Equally ancient and impressive as Machu Picchu, the Choquequirao ruins are far less visited than their more-popular neighbor. Avoid the crowds — without skimping on the history — on this 5-day trek through the Andes into the Choquequirao ruins. This tour includes all meals and lodging as per itinerary, and also includes pack animals to assist with baggage.
You will leave the Inca capital of Cusco at 4 a.m. an have a 5-hour drive northwest across the Anta Plateau to the town of Chachora, the starting point of the hike. Enjoy great views of the glacial mountains of Salkantay, Humantay, Pitusiray, Chicon, and Veronica from the windows of your private vehicle, as well as fabulous views of villages, valleys, and frost-topped mountains.
This is the most difficult of the five days. After an early breakfast, climb a steep path. After about five hours of trekking you reach Raqaypata, next to the Chunchullomayo River, where you stop for a late lunch and a greatly merited break. The afternoon trek is not as steep as the morning, and along the way we see an array of orchids, wild flowers, and birds. After hiking two hours more, you reach the archaeological site of Choquequirao in time to appreciate the sunset and maybe see condors flying by. We set up camp just outside the ruins in the cloud forest.
Today is devoted to investigating the marvellous ruins of Choquequirao, considered the other Machu Picchu where the last Inca Tupac Amaru was raised among Inca preistesses. The guide will tell you all about its history and the value of this site, and then you will have free time to explore the many areas of the complex. Late in the afternoon, start the return hike and camp the night at Raqaypata.
After breakfast, continue the return hike with a steep plunge toward the Apurimac River where you stop for lunch. In the afternoon, ascend for four hours to the final campsite at Coca Masana.
On the last day of hiking, you will observe the canyon that forms the Apurimac River. You will then take a new path that traverses the throat of the canyon with an extraordinary vista of Wayna Qalli towards the canyon, thought of as the most impressive in South America. Reach Cachora with a return bus to Cusco.