by local people as the "guardian spirit of the jungle"! Finally, we descend to the village of Yanama (3,800 m/12,540 ft) where we overnight in another campsite with views of the Yanama River below us and Pumasillo Mountain above us.

 

Estimated trekking time: 7 hours
Trekking distance: 10 km
Max. elevation: 4,150 m (13,695 ft)
Min. elevation: 3,800 m (12,540 ft)
Climate: Warm with mosquitoes as well as cold
Difficulty: Moderate-Difficult

Day 05: Yanama - Totora

We start hiking in the morning towards the Yanama Valley passing farmar´s fields and lush vegetation to later overcome the highest pass of the trek - Yanama Pass (4,668 m/15,315 ft). This causes that today´s trek gets harder and the day is challenging! However, it offers spectacular views of a chain of snowy peaks such as the Sacsarayoj and Padreyoc Mountains! If we are lucky, we can also spot majestic condors flying above surrounding cliffs. When reaching the pass, we are able to observe a pile of stones that have been added by visitors to thank to Apus (a mountain god) for a safe journey and good luck! Then, we descend to the Totora Pampa where our next campsite is situated near the village of Totora (3,630 m/11,979 ft).

 

Estimated trekking time: 8 hours

Trekking distance: 10 km
Max. elevation: 4,668 m (15,315 ft)
Min. elevation: 3,630 m (11,979 ft)
Climate: Warm with mosquitoes
Difficulty: Challenging

Day 06: Totora - Colpapampa - La Playa Rosalina

We start trekking today following the flow of the Totora River to later descend gradually to a high (or mountain) jungle - known in Spanish as the "Ceja de selva (literally: jungle´s eyebrow) so we can notice the quickly changing vegetation and temperature getting warmer. In the high jungle, we can view its typical lush vegetation of wild orchids and bromeliads as well as watch a variety of beautiful birds. Then, we descend to bamboo groves. Do not forget to look back sometimes as you can see snow-peaks framed by bamboo fronds behind you! We pass through the village of Luscamayo and after a 4 hour descend; we reach a tiny settlement of Collpapampa (2,850 m/9,348 ft), a place of our lunch break. Afterwards, we keep descending having the Santa Teresa River on the left side observing small coffee and tropical fruit´s plantations on the way. In the end, we get to the foothill of the Wiñaypoco Mountain (2,680 m/8,793 ft). The trail continues down towards the Aobamba River passing through bamboo groves, orchards and coffee plantations providing some perfect birdwatching opportunities (e.g. hummingbirds, woodpeckers). We walk on some fantastic untouched paths where strawberries grow at our feet and passion fruits are just above our heads, this all decorated with begonia and purple orchid rugs! After 2 and half an hour, we arrive to a tiny place called La Playa (2,100 m/6,890 ft) where we have a small break accompanied by lunch with fresh fruits! Later

Estimated trekking time: 6-7 hours
Trekking distance: 10 km
Max. elevation: 2,850 m (9,348 ft)
Min. elevation: 2,680 m (8,793 ft)
Climate: Warm with mosquitoes
Difficulty: Moderate

Day 07: La Playa – Lucmabamba – Aguas Calientes

After a healthy breakfast, we keep trekking until we get to the village of Lucmabamba (2,250 m/7,381.89 ft), a place of our next overnight. This is another easy trekking day, during which we enjoy observation of lush vegetation as well as we get familiar with diverse plants cultivated in this area such as banana, mango, papaya, avocado, coca leaf, coffee, etc. The areas is also a habitat of a spectacled bear and many parrots. After a 5 hour hike, we enjoy our last lunch at the recently restored Incan ruins of Llaqtapata (2,650 m/8,694 ft) from where we can view both, Machu Picchu and the Salkantay Mountain! Then our Tour Guide shows us around the ruins! From there, we are given an opportunity to see the main highlight of South America - Machu Picchu, from an exceptional point of view that a majority of tourists will never see!! Then, we descend easily for 3 hours to the Hydroelectric Plant (Hidroelectrica; 2,050 m/6,726 ft). There, we follow trails and the Vilcanota River leading us to our last night, we spend a night in the hotel in Aguas Calientes (2,042 m/6,700 ft), located at the foothill of Machu Picchu Mountain!

Estimated trekking time: 10 hours
Trekking distance: 15 km
Max. elevation: 2,250 m (7,382 ft)
Min. elevation: 2,100 m (6,890 ft)
Climate: Warm with mosquitoes
Difficulty: Easy

Day 08: Aguas Calientes - Machu Picchu - Cusco

After an early morning breakfast, we hike for 2 hours up to the mysterious city of Machu Picchu (2,430 m/7,972 ft) that we enter for the early morning best photos opportunities! Then our Tour Guide shows us around the Incan city and explains us about its history and purposes. After the guided tour, we have an opportunity to climb up for about 45 minutes to Huayna Picchu, a peak above Machu Picchu that serves to take some panoramic pictures of the Incan city. Then, we are given time off to spend and explore Machu Picchu on our own.

 

In the afternoon, we return by train to Ollantaytambo (alternatively to Poroy), from where we are taken by van back to Cusco.

 

Machu Picchu is both, the best and the least known site of the Incas as it is not mentioned in any Spanish conquistador´s chronicle so that contemporary archaeologists can not do anything more than just speculate on its functions. Local Quechuan farmers had known about Machu Picchu for centuries before an 11-year-old boy showed the American historian Hiram Bingham (who was in a search of Vilcabamba) this site on the 24th of July 1911. At that time, all the rest of the world became aware of its existence. However, the site was covered with thick vegetation so Hiram Bingham along with his team returned and within the years of 1912 and 1915 cleared its surface. Over the years, plenty of work has been done on excavating and studying the site. Despite these efforts, many unanswered questions remain.

