The Choquequirao Trek is one of the most sought after in the entire world
Horses walk along carrying heavier equipment
Choquequirao (3,103m/10,178ft) is a huge archaeological complex (still under a cleaning and restoration process) located in the surroundings of the Salkantay sacred mountain (6,271m/20,569ft) and the Apurimac River canyon. On this expedition, you will enjoy amazing mountain scenery as well as lots of Andean flora and fauna.
All year round
Cusco hotel and hostel pickup
Cusco hotel and hostel drop-off
Day 1: Cusco – Capuliyoc – Santa Rosa
Before first daylight, you’ll jump into the mini-bus to start your adventure. Make sure to bring all your equipment to the trek. After hotel pick-up, we will start with the journey to the village of Cachora from Cusco; it’s a 4-hour drive to the trailhead of Cachora. We’ll continue thereafter towards the Cunyac Bridge, which is between the departments of Cusco and Apurimac, arriving at Cachora (2,800 metres above sea level) and Capuliyoc (2,900 masl). Here we will meet with our muleteers.
You’ll get your first view of the Choquequirao complex. We’ll start by going gently downhill, following a serpent trail over the Apurimac Canyon for 4 hours, crossing the small hamlet and huts called Cocamasana and Chiquisca, in the lower part of the valley. The climate is warm and sunny in the dry season, and it is also dusty here. We will have lunch (lunch spot Playa Rosalinda, 1,500 masl), before starting the ascent towards the Santa Rosa hamlet. It’s around 2 hours until Santa Rosa (2,100 masl), the first base camp.
Distance: 14 km
Climate: Warm and sunny
Hiking time: 7 hours
Day 2: Santa Rosa – Marampata - Choquequirao
Day 2 will be one of complete adrenaline: A lot of energy is needed to climb up to the ancient city, which has the highest view of the vast landscape. After breakfast (at around 6:00 am), we will continue our hike up to Marampata (2,850 masl) for around 3 hours, at a slow pace. During the journey, you will observe the dense vegetation in the area, with many orchids and colourful flowers, as well as birds and mammals.
Upon arrival to Maranpata – located beside the Chunchumayo River – you’ll be able to freshen up and take a short rest. Marampata is a beautiful base camp, and a lunch spot with a great view. From lunch, it will be a 2-hour hike along the Inca trail, with impressive views of the great Inca complex of “Choquequirao city” (3000 masl) and its surroundings. It is recommended to visit when there are less clouds and clear views of the mountain ranges.
As early darkness falls, we’ll stay in tents close to Choquequirao (2,950 masl), our base camp.
Distance: 8 km
Climte: Warm and windy
Hiking time: 5 hours
Day 3: Choquequirao – Marampata - Chiquisca
Waking up in the Andes is a special experience! After breakfast, we will make our way to the archaeological site, where you’ll be amazed by the impressive views of the deep canyons, and you may even see a Condor flying overhead. Upon arrival to the Choquequirao complex, you’ll travel back in time as you learn from our guide about its history. After 3 hours exploring the site, we’ll start to return following the same trail, 2 hours down and across the Apurimac River, and 1 hour up to the Chiquisca base camp.
Distance : 14 km
Climate : Warm and sunny
Hiking time : 7 hours
Day 4: Chiquisqa – Capuliyoc – Cusco
The last Andean breakfast is the biggest and most special. We will return along the same route to Capuliyoc (2,800 masl); along the way you can appreciate the condors and other Andean wildlife, as well as snow-capped mountains.
It will be like the first day, and there’ll be a gentle climb of two hours until the Capuliyoc pass (2,915 masl). During our journey, you’ll see exotic flora and fauna, as well as majestic snow-capped peaks and the impressive Apurimac Canyon. You can enjoy your final views of the Apurimac Valley and of Choquequirao. In total the climbing time will be 4 hours approx. to get to Capuliyoc, the end of the trek and our lunch spot.
In the afternoon, we will travel back by mini-bus for 5 hours to Cusco. Upon arrival (at approx. 6 pm) you’ll be dropped off at your hotel.
Distance: 9 km
Climate: Warm and sunny
Hiking time: 5 hours
Note: Minimum 2 pax for this tour.
