The 9 Day Choquequirao trek to Machu Picchu is one of the most challenging treks in the area of Cusco combining many types of interesting landscape in the Peruvian Andes. Following the breathtaking path, free from the regular tourist masses, you will be able to discover two biggest Inca sites considered to be the last Inca Citadels lost in the cloud-forest. Along the Choquequirao trek to Machu Picchu, travelers will also experience some deep Canyons, snow-capped peaks, lush cloud forest, picturesque villages, high mountain passes and the spectacular Inca cities of Choquequirao and Machu Picchu in a true adventure trip.
This adventure trek begins at the town of Cachora following the regular foot-path of the Classic Choquequirao trail but instead of hiking back the same way you came, you will continue on towards more remote places and finally you will join into the last section of the Salkantay trek to arrive to Machu Picchu. This adventure is recommended for the most adventurous people, due to all types of weather conditions expected on this trek, travelers should have pre-trek brief with the guide before to go on Choquequirao trek. This spectacular trek is available from April to November.
In the morning travelers will be picked up from their Cusco hotels, we will drive for four hours to the village of Cachora, before we start the Choquequirao trek to Machu Picchu, breakfast will be serve at the house of our horseman. The trail starts at Cachora, we will walk for 4 hours through a gentle path until we arrive at the lookout point of Capuliyoc from where we will have a magnificent view of the Apurimac canyon and the Vilcabamba mountain range with its fantastic snow-capped peaks above the Apurimac Canyon. After a few hours of downhill we will reach Cocamasana for lunch. On the opposite side of the canyon we will see Choquequirao on the far side of the valley.
The area around Choquequirao is alive with nature; it is possible to see a variety of flora and fauna typical of this region. After lunch, we will continue the Choquequirao trek, walking for another three hours to arrive in our camp. Our campsite for the night is at Playa Rosalinas, which is located 100 meters away from Apurimac River.
Today is one of the most difficult days of the travel. After breakfast, we will start our hike up-hill through the zigzagging path for approximately five hours. We will arrive in Marampata, ascending 1600m over a distance of 18km / 11.2 miles through hot and humid conditions. It is a difficult hike but the views mixed with the wide variety of flora and fauna you find on this side of the valley make it worth all the hard work.
After having lunch at Marampata we will continue with the Choquequirao trek, walking another 2 hours to arrive at the base camp of Choquequirao Throughout the day we will see a great variety of orchids, bromeliads and different types of bamboos. We may also be able to see birds such as Quetzals, Toucans and a variety of hummingbirds.
As part of the travel, today we will have a guided tour of the main sites of interest throughout lower Choquequirao. After lunch, we will have time for a further exploration of upper Choquequirao including the llamas sector. This inca site is composed of an amazing and extensive set of agriculture terraces, some religious places and administrative sites with a total area of over 1750 acres. There are amazing irrigation water channels and all of this set in the dramatic setting of the steep Apurimac Canyon.
In the late afternoon, we may be lucky enough to spot Condors soaring over the valley below and then back to our campsite.
After breakfast, we will re-start our Trek up-hill for 2 hours until we pass over the mountain above Choquequirao. The views along the way are very impressive. It is amazing how the Incas managed the rugged geography of this area. After enjoying the magnificent views form the mountain top, we will walk down into the valley to visit the beautiful ruins of Pinchaunoyoc: hiking another 30 minutes we will reach the river where a delicious lunch will be waiting for us.
In the dry season the river is calm and its waters are warm so it’s a perfect place to stop and have a refreshing soak and ease out your tired muscles. In the afternoon we’ll make our way back up the opposite side of the same valley heading to our campsite at Maizal (2891m / 9488 ft.).
After breakfast, we will continue with our Choquequirao trek hiking up-hill for 4 hours until we reach the mountain top. On the way, we will pass the beautiful lush cloud forest rich in birds and species of orchids. We will also see the abandoned gold and silver mine from Peru’s colonial time. A beautiful Inca Trail will lead us to Victoria pass, this is the area where the Andean Condors normally fly. We can take in the scenery as we enjoy a box lunch. In the afternoon, we will head down to the small community of Yanama (3520m / 11549 ft.) where we will stay on the land of one of the local families.
We begin making our way back up out of the valley as we head for the highest pass on the whole Choquequirao trek (4840m / 15879 ft.). We have been trekking through mostly lush valleys up to this point, you will notice the scenery changes as we reach high Puna (barren grasslands) and head for the pass. You will have formidable views of the surrounding mountain ranges including the Mt Salkantay (6270m / 20570 ft.). In the afternoon, we will descend approx. for 3 hours to the village of Totora.
Our destination today is the village of La Playa, approximately 18km down the valley from Totora. Our route will take us along the Totora River through an area that is teeming with life. We will be able to see various tropical fruit plantations like: passion fruit, avocado, bananas, lemons and a lot of coffee plants. Tonight, we will spend the night at the village of La Playa (2400m / 7874ft.), camping on the property of one of the local families; it is our chance to try the organic coffee produce by the locals
For this last section of Choquequirao trek you have two options, depending on your interest and fitness. You should discuss each option with your guide. You should also be aware that Salkantay trek is the second most touristic route in the area of Cusco and inevitably this means you will encounter other people on the trail (this part of Choquequirao trek becomes busier)
On the final morning of Choquequirao trek, after breakfast at the hotel, our guide will pick you up and lead you to the bus station to board one of the buses which will take us to the citadel of Machu Picchu. A guided tour is provided visiting the Main Plaza, Sun Temple, Sacred Sun Dial (Intihuatana), Royal Palace, Temple of the Three Windows, Main Temple, Sacred Rock warehouses and the large central square. It will be a marvelous experience at this mystical and charming place, the legendary lost city of the Incas.
After the guided tour, you will have free time to explore the zone on your own or you can take the hiking options:
In the afternoon, at the scheduled time, you will take the bus down to Aguas Calientes and then catch the Train back to Cusco. The journey by train takes approximately 3.4 hours.
In the evening, upon arrival to the train station of Cusco, you will be greeted and transported to the hotel.