Choquequirao, a name that translates to 'Cradle of Gold', is a mystical 500 year old Inca city. The extensive ruins, three times the size of Machu Picchu, are located in the saddle of a high Andean ridge at 3,050 metres, so a good level of fitness is required to complete the 58Km return trek. It is thought that the Inca Emperor Pachacuti, responsible for commissioning Machu Picchu, founded Choquequirao before his son Tupaq Inka Yupanki extended and remodelled it. The trek along some extraordinarily scenic stretches of Inca pathways provides a unique alternative to the much busier Inca Trail, and compliments a visit to Machu Picchu. Restoration of Choquequirao began in the 1970s, and although the site is not as well-known as Machu Picchu, you will find a very similar structure and architecture albeit on a larger scale. A visit to these incredible ruins is well worth the effort!
Day 1: Cuzco > Cachora > Pasarela Bridge Early today will be met at your hotel in Cuzco and transferred three hours by road to the town of Cachora. Spend some time exploring this quaint town before continuing to Capuliloq to begin your trek. Here you will have your first view of Choquequirao through binoculars off in the far distance. As you hike, enjoy scenic views of the surrounding mountains and the dramatic canyon of the Amurimac River. Descend the mountain on a steep switchback trail to Cocamasama Pass, before continuing onto your overnight camp site at Rosalina Beach near the Parsarela Bridge.
Maximum Altitude: 2800 metres above sea level Minimum Altitude: 1860 metres above sea level Distance Travelled: 19 km Walking time: 6 hrs
Day 2: Pasarela Bridge > Choquequirao After an early wakeup and breakfast, begin todays hike. Descend further into the valley before a short ascent to Santa Rosa and some time to rest and relax. Continue to Marampata, and from here you will witness a series of huge terraces used by Inca and pre-Inca civilizations for agricultural purposes. There is a chance you may see condors, or if extremely fortunate, the rare Andean bear that is endemic to this area. Trek for another two hours to reach the site of Choquequirao. You will have some time to explore the ruins later in the afternoon before settling into your nearby camp for overnight.
Maximum Altitude: 3100 metres above sea level Minimum Altitude: 1600 metres above sea level Distance Travelled: 14 km Walking Time: 8 hrs
Day 3: Choquequirao > Pasarela Bridge Enjoy an extensive guided tour of these fantastic ruins. It has been more than 100 years since the discoverer of Machu Picchu, explorer Hiram Bingham, first discovered the existence of Choquequirao. Extensive archaeological studies over the years have divided the site into 12 sections. These ruins, which are much more extensive than Machu Picchu, are still in the process of being excavated. Because of its remote location, Choquequirao sees very few visitors, and you feel a certain privilege to be able to explore this hidden Inca gem. After lunch begin the four hour descent back to your camp at Rosalina Beach for an overnight stay.
Day 4: Pasarela Bridge > Cachora > Cuzco An early start today as you hike to Cachora, a trek of around seven hours. On arrival to Cachora you will transfer back to your hotel in Cuzco. Accommodation in Cuzco this evening is not included, but can be booked at additional cost.
Maximum Altitude: 2900 metres above sea level Minimum Altitude: 1860 metres above sea level Distance Travelled: 19 km Approximate Walking Time: 8 hrs
• Specialist English-speaking guide • Return transport from Cuzco to the start/end point of the trek • All meals prepared by a local chef during the trek including 3 breakfasts, 3 teas upon waking, 4 snacks, 4 lunches, 3 tea breaks and 3 dinners • Filtered and boiled water • Horses and porters for your luggage and camping equipment including a four season mountain tent, sleeping bags, therma-rest inflatable mattress, personal duffle bag up to 7kgs, dining, cooking and bathroom tents, first aid kit and oxygen
Pricing (per person) $NZD
Departs This tour runs from March through to September, as it is too wet in the summer months.
Shared tours - depart Sundays and require a minimum of two guests to depart (maximum 16 guests).
Private tours - depart daily
This tour runs from March through to September, as it is too wet in the summer months.
Booking conditions • This tour runs from March until September, as it is too wet in the summer months in this part of the Andes for the trip to be comfortably operated. Shared departures operate with a two person minimum and maximum group size of 16 people
• We recommend a minimum of two nights in Cuzco prior to the trek to acclimatise to altitude. The maximum altitude reached on the trek in only 3,100 metres, some 300 metres lower than that of Cuzco and significantly lower than the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu
• This tour runs from March until September, as it is too wet in the summer months in this part of the Andes for the trip to be comfortably operated. Shared departures operate with a two person minimum and maximum group size of 16 people • We recommend a minimum of two nights in Cuzco prior to the trek to acclimatise to altitude. The maximum altitude reached on the trek in only 3,100 metres, some 300 metres lower than that of Cuzco and significantly lower than the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu