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Choquequirao trek is one of the most beautiful Peru treks. In addition, it is considered the most challenging trek of the region of Cusco. Along the hike of Choquequirao Peru you will observe part of the last Inca refuge, stunning landscapes, and snow-capped mountains. Above all, if you are a nature lover this route is perfect for you since there is a great variety of flora and fauna.

During, the 9 day/8 night Choquequirao trekking, we will appreciate different types of natural and cultural attractions. After having a fascinating trek and observing the wonderful things on the route, we will end the tour visiting one of the seven wonders of the world, the historical sanctuary of Machu Picchu. Without a doubt Choquequirao has everything!

Centro arqueológico de Choquequirao

Credits: Corina Medrano

Location

Where is Choquequirao Peru trek?

The archeological center of Choquequirao trek is located in the department of Cusco, province of La Convención and in the Valley of the district of Vilcabamba.

In addition, you will go through the district of Vilcabamba, district of Santa Teresa. And finally, it ends in the town of Aguas Calientes, which belongs to the province of Urubamba, all of these places located inside the department of Cusco.

Ubicacion Choquequirao

Credits: Pirwa Hostels

Altitude

What is the altitude in Choquequirao trek?

The altitudes that you will be exposed to during the 9 day/8 night Choquequirao trek are the following:

Day 1: Cusco- Capuliyoc- Chiquisca- Playa Rosalinas

  • Cusco: 3350 masl / 10990 ft
  • Capuliyoc: 3150 masl / 10334 ft
  • Chiquisca: 1930 masl / 6332 ft
  • Playa Rosalinas 1495 masl / 4904 ft

Day 2: Playa Rosalinas- Marampata- Choquequirao

  • Playa Rosalinas: 1495 masl / 4904 ft
  • Marampata :  2850 masl / 9350 ft
  • Choquequirao peru: 3033 masl / 9951 ft.

Day 3: Choquequirao – Choquequirao Pass – Rio Blanco

  • Choquequirao trek: 3033 masl / 9951 ft
  • Choquequirao Pass: 3277 masl / 10751 ft
  • Rio Blanco: 1990 masl / 6528 ft

Day 4: Rio Blanco – Maizal

  • Rio Blanco: 1990 masl / 6528 ft
  • Maizal: 3500 masl / 11482 ft

Day 5: Maizal – Victoria Pass – Yanama

  • Maizal: 3500 masl / 11482 ft
  • Victoria Pass: 4200 masl / 13779 ft
  • Yanama: 4000 masl / 13123 ft 

Day 6: Yanama – Totora – Colpapampa

  • Yanama: 4000 masl / 13123 ft
  • Yanama Pass: 4670 masl / 15321 ft
  • Totora: 3700 masl / 12139 ft
  • Colpapampa: 2870 masl / 9416 ft

Day 7: Colpapampa – La Playa – Llactapata

  • Colpapampa: 2870 masl / 9416 ft
  • La playa: 2320 masl / 7611 ft
  • Llactapata: 2700 masl / 8858 ft

Day 8: Llactapata – Hydroelectric –  Aguas Calientes

  • Llactapata: 2700 masl / 8858 ft
  • Hydroelectric: 1890 masl / 5971 ft
  • Aguas Calientes: 2050 masl / 6725 ft

Day 9: Aguas Calientes – Machu Picchu – Cusco

  • Aguas Calientes: 2050 masl / 6725 ft
  • Archeological Center of Machu Picchu : 2400 masl / 7874 ft
  • Cusco: 3350 masl / 10990 ft

Climate

What is the climate like in the Choquequirao trek?

During, the route you will go through the province of La Convencion and the district of Vilcabamba. Both places have warm-hot climates. However, the trek has 2 distinct climates, rainy and dry season:

  • Rainy Season:

This season is from November to March. During these months there will be rainfalls, fast-flowing rivers, and the routes are dangerous. In addition, there will be landslides and it is cloudy. Furthermore, the temperature reaches 20° C and drops to 13° C.

  • Dry season:

This season is from April to October. We recommend doing the hikes during these months since the roads are in better condition. In addition, during this season there is less presence of rain. There are more sunny days which makes the trek choquequirao peru a perfect one. However,it is worth mentioning that June and July are the frozen months. The temperature reaches 23° C and drops to 10° C.

Attractions in Choquequirao

Attractions in the Choquequirao Trekking

  • Day 1:

Capuliyoc: This is a small town, where the hiking starts, is located at 3150 masl / 10334 ft. From this place, you can observe the Apurimac canyon, the mountain range of Vilcanota and the impressive snow capped mountain of Padreyoc.

Chiquisca: Small town where the hike starts. It is located at an altitude of 1930 masl / 6332 ft. Some agencies usually camp here and some locals offer lodging.

Playa Rosalinas: It is located on the river side of Apurimac river. This is the first place where we will camp on the choquequirao peru trek, located at an altitude of 1495 masl / 4904 ft.

  • Day 2:

Marampata: From this place you can observe the archeological center of Choquequirao trek and the mountains that surround it. Likewise, you can appreciate the wild vegetation. It is at 2850 masl / 9350 ft.

Choquequirao Peru: This archeological complex is at 3033 masl / 9951 ft. The archeological center is a religious – administrative site.  However, up until now only 30% of the site has been discovered since the rest is covered by the lush vegetation. On the other hand, the Culture ministry, institution in charge of the administering and running the site, arranges the cleaning and digging work, and putting in value.

Choquequirao peru archeological center consists of plentiful terraces, ceremonial centers, qolcas and other constructions.

  • Day 3:

Choquequirao Pass: This is the first pass and a strategic point for a panoramic picture of the archeological complex of Choquequirao and lush vegetation that surrounds the area. The pass is located at an altitude of 3277 masl / 10751 ft.

Archeological center of Pinchiunuyoc: The archeological center is located on the road that takes you to Rio Blanco. In addition, it consists of terraces that most likely had been used for agricultural purposes. If you camp here, you will be surprised by one of the best sunsets. It is located at an altitude of 2487 masl / 8159 ft.

