The southern approach to Choquequirao from Cachora requires a steep descent from almost 3,200 meters down to the Apurimac River at 1,200 meters, followed by an even steeper ascent up to the ruins. The site is perched a magnificent 1,150 meters above the Apurimac, surrounded by densely-forested mountain slopes in the shadow of the huge, snow-capped Salkantay massif. In recent years, the ruins have been partially-cleared by Peruvian archaeologists, and can be easily explored by those intrepid enough to undertake the demanding trek required to get there.
Archaeological, cultural, ecological, hiking and camping
04 Days – 03 Nights
GROUP SERVICE: (2 to 8 people MAX): Our most popular Ausangate Trek is recommended for everybody who likes the adventure, families, honeymooners and couples.
PRIVATE SERVICE: All inclusive for families with children, honeymooners and couples. Special trek program just for you, and you can depart any day you wish and choose the group size, we don’t add any people, is arranged just for you. All private groups include additional services, such as: extra porters, horses to ride and to carry your personal gear (for alternate treks).
We’ll leave Cusco at 05:00 a.m in the morning travelling to the small village of Cachora. On the way, we will have an opportunity to visit Saywite which is a limestone outcrop about four meters in diameter on which the Incas carved a model of their empire, Tahuantinsuyo. The stone, upon which images of the flora, fauna, topography and customs of the empire, then we will arrive after four hours to the town of Cachora, we will meet our mules and muleteer then we begin our first day’s hike, we will head along the edge of the Apurimac Canyon, with the river almost 2,000 meters below us. About half-way through the day, we will begin our winding descent to the river. As we’ll descend the heat becomes intense, and we will arrive hot and tired at the bridge which crosses the river where we will be able to bathe to refresh ourselves camp in Santa Rosa.
This is an amazing day, we will make the steep in ascent up to the ruins of Choquequirao. The path will lead us through dense cloud forest for about two hours, when we will finally get our first view of the citadel on a spur ahead of us. Another two-hour walk, with Choquequirao now almost constantly in sight, leads us to our destination, exploring the ruins and hopefully seeing some condors. These Andean birds with a wingspan of up to three meters tend to rise up from the floor of the canyon on the afternoon thermals, providing visitors on the Central Square of Choquequirao with a magnificent show. That night, after an unforgettable sunset and a good meal, we will camp close to the ruins.
After exploring the entire archeological complex of Choquequirao and studying all the sectors in detail, we’ll head towards to “Playa Rosalina” descending back along the same path to Santa Rosa. We’ll continue our gradual descent from 3,033 masl close to Apurimac River at 1,550 masl today’s hike ends at “Playa Rosalina” where we will spend the night.
An early start today will help us to avoid the worse of the heat in the canyon and guarantee us some magnificent views of the Apurimac and the surrounding peaks. On our journey, we’ll reach the lookout at Capuliyoc one final time where we’ll say goodbye to the fabulous views of the Choquequirao ruins. We will also see the majestic snow-covered peak of Padreyoc overlooking the Apurimac Canyon while surrounded by the flora & fauna, then climb to our final destination of San Pedro de Cachora to return to Cusco by bus.
Note: Horses will carry the heavy gear; you will hike carrying only your personal pack, sleeping bag and pad.
If you are considering to bring special photography equipment or other heavy accessories, or just simply don’t want to carry anything, please request an additional horse and muleteer ($100 USD) to carry your personal belongings, this way you will freely enjoy the hike (this is highly recommended if you have never hiked over 10,000 ft.). Chefs will deal with all the kitchen chores.
You just need to remember that you are able to go at a speed that is comfortable for you. Take your time, pace yourself, and enjoy. Choquequirao Trek is considered as a moderate hike; not a technical hike but high altitude may affect some people.
We recommend the use of trekking poles, especially for those passengers with known knee problems. There are multiple times during the trek that trekking poles is handy, be it ascending a mountain or walking along the rough trails.
It’s impossible to predict who will be affected by altitude. Your ability to adapt to high altitude is determined by your genetic makeup and has little to do with fitness or health. Most people will have no problems as long as they take the time to acclimatize properly. A full 2-day trip spent in Cusco (3,399 masl), taking it very easy and drinking plenty of water is enough for some people but if you can arrange to have minimum 2-3 days in case of any travel disruptions as well then this is what we recommend as there is also so much to do here! The highest point you will reach while hiking the Inca Trail reaches 4,280 masl on the 2nd day.
We recommend that you purchase a 1.5 – 2 liter bottle of water to take with you on the first day. Every night during the trek, we will boil water so you can refill the same bottle every morning before setting out. If you are planning to drink from any streams or waterfalls, we strongly suggest you bring water purification tablets or filters. Also, you will be able to buy water along the way on Day 1, for the first few hours of Day 2, then again on the afternoon of Day 3, and of course at Machu Picchu.
Some people actually like to go during the rainy season because there are fewer tourists but we’ll say, please be prepared for wet weather and have suitable clothes and equipment. Possibly snow, so be prepared for a possible change of route if a pass is deemed impassable by the guide. We do not recommend this trek in the months of January, February and March.
You first encounter Machu Picchu as the sun rises over the high mountains encircling it. It is already dawn but this impressive moment of Machu Picchu coming out of the shadows of the looming mountains is awesome.
Yes or yes we recommend taking extra money, tips for the trekking staff, souvenirs, snacks, bottled water, drinks, etc. You should take at least 300 soles as emergency money.
Completely fluent in English. Our guides are also one of the most popular aspects of our tours, some of them were historians and archaeologists and all demonstrate a great passion for their culture and heritage.