Choquequirao to Machu Picchu trek 9 days. If you are seeking a demanding off-the-beaten-path towards Machu Picchu and submerge deeply in the Inca culture, then the Choquequirao trek is ideal for you! This is very lonely due to its location and difficulty; only truly intrepid travelers accept the fantastic challenge. You will hike through diverse climates from cloud forests to mighty Mountain passes, crossing crystalline rivers and admiring breathtaking snowcapped peaks.
It’s said that Choquequirao was built around the same time as Machu Picchu in two stages. The citadel was built by Pachacutec Inca Yupanqui in the 15th century expanded by his son Tupac Inca Yupanqui. Choquequirao, and all of Vilcabamba valley, was used by the Inca ruler Manco Inca as a hideout and place of resistance against the Spanish conquistadors.
A rewarding lifetime experience that perfectly complements the visit to another beautiful destination, Machu Picchu.
Departure & Return Location:
Pick up from your hotel (4:00am – 4:30am).
Choquequirao trek to Machu Picchu – 9 Days highlights:
We recommend you to be in Cusco at least 2 days prior to your trek to be acclimatized to Cusco’s altitude so that during the tour you won’t have a problem.
Choquequirao Expeditions is a direct local tour operator in Cusco – Peru; we never share our tours with other companies as most of them do to minimize operating costs. We don’t work with intermediaries or have hidden prices; we have the best local guides and professionals. We guarantee that your travel expenditures will support the local economy, and improve the lives of local Peruvians, due to the simple reason we are a local business!
We will pick you up from your hotel to drive to Cachora village, where the hike starts onto Apurimac canyon. On the way, we have beautiful landscapes and fantastic viewpoints; the huge dry valley spread out throughout the day and a wide variety of flora and fauna. Then comes the delicious lunch in the middle of the canyon. The campsite for tonight is in Santa Rosa at 2200 m / 7215 ft. is on the other side of the Apurimac River. It is the quietest and most beautiful spot around us without distractions
It’s another early start this morning as we depart early to escape the heat of the canyon. Today, we continue upwards towards Maranpata (2940m (9646 ft). After a good night’s sleep, we should be ready to tackle this tough, 3-hour uphill stretch.
A little beyond Maranpata, we’ll be treated to our first views of Choquequirao, a nice reward for the morning’s challenge. From here, it’s just another 2 hours over gentle, undulating terrain until we reach the ruins – a welcome change of pace! Stopping first for lunch at the Choquequirao campsite (2900m / 9,514ft), we head for the site itself, where we have the entire afternoon to explore.
Initially discovered in 1710, Choquequirao was given little importance by European explorers passing through the area until Hiram Bingham rediscovered it in 1909. This was primarily overshadowed by Bingham’s additional rediscovery of Machu Picchu, and so it wasn’t until the 1970s that the Peruvian government began to excavate at Choquequirao.
With only about 30% of the site excavated today, Choquequirao consists of an extensive set of terraces, irrigation channels, and various religious and administrative complexes extending over 1800 hectares. And all this is set against the dramatic background of the Apurimac Canyon!
We’ll watch the sunset over the ruins and, with any luck, catch a glimpse of condors soaring through the canyon that surrounds us.
This day we will have the chance to explore the Incan city of Choquequirao, where our guide will explain a rich history of the place, during the tour we’ll visit the Priest house, Usnu (a platform for main rituals), Main temples or religious site, Terraces with Llamas, The Granary constructions.
About midday, we will have our lunch; next, we will walk uphill for about 45-minutes, then descend until we get to the third campsite, Pinchayunuyoc archaeological site (2,850m / 9,320feet), where we will explore the Incan site of Pinchayunuyoc in the afternoon. The pretty scenic views around the campsite will be undeniably beautiful, which will make us feel in a different atmosphere. In the evening we will have tea time, subsequently dinner.
After having breakfast, we will get ready to hike the fourth day; we will walk downhill for about 2 hours to get Rio Blanco(1,990m / 6,507feet) from where we will start to ascend until reaching the fourth camp spot, which is Maizal( 3,200m / 10,464feet); after that, we will have a 3-hour walking uphill to get the following campsite, where we’ll eat our lunch upon our arrival. This camp spot offers fantastic views of the great snowcapped mountain Victoria. In the evening we will have tea time, subsequently dinner.
Arise early with a magical sunrise over the mountains and have our energizing breakfast to continue the escapade. After stocking up on water and snacks, we start our journey hiking uphill along a rocky path for about 4 hours towards the second-highest point. There will be incredible sights of the surrounding mountains, lush green valleys, and some arid mountain peaks in some sections. Also, we will be crossing some old mines of various minerals such as gold, copper, and mercury that were used for many years.
