This challenging trek enables you to explore the unique Inca settlement perched above the Apurimac Canyon known as Choquequirao. This ruin covers an area of over 1800 hectares and rivals Machu Picchu for complexity, size, and splendor. Comprising 12 sectors and considered to be one of the last Inca strongholds, Choquequirao boasts extensive agricultural terracing with carved animal figurines, Inca stone walls, windowed structures, staircases, and ceremonial areas.
The fact it has fewer visitors makes this an attractive alternative or addition to visiting Machu Picchu. During the hike, you will experience dramatic landscapes, sheer drops, and panoramic views. As you trek alongside the Apurimac Canyon, you will observe the frothing river below. At times you’ll feel you are walking among the clouds, whose bright white against the intense blue of the sky will leave you breathless with amazement.
Location: Cusco – Apurimac
Duration: 4 days / 3 nights
Season: April to November
Group Departures: Every Sunday
Minimum: 2 passengers
Prices start at $729 USD Per person
Duration: 4 Days/ 3 Nights Season: April to November
Group Departures: Every Sunday
Day 1: Cusco – Capuliyoc – Chikisca
In the morning we will be leaving from Cusco headed due north on the main highway to Antapampa, a fertile agricultural valley. Once we begin to descend into Limatambo, we’ll visit the Inca site of Tarawasi, with some beautifully precise Inca geometry found in its structures and stone walls. The road continues until we reach the Apurimac River, an impressive gorge, where we can observe the frothy river winding below. We will drive past the village of Curawasi and on to the Sayhuite archaeological site. Among its features is an enormous monolithic rock carved with various geometrical and animal figures. Some archaeologists consider it to have been a kind of engineering map that showed the extensive hydraulic systems and irrigation channels used to convey water in the area.
A small side road over a ridge brings us down to the village of Capuliyoc, and onto the roadhead where we start today’s hike. Here we will meet the rest of our field crew and we’ll attain our first view of the Apurimac Canyon with the snow-capped peaks of Nevado Padreyoc front and center, and Nevado Qoriwayrachina to the left. We begin our descent and make camp at a cozy site on the riverside at Chikisca, at 1850 masl (6069 fasl).
(L / D)
Driving distance: 175 km (108.8 mi) – Time: 4:30 hours
Trekking distance: 7.4 km (4.6 mi) – Time: 3 hours
Day 2: Chikisca – Marampata – Choquequirao
We get up with the sunrise, and after a hearty breakfast, begin the day’s trek, crossing the river over a footbridge. From here an uphill walk of half a day brings us to a small meadow where we’ll enjoy a picnic lunch. As we ascend the steep trail, we will be confronted with panoramic views, sheer drops, and the beauty of the Apurimac Canyon. The afternoon hike is less steep as we approach the hanging valley through greenery and verdant misty forest to the site of Choquequirao. We’ll set up camp on the level ground at the section known as Marampata, as we begin our explorations of this isolated Inca site and the surrounding cloud forest. We can also visit the Choquequirao main plaza, which features a network of terraces with Llama Figures called ¨the Llamas of the Sun¨. Sometimes it´s possible to camp in this area.
(B / L / D)
Trekking distance: 12.8 km (8 mi) – Time: 8 hours
Day 3: Choquequirao – Playa San Ignacio
We’ll spend the day exploring the Choquequirao complex, whose structures, stonework, staircases, and buildings sprawl across the landscape, covering over 1800 hectares! In splendor, it rivals Machu Pichu but is much less crowded. We’ll soak up the atmosphere of this ancient site, learning about the purpose of the various structures and the lives of the people that lived here. Choquequirao was one of the last strongholds of the Inca: it is speculated that Manco Inca Yupanqui took shelter here after fleeing Cusco in 1535. The complex comprises 12 sectors, with buildings used for ritual purposes, residential structures for the priests, food storage areas, and highly complex terracing and water systems throughout. There are llama and handler figurines carved into the stone in the terraced areas, which is where crops were cultivated. After lunch, we´ll to start our descent towards Playa San Ignacio for approximately four hours. The first part downhill is mild, but as the trail continues it becomes very steep. We will enjoy panoramic views as we hike towards Playa San Ignacio, at 1430 m (4962 ft).
(B / L / D)
Trekking distance: 6.2 km (3.9 mi) – Time: 3-4 hours
Day 4: Playa San Ignacio – Tambobamba – Huanipaca – Cusco
We’ll make an early morning departure for the last part of our trek. The trail starts going up again, until reaching the former Hacienda San Ignacio at 1700 m (5577 ft). After another hour of steep trail, we’ll arrive at the El Carmen Bridge, where we´ll enjoy a well-deserved lunch. After lunch, we´ll drive back to Cusco, a panoramic ascent out of this side valley, with dramatic views of the surrounding peaks. We will arrive in the city in the late afternoon. Return to your hotel for a well-deserved rest.
(B / L)
Trekking distance: 8 km (5 mi) – Time: 4-5 hours
Driving distance: 186 km (116 mi) – Time: 4 hours
End of services
B- Breakfast / BL- Box Lunch / L- Lunch / D- Dinner
4 Days Choquequirao Trek 4 Day/3 Night
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Why we love Explorandes
Explorandes (1975) has been a pioneer in adventure travel. We were the first company to operate the Inca Trail trek, spearheading tourism in remote and rural regions of Peru. Our founders discovered ancient ruins, hidden trails, and the last uncharted rivers in the most fantastic and varied natural landscapes of the Andes. As innovators and passionate adventure enthusiasts, Explorandes gives back to the places we love exploring by creating top quality tailor-made travel experiences.
