Choquequirao Trekking Guide

Nestled high in the Peruvian Andes, amidst majestic mountains and breathtaking views, lies a hidden gem of ancient Inca ruins known as “Choquequirao”. This remote archaeological site, often referred to as the “sister city” of Machu Picchu, offers intrepid adventurers a chance to immerse themselves in the rich history and natural beauty of the Cusco region. Among the notable features of Choquequirao are its terraced landscapes, reminiscent of the Inca agricultural practices. These terraces, which were once used for farming and cultivation, have stood the test of time and still showcase the ingenuity and resourcefulness of the Inca civilization.

To embark on a trekking adventure to Choquequirao is to embark on a journey of discovery and exploration. The trek to Choquequirao is a challenging yet rewarding experience, allowing trekkers to witness the remnants of an ancient civilization in a pristine natural setting. Trekking to Choquequirao requires careful planning and preparation. One of the first considerations is choosing the right time of year to embark on the trek. The best time to trek to Choquequirao is during the dry season, which typically runs from April to November. During this time, rainfall is minimal, and the weather is generally clear and sunny, providing optimal conditions for trekking. Another important aspect to consider when planning a trek to Choquequirao is the level of physical fitness required.

choquequirao guide blog

Table of Contents

Where is Choquequirao located?

Choquequirao is located in the Andes Mountains of Peru, specifically in the region of Cusco – Peru. It is situated on a remote ridge above the Apurimac River Canyon, which is part of the Vilcabamba mountain range. The site is approximately 64 kilometers (40 miles) approximately west of the city of Cusco.

Geographical coordinates are approximately:

Latitude: 13.5321° S

Longitude: 72.4672° W

How do I get to Choquequirao?

The most common way to reach Choquequirao is by hiking, as there are no roads directly leading to the site. Here’s a general guide on how to get to Choquequirao from Cusco:
– Cusco to Cachora: From Cusco, you’ll need to make your way to the town of Cachora, which serves as the starting point for the trek to Choquequirao. This journey can be done by bus or private transportation. The distance between Cusco and Cachora is approximately 140 kilometers (87 miles).
– Trekking to Choquequirao: The trek to Choquequirao from Cachora is a multi-day adventure that typically takes around 2 to 4 days, depending on your pace and itinerary. The trail offers breathtaking views of the Andean landscape.
Day 1: Cachora – Capulilloc and Playa Rosalina 
Day 2: Playa Rosalina – Maranpata 
day 3: Marampata – Choquequirao – Marampata 
day 4: Marampata – Capulilloc – Cachora – Cusco
– Accommodations: There are basic campsites and rustic lodges along the trail and near Choquequirao where trekkers can stay. It’s advisable to bring your own camping gear or check with tour operators regarding accommodations.
choquequirao location

Is Choquequirao similar to Machu Picchu?

Yes, Choquequirao and Machu Picchu share some similarities as well as notable differences.
Inca Architecture: Both Choquequirao and Machu Picchu were built by the Inca civilization and feature impressive stone construction, terraces, plazas, and other architectural elements.
Cultural and Historical Significance: Like Machu Picchu, Choquequirao is of great historical and cultural importance. Both sites were likely used for religious, ceremonial, and administrative purposes by the Inca elite.
Remote Locations: Both sites are situated in the Andes Mountains of Peru and require some effort to reach. They offer stunning panoramic views of the surrounding landscapes.
Accessibility: Machu Picchu is more accessible than Choquequirao. Machu Picchu can be reached by train and bus, while Choquequirao requires only a multi-day trek.
Tourism: Machu Picchu is one of the most famous tourist destinations in the world and receives a high number of visitors each year. In contrast, Choquequirao sees fewer tourists due to its remote location and challenging access (2 to 20 people per day).
Size: Machu Picchu is larger and more expansive than Choquequirao. Machu Picchu covers a significant area and includes a complex network of buildings and terraces. Choquequirao still cover by vegetation and people say if one day get clean, it would be bigger.
Altitude: Choquequirao is at a higher altitude than Machu Picchu. Choquequirao is situated at approximately 3,050 meters (10,010 feet) above sea level, while Machu Picchu is at around 2,430 meters (7,970 feet) above sea level.
Llama Terraces: One of the distinct features of Choquequirao is its llama-shaped terraces, which are not found at Machu Picchu or any other archeological site.
Crowds: Machu Picchu tends to have larger crowds of tourists, especially during peak travel seasons, while Choquequirao offers a more secluded and off-the-beaten-path experience.
Both Choquequirao and Machu Picchu offer unique insights into the Inca civilization and its architectural achievements. While Machu Picchu is more famous and easily accessible, Choquequirao provides an opportunity for travelers to explore a lesser-known Inca site and enjoy a more rugged and adventurous experience.

