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Choquequirao tours are the adventure you need. The Choquequirao archaeological site is relatively high, very close to the snow-capped Quriwayrachina, and has deep valleys and steep mountains. This incredible hike starts at the valley floor and is an alternative to the Inca Trail.
If you want to experience this Choquequirao trek, come to Choquequirao tours because we have the best equipment to make your Choquequirao tour unforgettable. On this 04-day, Choquequirao tour, you will see that this place is more extensive than Machu Picchu and much less known. Hence, it still feels wild and remote, perfect for all who want to experience a real adventure, and even most of the mountains of Choquequirao are not yet accessible.
Learn how to get to Choquequirao and be part of this fantastic Choquequirao tour. The sacred city of Choquequirao (twin city of Machupicchu) does locate on top of a mountain that is part of the Andes mountain range. Choquequirao does surround by spectacular views and endless roads where you can enjoy witnessing all the beauty of the environment framed by one of the deepest canyons, the Apurimac canyon, where there will be the possibility to see some condors.
This Choquequirao trekking tour service is similar to the Inca trail in scenery and cultural richness. You don’t need to walk at very high altitudes as in the case of the colorful mountain, don’t worry about altitude sickness!
Choquequirao Archaeological Park does locate in Santa Teresa, province of La Convención, department of Cusco, Peru.
Surrounded by spectacular snow-capped peaks and steep, densely forested slopes, the city is an inspiring example of an elite Inca ceremonial center dedicated to worshiping the mountain gods, the river, and the elements of nature.
Geographical Location: North of the Apurimac River Valley in La Convención in Cusco. It does locate approximately 47 km from the town of Cachora in the Apurimac region.
Details to know about the Choquequirao hike
The first thing you must do to get to Choquequirao from Lima is to get to Cusco. Here there are three options.
Several airlines offer daily flights to Cusco from Lima with just over an hour of flight time. Many international travelers take a connecting flight to Cusco from Lima directly after arriving in Peru. If this is the case for your itinerary, please note that you must clear customs before your connecting flight.
If time is on your side, a bus trip to Cusco from Lima will show you the natural diversity and beauty of Peru. Bus companies such as Cruz del Sur and Ormeño offer different routes with different travel times. The faster option (18-21 hours) takes passengers to Cusco from Lima via Nazca and Abancay. The more extended option (24-27 hours) also goes from Lima to Nazca. However, it passes through Arequipa before arriving in Cusco.
Take a bus or a quick flight to Arequipa from Lima to witness the incredible architecture built with white volcanic stone. After a day or two and plenty of culinary tastings, head to Puno, where you can take a boat ride on the floating islands of Lake Titicaca. From Puno, the so-called Folk Capital of Peru, the city of Cusco is only an hour away by plane.
Then, we begin the trek from Cusco to Choquequirao. It can be done as a separate trek or combined with a hike to Machu Picchu and completed independently or with a tour company. The walk to the Choquequirao ruins lasts between 04 and 05 days, combined with a visit to Machu Picchu will require 08 to 09 days.
Three trails lead to Choquequirao, one from Cachora, Huanipaca, and another from Yanama.
To get to Cachora or Huanipaca, take the bus from Cusco to Abancay and get off at the stop called “Ramal de Cachora,” the detour to Cachora or Huanipaca (just after Saywite).
Many bus companies depart to Abancay from Terminal Terrestre in Cusco, but the schedules are not usually online. The cost of the ticket is approximately PEN 20.
Get off the bus at Ramal (from Cachora)
Cabs usually wait for people on the bus during the day, except on Sundays, when you may have to wait for an hour. A shared ride from Ramal to Cachora costs PEN 5 per person. A private cab will cost PEN 30. From Cachora, you can start walking directly or take a taxi (PEN 30) to the Mirador de Capuliyoc, which saves approximately 3 hours.
An alternative to taking a bus is to take a “combi” from Cusco to Curahuasi. The trip costs PEN 15 per seat. The colectivos leave near the eastern end of Avenida Arcopata when complete. Once in Curahuasi, you can take a cab to Cachora for PEN 60 soles.
