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Take in the views of Choquequirao as you hike Peru

Choquequirao Trek and Machu Picchu

Example 12 Day Tour
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The ancient city of Choquequirao is often referred to as Machu Picchu's sister city. Choquequirao, meaning "cradle of gold" in the Quechua language, is only accessible by foot. After two days of stunning hiking, travelers explore the ruins at leisure during the day, and camp near the ruins at night. While at a lower elevation than the classic Inca Trail, the ascents and descents are very steep making for a challenging -- and extremely rewarding -- adventure. Finish your trek with a visit to legendary Machu Picchu.

Day-by-Day Summary

Day 1 : Arrive in Lima
Day 2 : Fly to Cusco
Day 3 : Cusco Free Day
Day 4 : Begin trek to Choquequirao
Day 5 : Apurimac River | Choquequirao
Day 6 : Explore Choquequirao Ruins
Day 7 : Hike to Cocamasana
Day 8 : Hike to Capuliyoc | Back to Cusco
Day 9 : Sacred Valley
Day 10 : Ollantaytambo and Train to Machu Picchu
Day 11 : Free Day at Machu Picchu | Return to Cusco
Day 12 : Fly Lima and Return Home

Highlights

  • Explore traditional markets and colonial churches in Cusco
  • Trek to Choquequirao, an Incan ruin site only accessible by foot
  • Visit a textile market and interact with locals in the Sacred Valley
  • Rise early to watch the sunrise over Machu Picchu

Places Visited

  • Peru
  • South America
  • Aguas Calientes (Machu Picchu Pueblo)
  • Choquequirao Trek Campsite Day 4
  • Choquequirao Trek Campsite Day 5
  • Choquequirao Trek Campsites
  • Cusco
  • Lima
  • Machu Picchu
  • Ollantaytambo
  • Sacred Valley

Activities

Trip Type

  • Adventure Life Exclusive

Activity Level

Challenging

Trip Snapshots

Take in the views of Choquequirao as you hike Peru Choquequirao Finally... Machu Picchu Explore the ruins of Choquequirao on your Peru tour Our llamas bid us farewell Bird's eye view of Machu Picchu with Juan Choquequirao Camping at Cocamesana

Day 1 Arrive in Lima

Overnight.

Day 2 Fly to Cusco

An early morning flight brings you to the Inca capital of Cusco where Quechua-speaking descendents of the Incas move back and forth in the busy plazas and markets. Colonial churches sit atop bases of smooth stonework laid centuries before the arrival of the Conquistadors. The church walls have fallen many times throughout the years, but the Inca walls remain.

The morning is yours to explore Cusco's narrow streets and bustling markets. In the afternoon, tour Cusco's traditional markets, talking to the women selling natural medicines and charms for curing heartache and other afflictions. Visit the Center for Traditional Textiles in Cusco, a local organization committed to preserving the region's weaving traditions. (If visiting the Sacred Valley on Sunday, visit their center in Chinchero instead). Watch weavers demonstrate their craft and learn about the history and processes of Peru's most well-known art form.

Day 3 Cusco Free Day

Today is free to relax and explore with your guide or on your own. Travelers can go on a city tour of the churches and surrounding ruins, such as the enormous Sacsayhuamán ruins that overlook Cusco (these ruins showcase building blocks the size of SUVs). You can also wander through the bustling Plaza de Armas in the heart of Cusco, shop for love potions in the local markets, or people watch from the cafes and restaurants that line these lovely streets. For those bursting with energy, horseback riding, mountain biking, or even whitewater rafting (Class III-IV) can be arranged. The evening is yours to take in some of Cusco's varied and exciting nightlife.

Day 4 Begin trek to Choquequirao

  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Depart Cusco early this morning and drive north toward Capuliyoc. As you leave the city behind, cross into Antamapma, where you can see Mt. Salkantay and Humantay. Leave the high meadows and the impressive peaks of Mt. Veronica, Chicon and Pitusiray come into view.  The road descends into the town of Limatambo, time permitting visit the Inca site of Tarawasi located in the outskirts. The road continues to the Apurimac River and crosses an impressive gorge. 

Pass the village of Curawasi to the trailhead at Capuliyoc at 9550 feet (2911 m) to meet the pack animals and horseman to begin the trek. Start hiking along the edge of Capuliyoc mountain to get get  the first views of the Apurimac canyon. A few hours later arrive to Chiquiska at 6210 feet (1893 m) for lunch. After lunch continue hiking along rushing waters of the Apurimac River until making camp at Playa Rosalina for the night.

Distance: 6 miles (9.6 km)
Approximate hiking time: 6 hrs
Highest elevation crossed: 9550 feet (2,911 m) | Camp Elevation: 4849 feet (1478 m)

Day 5 Apurimac River | Choquequirao

  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
After breakfast,  cross the suspension bridge and continue uphill towards Marampata 9550 feet (2911 m). Stop for a delicious lunch at a beautiful mountain meadow with amazing views of the Andes Mountains. Rested and fed from lunch ascend up a steep trail with spectacular views of the canyon land vegetation on both sides of the Apurimac canyon. The trail begins to level a bit as you approach the hanging valley where the site of Choquequirao is found. Camp near the ruins tonight and ready yourself to explore the isolated Inca site and the surrounding cloud forest.

