Choquequirao Mountain Trek

Choquequirao Trek

This amazing Andean Trek takes you to the lovely trek to the lesser-known Inca site of Choquequirao.


Experience the incredible flight of the Andean condor

Choquequirao is an Inca citadel, and is just as impressive as the world famous Machu Picchu. It’s commonly known as the ‘Lost City of the Incas’ because it’s so remote and difficult to get to. This means that it has very few visitors on a daily basis and is a great alternative if you don’t like large crowds.

Only a part of the site is uncovered at the moment and is huge overall. You get to enjoy the immense citadel in peace with just the sounds of nature to accompany you. Similarly to Machu Picchu, it formed a link between the Andean and Amazonian regions.

This archaeological site was hugely important in its time and it served as one of the last resting places of the Incas before the Spanish invasion.

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Choquequirao Trek Packages

To visit Choquequirao there are a few different treks, ranging from 4 days to 8. You can opt to visit only Choquequirao or combine it with a visit to Machu Picchu. Depending on your fitness and time available in Cusco, you can choose the right option for you.

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Great Experiences & Magical Places

The Journey is the Destination

What better way to explore a magic destination than by following in the footsteps of the people who know it best? To find out the best places to view during your Salkantay Trek, take a look at some of our traveler's favorite places.

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Choquequirao Travel Guide

Before You Go, What You Should Know

Salkantay Highlights

  • Enjoy the pure beauty of this Inca archaeological complex.
  • Discover many secrets of the Incas and learn a lot of the important history.
  • See many species of exotic animals and plants as well as coca leaf plantations.
  • Feel free as you walk through the Peruvian nature and soak in the fresh Andean air.
  • Experience the incredible flight of the Andean condor.
  • Witness the different climates of the Andes and the jungle.
  • Observe small villages on the way and see how people live in remote areas of Peru.

What to Expect on the Trail

Knowing what to expect from the trek in advance can be a great help when getting ready for your trip or deciding to book it in the first place. Read on for what to expect on the Choquequirao trek

It’s a Challenge

This is one of the more challenging treks in Peru, so you need to be prepared. Different altitudes and terrains mean that parts are difficult. In regards to distance, this isn’t very far at all compared to other trails, but the gradient is tough.

Feeling the Altitude

Like with any trek in Cusco, we recommend you spend 2-3 days in the city beforehand. If not, you’ll find that the altitude affects you much more on the trail. You might experience lightheadedness or headache as you trek, but this is normal.

Cold Nights

You’ll be camping along the trail and the nights in the Andean mountains can get very chilly. You’ll need a warm sleeping bag and clothing to keep you cozy.

Warm Days and Insects

In contrast to the nights, the days are very warm. You’re going to be hiking much closer to the sun as you’ll be at high altitude, so the UV rays can do a lot more damage. There are also plenty of bugs along the way, so repellent is a must.

Basic Supplies and Amenities

Being far away from the city means that you need to go back to basics. You’ll find small stands along the way to buy snacks and water, but it’s better to be prepared. Toilet paper is a must and don’t expect luxury bathrooms.

Motion Sickness

The road to get to the trek is windy and makes you feel a little motion sick. Just prepare beforehand and you’ll be ok. Many people like to sleep along the way to avoid it altogether. This is usually doable as the ride is early in the morning.

Beautiful Surroundings

There’s no doubt that a trek through the Andes is stunning. The scenery that surrounds you is beautiful and you’ll see some lovely flora and fauna. The rolling hills provide for one of the best landscapes you’ll see in your lifetime.

Where is Choquequirao?

The ruins sit high in the mountains surrounding the city of Cusco. It’s far away from Machu Picchu and the Sacred Valley and isn’t visited by many. It’s in the Vilcabamba mountain range and sits at 3,050 masl. It’s in the Santa Teresa district of La Convencion.