For the Huanipaca and Yamana trails, steep sections make hiking the only option, but what can do the path from Cachora on foot or horseback?
If you speak a little Spanish, you should have no trouble finding a muleteer and one or more mules or horses in Cachora. Ask your cab driver when you arrive or at the central Plaza del Armas stores. Expect to pay PEN 50 per day for a muleteer and PEN 40 per day per horse. The price can be negotiated and has risen due to the increased popularity of the trek.
It does highly recommended to rent a mule for your pack. Plan to provide a meal or two for your muleteer and treat him to a drink or beer.
The Huanipaca trail is shorter, steeper, and lacks the amenities the Cachora hiking trail offers. You can get a meal at Hacienda San Ignacio, about 2.5 km from the river on the Huanipaca side. There are several water sources on the Huanipaca side, so bring your filter.
The Cachora trail has several drinking fountains, campsites, showers, restrooms, and stores where you can buy soft drinks, water, beer, and small snacks such as crackers or cookies.
Walking from Yanama, you must start at Mollepata, Santa Teresa, or Machu Picchu Pueblo. These are very long and challenging treks. If you want to do the 8-day Machu Picchu –
The Cachora trek is probably easier to do the other way around, as you will find muleteers much easier and cheaper in Cachora than at the Machu Picchu end.
You will probably have to pay for a return trip for the muleteer and mule rental, not just the one-way trip.
Suppose you already have your camping equipment and don’t mind figuring out lodging and transportation. In that case, you can also find a tour from Cachora that will include a guide, a muleteer, a mule, the necessary camping equipment, and food. The advantages of this option are similar to the previous ones, all the security on the route, transportation, and logistics are taken care of, and you will have someone who knows the region!
The disadvantages are that it is still more expensive than going alone at $300-$800 (although the prices are about half of what you would pay from Cusco). You will also have to make last-minute arrangements, as most of the guides in Cachora do not have a website or a store.
Choquequirao is considered the new Machu Picchu and has been called “Machu Picchu’s sacred sister” due to the striking similarities in design and ceremonial architecture.
Choquequirao is a surprisingly well-preserved construction of an Inca city in Vilcabamba – Cusco – Peru. It is 03 times bigger than Machu Picchu. However, few tourists visit it due to its hidden location and difficult access. A new adventure that you should consider.
Choquequirao comes from the Quechua word “Chuqui K ‘raw,” which means Cradle of Gold. The name comes from the name of a hill near the archaeological site.
Choquequirao was a religious, political, and social center and became an essential axis of cultural and economic exchange between the coast and the highlands.
Undoubtedly, Choquequirao also played an essential role as a link between the Amazon jungle and the city of Cusco. It has also widely speculated that Choquequirao provided a seasonal pilgrimage destination for regional ceremonial events sponsored by the Inca government. And going a step further, there is evidence to suggest that Choquequirao was also an essential coca cultivation and distribution center.
However, there is one thing that all experts agree on: Choquequirao was probably one of the control points at the entrance to Vilcabamba, one of the most important valleys of the perimeter. It most likely served as an administrative center with political, social, and economic functions.
In addition, many experts assure us that Choquequirao’s environment is one of the richest in biodiversity in the high jungle due to its very diverse fauna and flora.
Choquequirao, which means Cradle of Gold, was the gateway between the Amazon and the city of Cusco.
Choquequirao is full of ruins; its buildings and terraces are hidden under a hill, leveled several hundred years ago, and circumferenced with stones to create a platform.
Built as a cultural and religious center, it still stands tall in high status, exposing the number of niches and double doors that once overflowed in stature.
According to history, it was the last Inca refuge, which allowed the Inca culture to resist the Spanish invasion for about 40 years. The history of Choquequirao is still a matter of speculation.
The construction of Choquequirao is the work of the successors of the Inca Pachacútec Túpac Inca Yupanqui (1 471-1 493) and Wayna Cápac (1 493-1 527).
Domestic and ceremonial ceramics have been found here in the classic Cusquenian style and from other populations that came to live here to build and permanently populate the area.
Most likely, they were experienced farmers who knew how to build and use agricultural terraces in high Amazonian forest areas.
