The views at Choquequirao Hike are simply majestic! Imposing snowy peaks and hills covered with abundant vegetation dominate the valley at an altitude of over 2,800 meters, under an intensely blue sky strewn with clouds. It is the kingdom of the condor. In this Andean region the legendary citadel of Choquequirao is elaborated. Its name translates all the promises: the "Cradle of Gold"! Bingham visited it from 1909, shortly before the discovery of Machu Picchu. By an imperturbable beauty, it resisted the passage of the centuries, in the middle of the rocks and a wild vegetation, that always covers near 80% of its surface.Choquequirao is located at southeast of Lima, between the snowy peaks of Abancay and Machu Picchu, near the tumultuous waters of the Apurimac River. The best way to get back is, however, to go from Cusco. According to the legend, this lost city would have been the place where the last Incas, escaped from the Inca capital, would have found refuge and resisted the Spanish invasion for forty years. After the defeat of Manco II to Cusco, the survivors of the Inca Empire would have gone to Choquequirao. If you are thinking about take a trek to Choquequirao, here you will find some useful information for your trek:
- Location: In the District of Santa Teresa, Province of La Convención, Department of Cusco.
- Climate: Warm alternated with cold temperatures at night.
- Average temperature: The average annual temperature is 16 ° C.
- Season: In general, the climate is characterized by the alternation of a dry season (April - August).
- Access by land: In order to access the place, at present, you start from Cusco by the road to Abancay, until you take the detour to Cachora (2,800 masl), in the department of Apurímac, the journey takes approximately 4 hours. This is where the walk begins, some travelers decide to hire muleteers and mules to carry their luggage. The muleteers sometimes tend to act as guides. The entire round trip lasts 4 days and it is necessary to camp along the way.
- Rate: Adults 60 soles and students 30 soles.
The type of climate characteristic of the area is semi-dry temperate with relative humidity between 65% and 84%, dry in autumn and winter. Due to its geographical position, Choquequirao has a warm climate alternated with cold temperatures at night, the average annual temperature is 16 °C. In general, the climate is characterized by the alternation of a dry season (April - August), and another with incipient pluvial precipitations (September to December) and finally three months with a lot of rain (January - March); However, in the lower areas, rainfall is abundant and distributed regularly throughout the year.
FLORA AND FAUNA.
The environment in Choquequirao Trek is one of the richest in biodiversity. All these species have been conditioned despite the temperature variations such as sunshine throughout the day and inclement frost during the night. The fauna of the place is composed mainly of condors, tarucas (Andean deer), vizcachas, foxes, skunks, pumas, hummingbirds, bears and the cock of the rocks, national bird of Peru. In its flora, giant ferns, ichu and a great variety of orchids stand out, where the wakanki variety stands out.
ARCHAEOLOGICAL COMPLEX OF CHOQUEQUIRAO.
For the purposes of archaeological research, the complex has been divided into 12 spaces with Roman numerals from north to south. The monument at Choquequirao Trek is characterized by a set of platforms and enclosures around the main or central square and it is from it that there are buildings of kanchas and associated enclosures, as well as water sources associated with Qolqas.
- SECTOR I.- High part of the set called Hanan Square, also called upper square is a structure of two levels, next to the entrance of the main water channel that is caught the Ch'unchulmayu river, here is the main temple, ceremonial fountains , channels, a medium-sized Kallanka; in the lower part a small patio and two opposite rooms facing the same passage.
- SECTOR II.- Sector of the Qolqas, workshops, houses in which long and thin sequential buildings are described on two levels and on terraces of platforms formed by five buildings, on the left side there is a water source, here there are 16 platforms of experimental culture eminently ceremonial. Place destined preferably to the production of metallurgical and ceramic objects, place of housing for the craftsmen as well as places of storage of products.