Distance: 6 miles (9.6 km)
Approximate hiking time: 8 hours
Highest elevation crossed: 9550 feet (2,911 m) | Camp Elevation: 9401feet (2,866 m)

Day 6 Explore Choquequirao Ruins

  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Today explore the ruins of Choquequirao with your guide, located about a mile from camp. Explore the different sectors of Choquequirao 10,059 feet (3066 m)  which scattered on both sides of the spur of Apu Corihuayrachina. Due to the size and complexity of the ruins, plenty of time is given to explore all the wonders Choquequirao has to offer. Before departing the ruins complex enjoy lunch nearby. Keep your eye open for the Andean condor, often seen here.

After a full day visiting Choquequirao make your way down to the campsite of Santa Rosa Baja 6801 feet (2073 m) for dinner and a chance to share storiea about the days archeological explorations.

Distance: 6 miles (9.6 km)
Approximate Hiking Time: 4 hours
Highest Elevation Crossed: 10,059 feet (3066 m) | Camp Elevation: 6801 feet (2073 m)

Day 7 Hike to Cocamasana

  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
After a hearty breakfast at camp, descend through the Apurimac Valley. Take your time in this steep descent to the bottom of the river valley exposing some impressive and unforgettable views. Continue on to Chiquiska 6210 feet (1893 m) for a rest and delicious lunch.
After lunch, trek onward to Cocasama 7644 feet (2330 m), a small village full of typical Andean houses. Enjoy the last night of the trek with some amazing views of the night sky.

Distance: 5 miles (8.6 km)
Approximate hiking time: 8 hours
Highest elevation crossed: 7644 feet  (2,330 m) | Camp Elevation: 7644 feet  (2,330 m)

Day 8 Hike to Capuliyoc | Back to Cusco

After breakfast early in the morning in Cocasama begin the last day of  the trek. On the way back to Capuliyoc stop a the lookout point for some final spectacular views of the mountains you got to know so well. In Capuliyoc meet your shuttle here for the return ride to Cusco.  After the drive to Cusco, your guide will help you settle into your hotel for a good night's rest and a hot shower!
 
Distance: 2 miles (5 km) 
Approximate hiking time: 3 hours
Highest elevation crossed: 9550 feet (2,911 m)

Day 9 Sacred Valley

Explore the Sacred Valley and test your bargaining skills with the locals while visiting one of the great textile markets in the area. You may hike to the inspiring ruins of Pisac, or take a short walk through the countryside to the seldom-visited town of Maras and its pre-Columbian salt mines (still in use today with salt being collected in traditional fashion) as well as the Inca agricultural terraces of Moray, thought to have been a nursery to experiment with and modify different varieties of crops. Eventually, make your way to the living Inca city of Ollantaytambo.

Day 10 Ollantaytambo and Train to Machu Picchu

In the morning, visit the ruins and town of Ollantaytambo. During the Inca Empire, Ollantaytambo served as a royal estate and later a refuge after the Spanish conquered Cuzco in 1537. The ruins feature expansive terraces and well-preserved architecture, and the town is still laid out as it was during the Incan empire, allowing its visitors to glimpse the history that still exists within its boundaries.

Follow the Urubamba River as it tumbles its way towards the Amazon and the sacred city of Machu Picchu. Ancient canals still bring water from the high mountains to the baths used by Inca priests. As visitors, you're welcomed to respectfully dip your hands in the cool water. After your tour of Machu Picchu, return to Machu Picchu Pueblo (formerly called Aguas Calientes) to soak in the hot springs and dine on local trout fillets.

Day 11 Free Day at Machu Picchu | Return to Cusco

Today is your chance to watch the sunrise at Machu Picchu and to listen to the spirits of the city's past inhabitants before the hikers from the Inca Trail arrive. You can choose to book a permit to climb the sacred peak of Huayna Picchu, hike to the Sun Gate which overlooks the ruins or take a walk through the lush cloudforest to the Temple of the Moon. In the afternoon, return by train to Cusco with your guide. (Let us know if you would like help arranging entrance fees or hiking permits for today – these are not included and sell out in advance!)

Day 12 Fly Lima and Return Home

  • 1 Breakfast

Aguas Calientes (Machu Picchu Pueblo) - Hotels

Cusco - Hotels

Lima - Hotels

Sacred Valley - Hotels

Per person starting at
$3,495

Notes

$670 single supplement

Included

  • 11 Breakfasts, 6 Lunches, 4 Dinners
  • 11 Nights Accommodations
    • 7 Nights Hotel
    • 4 Nights Camping
  • 10 Days Private Guide Service
  • Gear Rental
    • Camping gear included EXCEPT for sleeping bags.

Excluded

  • Internal Flights
    • $425 Lima-Cusco-Lima
    • Flight cost is subject to change
  • Both International Arrival and Departure Transfers are excluded.
  • International Flights

Recommended Budgeting

  • $160 Meals not Included
  • $43 Airport Departure Tax
  • $95 Optional Excursions
    • $60 for return visit to Machu Picchu on second day + $20 local bus to ruins
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The trip might have been the absolute best of our lifetime (thus far). We particularly want to commend our guide Peter in the Guilin area-he was so incredibly attentive, energetic, enthusiastic-and absolutely dedicated to ensuring that our meals were 100% vegetarian.
Jack Charney

When to Go

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Dec
Good to ideal period to travel, and many people choose to visit at this time.
Chance for unpredictable weather but with fewer visitors.
Typically not offered during this period because of weather conditions.

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