Choquequirao was built at approximately the same time as Machu Picchu. Under this hypothesis, specialists believe that the citadel was built by Pachacutec Inca Yupanqui in the fifteenth century and expanded by his son Tupac Inca Yupanqui.
Archaeologists suggest that Choquequirao has designed an agricultural center for cultivating and distributing coca leaves (a sacred plant for the Incas). The layout of Choquequirao is composed of an urban area with terraces and lined fountains, ceremonial halls, and agricultural regions. Many of the great stone walls are still intact, and the site displays what even engineers would describe as impressive construction techniques, incorporating limestone and granite throughout the building structures.
The recent excavation of Choquequirao has revealed the skill of the Inca engineers. Everything here has excellent precision and attention to detail. According to studies of what Choquequirao was like, the city’s residents built houses with towering double doors, water fountains made of large rocks so they would not wear out quickly, and what created flat slabs under windows for food storage.
Approximately 40% of the Choquequirao Inca ceremonial center has clean vegetation. The rest of the area consists of complex terraces built on steep slopes. An imposing stairway of 180 terraces descends from one of the flanks of the ceremonial center and reaches the open river for swimming.
Most buildings are well-preserved and restored, making them a lovely place to visit.
Choquequirao, and the entire Vilcabamba valley, were used by the Inca ruler Manco Inca as a hideout and place of resistance against the Spanish conquerors.
The Inca Manco dynasty resisted the Spanish conquerors for 40 years (1536 to 1572) from this fortress in the Vilcabamba area. The Spanish conquerors were never able to expel them from it.
This enormous “eagle’s nest” held the attention of romantic historians for a century and a half. The earliest reference to Choquequirao is the notes made by Pablo José Oricain in 1790. Later, during the early days of the Republic of Peru, a wealthy landowner, Señor Tejada, owner of these steep mountain slopes, searched for treasures here.
The lure of this lost city brought the French explorer Eugene de Sartiges to Choquequirao in 1834. The next visitor to Choquequirao was another French scholar Leonce Angrand who made his way to these remote ruins in 1834 through the forests.
Angrand was drawn to Choquequirao by legends of “innumerable treasures hidden in ruins by the Sons of the Sun who fled to this wild place of refuge.” Angrand measured the buildings in these ruins and noticed a row of intriguing inlaid stone rings on one wall of the central plaza. These rings are still there and look like a mooring place on some ancient stone pier.
They were probably used to tie something down, which led Angrant to suggest that wild pumas were linked here, as pumas were the only animals that required such strong rings.
Interest in Choquequirao peaked in the first decade of the 20th century. JJ Nùñez, the prefect of Apurimac province, raised thousands of dollars and led a massive treasure-hunting expedition to the ruins.
He made it to Choquequirao but left without making any dramatic discoveries. Shortly after this, in February 1909, a young American named Hiram Bingham visited the site. He made the dizzying descent to the Apurimac, crossed the new bridge, and spent a couple of days sketching and photographing the legendary ruins.
For centuries, Choquequirao was shrouded in obscurity, protected by its remoteness. Unlike Machu Picchu, people knew it was there: it was first mentioned in a Spanish document of 1710, then visited by various explorers and treasure hunters, and examined in about the 19th century by the French consul in Lima, Leonce Angrand. Finally, in 1909, the tireless American explorer Hiram Bingham, the future scientific discoverer of Machu Picchu, explored and mapped the site.
The first known Spaniard to arrive at the citadel was Juan Arias Díaz in 1710, while the first written account was by the Spanish scientist Cosme Bueno in 1768.
Much later, in 1909, Hiram Bingham arrived and explored Choquequirao.
In addition to Machu Picchu, many people knew of Inca archaeological remains at Choquequirao. However, it does consider that it was Hiram Bingham, the discoverer of Machu Picchu, who discovered Choquequirao in 1909 since he made the importance of the Inca site known to the world.
Choquequirao was discovered in 1909 when a young Yale historian and explorer named Hiram Bingham first stumbled upon this citadel while searching for the last bastion of the lost Inca civilization. He stayed a few days and moved on, apparently impressed by its architecture.