Rio Blanco: Along the route, you will appreciate a great variety of flora, unique to the eyebrow of the jungle. This point is located at 1990 masl / 6528 ft. You will camp here.

  • Day 4:

Maizal: From this point, you can observe the whole valley, mountains and snow capped mountains. It is a kind of viewpoint, located at 3500 masl / 11482 ft.

Victoria Mines: In this area, you find remains of mining work of more than 400 years old. There you can observe handmade holes and tunnels made to extract silver during the colonial era.

  • Day 5:

Victoria Pass: This is another strategic point to take perfect pictures. Therefore, its high location allows you to appreciate the mountain range of Vilcanota and a beautiful valley at the bottom of the mountain. It is located at 4200 masl / 13779 ft.

Yanama: The path towards this small community is rocky, but it allows you to observe the surrounding mountains and fertile valleys. In addition, at this place you can do an intercultural exchange with the local people of the area. It is located at 4000 masl.

  • Day 6:

Yanama Pass: This is the third pass of the choquequirao trek tour where you can observe the fantastic view of the mountain range and part of the fortress that surrounds Salkantay. It is located at an altitude of 4670 masl / 15321 ft.

Totora: From this point you can observe the snow capped mountains of Salkantay, Apu Pumacillo and the whole landscape that surrounds this impressive location. This point is at 3700 masl / 12139 ft.

Colpapampa: This small space is a campsite located in the valley of Vilcabamba at 2870 masl / 9416 ft. From this point, you can observe the paths that take you to the tour of Salkantay.

  • Day 7:

La Playa: During the hike to this campsite, you can observe the beautiful falls, fruit plantations and lush wild vegetation. In addition, there are small houses that offer lodging. La Playa is at 2320 masl / 7611 ft.

Llactapata: In this area, there is an archeological center known as the archeological center of Llactapata. Here you can find vestiges of the Inca construction. It is a very important place since it would be a solar observatory in the solstice of winter. Unfortunately, it is not that popular and for a longtime it was abandoned and the lush vegetation covered the area completely. However, nowadays, cleaning work arranged by the Culture Ministry is done sporadically. Most of the site is still undiscovered because of the dense vegetation. You can only appreciate some terraces and the observatory. This place is at 2700 masl / 8858 ft.

  • Day 8:

Hydroelectric: The station of Hydroelectric was gradually populated by some houses that offer lodging, restaurant service and stores. Most of these sites were improvised and started running in response to the high demand of tourists who arrive until this part. In addition, this is the last train station of Perurail which brings a great amount of local people who live in Santa Teresa. It is located at 1890 masl / 5971 ft.

Aguas Calientes: This small town has grown thanks to one of the seven wonders of the world, Machu Picchu, and the great deal of tourist traffic who visit the sanctuary. It is surrounded by impressive mountains such as Apu San Lorenzo, Putucusi, among other guardians. Here you can find different types of service such as restaurants, hotels that can be 5 star, pubs, gyms, etc. Aguas Calientes town is located at 2050 masl / 6725 ft.

  • Day 9:

Machu Picchu: This majestic construction is located at 2400 masl / 7874 ft. Nowadays, it is considered as one of the 7 wonders of the world and a historical sanctuary. Here you can find constructions that had religious purposes, terraces, houses, among others. On the other hand, you will have a 2 hour guided tour of the citadel in which you will learn more about the interesting and mystical wonder left by the Incas.

Itinerary

Choquequirao trek Itinerary 9 day / 8 night

Introduction

From all the cultural secrets and hidden Inca trails in peruvian territory, we have one that is very challenging for most trekkers, Choquequirao trek. This route offers great attractions and wonderful biodiversity.

Day 1: Capuliyoc Chiquisca – Playa Rosalinas

We will pick you up from your hotel in Cusco at 6:00 am. Firstly, we will head towards the town of Capuliyoc, which is located at 3150 masl. It takes 5 hours approximately to get there. Along the drive, you will enjoy beautiful views of valleys and snow-capped mountains.

Once in the town of Capuliyoc, you will enjoy the wonderful view of the snow-capped mountain of Padreyoc, located at 5571 masl. In addition, you will observe the majestic Apurimac canyon. At this place, all the equipment will be distributed among the horses that will carry them. Furthermore, after meeting the muleteers, we will start the hike.

After observing the impressive area, we will hike downhill for an average of 3 hours until we arrive in the town known as Chiquisca to have lunch. Later that day, we will go downhill for about 3 more hours towards the town of Playa Rosalinas. It is here where we will spend the night, at 1495 masl.

Day 2: Playa Rosalinas – Marampata – Choquequirao

On this day, the hiking starts at 6: 00 am towards the area known as Marampata, located at 2850 masl where you will enjoy lunch. After lunch, we will continue the hike towards the complex of Choquequirao peru. The hike is not steep. It will be fresh since we will be hiking in the afternoon.

Tonight, we will spend the night in the archeological complex of Choquequirao Peru, at 3033 masl, where the sunset is just perfect.

It is an uphill hike and takes about 7 hours to complete it.

Day 3: Choquequirao - Choquequirao Pass - Rio Blanco

We recommend getting up very early on this third day to enjoy the stunning sunrise view and shadow projections over the archeological complex Choquequirao peru. After a delicious breakfast, you will have a 3-hour guided tour of the complex. Then you will have free time to explore the site on your own.

Furthermore, lunch will be served in the same place. Later that day, we will start the uphill hike towards the Choquequirao pass, at 3277 masl where you can observe the canyon and the surrounding mountains. Following that, we will go downhill towards Rio Blanco, a 2-hour journey approximately. Finally, when we arrive there, we will set the campsite to spend the night. This place is at 1990 masl. Along the hike, you will observe the archeological remains of the site called “Pinchiunuyoc”.

