The Choquequirao Trek is one of the less traveled routes in Cusco and the access to the trail is free, however once at the archeological site of Choquequirao an entrance fee will need to be purchased. The cost of the ticket is quite inexpensive (about USD 13.00) and an area to camp will be assigned at the Marampata campsite. This campsite is located at the skirts of the Main Temple area. In the case of the rest of suitable areas for campsites, it is important to know that before settling in, you need to get verbal permission from the villagers or locals. Most likely, the villagers will ask for a monetary compensation which is usually quite low.
When hiking this route, please do not leave trash behind and maintain the area as pristine as possible. It is not likely that the Peruvian government will decide to regulate this trail due to the reduced amount of trekkers that trek it; however, it is important to know that if the environment is not respected, the government will take action as they did with the Inca Trail (one of the main reasons to have strict regulations to access the Inca Trail is that the route was trashed and not taken care of by solo trekkers and local tour operators).
The traditional Choquequirao Trek connects the town of Cachora with the Archeological Site of Choquequirao. The Cachora Town is located 162 kilometers away from Cusco. This trail is approximately 64 kms / 40 miles long both ways and it goes from one side of the Apurimac Canyon to the other one by crossing the Apurimac River.
How difficult is the Choquequirao Trek offer by GoTrekPeru.com?
Our version of the Choquequirao trek is approximately 55 kms / 35.5 mi. Keep in mind that most companies provide transportation until Cachora. We take our travelers to the view point of Capuliyoc. This trail is one of the toughest treks in Cusco and it is important to be used to hike or exercise. Also, acclimatization is needed for this hike.
Should I be in good physical shape to trek the Choquequirao route?
This is a moderate to difficult trek with a descend of 4,477 feet above sea level (1,365 m.a.s.l.) to the bottom of the Apurimac Canyon where the river of the same name is located, and a physically challenging ascent of 4,416 feet above sea level (1,346 m.a.s.l.) to Marampata. For this reasons, it is important to be in good physical shape and used to the altitude of a high altitude city such as Cusco before starting it. It is recommended that you stay in Cusco or another high altitude city a couple of full days prior to starting the trek. In addition, you might choose to take high altitude sickness pills or chew coca leaves during the trek.
What's the most difficult section?
The constant ascent from Playa Rosalina to Marampata. This tough hike is usually achieved on day 2 of the traditional 4 or 5 Day tour package offered around Cusco. If this hike is executed in one day, it will be a challenging trek. The reward will be an intriguing archeological site located on top of a mountain with incredible views of the canyon, the Apurimac River, surrounding mountains, and the cloud forest. From December to the first two weeks of March it rains in high volume and mud slides are common so it is better to avoid these months. Some hikers might experience symptoms of altitude sickness. Symptoms will alleviate as lower elevation is gained.
Can I hike the Choquequirao Trek at any time?
Yes, but at some times of the year it is not recommendable. There are not legal constrains against hiking the Choquequirao Trek at any time during the year. However, during the rainy season (from December to mid-March) heavy rain and thunderstorms make the trek uncomfortable and dangerous. Also, mud slides are not unfamiliar to this area.
Does the Choquequirao Trek end in Machu Picchu by foot only?
Yes, there is an available route (not the traditional 4 or 5 Day Trek) to start by foot from Cachora and end in Machu Picchu Town or the archeological site of Machu Picchu by foot as well. This route follows the same steps, at some points of the trek, than the Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu (specifically, La Playa Sahuayaco, the archeological site of Llactapata, the Santa Teresa Hydroelectric, and Machu Picchu Town)
Can I bring children?
Children under 12 years old should not be at this trek. Also, children should be used to hiking long distances.
When is the best time to hike the Choquequirao Trek?
The beginning of the dry season is the best time to do the trek. The dry season runs from April to November, while the wet season runs from December to March. When the wet season is coming an end, vegetation is at its best and landscapes are breathtaking.
From June to October the Canyon gets very hot during a sunny day and there is not vegetation around to provide a shade for a relaxing break.
What is the weather like?
During the dry season, weather is not a major concern. The overnight at Marampata campsites brings temperatures that can be close to freezing at night. The annual maximum temperature varies from 20° to 27° Celsius (68º to 81º Fahrenheit) and minimum temperatures range between 0° to 11° Celsius (30 to 52º Fahrenheit).