Hotel/hostel pick up
Cusco – Capuliyoc – Santa Rosa
Santa Rosa – Marampata - Choquequirao
Choquequirao – Marampata - Chiquisca
Chiquisqa – Capuliyoc – Cusco
Hotel/hostel drop off
- Hotel/hostel pick-up and drop-off
- Private transport Cusco - Cachora - Cusco
- English speaking professional guide
- The north face or Eureka tents – 2-person
- Double thickness foam mattress
- Kitchen tent, dining tent with camp tables and chairs
- First aid kit, including emergency oxygen bottle
- Choquequirao Inca Site entrance fee
- Hot water every morning and evening for washing purposes (while hiking)
- Cook and cooking equipment
- Excellent meals (3 breakfasts, 4 lunches, 3 dinners and 4 morning snacks)
- Food includes: pancakes, omelets, soups, fresh fruit, avocado, pasta, chicken, fish, meat, rice, all rich in carbohydrates and suitable for trekking
- Hot drinks include: coca leaf tea which is excellent for the altitude
- We supply boiled water to fill in your water bottle at all times (while hiking), if you may need more please request it to your crew (with enough time ahead)
- Teatime the first three days (tea, coffee, biscuits, popcorn)
- Horses for days 1 to 4 for equipment and personal items (actually, your main heavy stuff will be carried by the horses, it means you will only carry a small day bag)
- Sleeping bag
- Breakfast on the first day, dinner on the last day
- Inflatable mattress
- Walking stick
- Backpack with rain shelter
- Sleeping bag
- Clothing for a warm and cold climate (like a waterproof jacket)
- Rain pants/trousers and lightweight pants/trousers
- Trekking shoes
- Slippers or sandals (for showers and hot springs)
- Woollen or synthetic socks and a sweater
- Long- and short-sleeved polo’s/t-shirts
- Rain poncho
- A woolly hat for the cold, and a sun hat
- Sunscreen, insect repellent, disinfecting alcohol and gel, water bottle and sterilizing tablets, toiletries and toilet paper
- Camera (wrapped in a plastic bag), a flash light and batteries
- Some snacks like chocolate bars and dried fruit
- Original passport, original ISIC student card
- Extra money
- Take some spare clothes to change into (since the weather can be very cold and mostly, your clothes - once gotten wet - won’t dry at night)
Cancellation or changes of this tour:
CHANGES: Any changes to the tour date need to be done before 10:00 am, 7 days before the tour begins.
NO SHOWS & CANCELLATIONS: If you cancel 8 days prior to the tour before 6:00 pm (Lima time) or earlier, a 10% administration fee (+ the card fee) will apply. After this time, there is a 100% no-show or cancellation fee.
You must email email@example.com (include the name of the tour and the reservation number) to cancel this tour or to make any changes.
I can’t find my accommodation listed in the operator pick up locations as I’m making my booking. What should I select?
This operator only offers pick-ups from the hotel and hostel accommodation listed, this covers over 90% of the accommodation providers in the area. They do not provide pick-ups or drop-offs at private residences, Airbnbs, bus terminals etc. Select an alternative close by and be ready there for pick-up at the time on your booking confirmation.
What will the weather be like on a Choquequirao trek?
The Andean weather can be unpredictable, despite the sharp divide between dry and wet seasons. The dry season runs from May to October or November; the rainy season goes from December through to April. Nevertheless, Choquequirao lies in the forested fringes of the Amazon basin, where showers can occur at any time of year. Therefore, even in the “dry” season, your daypack should always include full rain gear (both jacket AND trousers). Daytime temperatures can vary greatly, with daytime highs ranging from 10ºC/50ºF to 32ºC/90ºF, and night-time lows ranging from 10ºC/50ºF to a cold 4ºC/40ºF, though seldom much lower. The floor of the Apurimac Canyon gets very hot during the day. Bring your swimsuit for a delicious dip in the river.
What's the most difficult section?
We expected the 1800+m (ft) climb from the Apurimac River up to Choquequirao to be excruciating.Yet for us it did not seem difficult. (Perhaps it was the excitement of finally arriving at the ruins.) If you hike one of the longer routes, the day following your visit to Choquequirao may well be the most difficult.
Who should NOT hike Choquequirao?
This is a good hike for almost anyone with overnight hiking experience. The well-tramped trail is steep — but relatively easy if you hire pack animals. Those with chronic knee, ankle or back injuries should choose another hike. Be aware that there may be rough and muddy sections. Evacuation is difficult.
What footwear is best for Choquequirao?
You want to wear what fits you best and what works for you. No blisters! Most experts recommend hiking boots: A pair of good boots and gaiters will make you feel invincible in the mud, with modern boots being remarkably light and comfortable. Some muleteers, by the way, hike in recycled-tyre sandals!
Will I have problems with altitude sickness on this tour?
Altitude sickness can catch many travellers a little bit off guard. Not everyone gets sick in high altitudes, and it is difficult to predict who is likely to be badly affected by it. For most people, it is nothing more than a headache and a dizzy sensation that diminishes over a short period of time, 1 to 2 days for most people. If you want to limit your chances of getting sick, there are a few things you can do. Firstly, do not fly directly into high altitude - proceed slowly, allowing your body time to acclimatise as you ascend gradually. However, for many that is not possible, so it’s important to drink lots of water, and to slow down! This sounds simple, but both of these things are very important. Your body is struggling because you don’t have enough oxygen, so avoiding any strenuous activity is a good idea. Chew some coca leaves - the native people of South America have been chewing coca for centuries, thanks to its ability to alleviate mild altitude sickness symptoms. Coca leaves can be bought in any supermarket, and even souvenir shops or street stalls. Take altitude sickness pills (Soroche): these are sold over the counter all over Peru and Bolivia, and are just a few dollars. If you are flying straight into altitude over 2500 metres without spending any time at an intermediate elevation, and you’re worried about getting sick, you can ask your doctor for more specific and stronger altitude sickness medication in advance. In the rare case that your symptoms are more severe than a headache and mild dizziness, you should descend in altitude and seek medical assistance.
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