- SECTOR III.- The central and broadest plaza of the complex, on the north side are Kanchas with its flatlands, the temple of Urin, adjacent to it are also two precincts of priests or twin sunturhuasis. In this sector is also located a rectangular Kallanka that was accommodation for visitors or travelers or as there is another explanation was the meeting place of the inhabitants.
- SECTOR IV.- Buildings located to the south of the central square, it is a double jamb with a labyrinth distribution in the interior, identified as Urin lower square, there is also the Urin double jamb temple in its windows and access doors to niches that are inside the temple.
- SECTOR V.- Platform with delimitation of irregular circular walls called Usnu, located on a small hill whose geomorphology was modified to achieve its surface.
- SECTOR VI.- Enclosures and structures at the southern end of the complex, where simple courts and two enclosures are connected by a set of platforms, also known as the priests' sector, which is made up of two precincts.
- SECTOR VII.- It is the sector of platforms which are divided by stairs, exclusively farming platforms for the class of the nobility, these platforms are larger and are divided into three terraces and their length is 15.0 meters long. long and 10 wide and the walls measure 4 meters high.
- SECTOR VIII.- The denominated sector of the llamas with a style very different from the Inca constructions and that seems a style of the Chachapoyas culture.
- SECTOR IX.- Pikiwasi, possibly the sector served to be occupied by the weavers, explains the innumerable samples of yarns and their respective instruments as pyres, spinning wheels made of camelid bones, all these proposals are only hypothesis of the research work that is developing.
- SECTOR X.- Corresponds to the sector of platforms located towards the extreme south east of the set, are agricultural platforms that are not intervened, is located in the Ch'unchulmayu river canyon.
- SECTOR XI.- The sector of Phaqchayoq that is being intervened by the Copesco plan, currently as well as the sector of Pinchiunuyoc that is on the slope of the Blanco River, which were eminently places of agricultural activity that later investigations confirmed or explained exact form.
- SECTOR XII.- Area of residential platforms and agricultural production, on the slope of the Blanco river, entering through Yanama. Known as the Phaqchayoq sector and includes two subsectors, agricultural platforms, House of the waterfall or waterfall.
It is advised to prepare to have good physical at the time of the Choquequirao Trek and carry little weight because the road is narrow. Also, bring camping equipment, and that is to camp for a night before continuing with the tour.
6 Reasons why this trek is worthwhile
We thought long and hard about whether, on our first visit to Peru, we should do the famous Inca Trail, which is also filled with tourists, the Lares Trail, where you get in touch with villagers, trekking only to Choquequirao, or hiking via Choquequirao to Machu Picchu - as we did in the end - should do. The following points convinced us before the start of our 8-day trekking:
- Visit of the two most important Inca ruins in Peru: the llama races and solitude at sunrise on Choquequirao and Machu Picchu (since 2007 one of the New Wonders of the Modern Age).
- Hiking far away from the crowds of tourists: Especially for the first four days: you can only get there on foot, no car, no bus, no plane, no boat, no zipline and therefore no package tourists.
Go to sleep with a view of the starry sky and wake up with a view of the stunning Andean panorama (especially at the Choquequirao and Maizal campsites).
- The length of the hike is variable. You can also hike the route in 6 or 7 days - but it was important to us to always pause on the paths and enjoy the landscape and the silence.
- Warm to cold, sparse and dry to green and tropical - weather-wise everything is there and this is also reflected in the flora (from dusty, wooded to places overgrown with orchids and avocado trees).
- Two high altitude highlights during the trekking: San Juan Pass (4170 m) and the Yanama Pass (4670 m)
We have often read before that the trekking - especially up to Choquequirao - would not always be a walk in the park and that it sometimes demands a lot from you physically. Especially compared to the popular Inca Trail, this trekking involves constantly descending hundreds of meters and then hiking up at least the same distance again. This challenge and the fact that we managed it - precisely because it was our first trekking ever - makes for the special appeal and many memories that are associated with it for us. The altitude profile prepared by us (click to enlarge the graphic) gives a first insight into the constant ups and downs of this trekking.