How old is Choquequirao?

The exact age of Choquequirao is not definitively known, but it is believed to have been built and inhabited by the Inca civilization during the late 15th century. It is thought to have been constructed around the same time as other significant Inca sites in the region, such as Machu Picchu, Cusco, Pisaq, Ollantaytambo and others.

Can I visit Choquequirao without a guide?

Yes, you can visit Choquequirao without a guide. There is no official requirement to have a guide when visiting Choquequirao. However, it’s important to note that the situation and regulations can change, so it’s a good idea to double-check the most recent information before you plan your trip.

What is the best time to visit Choquequirao?

The best time to visit Choquequirao is during the dry season, which generally spans from May to September. This period offers more favorable weather conditions and is considered the optimal time for trekking and exploring the archaeological site. Here’s a breakdown of the seasons and what to expect:
Dry Season (May to September):
Weather: This is the peak tourist season due to the dry weather and clear skies. Days are typically sunny and warm, while nights can be cool.
Trekking Conditions: The dry season provides the most comfortable conditions for trekking, with less rainfall and muddiness on the trails. The trails are generally well-defined and easier to navigate.
Visibility: The clear skies offer excellent visibility, allowing you to fully enjoy the stunning mountain views and landscapes.
Crowds: There are not many people all year.
Rainy Season (November to March):
Weather: The rainy season is characterized by frequent rainfall, particularly from November to February. Days can be cloudy, and heavy rains are common.
Trekking Conditions: Trekking during the rainy season can be challenging.
Visibility: Cloud cover and rain might obstruct mountain views
Crowds: Fewer tourists visit Choquequirao during the rainy season.

How long does it take to hike to Choquequirao?

The duration of the hike to Choquequirao can vary depending on factors such as your starting point, trekking speed, route, and the number of stops you make along the way. On average, the trek to Choquequirao is a multi-day journey that typically takes around 4 to 5 days for a round-trip trek from Cachora, the usual starting point.

Are there any accommodations near Choquequirao?

Yes, there are basic accommodations available near Choquequirao for trekkers and visitors who wish to spend the night in the vicinity of the archaeological site. While the accommodations are relatively simple, they provide shelter and facilities for those exploring the area.
Camping: Camping is a common option for trekkers visiting Choquequirao. There are designated campsites along the trail and near the archaeological site where you can set up tents. Some campsites offer basic facilities like toilets and cooking areas.
Lodges and Hostels: There are rustic lodges and hostels located near Choquequirao that provide basic rooms or dormitory-style accommodations. These lodges may have shared bathrooms, dining areas, and common spaces for travelers.
Homestays: In some cases, local families might offer homestay accommodations, allowing you to experience the local culture and hospitality. These accommodations are often more basic but can provide a unique and authentic experience.

Is Choquequirao accessible for people with mobility issues?

Choquequirao is not easily accessible for people with mobility issues. The trek to Choquequirao involves rugged and challenging terrain, including steep ascents and descents, uneven pathways, and rocky trails. As a result, the site is not wheelchair-friendly, and individuals with significant mobility challenges may find it difficult to navigate the trek and explore the archaeological site.

Are there any entrance fees to visit Choquequirao?

You’ll still need to obtain the necessary permits and pay entrance fees to access Choquequirao it cost 70 soles and they only accept cash. 

What should I bring with me when visiting Choquequirao?