Difficulty Level

This is a challenging trek and one of the toughest in Cusco. It isn’t a long-distance hike, but you’ll be climbing steep trails and the days will be hot while the nights are cold. You’ll find that the elevation changes along with the climate making you experience hot and cold changes quickly. There are easier sections, but the trek is challenging overall.

Choquequirao Packing List

Getting your things together for a trek can prove challenging, especially when you’re going to be passing through different climates and altitudes. To help you out, we’ve put together the ultimate packing list to make sure you have everything you need.

  • Hiking boots
  • Long pants/leggings
  • The temperature at night can go as low as -15°C.
  • Thermal layer for underneath your clothes
  • Long sleeved t shirts
  • Hiking socks
  • Clean underwear for each day
  • Waterproof jacket/poncho
  • Sandals for campsites
  • Walking poles
  • Sleeping bag
  • Headlamp/flashlight
  • Thermal layer for underneath your clothes
  • Warm hat and gloves
  • Toilet paper
  • Wet wipes and packing list
  • Reusable water bottle
  • Protection from the sun; sun hat, sunglasses, factor 50 or more sunscreen
  • Strong insect repellent
  • Good quality camera or phone with camera
  • Charger pack
  • Medicine and first aid supplies

Choquequirao Tips

Take a look at the following tips to help you prepare.

  • Go on hikes back home before you come to mentally and physically prepare your body for the tough trek to come.
  • Create a daily routine of stretches and exercises to get your fitness level up.
  • Spend 2-3 days in Cusco before you set off on the trek to acclimate.
  • When you arrive in Cusco, drink as little or no alcohol as possible. The alcohol will dehydrate you and make hiking at high altitude a lot more difficult and make you more susceptible to sickness.
  • Due to the tough terrain and steep climbs, walking poles are recommended.
  • A quality sleeping bag is a great idea. You need it to be able to withstand cold temperatures at night.
  • Keep up your water intake. It’s easy to become dehydrated at high altitude and with the strong sun beating down on you.
  • Go at your own pace. There’s no problem if you walk faster or slower than the rest of your group. There’s no need to over-exert yourself.

Recommendations for Choquequirao Trek

Finally, to make sure you have everything you need and are as well prepared as can be, here are some recommendations.

Book Ahead of Time

Even though the Choquequirao trek is a quiet route and doesn’t tend to sell out, it’s a good idea to book in advance. This is because your tour operator will need time to prepare and organise the trip. Hoping for a last minute spot may mean you’re disappointed when you get here.

Use the Packing List

You really need to make sure you thoroughly check the packing list and have everything you need. Once you leave the city there’ll be no turning back and nowhere to top up on forgotten items. You don’t want to be freezing at night because you forgot the right clothing.

Check Out When to Travel

The weather in Cusco doesn’t change too much during the year, but November to April is the rainy season. This can make the trail slippery and a little more dangerous. May to October is the dry season, however this makes it colder at night.

Don’t Forget Travel Insurance

Most operators won’t let you travel without it. If you were to suffer an injury and didn’t have coverage, you’ll find that medical care is very costly in Cusco.

Stock Up on Extra Snacks

Although the company you travel with may give you daily snacks, it may not be enough. We recommend taking some extras for when you need a boost of energy, like nuts, fried fruits, or chocolate.

Prepare for the Altitude

As mentioned before, you’ll be heading up to high altitude. You’ll need to plan for this by coming to Cusco 2-3 days before the trek. You can talk to your doctor back home about pills to help. You can also make use of coca tea and candies, which can really help.

Be Ready to Go Back to Basics

Remember that there’ll be no showers or proper toilets along the way. This is why we recommend toilet paper, wet wipes, and hand sanitiser.

Travel Information

  • Lightbulb Highlights
  • Flag icon What to Expect?
  • Map and Location icon Where is Choquequirao?
  • Difficulty level icon Difficulty Level
  • Waterfall icon Choquequirao Packing List
  • Information icon Choquequirao Tips
  • Recommendation icon Recommendations
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