Take the five-day hike to the Inca settlement of Choquequirao, less than 40 miles from Machu Picchu and known as its sacred sister, while it remains a peaceful attraction. With the opening of a new road and a $50 million cable car, which will glide you there in as little as 15 minutes, visitor numbers are expected to increase considerably over the coming years.
Choquequirao, made up of 1,800 hectares of stairways, terraces and plazas, is currently only accessible by foot and only receives about a dozen visitors each day. This route is considered one of the most demanding and rewarding of the Peruvian Andes. The 60km trek, recommended for experienced hikers, takes you from Cusco high above the Apurimac River up towards the truncated hilltop which sits at 3,050 metres in the spurs of the Vilcabamba mountain range. You'll pass through varying landscapes, from snow-dusted terrain to humming rainforests, getting to experience a wide variety of flora and fauna.
DAY 1: Cusco to Chiquisca
Today you’ll drive four hours to a village called Cachora, where the route begins. Walking in front of the Nevado Padreyoc, you’ll climb up to Capuliyoc (2900 metres). From here you'll have privileged views of the Apurimac valley and the Inca citadel of Choquequirao in the distance. Then you'll descend 900 metres down a steep path to Chiquisqa, your first camping spot.
DAY 2: Chiquisca to Maranpata
Continuing your descent down the slopes of the Apurimac Canyon, one of the deepest in the world, you'll reach Rosalina Beach and cross the bridge over the river, ascending 1500 metres to the hamlet of Maranpata where you’ll camp. Midway through the rise, a lunch stop in Santa Rosa will give you the opportunity to try a sugar cane extract locally known as “Cambrai”.
DAY 3: Marampata to Choquequirao
Today’s route is easy and short, with two hours of trekking to Choquequirao, where you’ll have the day to explore this incredible archaeological complex of around 1810 hectares – of which only 30% has been rescued. A guide will take you through large stone enclosures and numerous terraces, telling you more about this amazing cultural, religious and agricultural centre. Your camp for the night sits near the ruins, where you'll enjoy a hard-earned happy hour and dinner under the stars.
DAY 4: Choquequirao to Huanipaca
Today you'll walk eight hours to the end point of the route, heading down the valley back through the walls of the Apurimac Canyon before a climb to the quiet little town of Huanipaca, where you'll camp for the last time.
DAY 5: Huanipaca to Cusco
After a delicious breakfast, you'll return to the city of Cusco, arriving just in time for a farewell lunch.
Additional notes about the tour
Guests should be fit and able to trek
Not suitable for young children
Strong footwear needed and multiple layers of clothing for changing conditions