Appropriate Clothing:
Hiking boots or sturdy trekking shoes with good ankle support
Moisture-wicking socks to prevent blisters
Lightweight, breathable and moisture-wicking clothing (long sleeves and pants to protect against the sun and insects)
Fleece or insulated jacket for cooler evenings
Rain jacket or poncho (especially during the rainy season)
Hat or cap for sun protection
Sunglasses with UV protection
Backpack and Gear:
Comfortable daypack or backpack for carrying your essentials
Water-resistant cover for your backpack
Trekking poles for stability on uneven terrain
Camping and Sleeping Gear (if camping):
Lightweight and compact tent
Sleeping bag suitable for the season and temperature
Sleeping pad or mattress for insulation and comfort
Camping stove and cookware if planning to cook your own meals
Personal Items:
Personal identification and any required permits or tickets
Cash for entrance fees, snacks, and tips
Passport or a photocopy of your passport
Prescription medications and a basic first aid kit
Insect repellent and sunscreen
Hydration and Nutrition:
Reusable water bottle or hydration system (refill at water sources)
High-energy snacks, trail mix, energy bars, etc.
Light and non-perishable food items if you plan to cook
Navigation and Communication:
Map of the trail and surrounding area
Compass or GPS device
Mobile phone with a portable charger or power bank (note that reception may be limited)
Camera or smartphone for capturing memories
Binoculars for observing wildlife and scenery
Pocketknife or multi-tool
Toiletries and personal hygiene items (toilet paper, hand sanitizer, etc.)
Wet wipes or biodegradable soap for hygiene
Cash and Documentation:
Sufficient local currency (Peruvian Soles) for fees, purchases, and tips
Photocopies of important documents such as your passport, permits, and emergency contact information
Remember that the weather and conditions can change, so it’s important to be prepared for various scenarios.

Are there guided tours available for Choquequirao?

Yes, there are guided tours available for Choquequirao, and many visitors opt for guided tours to enhance their experience and make the most of their visit to the archaeological site. Guided tours offer several benefits, including informative insights from knowledgeable guides, organized logistics, and a more structured itinerary. 

Is it possible to combine a visit to Choquequirao with other nearby attractions?

Yes, it is possible to combine a visit to Choquequirao with other nearby attractions in the region like Salkantay trek and Machu Picchu.

Can I see the famous llama terraces at Choquequirao?

Yes, you can see the famous llama terraces at Choquequirao. The llama terraces are one of the most iconic and distinctive features of the Choquequirao archaeological site. These terraces are unique in shape and design, resembling the form of a llama when viewed from a certain angle.

Are there any restrictions or guidelines for visiting Choquequirao?

There are certain restrictions and guidelines in place for visiting Choquequirao to ensure the preservation of the archaeological site and provide a safe and respectful experience for visitors.

What are the main highlights or must-see features of Choquequirao?

Choquequirao is a remarkable archaeological site with numerous highlights and must-see features that provide insights into the Inca civilization and its architectural achievements. Here are some of the main highlights and features that you should not miss when visiting Choquequirao:
Main Plaza (Usnu): The central plaza, known as the Usnu, is a focal point of Choquequirao. It was likely used for important ceremonies and gatherings. The plaza is surrounded by impressive stone structures and provides a glimpse into the site’s cultural and ceremonial significance.
Llama Terraces: The distinctive llama-shaped terraces are one of the most iconic features of Choquequirao. These stepped terraces were used for agricultural purposes and are a testament to the Inca’s advanced engineering skills.
Sacred Water Fountains: Choquequirao has a network of intricate stone aqueducts and water channels that were used to bring water to the site. Some of the fountains have carved stone spouts in the shape of animals and are believed to have had ceremonial or religious significance.
Temples and Residential Areas: Explore the remains of temples, administrative buildings, and residential areas.
Agricultural Terraces and Granaries: In addition to the llama terraces, there are other agricultural terraces and storage structures where the Inca stored crops and supplies.
Viewpoints: Choquequirao offers breathtaking panoramic views of the surrounding Andean landscapes, including the Apurimac River Canyon and distant peaks. Take advantage of the viewpoints to capture stunning photographs.
Intihuatana: Similar to the more famous Intihuatana at Machu Picchu, this carved stone pillar at Choquequirao is believed to have served astronomical and ritual purposes.
Natural Beauty: As you trek to and from Choquequirao, you’ll be surrounded by stunning natural beauty, including lush landscapes, Andean flora, and the dramatic terrain of the Apurimac River Canyon.
Book From: $540
Choquequirao 4 Days
Copyright © 2022 Inka Altitude Travel Company E.I.R.L Ruc: 20600434315. All rights reserved.


Abrir chat
Need Help?
Hello 👋
How can I help you today?