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Choquekirao

  • Top Trekking Choquequirao to Machu Picchu
  • Top Trekking Choquequirao to Machu Picchu

Choquekirao or Choquequirao is a XV century Inca budding that is known as the other Machu Picchu; this archaeological site has recently gained a high level of importance and curiosity do to its great biodiversity and the cultural remains.

It’s located in the zone where begins the Amazon jungle, which is the transition from the Andean valleys to the jungle. Life in this area belongs to those given in dry, mountain and sub-tropical forests. The confluence of these environmental variations makes it an important attraction for visitors to observe various expressions of the fauna and flora like: the spectacled bear, the condor, colorful birds and hummingbirds.

From the Andean perspective its location is undoubtedly strategic, which allowed this unique settlement to encompass and have mastery over what could be considered one of the most extraordinary altitudinal routes in the country.

Choquekirao comes from the Quechua word “chuqui k’iraw”, which means “Cradle of Gold”, it extends in an area of 2,000 hectares square, where a set of structures are located above 3,100 masl, and is part of a series of architectural complexes within the Vilcabamba Mountain range; last Inca resistance site. Its geographical position and its history make CChoquekirao a pleasant and tempting place as an alternative form of cultural tourism.

The trip to Choquekirao is long and strenuous, but certainly unforgettable. It starts from Cusco by the road that goes to Abancay. At kilometer 154, take the detour to the town of “Cachora”; a very nice and picturesque Andean village; it is the last town before reaching the archaeological complex.

The road has recently been extended and arranged. To travel through it, it is now more comfortable and safe. Arriving in Choquekirao requires good physical condition and adequate equipment. Starting from Cachora (2,900 m.s.) it is necessary to go down to the Apurímac River (1,530 m.s.) to camp. The second day goes up to 3,085 m.s.n.m. of altitude, where the complex is located. From the archaeological complex one can continue to Machu Picchu or return by the same trail to “Cachora” then to Cusco.

History of Choquekirao

The great Choquekirao was probably administrative and religious center for the Vilcabamba region; many studies demonstrate that Choquequirao was like a control gate, to get the access to Vilcambamba, one of the most important regions in the Amazon Jungle.

From the year of 1532, arrival date of the Spanish conquer, until 1572, Choquekiirao was the last refuge of the last four Incas: Manco Inca, Sayri Tupac, Tutu Yupanki and Tupac Amaru I.

In 1834, the prefect of Cusco, José Maria Tejada went to Choquekirao, because he heard some stories about the gold that were lost in this place, and also Leonce Angrand made a cartography of the structures, but they all forgot about him and his plans. In the year that Hiram Bingham arrive to CUSCO, is just when the place acquire notoriety of the Historians, Archeologist and tourist.

The Manco Inca dynasty resisted the Spanish conquerors during 40 years (1536 to 1572) from this fortress in the Vilcabamba area. The Spanish conquerors were never able to dismiss them from it.

The building of Choquekirao is the work of Inca Pachacútec successors Túpac Inca Yupanqui (1471 – 1493) and Wayna Cápac (1493 – 1527). Household and ceremonial pottery has been found here that bears both the classic Cusco style and also from other populations who came to live here to build and permanently populate the area. Most likely, they were experienced farmers who knew how to build and use farming terraces in high Amazon forest areas.

How get there?

To Arrive to Choquekirao you must start in the city of Cusco, from where you’ll drive for four hours to the town of Cachora or plus 40 minutes to the zone of Capuliyuc; then walk  through the Apurimac Canyon. You’ll pass over a pedestrian bridge to cross the Apurimac River. From here the trail begins upwards until Choquekirao. After three hours, you will arrive at the town of Santa Rosa, where you can rest and then restart the road to reach, in two hours, the Marampata farmhouse. The journey is steep and the temperature is high.

From this hamlet the road that follows is flatter and advances from east to west, bordering the mountain. One hour after walk, you will arrive at Choquekirao. The only way to reach for the Choquekirao complex is by walking,

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Trip Facts

Duration:3-4-5-8 Days
Accommodation:Camping Tenst & Hotel
Difficulty:Moderate / challenge
Altitude:max- 4,200masl
Group Size:Max. 8 people in a group

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Choquequirao Map

Avoiding Altitude Sickness

 

We highly recommended that you spend at least two days in Cusco acclimatizing before beginning your Choquequirao Trek. We’ll assist you to organize hotels and excursions in Cusco for these all important acclimatization days. Cusco is unfortunately relatively high at 3,400m / 11,150ft so you will undoubtedly start feeling the altitude as soon as you arrive. Try not to exert yourself whilst in Cusco and drink lots of water. You can read more about acclimatisation and altitude sickness here.