Juventino, your IFMGA-certified guide, will lead this 7-day expedition along the Choquequirao Trek, a wonderful, fascinating and beautiful path through the Andes which finishes at the world-famous Machu Picchu, and which provides truly unforgettable scenery, and a snapshot in to the history and tradition of the Inca’s.
Visit the ancient ruins of both Choquequirao and Machu Picchu!
See some of the most diverse flora and fauna in the world
Trek through and past snow-capped mountains, rivers, lakes and forests
Learn about the history, customs and traditions of the Inca people
The Choquequirao Trek to Machu Picchu is an astonishingly spectacular alternative to the over-populated Inca Trail, and I will lead you along this path over the course of 7 magnificent days, as we discover the many villages, towns, mountains, rivers, valleys and animals along the way that make for such a rich and diverse adventure, with Machu Picchu and Choquequirao the centerpieces.
The Choquequirao Trek is perhaps the best alternative to the Inca Trail, as not only is there less people on this path but there is a visit to the ruins the path is named after, Choquequirao. This lesser-known area is equally as awe-inspiring and breath-taking as Machu Picchu, without the overcrowding and in more of an untouched condition.
We pick you up from your hotel in Cusco on the first morning, and from there we drive to the starting point at Cachora.
The first three days are dedicated to heading towards Choquequirao via forestry. Choquequirao is considered the sister city of Machu Picchu due to its similar looks and feel, and the sunset and sunrise which we will bear witness to are truly special sights.
From here the aim is to trek towards Machu Picchu through some astounding scenery, with a myriad of mesmerizing rivers and waterways providing ample opportunity to cool off, and the variety of animals, especially birds, giving us a nice distraction.
Along the way we will be able to stop off at historical sites, and also meet local people who are fiercely proud of their culture, and learn about the customs and traditions of one of the worlds oldest civilizations that still thrive here.
The last few days are spent reaching our final destination of Macchu Pichu, via the large village of La Playa, and we spend the final day admiring, exploring and basking in the glory of Macchu Pichu, a just reward for 7 days of witnessing some of the best natural scenery in the world.
Explore one of the most diverse natural areas on earth and see the ruins of Machu Picchu and Choquequirao, all in one trek – book now to experience!
For those who want an alternative route to Machu Picchu and the Cusco region, check out our 5-day Lares Trek to Machu Picchu, here!
Tent accommodation for 5 nights, hostel accommodation for 1 night in Aguas Calientes
Professional, bilingual guide (Spanish and English)
Your hotel in Cusco
We will start our lives anew after this trek! Your hotel in Cusco or the Sacred Valley provides breakfast, and then we will pick you up you and start the 5-hour car journey to the travelers crossing Cachora. Once there, we will meet the rest of team (horsemen, cooks, etc.). We then begin trekking uphill, crossing through the pass of Capuliyoc where we might see condors flying overhead! We will have a great view of the Apurimac Canyon and experience the valley’s lush microclimate. At our stopping point, we can see the location of Choquequirao from afar. Finally, we descend through a cactus forest to La Playa Rosalina on the banks of the Apurimac River, the main tributary of the Amazon River. Along the river, there is another microclimate. This first night, we will camp at La Playa Rosalina (1550 MASL – 5085 FASL).
After a hearty breakfast, you will be given a bag of snacks to nibble on throughout the day. The first part of our day consists of a 4-hour ascent on a long, narrow trail. Our adventure starts by crossing by cable car over the wild river which is surrounded by dense vegetation with several varieties of orchids. Halfway up, we stop for lunch at Maranpata, where we have our first main view of the Choquequirao complex. We then continue hiking 2 more hours to Choquequirao (Golden Cradle), which is considered the sister city of Machu Picchu because of its several similarities. It sits 1500 meters/4921 feet above the Apurimac Canyon, and Machu Picchu sits above the Urubamba Canyon. In the afternoon, you will have free time to take in the sunset views of the canyon – it is spectacular! Here, it is also possible to see Andean condors soaring in the mountains. We will camp near Choquequirao (3050 MASL – 10006 FASL).
Before breakfast, we recommend going to appreciate the magnificent sunrise from this picturesque spot! We will have breakfast at 6 AM. We start today’s trek passing through and exploring the Choquequirao ruins. We hike uphill through cloud forest, mountains, and valleys to reach the Choquequirao pass. After 5 hours trekking, the trail continues through agricultural terraces called Pinchinoyoc which means “water jumping forward” (2750 MASL – 9022 FASL). There we will see different species of birds, varieties of orchids, and local coca plantations. We will have our lunch near the Rio Blanco. We use the break here to take a refreshing dip in the cold, clear river water if you would like. We cross the river by walking because there are no bridges. On the other side, we start the long, steep climb to our camp in Maizal high over the river and closer to the sacred Apus of the Incas. This climb takes about 3 hours. This is the most challenging day. We will camp at 3000 MASL – 9842 FASL.