Explorandes is certified by the Rainforest Alliance and has a proven track record of promoting sustainability in every outing.
What’s Included on your trek?
- Professional bilingual guide
- Double occupancy tents with Thermarest sleeping pads
- All meals during trek
- Non-alcoholic drinks
- Kitchen and dining tents
- Cook and field staff
- Horses and drivers
- Entrance tickets
- Solar energy lamps
- Eco toilets
- Adequate garbage disposal
- First aid kit and oxygen tank
- Personal travel insurance
- Laundry service
- Airline tickets
- Sleeping bags (rent available)
- Personal gear
- Alcoholic beverages
- Additional services
- Regular and long wicking first layer for cold weather, like polyester, nylon, or merino wool
- Short-sleeved shirts or t-shirts, breathable fabrics, like nylon and polyester
- Light-colored long-sleeved shirts or t-shirts
- QuickDry Pants, trekking pants, and shorts
- Insulated long-sleeve jacket (fleece, synthetic, down, merino wool)
- Liner gloves
- Light cap and beany
- Rain jacket (in the rainy season, bring rain pants)
- Breathable sports socks or hiking socks
- Warm socks for nights
- Multifunctional headwear (e.g. Buff)
- Waterproof and breathable hiking boots
- Comfortable and lightweight shoes for campsite
- Sleeping Bag (0°/32° to -15°/ 5°) (rent available)
- Day Pack (preferably with rain cover)
- Trekking Poles (available to rent)
- Waterproof duffle bag
- Microfiber towel
- Sunblock, lip balm, and insect repellent
- Reusable water bottle or vacuum bottle
- Portable Power Bank (to charge lamps, etc)
- Personal First Aid Kit (recommended)
On each trip we carry a medical kit, but we suggest you bring a small personal First-Aid Kit for bruises and blisters. Knee and ankle braces are sometimes useful especially if you suffer from weak knees or ankles. Include any special medication your doctor might suggest for you.
Terms & Conditions
All prices hold for the duration of the calendar year in which they were set. At the end of each calendar year, all prices are reevaluated and/or adjusted. Due in large part to our good relations with hotels, transport companies and operators, we are able to maintain competitive prices. All of our prices include administrative and operational costs.
IMPORTANT: Some properties and third party providers do increase their rates around special holidays and dates, including, for example, Christmas, New Year’s, Inti Raymi, and any other national holiday or special date. In these situations, the price may be higher than the prices we have set and listed for the calendar year.
Payment & Booking:
In order for us to guarantee the highest quality guides, space in the best hotels, and many other ancillary services for your trip, our policy is that we pre-pay for any contracted services before the passenger’s arrival date. Additionally, a large portion of the passenger’s deposit goes towards acquiring the necessary permits required by the governments of the destinations they will be visiting, which is usually a non-refundable fee.
For these reasons, we have set the following payment policies:
– Deposit: Upon booking with Explorandes, $500 deposit per person. Subject to booking value, an additional deposit may be required and we will advise at the time of quotation.
– Balance Due in full: 60 days prior to arrival.
Cancellations & Refunds
In the event that a passenger needs to cancel their trip with Explorandes, a cancellation fee will be charged to the passenger. The amount of the cancellation fee is set according to the number of days in advance of the passenger’s arrival that Explorandes was notified of the cancellation. The amount of the cancellation fee is also dependent on the policies of each provider to whom Explorandes has already issued payment in preparation for the passenger’s trip. Some third-party providers do require Explorandes to pre-pay well in advance of a trip to confirm space and services, and many times these payments are non-refundable.
Explorandes’ cancellation refund policy is as follows:
Cancel 0 – 30 days prior to arrival = 100% non-refundable of total trip cost.
Cancel 31-45 days prior to arrival = 75% non-refundable of total trip cost.
Cancel 46-59 days prior to arrival = 50% non-refundable of total trip cost.
Cancel 60 or more days prior to arrival = loss of deposit
Insurance & Medical
We strongly recommend that every passenger that travels with Explorandes purchase a travel/medical insurance plan before their trip. The passenger can purchase an insurance plan directly through an insurance company of his/her preference at home. If a member of the group gets sick or is incapacitated, Explorandes will help the sick or injured passenger by getting them to a qualified doctor. Any extra costs associated with hospitalization, emergency evacuation, and/or any other costs associated with the illness or injury will be assumed by, and the responsibility of, the individual passenger.
Important – Please read carefully We, Explorandes SAC, reserve the right to modify or withdraw from any travel arrangements when deemed necessary, and when it is in the best interest of our clients. Any bags or luggage are carried at the owner’s own risk throughout the entire duration of the tour. Explorandes SAC acts only in the capacity of an AGENT upon the legal conditions that, while exercising every possible precaution, Explorandes is not responsible for injury, sickness, damage, loss, additional expenses, accidental delay, or other irregularities which may be caused either through willful or negligent acts or omissions on the part of companies or individuals providing or engaged in transportation, accommodation, or other services related to the accomplishment of the tour, or through natural disasters, social upheavals or acts of nature. On day trips, you will sometimes be asked to sign an affidavit, which acts as a release form for risks incurred during your excursion, which is a usual practice for some operators.