  • Archeological Center of Choquequirao Peru:

Etymologically Choquequirao comes from two Quechua words, “Choque” which means golden, and “quirao” which means cradle. This impressive construction is known as the sister of Machu Picchu.

It has a religious-administrative character. However, up until now, only 30% of the site has been discovered. The rest of the complex remains covered by lush vegetation. On the other hand, the Culture Ministry, institution in charge of the administering and running the site, arranges the cleaning and digging work, and putting in value.

About the site, there is no chronicler information. Therefore, it is not possible to know the purpose or function the site had during the Inca times. However, thanks to the archeological interpretation, it is believed that the site was a bastion of control for its strategic location. In addition, it is a mandatory pass to get to Machu Picchu from the region of the Qontis (Peruvian coast) or nearby regions.

Furthermore, its architectural structure we can conclude that it could be a ceremonial – astronomical center or for its double-framed door (important characteristic of religious centers) and for its plentiful terraces a production site.

In 1536, the last Inca, Manco Inca, and the survivors of its town may have escaped northwest towards the sector of Vilcabamba, considered as the last bastion of Tahuantinsuyo. Being Choquequirao circumscribed inside the sector of Vilcabamba; most likely, it had been occupied by the survivors as well. 

It is in 1909 and thanks to the exploration done by Hiram Bingham that this place received more attention from researchers and the Peruvian State and it is in 2003 when it acquires the name of National Cultural Heritage.

Day 4: Rio Blanco - Maizal

After a delicious breakfast, we will start the hike at 6:00 am towards the town of Maizal which is at 3500 masl where we will spend the night. In addition, during the uphill hike, we will observe the diversity of flora and fauna and the diverse microclimates. Today we will hike for about 6 to 7 hours to complete it.

Day 5: Maizal - Victoria Pass - Yanama

We will start early in the morning at around 6:00 am. First, we will hike uphill towards the Victoria pass located at 4200 masl. This uphill takes from 3 to 4 hours. Along the route, we will observe the different species of wild flora that the guide will be identifying and showing them to you. Likewise, you will observe the different species of birds of the area. In addition, some agencies visit the ancient exploited mine, located on the same route.

Second, once we arrive at the Victoria pass, we will take a break to have lunch, and stretch our muscles or spend some time to appreciate the impressive guardians, that  monitor the route and town, such as Apu Pumacillo, Apu Sacsara and Apu Qoriwayrachina, all of them before we start the hike.

Lastly, we will go downhill for about 2 to 3 hours until we arrive in the community of Yanama where we will spend the night in the campsite. This community is at an altitude of 4000 masl.

Day 6: Yanama - Totora - Colpapampa

We recommend starting the hike choquequirao peru very early in the morning. This way we will be able to appreciate the snow-capped mountains that nature has prepared to marvel our eyes. Likewise, it is recommendable to move gradually since this is the highest point of the trek. Note that Yanama is at an altitude of 4670 masl.

After observing the amazing views, we will start the downhill hike for about 3 hours towards the community of Totora where we will have lunch. Then, when lunchtime is over, we will continue the downhill hike towards the town called Colpapampa located at 2870 msnm. It is here where we will camp at night.

Day 7: Colpapampa - La Playa - Llacapata

The hike will start at 6:00 am. First, we will go downhill until 2320 masl, where an area called “La Playa” is located. It is here where we will have lunch. Along the downhill hike, we will observe different fields of coffee, cacao, coca, and a variety of citrus fruit, bananas, etc. Likewise, we will enjoy the lush vegetation, streams, and small falls.

Second, when lunchtime is over, we will continue the uphill hike for about 3 hours until we arrive at the archeological site of Llactapata, located at 2700 masl. From this point, we will be able to observe Machu Picchu citadel, Machu Picchu Mountain and Huayna Picchu Mountain. Finally, we will spend the night here.

Day 8: Llactapata - Hydroelectric - Aguas Calientes

After an early breakfast, we will visit the archeological site of Llactapata. Some parts of the constructions remain under the lush vegetation. However, the Culture Ministry has arranged restoring and cleaning work. Unfortunately, some constructions were destroyed as time went by. In addition, nature and the lack of care of the authorities have contributed to its deterioration.

When we have seen the vestiges, we will go downhill for about 2 hours towards the train station of Hydroelectric, where we will have lunch. Then, we will continue hiking for about 2 or 3 hours towards the town of Aguas Calientes. It is a light hike since 90% of the surface is flat.

Aguas Calientes is the town where we will spend the night in a hotel booked by the agency. This is a business town. In addition, there is a great number of tourists who arrive yearly. Furthermore, you will find the hot springs where you can relax in the afternoon. The entrance ticket is s/10.00. You can also find laundry service, minimarkets, gyms, and tourist restaurants, etc.

Day 9: Aguas Calientes - Machu Picchu - Cusco

Finally, after an arduous 8-day journey and fascinating experiences, we will visit the sister of Choquequirao, one of the 7 wonders of the world, Machu Picchu. Therefore, you have to get up very early to take the bus to the archeological center, located 25 minutes far from the town.

In addition, you will have a 2-hour guided tour of the citadel. We recommend making the most of the experience and paying careful attention to what the guide explains. This is very important since it is no longer possible to re-enter the site as it used to be. According to the new regulations given by the Culture Ministry, once you leave the site you won’t be able to enter a second time. There is only one circuit that will take you to the exit at the end.

Finally, you will return to the town of Aguas Calientes to have lunch and take the train towards Ollantaytambo. In Ollantaytambo, the private bus will be waiting for you and will take you back to your hotel in Cusco.