Waking up on the hillside with the sounds of the forest and birds is a truly great experience! Recharging our energy with a good breakfast and following the trail upward, the landscape is lush green vegetation. If we keep up our motivation and the gods give us a clear sky, we will be able to just sit and appreciate the snow-capped mountains around us. The uphill climb today is around 7 hours to the summit, and this trail is historically important due to some archaeological remains and Inca channels along the way. We will pass by the impressive Incan mines called Minas Victoria, from which silver used to be extracted. and head toward the Victoria Pass (4200 MASL – 13773 FASL). This is a long climb, but we will walk through an absolutely breath-taking area, first with cloud forest and then over the Andean Puna with its well-known Ichu grass. As we approach the top, we can appreciate original paved Inca trails. We will have lunch on the pass with views of the mountains Choquetakarpo and Pedrayoc. While we have lunch, we will hopefully be able to appreciate the flight of the condors, depending on the climate. Finally, we will descend to our campsite at Yamana, a small village settlement at the bottom of a long valley surrounded by mountains (3800 MASL – 12467 FASL).
The native community of Yamana surrounds the base camp. We begin another long day with the big smiles of local children, the sun is shining on camp ground, the noise of a grand waterfall, and breakfast on a table outside to appreciate everything around us. We then start hiking uphill to the highest pass in this trek (5 hours). This is Yamana pass (4700 MASL – 15419 FASL). During the day, it is common to observe the Andean farmers growing potatoes in their fields and possibly even some frozen potatoes. Again, the view will be amazing from here as we will be surrounded by the mountain ranges of Saqsarayoc and Pedreyoc. Once again, we have the chance to see condors flying about, and this morning’s smooth climb brings us through new landscapes – especially the wet grass fields under the snowline and water stream. In the pass, we may be walking through snow in a new entrance to the Santa Teresa Valley. Here, we can observe one of the Incan Gods – Salkantay Mountain. Afterward, we descend on a long, foggy path through grassy fields and bush areas, crossing bridges on the way to the community of Totora. We will spend the night in tents, surrounded by native people and indescribable natural beauty!
Today’s trek is more downhill, continuing along the original Inca trail in the forest to appreciate the depth of the jungle. Hiking will take 10 hours as we head back into the heat of the jungle to harvest some fruit as we descend to the Totora River. We will observe wildlife, such as hummingbirds, woodpeckers, and many species of orchids and begonias. We then take a trail on the left side of the Santa Teresa River where we will see small plantations of bananas, passion fruit, and coffee (which you can taste if you would like!). On the way, we will stop at small waterfalls along the way for refreshment. The climate and vegetation are very different here than on the other days of our trek. La Playa is the biggest village on the way as well first place with electricity, and here we will have lunch. There are also small shops here to buy snacks and water or use the restrooms. After lunch, we will drive a small van to Hidroelectrica for about 1 hour passing by Santa Teresa. We cross the river of Vilcanota and will have an excellent view of Machu Picchu and the Aobamba canyon from a different angle; another Inca trail can be seen here, as well. From Hidroelectrica, we hiking to Aguas Calientes for 3 hours. This last part of the trek is flat and surrounded by the mountains which house Machu Picchu. If you are tired, there is an optional train ride to Aguas Calientes (US $ 32.00) There is also the option to visit the hot springs in Aguas Calientes. We will spend the night in a hostel in town, which will have hot water, wi-fi, and comfortable beds for you.
Today’s Highlights: Your excitement for our rendezvous at Machu Picchu will rise as we are hiking early in the morning through the forest to reach the site before most other tourists – even the Inca Trail trekkers!! You will have plenty of time to explore this truly magnificent World Wonder while you enjoy the beautiful sunrise from this once-in-a-lifetime viewpoint. Your group will learn about this mystical place in a two-hour guided tour of the ruins. Afterwards, you can opt to climb Huayna Picchu or Machupicchu Mountain (if you have pre-booked tickets) or walk to the Sun Gate or Inca Bridge (without extra tickets).
Peru Expeditions is a Guide Agency and Tour Operator based in Huaraz, Peru.
It's a family-owned travel agency, which was founded more than 35 years ago, and is now managed by IFMGA-guide Juventino and his son, Eric.
We organize trekkings and mountain expeditions in Cordillera Blanca, and all around Peru.
Mrs Erin Leigh Hardy
We are a group of friends and a mountain club, we have made trips with Eric since 2007, we have done the most classic tours in Cusco: Ausangate trek, Choquequirao trek, Salkantay trek, all tours always with Machu Picchu ending, the Inca culture is very interesting and if you travel to Peru you must visit it - and not missing Inca Trail to Machu Picchu. In Huaraz we have running out the tours: Santa Cruz trek, Alpamayo trek, Huayhuash trek, and the climbs, and Nevado Pisco trek, Nev. Vallunaraju, Tocllaraju, Alpamayo and Huascaran. Every year our club members go from 15 to 20 people to Huaraz, and in Cusco culture we have groups from 18 to 30 people, and all these trips are made by our partner Eric and Juventino in Peru. And friends always return very happy with the services they perform on the tours we sell. We recommend them to make a quality and safe trip, they have about 30 certified guides working for them, Juventino is the head of the company and is a member of UIAGM - IFMGA. They also have a family Hotel called \"Alpamayo Guest House\" this is in Huaraz, and every time our group ends their trek, climbing or expedition trip, the Juventino family invite us to a special dinner called (Pachamanca) as a very Inca Traditional food, this meal is prepared by JUVENTINOS wife Dina, she is a typical person of the area and they live in the Unchus village, this is an unforgettable dinner for all group participants. Next year we will extend our trip with mountain bike MTB around the Huascaran and the Huayhuash mountain range, and we will also have new trips from Lima: Nazca Lines, Arequipa Cañon del Colca, Cusco Inca Trail, Puno Floating Islands Lake Titicaca and the Tiawanaco culture peace.