The Inca history still keeps countless secrets. One of them is Choquequirao: known as the last Inca bastion and sister citadel of Machu Picchu is still a mystery for researchers of this South American culture.
Choquequirao is located between the jungle and the Peruvian Andes, on a mountain at 3033 meters above sea level and it has a great peculiarity: you can only access it by walking, in a 62-kilometer round trip and with descents and rises from 3100 to 1400 and vice versa.
Is this effort worth it? Without a doubt. Its difficult access makes Choquequirao one of the most charming places in Peru: with a fauna and flora practically intact and with less than 25 visitors per day.
How to get to Choquequirao? The easy (and expensive) way is to do it with a tour, which costs around $ 300 with everything included. But today we want to talk you about the most adventurous and cheap way to visit this citadel: on your own.
Get to San Pedro de Cachora
The starting point of Choquequirao is the small town of San Pedro de Cachora, in the department of Abancay. To get there, you can do it from Cusco or from Lima.
We recommend you to spend a night in Cachora to start the walk the next day very early.
From San Pedro de Cachora to the Santa Rosa campsite
The departure is from the viewpoint of Capullylloc, located 7 kilometers from San Pedro de Cachora. Although many people do this stretch by walking, we recommend you to do it by taxi and thus save energy for the rest of the way.
The first part of the route is a long descent to get to Playa Rosalina, where there is a camp where you can stay for the night, but if you still have energy, we recommend you to just take a short break and continue to Santa Rosa campsite.
From Santa Rosa to Choquequirao
As soon as the first rays of the sun come out, it is time to continue with the path and thus we will reach our destination avoiding the hottest part of the day.
From Santa Rosa to Choquequirao you will go through a long road of curves and climb. Before arriving at the Inca citadel, you will cross through the town of Marampata, where you can make a stop to have lunch and recharge your energy. From this point to Choquequirao it is only about an hour’s walking where you will go through a more jungle area full of different types of butterflies.
Arrival to Choquequirao
Once in Choquequirao you have the option to see the citadel the same day or to spend the night there, as there is a campsite, and take advantage of the next day to explore its constructions with more tranquility.
As Choquequirao is not discovered 100% (most buildings still remain under vegetation), the citadel can be traversed quickly. Do not miss the main square and its surroundings and the platforms of llamas (the visit to the latter requires an extra effort, but it is very worth it!)
Back to San Pedro de Cachora
After enjoying Choquequirao, you will have to return to San Pedro de Cachora going across the same way. Our advice is to leave the citadel early and reach the Cocamasana campsite. Here you can spend the night and finish the trekking the next day: it is only 14 kilometers to arrive!
Food: to avoid carrying too much weight, we recommend you to take only some snacks (fruit, nuts, etc.) in your backpack. In all the campsites you will find families offering food dishes at a reasonable price.
Water: there are different places to buy or recharge your water bottle along the road. If you prefer to fill it, we recommend you to take purification tablets to clean the water.
Camping: the campsites on the way to Choquequirao charge around S/ 5 for letting you camp there, while the one in the citadel is totally free. Some of them have tents to rent but others do not, so it is advisable to bring your own.
Load mules: the trekking to Choquequirao is long and tedious, so if you feel that you can not go on with all the load you carry in your backpack you can always pay a mule driver, who take your things in a loaded mule. Of course, you have to always do it with responsibility and without overloading the animal.
Signposts: the road is perfectly marked, so it is impossible to get lost.
When to visit it: we recommend you to avoid visiting Choquequirao between January and March, since it is the rainy season and the soils can be very muddy.
Price: the general entrance price to Choquequirao is S/ 60.
Are you ready for the adventure? Choquequirao is a place that will stay engraved in your memory forever!
We wait for you in our hotels in Cusco, where you can rest after the great effort of this trekking. Discover all our hotels and book here: www.tierravivahoteles.com