Fauna and Flora

Flora and Fauna in Choquequirao Tour 

Flora

Flora en Choquequirao trek

Credits: Je Jo

Domesticated:

  • Quinoa (Chenopodium quinoa)
  • Tarwi (Lupinus mutabilis)
  • Potato (Solanum tuberosum)
  • Faba bean (Vicia faba)
  • Oca (Oxalis tuberosa)
  • Capulí (Prunus salicifolia)
  • Corn (zea mays)
  • Mashua or añu (tropaeolum tuberosum)
  • Banana (musa x paradisiaca)
  • Orange (citrus s sinensis)
  • Mandarin orange (citrus reticulata)
  • Lemon (citrus x aurantifolia)
  • Coca (erythroxylum)
  • Avocado (persea americana)
  • Passion fruit (passiflora ligularis)
  • Coffee (cafeots – coffea)
  • Pacay (inga feuilleei)
  • Strawberry (fragaria virginiana)
  • Squash (cucurbita maxima)

Wild plants:

  • Llaulli (Barnadesia horrida)
  • Achupalla (puya hamata)
  • Tayanca (Baccharis)
  • Qiswar (Buddleja incana)
  • Bromeliads (bromeliaceae)
  • Tumbo (passiflora tripartita)
  • Daisy family (asteraceae)
  • Bomarea (alstroemeriaceae)
  • Black Nightshade (Solanum palitans)
  • Jarava ichu (Stipa ichu)
  • Queñua (Polylepis)
  • Muña (Minthostachys mollis)
  • Mallows (Malvaceae)
  • Cactus (Cactaceae)
  • Red raspberry (rubus idaeus)
  • Musk strawberry (fragaria moschata)
  • Strawberries (fragaria)
  • False helmet orchid (Erythrodes)
  • Orchid (Odontoglossum)
  • Sauco tree, elder or elderberry (sambucus peruviana)
  • Oca oca (Oxalis spiralis)
  • Achanqaray (Begonia veitchii)
  • Molle (Schinus molle)
  • Peruvian groundcherry (physalis peruviana)
  • Lady’s purse (Calceolaria)

Fauna
fauna en Choquequirao trek

Credits: Kusi Seminario Behar

Domesticated:

  • Llamas (lama glama): These animals can be found in the archeological site of Choquequirao and Machu Picchu.
  • Horses(Equus caballus): Pack animals
  • Cows (Bos taurus): Animals raised by the families of the nearby communities.
  • Sheeps (Ovis aries): Animals raised by the families of the nearby communities.

Wildlife:

  • Vizcachas (Lagidium viscacia): Elusive animals that live in burrows and rocks along the route.
  • Pumas (Puma concolor): Animals of great importance in the Andean Cosmovision. They avoid human contact and it is difficult to see them.
  • Andean goose (Chloephaga melanoptera): This bird is found in lakes and lagoons.
  • Mountain caracara (Phalcoboenus megalopterus): This bird is located in humid lakes and lagoons.
  • Skunks (mephitidae): Common animals that visit the fields of the locals and steal eggs. You can see them at sunset. 
  • Andean fox (Pseudalopex culpaeus): Animal that is unique to the highland of the Andes. It is possible to observe at a reasonable distance along the hike.
  • Taruka or deer (Hippocamelus antisensis): Animal that is unique to the highland of the Andes. It is possible to observe at a reasonable distance along the hike.
  • Spectacled bear (tremarctos ornatus): This animal is usually far from the population. Its habitat is in the humid forest.
  • Lowland paca (cuniculus paca): This animal lives in the valleys and creeks. It usually eats fruits.
  • Condor (vultur gryphus): This majestic bird is located at high altitudes, but it is possible to see some along the hike.
  • Black ibis (threskiornithidae): Local people of Vilcabamba know this bird as “Yana huico”
  • Red-legged partridge (alectoris rufa): It is usually found in high areas, especially in the grasslands.
  • Coatis (nasua nasua): This animal lives in valleys and creeks. It usually eats fruits.
  • Common opossum (didelphis marsupialis): This animal mainly eats avocado, alta, bromeliads and achupallas plants.
  • Neotropical otter (lontra longicaudis): Local people of Vilcabamba know this animal as “Mayu Puma”.
  • White-lipped peccary (tayassu pecari): It is also known as “monte qhuchi”.
  • Andean mountain cat (Leopardus jacobita): This animal lives in the high areas of the eyebrow of the jungle.

About Machu Picchu

Does Choquequirao trek include the entrance ticket to Machu Picchu?

Actually, it does. Note that on the last day of the 9 day/8 night Choquequirao peru trek, you will have a 2-hour guided tour in Machu Picchu, one of the 7 wonders of the world.

Likewise once inside the citadel of Machu Picchu, you can climb the additional mountains, Machu Picchu Mountain or Huayna Picchu. However, these extra mountains are not included in the package. What is included in the tour is the entrance ticket to Machu Picchu citadel and the guided tour.  If you decide to hike one of these two mountains, you have to pay an additional cost of USD35 (you have to book in advance).

What is the best option for Choquequirao peru hike?

Here you find some differences between these two mountains:

  • Machu Picchu Mountain:

It is also called “old mountain”. Located southwest of the Machu Picchu citadel at 3070 masl. This mountain is not as popular as Huayna Picchu, but the hike is very impressive. You will observe abundant flora, wide paths which are easier to walk. The hike is not as challenging as Huayna Picchu mountain and the views from the top are breathtaking. There are limited spots, but they aren’t sold as fast as the Huayna Picchu tickets. We recommend booking this mountain at least 2 months in advance.

  • Huayna Picchu Mountain:

It is also known as the “young mountain”. This mountain is located Northeast of Machu Picchu citadel, at 2700 m.a.s.l. It consists of archeological remains, narrow and steep paths defying all laws of gravity. All of these make this mountain the most popular. Therefore, tickets are sold very fast. We recommend booking it at least 3 months in advance.

Where can I leave my belongings while I do the tour of Machu Picchu - choquequirao peru trek?

This is a frequently asked question tourists have. Most hotels have a storage room where you can leave your belongings while visiting the archeological complex. To do so, you only need to talk to the receptionist of the hotel. Likewise, most hotels in Aguas Calientes have the service of a Bellboy (person in charge of carrying your luggage). They can take your luggage to the train station in case you require it.

