Choquequirao to Machu Picchu Trek is one of our flagship tours. We offer this nine days experience from Cusco that covers the two iconic lost cities of Incas.
Choquequirao is an old archaeological site, very similar in structure to the lost city of the Incas Machu Picchu. Choquequirao is part of the Andean complex city located in Vilcabamba mountain range, and it’s bigger than the magnificent city of Machu Picchu but known as the Little Sister of it, both built at the same time by the Incas.
The only way to arrive at the fortress of Choquequirao, is hiking through the Apurímac Canyon where you will enjoy the beautiful landscapes all the way to the “the last refuge of the Incas”.
The impressive tour takes us through astonishing views of the Apurimac River, from the agricultural valleys down to a deep and arid canyon to climb back up to a huge cloud of forest under the Vilcabamba mountain range.
Our Choquequirao trek to Machu Picchu is one of the most impressive journeys you could ever have, only for the ones who dare and accept the adventure to hike for about 4 days to get to this hidden and mythical places, that’s why you only see few tourists unlike the Inca trail.
It’s a very rare trek offered by tour operators, because of the challenging path, but definitely worth it.
Do take a moment to check our reviews on Trip Advisor.
Cusco Hotel Transfer
We will pick you up early in the morning at 5:00 am from the hotel (in our private transport). We will drive to the village of Cachora (2850m / 9348ft) for about 4 hours.
Our crew will be serving a traditional breakfast. While you will enjoy the breakfast, our crew will prepare the horses and cooking equipment for the trek.
We will walk for about six hour on a flat path to the Capuliyoc’s viewpoint where we could see the condors and a beautiful landscape. After that we will descend towards the Apurímac Canyon, and change the vegetation scenery from Agave and Tuna cactus to small trees forest.
We’ll be having lunch in Cocamasana, then continuing to Chiquisqa (1950m / 6398ft), where we will settle our camp to rest for the night.
We will have breakfast early to be able to gather all our camping equipment and sleeping bags.
Today we will start walking from here to continue descending to the Apurímac River (1550m / 5028ft) through the impressive canyon of the same name.
We’ll be having a short rest to keep the hike to Choquequirao. From this point the path becomes a little rough for the next 2-3 hours to Santa Rosa, then we will change between flat and climb the rest of the way while we enjoy the orchid plantations.
We’ll be stopping for lunch in Maranpata (2850m / 9348ft) to have enough energy to continue until we get to Choquequirao (3033m / 9948ft). After 2 hours walking we will arrive at our campsite.
Here we will have a spectacular view of the canyon, and it’s also possible to devise Andean condors soaring in the mountains.
We will be camping near the Inca city of Choquequirao.
This day we could enjoy a complete guided tour of the archeological complex of Choquequirao, which means “Cradle of Gold” translated from Quechua.
We will be visiting the main areas of the complex such as the main plaza, ceremonial site, the upper and lower areas, even the ones still covered in wild foliage and the recently discovered, while we received a full explanation from our tour guide.
After the visit, we will returned to the campsite and you will have time to enjoy the rest of the day.
After a good breakfast for today’s journey, we will start walking uphill for a while.
First through the Choquequirao pass to finally descend to Río Blanco (1909m / 6262ft).
We will be walking through the cloud forest to reach the Pinchayunuyoc Archaeological site, where we will observe the flora and fauna in the ancient Inca terraces.
Once we arrive at the Rio Blanco we can take a swim, rest and have lunch by the river.
After lunch, we will start the hike up a steep climb to Maizal village (3400m / 11152ft), this walk will be during 3 hours, in the way we will observe the sacred Apus high above the river.
We will be camping and resting here.
We will start early as usual, walking uphill and passing through the impressive Inca mines called Minas Victoria and towards the Victoria Pass (4200m / 13776ft).
A long climb up the trail, walking in an incredible area with a cloud forest and then over Andean Puna with the well-known Ichu grass.
You can appreciate original paved Inca trails up to Victoria Pass. We will have lunch at the Victoria pass with views of the Choquetakarpo mountain, we will be able to see the flight of the condors (depending on the weather).
Finally we will descend to the small village of Yanama (3500m / 11480ft) where we will pass the night.
After breakfast; we will have a slow climb towards the highest pass called Yanama (4550m / 14924ft), again we could enjoy an incredible view, we will be surrounded by snow capped mountains of Mt. Sacsarayoj and Mt. Padreyoc.
Continuing from Yanama through the valley towards the highest point of the tour.
Once again will have the opportunity to see condors. This morning a gentle climb will bring through new landscapes -crossing small wooden / dirt bridges on the way to the community of Totora
Here, we will have lunch, and then continue to Colpapampa (2890m / 9479ft) where we will have our campsite, a beautiful place with some hot springs to have a good rest and relax.
Today we will continue our journey with a short walk along the Santa Teresa River, enjoying the increasingly abundant vegetation, passing waterfalls, passion fruit and coffee plantations.
We will pass the waterfalls in Coripacchi, the settlement in Wiñaypoko, and then continue all the way until we arrive at La Playa (2155m / 7068ft), where we will have lunch.
After a short rest, we will continue to Lucmabamba and spend the night there.
After breakfast, we will walk to Llactapata. On the way we can see banana, coffee and avocado plantations, as well as the exuberant flora and a variety of vegetation.
We will be entering the Andean-bear territory and we will probably be accompanied by flocks of parrots as we keep descending.
After crossing the river, we will begin to climb for about 2 or 3 hours approximately to the Abra Q’elloqasa viewpoint (2860m / 9381ft) from where we will have one of the most exceptional views of Machu Picchu.
During the journey we will also stop to enjoy some time in Llactapata (2650m / 8692ft) from where we can see both Machu Picchu and Salkantay incredible views, and visit the recently restored archaeological zone of the Llactapata.
We will have 2-hour descent towards the Aobamba River crossing lush bamboo forests and more orchards and coffee plantations takes us to the Hydroelectric Plant from where we will board the train that takes us to Aguas Calientes (40 minutes by train)
Finally we will spend the night in a hotel at Aguas Calientes.
After relishing an early morning breakfast, we will be transferring you to Ollantaytambo train station. Here you will be boarding a Ollantaytambo Aguas Calientes tourist train. It will be a three hours train ride.
Once in Aguas Calientes, we will transfer you to the bus terminal where you will board the bus from Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu citadel. Once at the entrance of the citadel, our representative will be meeting you and will be assisting you in entering the citadel.
As you will be walking into the citadel, the clouds would be clearing by as the golden rays of the sun would shimmer on the walls of the citadel.
Our local expert will be giving you a detailed tour of the citadel for two hours. During the trip, you will be visiting some of the important parts of the citadel like the ceremonial centre, main plaza, house of the priests and more.
After the tour, you will have some free time to explore the citadel on your own. If you have booked to hike Huayna Picchu or Machu Picchu mountain, our tour guide will be directing you to the respective trail head.
Alternatively, you can hike to the Sungate. This is the point of entrance to those on the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu.
After you finish your visit to Machu Picchu, you will be taking a bus back down to Aguas Calientes town. Here we will be stopping for lunch at a local restaurant.
Later in the evening, we will be taking the train back to Ollantaytambo. Our representative will be meeting you and will transfer you back to the hotel in Cusco.