Meaning ‘Cradle of Gold’ in Quechuan, the entrancing Choquequirao is considered to be Machu Picchu’s hushed-up sister, hidden in the spurs of the Salkantay Mountain Ridge. It is imagined to be an entrance city, if not the main religious centre, to the lofty Incan Vilcabamba empire.
Reached only by a 20-mile hike, the site sits at 3,050 metres above sea level and was discovered in the early 18th century but left unexcavated until the 1970s, meaning only 30 to 40% has been unearthed so far. Hovering over the stunning Apurímac river canyon with views of peaks that seem to catch and hold the clouds as they pass over, Choquequirao spreads itself over 1,800 hectares (larger than Machu Picchu).
The restored parts of the city feature a lovely lawned main plaza, a central temple, aqueducts, crop terraces and residential houses all designed in alignment with the movement of the sun and stars (most Incan cities were) and all underneath the mount of Sunch’u Pata.
More importantly its remoteness, being well off the trodden track, means you have a good chance of sharing the site with just the resident Andean Condors. We offer exclusive four- and five-day private 60-kilometre treks to Choquequirao inclusive of equipment, meals, guides, a chef, pack animals and transfers. Speak to a Travel Designer if you are interested in including a trip to Choquequirao in your luxury Peru tour.
When to go
The Peruvian winter is the best time to trek, as you're likely to be rewarded with clear skies and wonderful views. It is not recommended to trek from December to February due to weather conditions.
What to do
- Wander through the barely excavated crop terraces, plazas, temples and residential houses all open to the sky and barely disturbed since its residents left
- Climb to the ceremonial hill promontory for panoramic views over the entire ruins
- Bask in all magnificence and majesty of your setting
Itineraries including Choquequirao
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