Machu Picchu Regulations

As any place or archeological site, Machu Picchu has some regulations that any traveler must be aware of. Otherwise, park rangers will approach you and you will receive a fine for any damage caused in the Historical Sanctuary:

  • Bags or backpacks with dimensions over the permitted, 40 x 35 x 20 cm, are not allowed. There is a storage room outside the citadel where you can leave your belongings before you enter the site.
  • It’s not allowed to climb over the wall or cross the security bands.
  • Umbrellas are not permitted.
  • Drones and tripods aren’t allowed.
  • You can’t enter with musical instruments or high speakers.
  • Only sneakers or hiking shoes are allowed.
  • Baby carriages are prohibited
  • If you are using trekking poles, they have to be soft tip, not metal.
  • Don’t bring food, alcoholic beverages, stimulants, and other drugs.

Tips to book

How to book the Choquequirao trek?

Choosing the right tour operator for choquequirao peru trek

Choosing the right tour operator is very important. Since you are traveling to a place you haven’t been before, you may have some expectations about the place. To make the most of the experience, you have to be careful with the tourist agency you hire. Here we share some useful tips that will help you when choosing a tour operator:

  • Make sure the agency is a licensed tour operator. You can verify it visiting the website of Mincetur (consultasenlinea.mincetur.gob.pe)
  • There are different online platforms where you can find more reference and travelers’ reviews of the agency you chose such as:

Tripadvisor

Expedia

Booking

Tourradar

Airbnb

What documents do I need to book the Choquequirao trek?

To hike the fantastic Choquequirao peru or any other trek, it is important to bring your personal identification documents. Passport or Identity card has to be updated and must not expire at least in 6 months before your traveling date. For instance, if you are planning to visit on July 1st, your documents must not expire after February. If your documents are about to expire, you should update them to avoid any inconvenience at the moment of entering Machu Picchu.

In addition, you have to check in advance if you need to get a Visa to enter Peru.

Once you book the tour, send your personal information to buy the tickets such as the Machu Picchu entrance ticket, bus tickets, train tickets and to book the hotel.

What is the Choquequirao trek Rate?

Each tour agency has its own prices which depends on the type of service you ask for and the number of people that will be in the group:

  • Private Service:

It is a more personalized service, only for the people who have chosen to be in your group. It is worth mentioning that all the staff will offer a high-quality service and equipment to make the most of the experience. The cost of the private service varies from 1700 USD to 1800 USD per person.

  • Group Service:

It is a service in which 5 or more people join the group. Also if you want to make any change, all the group has to agree. The cost of the group service varies from 1400 USD to 1600 USD per person. 

Note: We recommend hiring a high intermediate service since agencies, which meet some standards, are licensed to operate any tour. Likewise, you will receive good service and you are contributing to a fair salary for the staff of the agency you are hiring for the hike. Unfortunately, there are informal agencies that offer cheap prices. Not only do they break the employee laws, but also offer a poor quality service to the tourists. Even worse, sometimes they run away when some problems arise. Therefore, it is very important to choose carefully the tour operator right for you.

Choquequirao trek Availability

Choquequirao trek is not subject to availability as it is the case of the Inca Trail. However, in order to enjoy the adventure, we recommend booking it at least 2 months of advance. Most importantly, since the entrance ticket to Machu Picchu citadel has limited spots, it is better to book in advance. Furthermore, the agency will have enough time to arrange and have everything ready for you when you arrive.

If you want additional tickets to Machu Picchu Mountain or Huayna Picchu Mountain, you have to book them at least three months in advance. This is because there are fewer and limited spots for these extra mountains compared to the Machu Picchu citadel.

About the hike

Are there restrictions on the age limit for the Choquequirao trek?

The minimum age to do this choquequirao peru trek is 15 years old. However, at this age you will need to rent a mule to ride for the challenging parts of the trek. On the other hand, although the maximum age to do the trek is 55 years old, you will need to bring a medical certificate that guarantees your good physical condition to do the trek.

Do I need Physical Training to do the Choquequirao trek?

This hike has very challenging, moderate and mild days. In addition, the altitudes vary each day of the hike. Therefore, in order to be prepared for the hike, you need to be in good physical condition. That is why we recommend training and becoming familiarized with long hikes.

We suggest training at least 3 months in advance. You can go jogging or mountain hiking. This way when you start the trek, your body won’t struggle at the difficult parts; instead, you will be better prepared and consequently enjoy the view more. Start gradually, first with short hikes of 5 kilometers per day until you hike 22 km which is the maximum hiking distance of the Choquequirao trek.

 On the other hand, if you don’t have enough time to go hiking long distances that take full days, you can exercise at a local gym for 3 hours each day. Although the training won’t be the same, it will sure help you. In addition, you can do breathing exercises to strengthen chest muscles and make breathing easier during the hike.

Is it necessary to acclimate to the altitude before the Choquequirao trek?

Definitely yes. We recommend arriving in Cusco 3 days in advance. During the acclimatization process, you can go for shorts walks and practice jogging or do yoga or aerobics to adjust to the new altitude before starting any hike.

Most tourists suffer from altitude sickness, decompensation, among others if they don’t acclimatize to the altitude when arriving in Cusco. There is no need to panic. It is completely natural and normal that our body reacts to the change in altitude, temperature, feeding, and other factors.

Likewise, the first day must be a day of rest. In case you suffer from altitude sickness, you can drink Coca tea (natural remedy highly recommended) or a painkiller. If the situation gets worse, see a doctor before using any medication. However, if everything goes smoothly, you can visit some places near the city that are not physically challenging.

Very important!

If you skip the process of acclimatization, most likely your body will suffer a decompensation while hiking. This is very dangerous since there are no medical centers nearby and it takes longer to reach the closest one. Most tourist agencies carry a first aid kit with them. In addition, all the staff receives constant training in first aid, among others. However, there are cases in which passengers require special assistance.

It is worth mentioning that most parts of the Choquequirao trek are very challenging and are located far from the medical centers. Therefore, the acclimatization process and training are the key to complete the trek.

