Choquequirao Trek 4D/3N
Group: 2 – 4 -8 persons
Category: Moderately difficult
Season: March to December
Accommodation: 3 nights of camping in tents
Highlights: Beautiful landscapes, Andean snowy mountain area, 4 day trek
Introduction and Itinerary:
The Choquequirao Trek is known amongst guides as one of the best trek around though because it does not include Machu Picchu it is often overlooked by the average tourist. The Choquequirao site itself is situated at about 3,030 meters, at the spur of the Vilcanota Mountain range that contains mountains, Salkantay, Yamana, Ampay, Choketacarpu, Pumasillo and Panta, all on the left bank of Apurimac river.
In the time of the Incas, it was just as important as Machu Picchu, based on the equally intricate designs of the stones. The site was actually even united and in communication with Machu Picchu by means of a complex network of trails. Something else in common that it has with Machu Picchu is that they are both surrounded by fantastic nature, valleys, snow-capped mountains and a great variety of plants, birds and animals.
Choquequirao is thought to have been the “Last Refuge of the Inca Empire”. The evidence of the grandeur of the site can be found in the complex irrigation system, most likely for domestic, ceremonial and agricultural use. The geographic location of Choquequirao in reference to other complexes of the same period would tend to indicate that its function was that of an Inca enclave toward the valleys of the Apurímac River.
There are many other similarities between Choquequirao and Machu Picchu. The latter was a sanctuary dedicated to the worship of the Inca Pachacútec; Choquequirao was also a sacred site, but one dedicated to other functions that could have had to do with war or with the surrounding Apus. Each of the mystical places is located in the vicinity of the sacred Mount Salkantay and both are situated above, far above, a great river: in the case of Machu Picchu, the Urubamba and in that of Choquequirao, the Apurímac. It is at the same latitude and it is a large citadel with more of 8 hectares, only one third has been uncovered and every day the archeologists find something else of interest. For those reasons, and more, Choquequirao is considered to be the ‘Sister City’ of Machu Picchu.
The ecotourism, which should fulfill all the norms of conservation and control, will, hopefully, lead to a sustainable development of the zone. The Inca Trail to Choquequirao is still through a mostly virgin area that is without disturbance or contamination, we all need to do our part to see that it is as well maintained and cared for as the other ancient Inca Trail.
Day 1: Cusco – Cachora – Chiquisca
At 5am we pick up from your hotel and we leave from Cusco in our private van that will take us to the town of San Pedro de Cachora(2800m). There are available items to purchase for breakfast if you did not get any at your hotel. We will meet the rest of our team (cook, horses and horse handlers) in Cachora and that is also where we will begin the long trek which will take us between 7 to 8 hours.
Along the way we will be able to observe diverse landscapes that contain many different micro climates and a variety of flora and fauna that embellish our walking. Eventually we will arrive to the Capulichayoc (kap-oo-lee-chI-yóc) Viewpoint, from where we will be able to observe the deepest canyon in the world, which is known as the Apurimac, with the mighty Apurimac River flowing through it. It is here where we will have our first lunch and from where it is possible to see the first sights of Choquequirao far off in the distance on the other side of the canyon. Will continue descending into the canyon until we arrive to Chiquesca (1800m) where will set up the tents and spend night surrounded by the majestic landscape.
Day 2: Chiquisca – Maranpata – Choquequirao
After enjoying a good, healthy breakfast, we will start a strenuous hike that will take us up hill, up the canyon wall, for about 5 hours to our resting point and lunch stop at Maranpata. We will not be far from the archaeological ruins of Choquequirao at that point. Continuing on, we will soon make it to the site where we will have a detailed walked around guided tour of the immense lost city. We will observe the three levels of the excavated ruin, where we can appreciate the stone houses, terraces and other parts of this late Inca-town, and even the ruins which are still in the process of excavation.
In the night time, we will camp back at the place where we had lunch, Maranpata, right there near the mystic place.
Day 3: Choquequirao – Chiquisca
Waking up extremely early, we will make our way back up to the ruins one more time to catch a magical, and memorable, sunrise there at the site. We will have go back to the campsite to enjoy a nice breakfast before starting on the way back, going down the same route that we came in on. We will camp that night in Chiquisca once more.
Day 4: Chiquisca – Cachora – Cusco
Today we will wake up at 6am to have an early breakfast accompanied by a great view of the crimson sun rising over the Apurimac canyon. It will take about 5 to 7 hours to get to the final stop at Cachora, depending of your physical condition. Once there, we will meet up with our private van to take us back to Cusco.
– Official English speaking guide (two guides for groups over 8 persons)
– Transport from Cusco to Cachora
– Entrance to Choquequirao complex (one time)
– Horses to carry food and camping gear and backpacks
– Experienced cook
– Cooking equipment and eating utensils
– Teatime everyday (coffee, tea, popcorn, biscuit)
– 4 capacity tent (four season tent) – 2 persons per tent with plenty space for backpacks
– Camping mattress
– All meals on the trail (breakfast – lunches – dinners)
– Water supply (boiled) after every dinner and again at breakfast
– Return by private van from Cachora to Cusco
– Kitchen and dining tent with camp tables and chairs
– Tents and food for our camp staff
– Trekking price include government sales tax (19% as know IGV)
– First aid kit and oxygen tank for any participant and our camp staff
Recommended Items to Bring:
– Sleeping bag
– Sun block
– Sun glasses
– Back pack
– Warm clothing and wool socks
– Flash lights with batteries
– Insect repellent
– Water purifying pills
– Toilet paper and toiletries
– Rain coat or ponchos
– Bottle of water (water to drink the first day)
– Extra money for tips