What should I bring to the trek?
Mainly comfortable waterproof hiking shoes, long sleeve shirts, t-shirts, a good waterproof jacket, scarf, gloves, raincoat, hat, thermal pants and socks for the cold nights, sunglasses, a good sleeping bag for cold weather, mosquito repellent, sunscreen, water purification pills, toilet paper or paper towels, flashlight, hand sanitizer, a small first aid kit, some coca leaf candies, bathing suit and off course a camera.
Can I hike the Choquequirao the next day that I arrive at Cusco?
You shouldn’t. The main effects of altitude sickness show the first or second day of being in a high altitude City. For that reason, we highly recommend that you hike the Choquequirao Trek a couple of days after arriving in Cusco.
What should I do to avoid altitude sickness?
To avoid altitude sickness, give yourself time to acclimatize to the change in altitude. (Two days minimum is recommended). Try to avoid alcohol, and make sure you eat lightly and drink plenty of water. Make sure to stay hydrated, walk slowly and take frequent breaks. Drinking coca leaf tea always helps. It is widely available, and your hotel in Cusco will probably offer it as well.
What should I do if I get altitude sickness?
Drink plenty of liquids, (coca leaf tea will definitely help), take a nap and try to rest. If you are in the middle of the trail and start feeling dizzy, extremely tired, nauseated, and have a headache, ask for advice from your guide. Guides have plenty of experience in this matter. Also, if symptoms do not improve, you should trek to a lower elevation area.
Is water available along the trail?
Yes. On the way, there will be a few small creeks or small waterfalls, small water channels, lagoons, natural deposits of water and small rivers. This water should not be drunk before filtering it with a reliable water filter.
Are there bathrooms during the trek?
In this trek, the will be basic bathroom facilities in the small campsites of Chiquisqua, Playa Rosalina, Santa Rosa Baja, Santa Rosa Alta, and Marampata (This when hiking the traditional route).
Are there small shops along the trail?
The campsites will have for sale some items such as beverages, cookies, candies, among other. Prices at these places will be significantly higher than in Cusco City.
Are mosquitos and flies an issue in this trek?
Yes. This trek takes place in the Apurimac Canyon and mosquitoes will be present when getting closer to the Apurimac River, therefore you should carry an insect repellent with you (preferable a repellent containing DEET between 15% and 25%).
Are there thermal pools along the trek?
No when hiking the traditional 4 or 5 Day Choquequirao Trek. If hiking to Machu Picchu stopping in Choquequirao first, then the hot springs of Cocalmayo in the town of Santa Teresa can be visited. The 4 pools at the small complex are relaxing with beautiful views.
Do all the tour operators provide the same service?
No. Make sure you are hiring a professionally run tour operator that will take proper care of you and the environment. If you see prices that are too low, be careful! Some companies have hidden extra charges or fees. Many companies won’t provide all the services they advertise!
Can I trek this route by myself?
Yes, you are able to hike the trek by yourself. The route is clearly set and it is hard to get lost if you speak Spanish. Even though, it is hard to get lost, it is recommended that you hire a company and a tour guide who is familiar with the area and the locals along the trek.
Below there is a suggested checking list for the Choquequirao Trek:
Choquequirao, or Cradle of Gold, is one of the most impressive Inca complexes all over Peru. Only Machu Picchu and Kuelap can be compared to Choquequirao. Our staff has designed this journey to give you enough time to truly enjoy this remarkable site while appreciating the surrounding flora, fauna, and breathtaking landscapes. This is a tough hike but every step to Choquequirao will be rewarded.