Note that your health is a very important factor!

What is altitude sickness - choquequirao peru trek?

Altitude sickness is a group of symptoms that can strike if you walk or climb to a higher elevation, or altitude, too quickly. The pressure of the air that surrounds you is called barometric pressure. When you go to higher altitudes, this pressure drops and there is less oxygen available. Any time you go above 2,500 meters (8,000 ft), you can be at risk for altitude sickness. Here you find a list of some Altitude Sickness symptoms:

  • Mild Symptoms:

The first symptoms you will have when arriving at a higher altitude can be avoided using natural remedies like drinking coca tea which is the most effective way to cope with mild symptoms. Another option is to take some prescribed pills to relieve the pain. It is recommendable to stay in a place at a lower altitude and rest the first days. If the situation doesn’t get better, call a doctor.

    • Sleeping disorders
    • Vertigo
    • Dizziness
    • Fatigue
    • Headache
    • Nausea
    • Increased heart rate
    • Shortness of breath
  • Severe Symptoms:

Unlike the previous symptoms, the symptoms listed below are more aggressive. You can relieve the pain using tank oxygen. It is important to go immediately to a lower altitude and have medical assistance to prevent any deadly complication. In addition, it is recommendable to keep hydrated. Drink from 3 to 4 liters of water, avoid alcoholic drinks, and start a diet based on carbohydrates and sugars.

    • Chest wall rigidity
    • Cough
    • Loss of consciousness
    • Paleness
    • Weakness
    • Inability to walk
    • Shortness of breath

How to prevent altitude sickness in Choquequirao trek?
  • It’s recommendable to spend some days acclimatizing until your body adjusts to the altitude.
  • Rest properly.
  • Drink hot tea, preferably coca tea.
  • Stay hydrated (drink 3 or 4 liters of water).
  • Abstain from drinking alcohol on the first day in Cusco.
  • Avoid eating heavy foods.
  • Eat a balanced diet based on carbohydrates and sugars.

What is the level difficulty in the Choquequirao trek?

Since the route is longer than others, the level difficulty of choquequirao peru hike will be divided as follows:

Day 1: Cusco- Capuliyoc- Chiquisca- Playa Rosalinas

Note that the hiking distance will be 14 kilometers approximately. In addition, you will hike for an average of 5 to 6 hours. The level of difficulty will be easy since it is a downhill hike.

Day 2: Playa Rosalinas- Marampata- Choquequirao

On this day, you will hike a longer distance than the day before. It will be 16 kilometers with a not steep hike which means that the level of difficulty will be easy, too.

Day 3: Choquequirao – Choquequirao Pass – Rio Blanco

The level of difficulty on this day will be easy and the hiking distance is 8 kilometers. You will spend hiking an average of 2 to 3 hours. We can say that it is not physically challenging.

 Day 4: Rio Blanco – Maizal

Day 4 of the hike, will be the first challenging day of the choquequirao peru hike since it is an uphill hike. The route is steep and the hiking distance is 10 kilometers which will take 6 to 7 hours approximately to complete it. Level of difficulty: moderate.

Day 5: Maizal – Victoria Pass – Yanama

This is the second day with a challenging part. The hiking distance is 16 kilometers which takes 6 hours approximately to complete. It starts with an uphill hike of an average of 3 to 4 hours followed by a downhill hike of almost the same time. In addition, the level of difficulty is challenging.

 Day 6: Yanama – Totora – Colpapampa

This is the third challenging part of the choquequirao peru trek. Along the hike, you will reach the highest altitude of Yanama Pass, at 4670 masl. Then you will go downhill until you get to an altitude of 2878 masl where you will find the town of Colpapampa. It is here where you will spend the night. During this day you will experience an abrupt change of altitudes. Furthermore, you will hike for an average of 10 hours and a distance of 22 kilometers. Therefore, the level of difficulty is challenging.

 Day 7: Colpapampa – La Playa – Llactapata

This is the fourth challenging part of the choquequirao peru trek. We can say that this is a tedious hike since it is located in a warm area and the sun won’t be on your side. You will hike a distance of 21 kilometers in an average of 9 to 10 hours. Therefore, this is a challenging day.

Day 8: Llactapata – Hydroelectric – Aguas Calientes

The first part of this day choquequirao peru hike will be challenging since going downhill towards Hydroelectric is steep. Then from the station to the town of Aguas Calientes, the path is mostly flat. In addition, the hiking distance is an average of 14 kilometers which takes an average of 9 to 10 hours. This hike is considered as moderate.

Day 9: Aguas Calientes – Machupicchu – Cusco

Finally, this is an easy day since the hike will be done inside the archeological site of Machu Picchu. You will have a 2 hour guided tour of the citadel. Then you will return to Aguas Calientes to have lunch and to buy some snacks.

Aguas Calientes is a small town. That is why there is no public or private transportation in the town. To get to any place, you will have to walk. The only transportation you see there is the bus that takes you to Machu Picchu. In addition, you have the trains that take you back to the town of Ollantaytambo or the city of Cusco.

Recommended Equipment

Recommended Equipment for Choquequirao trek

Choquequirao Peru is a 9 day/8 night trek. Therefore, you need to pack the most essential things to survive during those days. With that purpose, we have prepared a list of the things you should bring:

equipo para Choquequirao trek

Credits: jabarea

What clothing should I bring to the Choquequirao trek?
  • 5 T-shirts (preferably quick-dry ).
  • 3 long sleeve polo shirts (preferably quick-dry)
  • 4 pairs of trekking pants (preferably quick-dry)
  • Thermal trousers (for the cold nights of the highlands)
  • Thermal long sleeve polo shirt (for the cold nights of the highlands)
  • 1 pair of waterproof trousers
  • 10 sets of underwear
  • 10 pairs of socks
  • 01 light fleece
  • Warm jacket (preferably waterproof and feather jacket)
  • 01 Hat
  • Beanie
  • Comfortable Trekking shoes
  • 1 Raincoat
  • Gloves for the cold

What toiletries should I bring for the Choquequirao trek?

