This trek is perfect for anyone looking to experience something new – that most people will never see in their lives. This less touristic lost Incan city is off the beaten path for most of Peru’s visitors – which means more pristine views and private exploration for you! On this trek, you will also see many other amazing ruins and scared places of the Inca – including the Tarawasi in Limatambo, the great rock of Saywiti before Cachora village, and the majestic Padreyoc glacier peaks (5482m). These great places hold special meaning to all those inhabitants of the region and those who visit it. You will experience nature like never before – ancient ruins, mountain ranges, glaciers, and rare wild orchids will be on our path.
Choquequirao, the sister city of Machu Picchu, is known as the “Cradle of Gold” in Quechuan, although this is probably not its’ original name. It is another “Lost City of the Incas” rediscovered late in 20th century. It is located high on a ridge spur almost 1750m above the raging glacier-fed Apurimac River and surrounded by towering Salkantay and Humantay snow-capped peaks.
Choquequirao was built during the last days of the Incan empire under the government of the Inca Pachacutec. Mostly likely, it’s construction was led by Tupac Inca Yapanqui, probably after the Spanish invasion in 1532. The Incans held strong against the Spanish conquerors for forty years (between 1536 – 1572). The construction of the different levels of temples, palaces, canals and aqueducts is really quite fantastic. Choquequirao is a city which demonstrates the fascinating example of an elite Incan ceremonial center. A city dedicated to worship “Pachamama” (Andean Mother Earth) “the Apus” (Mountain Gods and Divinities), the river and the elements of nature. Choquequirao finally was burned down and left deserted. This happened probably after the execution of the last Inca, Tupac Amaru I in 1572. Although similar in structure and architecture to Machu Picchu, the ruins are buildings and terraces at levels above and below Sunch’u Pata, the truncated hill top. The hilltop was anciently leveled and ringed with stones to create a 30 by 50 m platform. The entire complex is 1800 hectares, of which 30–40% is excavated. You will be able to explore all of this with our guide, as well as on your own with the ample time we have scheduled for you.
The Choquequirao Trek is perfect for those looking to get off the beaten path, or are looking for something to see other than Machu Picchu. The trek takes you to the sister city of Machu Picchu, Choquequirao (The Cradle of Gold) which sits high above the Apurimac Valley.
With a wide variety of flora and fauna, beautiful scenery and a visit to a major Incan site, the Choquequirao Trek is the adventure of a lifetime.
By booking your Choquequirao Trek with PumaPath you are choosing the best company for your tour.
- Starting Altitude – 2900m / 9515ft.
- Highest Altitude – 3050m / 10,005ft
- Walking Distance – 64 km / 40 miles
- Longest Day – Day 1, approximately 25 km/15.5 miles
- Overall Difficulty – Difficult
DAY 1: CUSCO – CACHORA – SANTA ROSA.
We’ll leave from Cusco early in the morning by private transportation. Along the way, we will stop several times to enjoy the view and explore some Inca ruins, called Tarawasi in Limatambo. After, we’ll come into contact for the first time with the Apurimac river. Another stop is the great rock of Saywiti, with ancient carvings etched into it, just before Cachora village. Here we’ll meet out mountain crew, horse driver, mules and horses, who will carry our equipment. From the village of Cachora we can already observe the majestic Padreyoc glacier peaks (5482m). We’ll begin to notice the change of the landscape, from precipices to snowy mountains. From the viewpoint of Capuliyoc, we can begin to see part of Choquequirao, as the trail descends towards the Apurímac Canyon. We’ll have a lunch break at Apurimac river valley (1950m). From here we’ll continue the ascent towards Santa Rosa where we’ll see sugar cane plantations. It is here that we’ll set up camp for the night.
DAY 2: SANTA ROSA – CHOQUEQUIRAO.
After breakfast, we’ll continue trekking up to Choquequirao. The trail will transform from being relatively flat to a steeper incline, where one can see beautiful vegetation including several varieties of orchids. We will arrive to the archaeological site Choquequirao. After a good lunch and a siesta break we will walk to the main square of Choquequirao. We can appreciate houses, terraces, altars, water canal and fountains, and if we’re lucky, we’ll be able to witness “the flight of the condors”. We’ll spend the rest of the day exploring the area and return to our campsite for dinner and rest.
DAY 3: EXPLORE TO CHOQUEQUIRAO – RIO APURIMAC (PLAYA).
Early on the morning of this day, you’ll have the option to explore Choquequirao one last time before returning to the camp site for breakfast and beginning the trek back down the Apurimac valley. We will spend this night camping in the Apurimac Valley.
DAY 4: APURIMAC RIVER – CACHORA – CUSCO.
After breakfast, we’ll ascend right into Chiquisqa, passing farmer’s houses, and then to Capuliyoc for one last view of Choquequirao. After the pass, we will say goodbye to our wranglers, and take a bus back to Cusco
- Ceremony with your tour guide and locals
- Professional English Speaking Tour Guide
- Assistant Tour Guide for groups of 9+
- Mules to carry cooking and camping equipment and 7 kg of your personal items.