Day 1: CUSCO - CACHORA TOWN - CAPULIYOC - SANTA ROSA (About 5 hrs - 15 Km) (B), (L), (D)
Day 2: SANTA ROSA - MARAMPATA - CHOQUEQUIRAO (About 6 hrs and a half - 13 km) (B), (L), (D)
Day 3: FULL DAY AT CHOQUEQUIRAO (B), (L), (D)
Day 4: MARAMPATA - CHIQUISCCA - COCAMASANA (About 6 hrs - 16 km) (B), (L), (D)
Day 5: COCAMASANA - CAPULILLOC - CACHORA TOWN - CUSCO (About 5 hrs and a half - 16 Km) (B), (L)
We offer daily departures. book the departure date of your preference
15% OFF for groups of 4 to 6
25% OFF for groups of 7 and more
Your guide will pick you up from your hotel in Cusco at 05:00 hrs approximately. Your transportation will arrive in Chachora Town after 5 hours. On the way to Cachora, there will be a stop at Limatambo to eat breakfast. Cachora is a small town located at 9,512 feet above sea level (2,900 m.a.s.l.) in the Region of Apurimac, and known because of its proximity to the Archeological Site of Choquequirao.
Once in Cachora Town at 10:00 hrs, you will have some time to relax and then your ride will take you to the starting point of the trek known as Capuliyoc. This view point will be reached in about an hour and a half. Capuliyoc is only a few meters higher than Cachora, but from this point the views of the Apurimac Valley and nearby snowy peaks, such as the Pedrayoc, are spectacular. A descent of 4,477 feet above sea level (1,365 m.a.s.l.) to the Apurimac River starts from this point.
The first portion of your journey will take you to the small campsite of Cocamasana where lunch will be served. Your next stop will be Playa Rosalina which is located next to the Apurimac River at 5,084 feet above sea level (1,550 m.a.s.l.). This first portion of the trek takes about 4 hours including lunch time. At Chiquisca and Playa Rosalina there are basic bathrooms available. Insect repealent will be needed from Chiquisca to your overnight campsite know as Santa Rosa Baja.
From Playa Rosalina, you will ascend until Santa Rosa Baja is reached. Here you will spend the night and eat dinner. Today's trek will take about 5 hours in total.
This is the most difficult day of the trek due to the incline of the trek. The cook’s assistant will awaken you about 6:30a.m., offering you hot tea. Breakfast will be served at about 7:00a.m. From this point the hike will be a constant ascent until Marampata is reached.
The first portion of thetrek will take you in about 30 minutes to the small campsite of Santa Rosa Alta. In about three hours and a half you will reach your campsite located in Marampata at 9,500 feet above sea level. At Marampata you will have time to rest and relax at your tent. Bathrooms are available at this campsite. Also, in the afernoon, you will be able to visit the main plaza of Choquequirao. This is a great spot to obsevre the sky at night. Lunch and dinner will be served here.
Today, you will have the entire day to visit the different areas cleaned by the Peruvian government. Only 30% of Choquequirao has been cleaned. You will need the entire day to visit the complex.
Once again your cook’s assistant will wake you up around 7:00a.m. with a cup of hot tea. Breakfast will be served at about 7:30a.m., and after an hour you will hike towards Choquequirao. From Marampata to the entrance of Choquequirao will take about 30 minutes. Once in Choquequirao you will visit the Temple, the Main Square, the Hanan sector, and the Llamas sector. After about 4 hours you will return to Marampata where you will enjoy lunch. After lunch, you will visit the Water and Agricultural sector. After this visit you will go back to Marampata where you will spend the night. Dinner will be served here as well.
The cook’s assistant will awaken you about 6:00a.m., offering you hot tea. Breakfast will be served at about 6:30a.m. and after that you will start the hike going down for about four hours until you reach Playa Rosalina where you will have time to rest and relax.
Next, you will start hiking up for about one hour until you arrive to your lunch campsite named Chiquiscca. After lunch, you will continue going up for about two hours until you reach Cocamasana where you will enjoy dinner and you will spend the night.
Once again your cook’s assistant will wake you up around 6:00a.m. with a cup of hot tea. After breakfast at about 7:00a.m., you will start your hike towards Cachora. The first part of the trek will consist of a constant hike up for about 3 hours until your reach Capuliyoc. At this view point, you will have time to rest, relax, and enjoy the view.
The second part of the trek will take you to Cachora Town in about 2 hours and a half. Once in Cachora you will have time to relax and enjoy lunch. After lunch, private transportation will take you to your hotel in Cusco.
Price per person - USD
(2 people minimum per booking)
We offer daily departures for the Choqueaquirao Trek from April 1 to November 30. Book the departure date of your preference for this private tour.