For this amazing Choquequirao peru trek you need to bring the following:

  • Toothbrush
  • Toothpaste
  • Dental Floss
  • Hair comb or brush
  • 2 Towels for the face and one for the body (preferably microfiber towels since they use less space)
  • 1 Body towel (preferably microfiber towels since they use less space)
  • Small soap
  • Small moisturizing cream pot
  • Nail clippers
  • Small powder pot
  • Water Purifiers
  • Wet wipes
  • Sunscreen

What extra items should I bring to the Choquequirao trek?

Since there is no electricity and water along the route, we recommend bringing the following items:

  • Extra batteries
  • Portable charger (for your camera or cell phone)
  • Flashlight, preferably a headlamp so you have your hands free.
  • Purifier pills
  • Vitamin C pills
  • An intermediate utility knife
  • Mosquito repellent
  • Bands
  • 01 wristband or bandages

Do I need trekking poles for Choquequirao Peru hike?

Function of the trekking poles in the Choquequirao trek

Although it is not mandatory to bring trekking poles, they are very useful, especially for the downhill hike.

Likewise, the trekking poles are highly recommendable for people who have knee or ankle problems to make hiking easier. They provide 2 more points of support to keep the balance which will help you walk safely. On the other hand, there are different models of trekking poles, but the most recommendable is the one with rubber tips. Trekking poles with rubber tips avoid damaging the path and are perfect for areas where steel tips are not allowed. Furthermore, it is important if they have baskets which are circular items located at the bottom to prevent your trekking poles from sinking into softer, looser ground or snow.

The trekking poles have an additional cost and are not included in the total cost of the package. They cost USD$10 approximately.

Note: We recommend bringing trekking poles for the trek since Choquequirao trek is very challenging. Furthermore, you will hike many hours per day and also the route is rocky. You will need support to hike through the bumpy roads safely and avoid falling down. Also, you will save 15% more energy.

Which backpack should I bring to the Choquequirao peru trek?

We recommend bringing a 40 or 50 liter backpack. You will have to carry your personal backpack, so pack the most essential things. The rest of your things for the 8 days will be carried by the mules that the agency hires. 

Likewise, the backpack you bring must have a waist belt that helps to distribute the weight more evenly across the body and specially to your feet. In addition, it must be waterproof, made of a resistant material. Therefore, it should have a belt, two wide, padded shoulder straps, an internal sleeve into which you can slip a hydration reservoir. Some packs feature a suspended mesh back panel to combat the sweaty-back syndrome you tend to get with internal frame packs that ride against your back.

About the duffel bag for the Choquequirao trek

Most agencies provide a duffel bag, which is a small bag where you put all your belongings for the choquequirao peru trek. It has a limited weight that includes the sleeping bag and airmat. Therefore, If you want to carry more things, you will have to pay an extra cost. Ask your tourist agency for the price of additional weight.

What can I do if I don’t have a sleeping bag and trekking poles for Choquequirao peru trek?

If you don’t have a sleeping bag and trekking poles, don’t worry. Most of the time, tourist agencies rent them. If you want to rent extra equipment, ask the tourist agency for the price. The price of a sleeping bag is around USD30 and trekking poles cost around USD15.

On the other hand, there are stores in the historical center of the city of Cusco that rent camping equipment. If you rent the items from them, make sure they are in good condition. Otherwise, they will be useless.

Chefs and Muleteers

The function of the chef in the Choquequirao trek:

The chef is the person in charge of preparing the meals for 8 days of the hike. Likewise, he and the muleteer walk faster than the rest of the group. The mules (pack animals) carry all the things the chef will use. When they arrive in their destination, they set the campsite and start preparing the meals. This way when the tourists arrive, food will be ready.

Most days of the choquequirao peru trek, you will enjoy eating outdoors with incredible landscapes offered by Mother nature. In addition, the support staff will carry the equipment used in the hike such as stoves, tables, utensils, dining tents, food supplies, etc.

Muleteers and their function in the Choquequirao Peru trek:

He is the person in charge of guiding the mules that carry the equipment, and food supplies that will be used on the hike. He has to walk faster than the rest of the crew to arrange the campsite before the trekkers arrive. The support staff goes with the trekkers only until the third day.

arriero en Choquequirao peru

Credits: Boy & Girl “Muleteer in Lares Trek”

What is the food like during the Choquequirao trek?

During the Choquequirao peru trek typical dishes from Peru and Cusco region are served. For breakfast, you will have a buffet that includes hot drinks (milk, coffee, oat, infusions), scramble eggs, fruit salad, yogurt, Andean cereal, pancakes, among others. Furthermore, for lunch and dinner, you will have a variety of meals. Note that dinner meals won’t include entrées to have a light option.

Among the typical dishes you will enjoy, we have:

Entrées

  • Ceviche of mushrooms
  • Guacamole with nachos
  • Mixed salads
  • Soltero
  • Papa a la huancaína
  • Salpicón of chicken
  • Avocado with vinagreta sauce
  • Red salad
  • Ceviche of tarwi
  • Cochayuyo salad

Soups

  • Cream of Corn Soup
  • Vegetable soup
  • Quinoa soup
  • Minute soup
  • Pumpkin cream soup
  • Chicken soup
  • Spinach cream
  • Mushrooms Cream soup

Main Dishes

  • Lomo saltado
  • Sudado of trout
  • Grilled chicken
  • Aji de gallina
  • Pachamanca
  • Fried Trout
  • Rolled Trout
  • Rolled chicken
  • Locro of pumpkin
  • Locro of olluco
  • Salpicón of chicken
  • Soufle of red pepper

Dessert

  • Flamed bananas
  • Mazamorras
  • Peach stew
  • Applesauce
  • Pop corn
  • Pancake with chocolate
  • Garlic bread
  • Croquettes of yuca

Note: If you have any food restrictions, it is important to inform the tourist agency that you hire. This way they can arrange food that will be better for you and avoid any inconvenience.

