Choquequirao is a wonderful place just as Machu Picchu but lest known and lest explored. Choquequirao is also known as the sacred sister of Machu Picchu (Choquequirao Trek to Machu Picchu). It’s a big archeological place with buildings and balconies. Choquequirao is located on the jungles “eyebrow” which is the transition of the Andean valleys into the jungle. The wildlife in this are belongs to the dry, montane and subtropical forests. The confluence of these environmental variations makes Choquequirao an important attraction because the visitors can see different expressions of the flora and fauna of the place like the spectacled bear, the condor, color butterflies and birds like the trogon (bird similar to the quetzal).
Choquequirao comes from the word “chuqui k’iraw” that means “Golden cradle”. It’s spread over a 2000 hectares area where a set of structures are located above 3100 MAMSL. It’s part of a series of architectural complexes within the Vilcabamba Valley (The last precinct of the Inca resistance).
It’s geographic location and history makes Choquequirao a nice and taunting place and an alternative to the cultural tourism.
The Incan citadel of Choquequirao is an ideal stop in Cusco for those tourist who love nature and trekking.
The real story of Choquequirao trek is lost in the centuries depths. It was probably a boundary fortress that used to defend the superior valley of Apurimac from the attacks of the enemy nation, the Chancas. In the times of Viracocha the Chancas were a big danger for the capital of the Incas.
It was probably built by Viracocha or maybe his sun Pachacutec, or his grandson Tupac Inca Yupanqui. It should probably protect the empire from the Amazonian “Antis”. Choquequirao shows many stile differences with Machu Picchu, Pisac or Ollantaytambo.
To reach Choquequirao you need to do a heavy sacrifice and a lot of effort unlike Machu Picchu where you can reach it by train or bus. The trek is hard and involves hills and slopes with low oxygen. The way to reach it is by trekking a lot and camping. There’s a chance that your water supply is not going to be enough, or that you feel cold or that the intense Andean sun burns you. The trip can be done in 4 or 5 days unless you want to visit nearby towns or you want to make it really fast.
You walk 31 km from Cachora to Choquequirao (this does not include the ruins tour). The return is the same distance so you need to walk 62 km in total. The trek involves descending from a big mountain while the other half is an ascent.
The citadel is located at 3,035 AMSL and the lower point of the tour is located at 1,461 AMSL. It’s advisable that you get acclimatized before the trek because the climate is similar to Cusco’s climate.
The road to Choquequirao is made of two different big mountains. The descent belongs to Apurimac and the ascent belongs to Cusco. The initial part goes uphill to the Capuliyoc viewpoint and then the route goes downhill (sometimes on zigzag) to then connect to a climb of 1500 meters of altitude gain.
As we said previously the trek is really hard but luckily everyone can travel by their own rhythm. There’s a lot of campsites so asking where or when to stop is unnecessary. There’s a campsite every 3 hours.