Due to the site’s remote location, excavation began only in the 1970s, and since then, work has continued to unearth and restore many of the ruins still covered by jungle.
Today, the Peruvian government is working to recover the entire Choquequirao archaeological complex and turn it into a destination to be visited by tourists along with Machu Picchu in a 9-day trekking route.
Architecturally, Choquequirao is similar to Machu Picchu and is spread over six square kilometers. Two plazas follow the Inca urban design and house significant structures such as temples, elite residences, and fountain and bath systems.
Its urban design has followed the symbolic patterns of the imperial capital, with ritual places dedicated to the Sun (Inti) and the ancestors, the earth, water, and other divinities, with mansions for administrators and houses for artisans, warehouses, large dormitories or kallankas and agricultural terraces belonging to the Incas or local people. With an extension of more than 700 meters, the ceremonial area descends up to 65 meters from the elevated areas to the central plaza.
There are a couple of important and exciting features of Choquequirao’s architecture. There is unique art on a set of terraces by the stairway of the central plaza. The city’s builders decorated each patio with white rocks in the shape of llamas or alpacas, now thought to pay homage to this animal as used to transport food and supplies.
Two unusual sites lie below the two plazas; they do step terraces designed around water. Leading experts to believe that water played an essential factor in this city due to its extensive hydraulic system compared to the archaeological center of Tipon south of Cusco.
The city complex comprises nine sectors, including the political and religious center, the source system of aqueducts, and canals. Most buildings did use for ceremonial purposes, as residences for the priests, or to store food.
The residential area is located in the lower zone, while the flanks of the mountains contain the cultivation terraces. Some irrigation canals did use permanently, while others were temporary. It also includes a group of family houses called Piquiwasi.
The ceremonial area does locate around the central plaza, which was dedicated to the worship of the gods of the mountain, the river, and other natural systems; there are also two levels of temples and buildings, such as the Sunturwasi built for various purposes and collective services.
Choquequirao has only been excavated by 30%. Despite this, it already has several fundamental Inca constructions:
The central plaza, or Huaqaypata, divided the site in two. It is a two-story stone construction.
Typical constructions of the main Inca centers; the purpose of these deposits was to store products for food, clothing, and others. In Choquequirao, these platforms have internal subdivisions.
Choquequirao has a large number of platforms for cultivation. In the western sector, there are 22 llama-shaped engravings arranged on 15 Inca platforms. These figures are known as the ‘Llamas of the Sun.’
In the highest part of Choquequirao, there are up to 5 buildings whose purpose was probably to house the priests of the enclosure. It does believe that this Inca site was an important ceremonial center.
The Inca cemetery is also known as the ‘Triumphal Wall.’ There, found 17 funerary bundles and a gutter called “The house of the waterfall.”
These rectangular buildings had multiple functions, such as workshops, administrative centers, meeting spaces, etc. In Choquequirao, there are 2 Kallankas in whose walls there were gutters that supplied water.
This oval platform construction does locate on top of a hill. Due to the surrounding wall and the privileged view of the snow-capped mountains, the river, and the entire enclosure are believed to have a religious purpose.
The impressive citadel of Choquequirao, with a variety of plants and vegetation around its construction and with a fantastic fauna that you can appreciate from the magnificent flight of the condor to see the spectacled bear and the most incredible diversity of colorful orchids throughout this exciting journey closely
The exceptional variety of flora and fauna species is possible due to the particular climatic conditions. You can see condors, different species of rabbits, foxes, pumas, bears, hummingbirds, and even cock of the rock, a symbol of Peru. The most distinguished plants are giant ferns, and like Machu Picchu, there is a great variety of orchids.
Although many tourists choose to reach Choquequirao with a tour, it is possible to do it on your own.
To achieve this, you must follow the usual route mentioned above and pay the entrance fee to Choquequirao.
In addition to the transport, take non-perishable food and plenty of water.
Although also on the way if you are lucky, you can find local people who sometimes offer food prepared by themselves.
At the same time, for camping, you need to bring your tent, and along the route, you can find camping areas to rent a land space and camping. Although all the way and the destination are spectacular, it is not recommended to do it yourself; always look for professional and safe tourist services like the one we offer.