The Choquequirao is considered the “Sacred Sister” of Machu Picchu. The only way to reach this citadel is a superb 4, to more-days trek, passing along the deep canyon of Apurimac, in the midst of snow-capped mountains and humid forests with rich fauna and flora. ”
We leave Cusco early (5:00am), driving along the road which goes north-west across the famous Pampas de Anta or Yawar Pampa (Blood Pampa, because of the ferocious battle between the Incas and the Chankas over possession of Cusco city). We cross the mountains and descend to the warm town of Limatambo (2600m), where the archaeological site of Tarawasi is found.
We continue in the direction of the Cunyac Bridge over the Apurimac River, the natural border between the Cusco- and Apurimac region and follow the road to the settlement of Curahuasi, famous for its aromatic liquor: Macerado de Anis. Our final stop is the town of San Pedro de Cachora (2800m) around 4 hours’ drive from Cusco. Here we will meet our “arrieros” (horsemen), and begin our walk. We cross the Cachora creek and climb through a refreshing forest of eucalyptus and native vegetation to the dirt track which is passable by cars. From here the path is flat until the viewpoint at Capuliyoq (2850m). Estimated time to reach this point is 3 hours. From the lookout where we will enjoy our lunch, we have a spectacular view of the Apurimac River and Choquequirao.
We descent for 3 hours on a zigzagging footpath, crossing scrub and later a forest of native trees called Phaty. Finally we arrive at our first campsite called Chiquisca (1930m) after 6 hours hike. We can expect a warm night in the valley.
After breakfast, we begin our descent to Playa Rosalina (1550m), where we are going to climb uphill on a zigzagging path, towards Santa Rosa (2095m). After a recovery time, we continue upwards to Marampata (2850m), a flat place where we can rest in similar conditions as Santa Rosa; enjoying a splendid view of Choquequirao. Time from the Apurimac River to here is around 4 to 5 hours. The gradient varies from almost flat to very steep. We follow the path which begins flat, and then has several uphill and downhill sections before the campsite at Choquequirao (3033m). This campsite has bathrooms and a cold shower.
We hike 7 hours this day in a rather warm climate, with a total distance of 14 km to the campsite.
We have a full day to discover the enormous complex of Choquequirao. Your guide will try to show you the most recently discovered areas the agriculture terraces and the sector of the Llamas sculptures that are a more remote sector. The archaeologists are still discovering new parts of the complex that is covered by intense jungle. You will have time to explore the complex at your own. Late in the afternoon we will start the return trek, and we will make camp at Marampata (2850m) (approx. 2 hours). Our hike will be about 5 hours in a rather warm climate.
After breakfast we continue our return journey, beginning with a steep descent down to the Apurimac River where we will stop for lunch. In the afternoon we will climb for approximately 4 hours and then make camp at Coca Masana (2150m). The walk uphill will this ti.
me be easier than on the second day. We hike about 7 hours today in a rather warm climate
Day 5 will be the last trekking day and we will be able to appreciate the Apurimac canyon as we follow the trail that crosses through the canyon to the point where the trek started. We arrive at Cachora (2850m) and take our bus to Ollantaytambo. In the evening, you will take the train (1 hour 30 minutes) from the train station in Ollantaytambo to Aguas Calientes, where you will spend the night in a hotel. Your guide will not follow you to Ollantaytambo, but instead you will have a new guide waiting for you the next morning.
Early in the morning we take the bus from Aguas Calientes (2050m) to the archaeological site of Machu Picchu. You have the opportunity to climb the difficult path to the top of the Huayna Picchu Mountain (2700m) – the pyramid-shaped peak that overlooks Machu Picchu, which offers spectacular and different views. From Huayna Picchu it is even possible to see the famous Apu Salkantay snow captured mountain.
The 2hrs guided tour of Machu Picchu allows us to appreciate the high level of development achieved by Andean civilization through the Incas.
Machu Picchu demonstrates the superior knowledge achieved in astronomy and astrology. Knowledge of rainy and dry seasons through the solstices was indispensable for developing agriculture; the life-source of the Andes. In the afternoon, at Aguas Calientes, you can enjoy a relaxing bath at the local hot springs before having the train back to Cusco.
For the tour we provide a duffle bag (normal sports bag), where you can put in your personal belongings and sleeping back that you don’t want to carry at the trek, but still have with you on the tour. You are allowed to fill the bag with 8 kg, which the mules on the trek will carry. To get this duffle bag you ask at our travel office.
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