Choquequirao Trek | Trip Itinerary

Day 1/Tue: Arrive Lima, where you are met and assisted to the nearby airport hotel Costa del Sol for a one-night stay. 

Day 2/Wed:  You’ll be met by our local representative and assisted through airport formalities for your morning flight to Cusco (not included in cost). Transfer to Hotel Casa Andina Plaza or similar.  Morning free to rest and acclimatize to the 11,600' altitude.  Afternoon group tour of city and the nearby ruins of Sacsayhuaman, Kenko and Tambomachay will give you a good background of the incredible history and culture of the region. (B)

Day 3/Thu:  Full day guided group tour to visit the Sacred Valley of the Incas. (Note:  you should leave un-needed clothing & gear for these next two days in a locked suitcase in luggage storage at your Cusco hotel)   Visit the colorful Indian market in Pisac, full of textiles, and handicrafts. Enjoy lunch at a local restaurant before you head won the valley to visit Ollantaytambo--a small town surrounded by Incan ruins.  Tour the adjacent great fortress for a spectacular view of the Urubamba Valley.  Spend tonight at the Hotel Pakaritampu or similar (B, L)

Day 4/Fri:  Walk the short distance to the train station at Ollantaytambo, where you will meet the tourist train as it travels from Cusco to Machu Picchu.  Meet your guide on board. Transfer to ruins + entrance fee + guided group tour + lunch are all included.  Be sure to note the time for the last bus down to Aguas Calientes, which is usually around 5:00 PM. Spend the night in this town, conveniently located to restaurants & the bus stop for Machu Picchu, and the train station back to Cusco. Hotel Machu Picchu Inn. (B, L)

Day 5/Sat:  Entrance fee to ruins, transportation and breakfast are included to use at your leisure.  Late afternoon return by train to Cusco.  On arrival, you will be met and transferred to your hotel, where you stay for the next two nights.  (B)

Day 6/Sun:  Today is free to further allow you to acclimatize to the high elevations in preparation for your trek.  You can explore the museums & nearby ruins, go mountain biking or horseback riding, or enjoy a nice day hike.  There are also many shops, markets & restaurants to explore as well.  Lunch and dinner on your own.  Tonight you will have a briefing session & orientation for your upcoming trek. (B)

Day 7/Mon:  To Cachora/Chiquisca.  Departing from Cusco in the early morning, we take a spectacular drive across the farmlands of the Anta Plateau, surrounded by the snow-capped peaks of the Andes. The winding road plunges more than 1,800m./6,000ft. to a bridge over the Apurimac Gorge, then climbs through lush fields and orchards before making a final descent to the village of Cachora, at 3,400m./11,100ft., where we encounter stunning close-up views of the Cordillera Vilcabamba. Here we meet our crew and horse pack train and begin our hike, catching our first glimpse of distant Choquequirao at the Capuliyoc lookout before dropping steeply through dry cactus and orchid country into the Apurimac River Canyon. We camp at the small oasis of Chiquisca, 2000m./6,550ft. (B, L, D)

Day 8/Tue:  To Choquequirao.  We descend the last fifteen hundred feet of elevation to the Apurimac River –“Great Spirit Speaker” in the Quechua language of the Incas – and cross the mighty river on a suspension footbridge, at 1550m./5,100ft. A broad trail makes a zig-zagging ascent, which takes us out of the dry canyon zone past small sugar cane plantations to upland meadows where, across a deep valley, we meet our first panoramic vista of the buildings and terraces of Choquequirao. The final leg of today’s hike passes through the cool shadows of a native cloud forest as we approach the wooded ridgetop (3000m./10,000ft.) where the Incas built their remote ceremonial center. We camp near the Inca ruins. (B, L, D)

Day 9/Wed:  In Choquequirao.  We have the entire day to explore this stunning Inca settlement. As mysterious as Machu Picchu, its name means “Cradle of Gold”. Early Spaniards knew of this place, yet its remoteness protected it. French explorers visited it in the 19th century, and in 1909 Hiram Bingham was first to scientifically investigate the site. Some speculate that the emperor Topa Inca had it built as a personal spiritual retreat, to rival his father Pachacuti’s magnificent estate at Machu Picchu. Whoever built this place, it was undoubtedly an elite settlement, built for ceremonial purposes and occupied by Inca nobility. The Apurimac River roars distantly 1,450m./4,800 ft. below, visible on either side of a steep ridge to which clings the Inca city. As we approach the heart of the city, a sweep of enormous curved terraces leads our eye to an artificial hill and ceremonial platform overlooking the main plaza. Here afternoon thermal currents bring Andean Condors soaring over the complex of temples, mausoleums, royal residences, ritual baths and water channels, great gathering halls, storehouses, hidden gardens and a giant stairway, all still standing as testimony to the careful planning of Inca engineers. Excavation work at the site is very recent, and archaeologists are continually uncovering hitherto unknown areas and structures. The steep mountainside below the main plaza features several clusters of newly-discovered buildings, including the so-called Ridge Group, and the Waterfall Temple, an intriguing ceremonial complex facing the cascades of a steep ravine. (B, L, D)

Day 10/Thu:  To Chiquisca.  The sun rises over the snowy crags of the Cordillera Vilcabamba, and we make our way across the meadows of Maranpata, where a row of Inca storehouses marks the limits of the Inca settlement. We return to the depths of the canyon, gaining new perspectives as we face the immense, multi-hued cliffs on the south bank of the river. At the crossing of the Apurimac River, we can take time to cool off in a swimming hole among the huge boulders that line the river. We return to the shade of the fruit and avocado trees at Chiquisca, where we make our final camp. (B, L, D)

Day 11/Fri:  To Cachora/Cusco.  We hike up out of the Apurimac Canyon, with the river receding to a distant, white ribbon below us and the glaciers of the Vilcabamba Range filling the sky ahead. After winding our way beneath spreading, smooth-barked trees, dripping with orchids and bromeliads, we regain the mountainous grasslands that stretch toward the Capuliyoc Pass and the pastoral valley of Cachora. Our transport awaits us here. Bidding farewell to our trail crew, we begin the breathtaking drive back to Cusco. (B, L)

Day 12/Sat:  Transfer to the airport for morning flight to Lima (flights not included in cost), or another destination in Peru.  (B)

B=Breakfast; L=Lunch; D=Dinner


June 5-16
July 17-28
August 14-25
September 4-15


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