Choquequirao | Choquequirao Trek
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Choquequirao | Choquequirao Trek

Choquequirao is a wonderful place just like Machu Picchu but least known and least explored. Choquequirao is also known as “the sacred sister” of Machu Picchu. It’s a big archeological place with buildings and balconies.


Choquequirao is located on the jungle's “eyebrow” which is the transition of the Andean valleys into the jungle. The wildlife in this are belongs to the dry, montane and subtropical forests. The confluence of these environmental variations makes Choquequirao an important attraction because the visitors can see different expressions of the flora and fauna of the place like the spectacled bear, the condor, colorful butterflies and birds like the trogon (bird similar to the quetzal).

Choquequirao comes from the word “chuqui k’iraw” which means “Golden cradle”. It’s spread over a 2000 hectares area where a set of structures are located above 3100 MAMSL. It is part of a series of architectural complexes within the Vilcabamba Valley (The last precinct of the Inca resistance).

  • Its geographic location and history make Choquequirao a nice and taunting place and an alternative to cultural tourism.
  • The Incan citadel of Choquequirao is an ideal stop in Cusco for those tourists who love nature and trekking.
  • The citadel is located at 3,035 MAMSL and the lower point of the tour is located at 1,461 MAMSL. It’s advisable that you get acclimatized before the trek because the climate is similar to Cusco’s climate.

Choquequirao Trek Peru

Choquequirao Trek Peru


To reach the lost City you need to do a heavy sacrifice and a lot of effort, unlike Machu Picchu where you can reach it by train or bus. The trek is hard and involves hills and slopes with low oxygen. The way to reach it is by trekking a lot and camping. There’s a chance that your water supply is not going to be enough, or that you feel cold or that the intense Andean sun burns you. The trip can be done in 4 or 5 days unless you want to visit nearby towns or you want to make it really fast.

The real story of Choquequirao is lost in the century's depths. It was probably a boundary fortress that was used to defend the superior valley of Apurimac from the attacks of the enemy nation, the Chancas. In the times of Viracocha the Chancas were a big danger to the capital of the Incas. 

It was probably built by Viracocha or maybe his sun Pachacutec, or his grandson Tupac Inca Yupanqui. It should probably protect the empire from the Amazonian “Antis” Choquequirao shows many stile differences with Machu Picchu, Pisac or Ollantaytambo.


You walk 31 km from Cachora to Choquequirao. The return is the same distance so you need to walk 62 km in total. The trek involves descending from a big mountain while the other half is an ascent.

The road to Choquequirao is made of two different big mountains. The descent belongs to Apurimac and the ascent belongs to Cusco. The initial part goes uphill to the Capuliyoc viewpoint and then the route goes downhill (sometimes on zigzag) to then connect to a climb of 1500 meters of altitude gain.

Choquequirao Architecture and Structures

Choquequirao's majesty is manifested in its architecture and carefully designed structures. This ancient Inca site reveals advanced engineering and a profound knowledge of the topography of the Andes.


The site's urban design reflects the meticulous planning that the Incas applied to their constructions. Choquequirao is organized around a series of interconnected plazas, courtyards, and structures, suggesting a multifunctional purpose. Streets and paved roads connect the different sectors, creating an orderly network that facilitates mobility within the site.


One of the most notable buildings is the Main Temple, which features impressive architecture with polished stone walls and niches. It is believed that this temple had religious and ceremonial importance. In addition, the Elite Houses, with their generous sizes and unique features, indicate the social hierarchy existing in Inca society.


The Agricultural Terraces are a distinctive feature of Choquequirao and reveal the skill of the Incas in mountain agriculture. These terraces served not only as cultivation areas but also as an ingenious solution for farming in steep, mountainous terrain. The irrigation and drainage systems associated with these terraces allowed for efficient use of water.


The precision with which the Incas fitted the stones into the structures at Choquequirao is astonishing. The stone blocks, carefully carved and fitted together without the use of mortar, are a testament to the building skills of the Inca civilization. Granite and andesite were the main materials used, and their choice not only provided durability but also aesthetic beauty.


Choquequirao was connected to other Inca sites through a network of paved roads. These carefully designed and constructed roads were essential for communication and transportation within the Inca Empire. Choquequirao's strategic location in this network of roads demonstrates its importance as a linking point between other cities and ceremonial centers.


Choquequirao Trail


The construction of Choquequirao reflects the skill and advanced knowledge of the Incas in construction technology. How they cut and transported the huge stones that make up the site remains an intriguing mystery. In addition, the use of stone and bronze tools demonstrates their mastery of metallurgy.


In recent years, significant restoration and conservation efforts have been undertaken at Choquequirao to preserve these unique structures. Organizations and archaeological experts have worked hard to maintain the site in good condition and ensure that future generations will be able to appreciate its beauty and historical significance.


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