Do I need to hire a muleteer and mules for the Choquequirao trek?

It is the agency that will hire the service of the muleteer and mules to carry all the equipment needed for the choquequirao peru hike (tents, stoves, trekkers belongings, etc.)

Most of the time, the tourist agencies give duffel bags to the tourists to put their belongings. Likewise, the weight limit is 12 kilos that includes the sleeping bag and airmat. This means that you will have an average of 10 kilos for your belongings. 

On the other hand, if you want to rent a mule that can be of extra support for you, it will cost USD160. You have to request this service when you do your booking with the agency. This way they can make all the arrangements with the muleteer.

About the tips in Choquequirao trek?

It is worth mentioning that it is not mandatory to leave a tip. The guide or support staff receive a salary for the job they do. However, if you feel that you have received a high-quality service, you are free to tip the staff. For some years up until now, tourists have been used to leaving tips. This is a way to contribute to their economical situation since most of the staff’s main source of income is agriculture and they live in rural highlands.

Therefore, the tip you leave will motivate them to keep offering a high-quality service. Along the choquequirao peru hike, you will notice the great work they do to give you the most memorable experience.

Frequently Asked Question

When is it not recommendable to do the choquequirao peru trek?

Although you can go hiking during the rainy season (from November to March), there is great presence of rains, and the roads are not safe. Therefore, the trek is more challenging and you may not have a good time during the hike.

When is the best time to do the Choquequirao trek?

The best season to do the Choquequirao Trek is during the dry season (from April to October) since there are no rainfalls. Furthermore, the road is firm and safe which makes it possible to hike this section in less time.

What are the required documentation for the Choquequirao peru trek?

It is important that you bring the document that you gave the agency to book your choquequirao tour. The names in the entrance tickets for Machu Picchu, train ticket and hotel must match the information in your documents.

In addition, make sure you provide accurate information of your personal identification documents (original Passport, Identity card, National Identity card) to the agency you are booking the tour through.

It is worth mentioning that to access any site (archeological site, hotels, train, bus), they don’t accept pictures or copies of personal identification documents.

Do I need travel insurance to do the Choquequirao trek?
 

Although it is not mandatory to have travel insurance to do the Inca Trail, we highly recommend getting one. This way you can prevent any inconvenience that can happen during your trip such as a natural disaster, or getting sick during the choquequirao peru hike, and make you cancel your trip.

Insurance companies normally charge you from 100 to 150 US Dollar, depending on the insurance you choose. Here you have a list of some insurance companies:

  • Assist card
  • World nomads
  • Berkshire Hathaway Inc (a leading company in the U.S)
  • Allianz (the biggest insurance company in Germany and Europe)
  • Ping An (a leading company in China)
  • Metlife (well known in Europe and Spain)
  • Berkley International
  • Liberty Insurance

Where can I leave the extra luggage for Choquequirao Peru?

This is one of the most frequently asked questions, but there is no need to worry about it. Here we explain why:

  • Most hotels have a storage room, where you can leave your luggage. It is safe and free.
  • In case, the hotel doesn’t have a storage room, you can leave your luggage in the storage room of our agency at no additional cost.

Having two options to leave your luggage, you can enjoy the Choquequirao peru trek without any worries.

Is there drinking water in the Choquequirao trek?

During the first eight days, there is no drinking water. The only source of water that the chef gets to prepare the meals and fill the trekkers’ camelbak comes from the rivers and springs, previously purified.

Chiquisqa, Playa Rosalinas, Choquequirao, Maizal, Yanama, Colpapampa campsites are the unique places where the chef will have water. Therefore, it is very important that the chef does the purifying process. If possible bring your purifier pills.

On the eighth day of the trek, you can buy drinking or bottled water since there are small stores near the station of Hydroelectric. There you can find water, soda, cookies, and fruits. Also, you will be able to buy more things in Aguas Calientes, a modern business town. It is here where you will see many tourists before they visit Machu Picchu.

Are there restrooms and showers along the Choquequirao Peru?

Along the Choquequirao trek – Choquequirao peru, you will have toilets in the form of latrines that will be accommodated in the middle of nature. However, there are no restrooms along the route. On the other hand, you will be able to use the restroom when you visit the Choquequirao complex on the second and third day, and the eight-day in Hydroelectric and at night in the hotel in Aguas Calientes.

Regarding the showers, you will find cold showers in the campsite of Choquequirao peru, in the station of Hydroelectric, and hot showers in the hotel in Aguas Calientes. The rest of the days, you will only have water from the springs, rivers and streams.

Is there Internet or cell phone signal along the Choquequirao trek?

The only days that you will have cell phone signal are day seven, in La Playa, where you will have lunch; and day eight in Hydroelectric and the town of Aguas Calientes. Of course, this will imply you have a chip from a Peruvian telephone operator such as Claro or Movistar.

Regarding the Internet, you won’t have this service during the hike until the eighth day when you arrive in the hotel in Aguas Calientes, and ninth day, if you return to the hotel (after visiting Machu Picchu) to finally take the train back to the city.

How much money do I need to bring for the Choquequirao trek?

We recommend bringing an average of 700 Peruvian soles (bank bills and coins of the local currency). You will need to bring extra cash for extra expenses that are not included in the total cost of the trek such as bottled water, soda, handicrafts, lunch on day 9, laundry service, among others.

All the money you spend in the communities you visit will help the economical situation of the locals. Note that their main source of income is agriculture and selling handicrafts or food supplies is an additional source of income to improve their quality lives.

Can I do the Choquequirao trek on my own?

If you are planning to do the Choquequirao trek on your own, it will be very complicated. Since it is a 9 day hike, arranging it will be stressing. Therefore, we recommend hiring the service of a reliable tour operator that organizes everything that you will need for the 8 days of hiking. They will provide the equipment, buy the tickets to visit Machu Picchu in advance.

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