Choqolaqa: a forest of stones from another planet
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Choqolaqa: a forest of stones from another planet

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Choqolaqa: a forest of stones from another planet

Choqolaqa located in the town center of Cota Cota in the district of Tisco, province of Caylloma, Arequipa region, in Peruvian territory.


Choqolaqa, located at 4800 meters above sea level, is a group of gigantic ashlar rock formations, which were carved by wind erosion, achieving capricious animal figures (the condor, elephants, seals); streets, avenues, castles, women, angels, among others.


Choqolaqa is also known as Mauqaa Arequipa, which means old Arequipa.


The ancient settlers say that Choqolaqa was a prosperous city, with monumental buildings, squares, cathedrals and avenues. One day its inhabitants stopped respecting the apus and as punishment for the population, the city turned to stone.


From Arequipa to Choqolaqa there are approximately five hours of travel.


The beauty of this natural landscape has been attracting the eyes of tourists, because it allows them to play with the imagination and mysticism of the place.


Choqolaqa, the ancient Arequipa

This historic place, which is made up of majestic rocks, is known as the old Arequipa. According to its ancestral history, Choqolaqa was made up of large palaces, streets, avenues and zoos.


However, the locals say that this ancient civilization disobeyed the gods, who turned this city into stone. For the native peoples, this would be the explanation of the origin of this arid land and the appearance of its rocks.


Likewise, some of the people who have had the privilege of knowing Choqolaqa, assure that each part of this forest is a different world. It seems that each rock formation reveals the secrets of the ancient civilization that inhabited this area. Therefore, reaching this part of Arequipa is like taking a trip back in time.


For its part, Choqolaqa is located in the district of Tisco, a beautiful territory that stands out for its incomparable natural landscapes and its valuable monuments, such as its cathedral, which was built in the mid-18th century.


Enjoy the cultural tradition of Choqolaqa

Being an ancestral territory, this is the center of sacred rituals and festivities to thank Mother Earth. One of the most representative and important festivals that take place in this stone city is the Tisco – Choqolaqa Tourist Festival.


This cultural and religious event takes place once a year in Choqolaqa and seeks to highlight the traditions, crafts and attractions of this territory. In addition, within this festival, visitors will have the opportunity to share their culture, gastronomy and typical drinks with the native population.


Likewise, the communities make a small sample of their traditional dances. To do this, they present themselves with their colorful typical costumes made by themselves.


Another of the attractions of this event is the handicrafts exhibition, where alpaca producers from different parts of the country participate. Likewise, in this space, attendees can enjoy a delicious plate of fried trout, alpaca chicharrón and quinoa torrejas.


Finally, tourists can learn about livestock, alpacas breeding and trout fishing, activities that are part of the economy of this region.


What are the best plans to make in Choqolaqa?

One of the unmissable plans in this area is to go trekking or hiking, an activity with which you will be able to discover the different spaces of this territory. During the tour you will see the imposing stones, which have unique shapes. For this reason, this is an ideal setting for a photo shoot.


For this plan it is advisable to go in the company of a guide, preferably from the community, since they know the area well. In addition, together with them, you will learn the different stories about this territory, which are really interesting. In short, you will be able to take a fun time travel.


On the other hand, you can take the opportunity to participate in some of the gratitude rituals that indigenous peoples offer to Mother Earth.


Explore the historic Tisco district

Tisco is a small district in the province of Caylloma, which has great natural, historical, and cultural wealth.


In this beautiful town of indigenous tradition, important traces of ancient civilizations appear. Among them, some artistic expressions, where you can see figures of Andean camelids and humans.


For its part, one of the plans that we recommend for you to do in Tisco is to walk its streets and visit the main square. Inside this, the San Pedro Apóstol Church appears, a colonial temple of baroque style, which surprises for its perfect state of conservation. Likewise, if you enter this architectural marvel, you can climb to its highest point and have a panoramic view of the town.


How to get to Choqolaqa?

To get to this beautiful stone forest, you must first reach the town of Tisco. To do this, from Lima you can take a direct route to Arequipa. Some of the companies that carry out this route are Civa and Romeliza.


From this point, you must take a transport to Chivay, where you will have to take one of the buses that go to Tisco. These leave from the María Auxiliadora School and only work on Mondays and Wednesdays.


On the other hand, being such a small town, in Tisco there are not many places to stay. However, there is the parish lodging, which has several rooms for two people. In addition, some residents rent their houses so that tourists can spend the night without any inconvenience. In this space you can take advantage to learn more about their culture and traditions.



  • Inside this arid forest you can see several figures that have human forms praying.
  • During the rainy season this city is covered with ice.
  • Choqolaqa is also known as the Nauqqa Arequipa or the New Arequipa.
  • Some people claim that the figures in Choqolaqa are shaped like women, angels, and animals, such as seals, elephants, and condors.
  • In the town of Tisco an Andean mass is held, where they ask the Pachamama and the Apus for permission. This in order for attendees to renew their spiritual relationships with the Andean deities to always live in harmony.
  • Tisco is home to around 1,850 inhabitants. Their houses are made of adobe and stone, with thatched roofs, which have been conditioned for the rain.
  • The Church of San Pedro Apóstol belongs to the Franciscan order. This temple has four bells tied to a rope.
  • To make this an unforgettable experience, do not forget to bring the following objects:
    • Light and well secured backpack.
    • Walking shoes for trekking.
    • Hat, sunscreen and sunglasses.
    • Warm or thermal clothing.
    • Waterproof or sleeping.
    • Gloves, hat and scarf.
    • Photographic camera.
    • Snack and water.
    • Dizziness medicines.
    • Bags to deposit waste.
    • Hydrating drinks.

If you are going to travel to Tisco and Choqolaqa, remember that this is a natural territory with a great ancestral tradition. For this reason, you must carry out responsible tourism, following the instructions of the locals. Likewise, we suggest you be respectful of the religious and cultural traditions of the communities that live in this part. Finally, do not forget to enjoy this experience to the fullest.


Best Tours in Peru

Many are the routes that take you to Machu Picchu, but none is like the Inca Trail Tours, the most famous pedestrian path in the Americas. After flying from the capital of Perú, Lima, you will arrive in Cusco to walk for four days along a path through forests and dense fog, millenary stone steps and discovering the ruins of ancient fortifications and Inca cities, and all the time enjoying majestic views.

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