- Pick-up from your hotel
- Transportation by bus to and from Cachora
- Water (excluding the first 4 hours of the trek when you need to bring your own)
- 3 Breakfasts, 3 Lunches, 3 Afternoon Snacks and 3 Dinners. If you have a dietary request such as vegetarian food please let us know.
- Dining tent with tables and chairs
- 4 man tent for every 2 trekkers
- Oxygen bottle
- First aid kit
- Breakfast on day 1 and lunch and dinner on day 4
- Tips for the crew–not mandatory but strongly recommended as a gesture of gratitude.
- Travel Insurance – you are strongly recommended to buy travel insurance for the trip.
What you need to take:
- Walking boots
- Waterproof jacket / rain poncho
- Warm jacket
- Hat and gloves
- Comfortable Trousers
- Sun hat
- Sun cream (SPF35 or higher)
- Insect repellant
- Toiletries and hand sanitizer
- Personal medication
- Camera and film
- Torch with spare batteries
At Puma Path, your comfort and safety are of our utmost concern. Therefore, we provide all necessary camping equipment for your trek. Included in prices are: sleeping tent, rollmat and pillow for your comfort. Please feel free to bring your own sleeping bag if you prefer.
Private Service Prices
- 2 people : US$675 per person
- 3 people : US$635 per person
- 4 people : US$565 per person
- 5 people : US$485 per person
- Sleeping Bag $ 25
- Walking Pole $20
- Inflatable Mattress $20
- Single Tent Supplement $75
- Extra 7kg of personal items $75
HORSES OR PORTERS: On this trek we provide horses to carry your food and the camping equipment, but there will be one cook and his assistant, two horses men and one porter who is picking up what other hikers throw away. You will have a personal allowance of 7kg for your gear. This will not be available during the day as the horsemen will be ahead of the group.
OUR GUIDES: Most of our guides began as porters before they went to Cusco University and Institute where they learned about the Inca history. They are always learning in order to be the best guide. They each speak English fluently, along with Spanish and Quechuan, the Incan language. They are all able to communicate with natives from around the area and of course have lots of history to share with you.
OUR FOOD: Definitely one of the highlights of the tour is the food. It is always fresh and most of it is organic. There is always plenty to eat and lots of options including vegetables, meat, chicken, fish and other types of protein and carbohydrates. Everyone sits down to eat together and we go out of our way to accommodate all dietary requirements including vegetarian options and any food allergies. We do not provide any alcoholic drinks on the trek but if you would like you can bring your own.
OUR EQUIPMENT: We provide 4 man tents for only 2 people and foam mattresses for everyone. Our dining equipment includes a spacious dining tent, tables and chairs, plates and utensils. We do NOT supply walking sticks, but they can be rented from Puma Path. We bring an extra blanket for all our hikers for those especially cold nights. Just ask and your guide will provide you with this.
Please note that if you are over 1.95 meters / 6´4″ tall then you won´t be able to rent a sleeping bag in Cusco. In this case it is recommended to bring your own.
WE ARE SUSTAINABLE: We always clean the trail as we go. We respect the local people, teach them clean the area, and help the local children. We always take one extra porter who will be walking on the trail just to pick up the bottles and plastic bags of the other people who used the trail before us.
WE ARE RESPONSIBLE: We treat our hikers, porters and all the local people from the villages with the utmost respect. We travel in small groups to give personalized tours to each traveler. We pay good salaries to our porters and follow the porters law. We provide all our porters with their hiking gear such as shoes, pants, jackets, t-shirts, hats, sleeping bags and most importantly, health insurance.
FITNESS: This trek is certainly not easy but you do not need to be an athlete or a trekking expert to complete it. Fitness is naturally important but this the kind of trek that anyone with a positive attitude and determination can do. Obviously the more fit you are the more you will enjoy the trail and the more chance you will have to take in the scenery and appreciate the Inca ruins dotted along the way. If you do not exercise regularly, it is advisable to do some extra walking or some kind of aerobic activity in the months leading up to your trip.
Many people worry whether they will be able to cope physically but complete failure is rare and would usually only result from severe altitude sickness or a person lacking even a basic level of fitness. People of all ages (from teenagers to pensioners) complete the trek and age itself is no barrier if you are positive minded and live an active lifestyle. Before departing for your tour, we recommend visiting your doctor who will be able to provide you with more information.
STORAGE DURING THE TREK: During the trek your main luggage will be stored in Cuzco and you will receive a small duffel bag at your trail briefing (briefings are normally set for the evening before you start the trek) to pack clothes for 3-4 days. Your team of porters will carry these bags together with the food and equipment for the trail. Please note that you will not have access to these items until the end of each day as the porters will always be ahead of the group. You should therefore bring a day pack in which you can carry personal belongings such as your camera, water and sun screen etc. By Peruvian law the duffel bag carried by the porters must not weigh more than 7kg (14pounds). You can either store your luggage at your hotel or you can leave it with us.
BOOKING: Choquequirao is available to depart any day of the week as long as we have two people. You still need to book in advance.
Thanks for traveling with Puma Path, 100% local company!