As we ascend, we will notice the change in vegetation and altitude. Reach the San Juan Pass (4150 m. / 13615.5 ft.) and have superb views of the Vilcabamba mountain range with the snow peaks like Apu Pumasillo, Sacsara, and Qoriwayrachina. After snapping some fantastic pictures, we will start a 2.5 hour downhill walk to the charming and traditional Yanama village (3590m/11778.2 ft), the lunch place, and the luxury campsite as well. You can visit their local homes to learn more about their daily lifestyle.
Following our delicious lunch, you will have the afternoon free. Then, dinner before spending the night in our convenient bedroom tents.
As usual, we will have our hot coca tea to wake up and have breakfast. Subsequently, we will begin to hike up that way to ascend and reach the next pass that is Yanama pass (4,700m / 15,369feet), which is the highest point on this Choquequirao trek to Machu Picchu trek; from this pass, we will get fantastic sights of other mountains around, and the glacier peaks.
Then we will walk downhill until reaching the Totora town (3,200m / 10,464feet), in which we will spend the sixth night. We’ll enjoy our lunch on the downhill section this sixth day at about 1:00 pm. In the evening we will have tea time, subsequently dinner.
This day will be mainly walking in a highland tropical place, walking by small towns along the trail to the seventh campsite that is located in La playa town; on this section of the trail, we will meet other hikers who followed the route of Salkantay, and on this section of the trail we will see beautiful waterfalls, highland vegetation and exotic fruit crops, one of them is the granadilla, a fruit that belongs to the family of passion fruit, of course, we will have a chance to try this fruit.
When we arrive at La Playa town, we will have our lunch, and that afternoon will be to chill out at the campsite. In the evening we will have tea time, subsequently dinner.
After a last delicious breakfast by our chef and a hot drink, we will continue along the ancient and remote Inca Trail for 3 hours uphill to the Puncuyoc Pass (2700m/8,858ft). Along the way, you will need to pinch yourself at the fantastic views and authenticity of these unique valleys and fruit plantations. Location! Location! We arrive at Llactapata Inca Ruins, located right in front of Machu Picchu. We enjoy the strategic location of the Citadel of the Grand Machu Picchu from far away and its surrounding mountains of Huyana Picchu, Machu Picchu, and the Aobamba Canyon.
Still feeling overwhelmed, we descend for 2 hours to the hydroelectric plant, the primary power source for Cusco, where we will have lunch. Then, it is the last leg of the journey walking to Aguas Calientes through the National Park of Machu Picchu. Feel your adrenaline start to swirl in your veins as you come closer to the iconic Machu Picchu and the ancient wall surrounding the Inca Citadel.
Early in the morning, our knowledgeable guide will pick you up from your hotel to catch the bus up to the citadel for a 30 mins ride. Sometimes and especially in the high season (April to July), we will have to be patient as the queues to go up to this World Wonder will be longer than expected.
Seeing the impressive Machu Picchu citadel (2430 m. / 7972.4 ft.) will be worth it and will also perfectly complement your previous visit to Choquequirao. Our well-informed guide will teach us about the magnificent theories about Machu Picchu, the history of its buildings, and of course, about the millenary culture of the Incas.
To end your time at Machu Picchu, enjoy lunch at the Belmond Sanctuary Lodge Hotel. Later you will take the bus departing back to Aguas Calientes, board your train. Upon arrival, a representative will collect you in our private vehicle and take you to your hotel in Cusco.
We also offer a special service only for you or your group; you have the power to choose the size of your group and the date of departure; we will never add other people since it will be organized only for you.
Our Choquequirao trek to Machu Picchu – 9 Days private service, includes additional items such as:
We offer 3 kinds of service, each with different price ranges and you can book in any of these services according to your convenience, we just need you to be a minimum of 02 people to organize your trip on the date that suits you, all our services are 100 % guaranteed.
We are a direct TOUR OPERATOR that never passes clients to other agencies as most agencies do it here in Cusco to save operating costs with poor quality.
We will make the trip even if there are only 02 people in your group.
Can I be picked up from the Sacred Valley?
Yes, let us know in advance to organize your pick-up time (there is an extra cost).
Is there a cable car in Choquequirao?
The project to make a cable car that connected the town of Cachora to Marampata was not completed due to the frequent presence of landslides, and this plan was gradually lost.
What is Choquequirao?
Choquequirao is named after Quechua Chuqi K’iraw, the cradle of gold. Located just over 3,000 meters high, they are Inca terraces and buildings, very similar to the citadel of Machu Picchu, in terms of its architecture. Some even call it the “Sacred Sister of Machu Picchu” or “Second Machu Picchu.” The site is not as large as Machu Picchu, but it is much less crowded by travelers, since it can only be accessed on foot, with a tour operator, it is the longest and most complete road in Peru.