 

Estimated trekking time: 1 hour 20 min
Trekking distance: 3 km
Max. elevation: 2,330 m (7,972 ft)
Min. elevation: 2,142 m (6,700 ft)
Climate: Warm
Difficulty: Moderate

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What is included?

  • Pre-trek briefing;
  • Early morning transfer by private bus to the initial point of the trek (Tarawasi);
  • Accommodation: Campsites (6 nights), Hotel (01 Nights);
  • Entrance fee to Choquequirao and Machu Picchu;
  • Meals: 7x breakfast, 7x lunch, 7x dinner and 5x afternoon hot beverages;
  • Snack every morning;
  • Professional bilingual Tour Guide;
  • Professional Cook;
  • Horseman;
  • Horses to carry food, camping and cooking equipment and 7 kg of each passenger's stuff;
  • Water every day (excluding the first 4 hours of the trek when you need to bring your own);
  • Camping equipment: Eureka Mountain double tents, Term-a-rest mattress, tables and chairs, a cooking tent with cooking equipment, dining and toilet tents and bottled gas;
  • A sleeping bag (for up to -5°C);
  • A Blanket;
  • A Pillow;
  • Day Pack Rain Covers;
  • Tables and chairs, a cooking tent with cooking equipment, dining and toilet tents and bottled gas;
  • Rain Ponchos;
  • Duffel bag (for your personal belongings);
  • Food;
  • Tourist train from Aguas Calientes (Machu Picchu) to Ollantaytambo;
  • Tourist bus from Ollantaytambo to Cusco.

Not Included

  • Breakfast on the day 1 and lunch on the last day;
  • Travel insurance;
  • Entrance fee to Huayna Picchu ($25);
  • A shuttle bus between Machu Picchu and Aguas Calientes Town ($12- one way, $24 - a round trip);
  • Tips to local staff (please note: it is a custom to give tips in Peru; however, it is not obligatory);
  • Other extras not mentioned.

Appropriate clothing along to the Choquequirao to Machu Picchu

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 first and eighth day (if sunny) and in Choquequirao and Machu Picchu, convertible hiking pants are useful, as can be switched into shorts if necessary. Choquequirao or Machu Picchu 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.

What to bring on the Choquequirao trail to Machu Picchu

  • Original passport,
  • Original ISIC (an international student card if applicable)
  • Travel insurance,
  • Pocket money in Nuevos Soles,
  • A small rucksack,
  • Rain gear (a rain-jacket and a waterproof trousers),
  • Resistible footwear, waterproof trekking shoes are recommended,
  • Sandals (for a higher comfort while at a campsite),
  • Warm clothes such as a jacket, a fleece (thermal clothing is also recommended for cold nights during camping),
  • Hat or a cap (to protect you against the Sun, rain as well as cold),
  • Sun cream or sun block,
  • After-sun cream or hydrating cream for face and body,
  • Insect repellent – recommended minimum is 20% DEET (please note that no malaria cases have been reported during this trip!),
  • Camera and its charger/batteries (please note that batteries are consumed quickly under cold conditions),
  • Flashlight/headlamp + batteries,
  • Handkerchiefs and toilet paper,
  • Small towel and toiletries,
  • Sufficient reserve of underwear,
  • Swimsuit (to visit the thermal baths of Aguas Calientes),
  • Snacks (biscuits, energy bars, chocolate, raw fruits, muesli, etc.)
    Please note: we do provide a daily morning snack and our meal service is very complete and well supplied. The recommendation of taken own snack applies only for customers who like a specific snack that might not be in our menu.
  • Bottled water for the first morning and a water bottle to be refill.
  • Optional: walking sticks; you can also rent it from us,
  • Please note: we provide with filtered boiled water during the entire trek, but if you like to use water from streams along the trail, you need to take some water-purifying tablets with you.
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Choquequirao to Machu Picchu Trek

This trekking experience has a distance of 75 kilometers. It takes place in one of the deepest canyons in the world, formed by the Apurimac River, through narrow and winding roads, facing the majestic mountains and frightening precipices, with beautiful landscapes and vegetation that runs from the bunch grass of The highlands of tropical ferns, but can only be done if one has the support of a sacred and adventure specializing in Peruvian adventure tourism. Choquequirao to Machu Picchu Trek

Choquequirao Trek

Choquequirao is known as the "sacred sister" of Machu Picchu because of its structure and architecture. Recently, being partially excavated, the interest of the Peruvian government has been awakened to recover the complex and make it more accessible for tourists interested in learning more about the Inca culture. Choquequirao is located at 3,033 m.s.n.m. in the foothills of the snowy Salkantay, north of the valley of the Apurímac River, in the district of Santa Teresa, Province of La Convención, in the department of Cusco.

The environment of Choquequirao is one of the richest in biodiversity, currently by land is the only way to reach the citadel of Choquequirao. The most popular route is to take the road to Abancay and at km. 154 choose the detour that leads to the town of Cachora, from there you have to walk uphill for about 30 km. Choquequirao Trek 

Short Choquequirao Trail

It is the shortest program to visit the Archaeological Complex of Choquequirao. The program is designed so that the traveler has a rest of acclimatization before the trip. The trekking consists of 17 kms on the way and 17 kms on the same road to Huanipaca. Two overnight stays in Choquequirao and all the time necessary to visit it. Choquequirao was the last bastion of the Inca resistance against the Spanish invasion, and is part of the most difficult treks in the Andes. Limited by deep canyons of Apurímac and Willcamayu. Short Choquequirao Trail

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