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llamas Choquequirao
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The llamas of the sun in Choquequirao

The Choquequirao llamas are zoomorphic figures that hide a mystery in all their representativeness. You can find 24 figures, according to the experts have no resemblance either before or after in the history of arts. These figures are found in a terrace area of Choquequirao.

llamas of Choquequirao

It is possible to appreciate the sequence of figures of the 24 llamas of the sun with a panoramic view of this entire sector of terraces. In this way, all zoomorphic representations make more sense.

The importance of Choquequirao

Choquequirao was a Tawantinsuyo citadel of great importance because it was built strategic point to connect the Andes and the jungle. This detail, although it may seem insignificant, is not. Both in the past and today, dominating or controlling the vast vegetation is difficult. Locating a citadel at this point would encourage expansion campaigns in the future, but the Spanish invasion deteriorated all these expansionist missions.

Little by little, more of everything that this place hides is discovered. According to the academic records, just an adequate study of 30% of the entire place was achieved. Choquequirao is larger than Machu Picchu and presents another type of construction and a greater number of terraces. At present, some particular studies are being carried out on certain sectors. This is the case of Las llamas del Sol from Choquequirao, which was recently studied in more detail. A really interesting study is the one carried out by Zenobio Valencia and Gori-Tumi Echevarría, which we will see later.

Let’s know some details briefly about Choquequirao:

  • It has an altitude of 3500 meters above sea level.
  • It is located between the regions of Cusco and Apurímac.
  • It is on a mountain, and the buildings rub against the clouds.
  • Choquequirao connects with the Vilcabamba valley, and the Apurímac valley, you can also take a hiking route to Machu Picchu.
  • It is very close to the District of Santa Teresa.
  • It was probably ordered to be built by the Inca Túpac Yupanqui.
  • It is estimated that a part of the construction of a culture before that of the Incas. The Incas, after their conquest, established their type of architecture.
  • If you want more information about Choquequirao, we invite you to see The truth about Choquequirao.

The lamas of the Sun of Choquequirao

Choquequirao still does not have 100% scientific studies, the study in these areas is complicated, so one can speculate on the different possibilities and conditions under which it was built. Something similar happens with Machu Picchu, are considered sisters due to the similarity, they have when using ravines or high peaks as settlements.

The llamas de Choquequirao is considered a special and unique construction for different reasons, one of which is that you cannot find similar constructions or buildings that at least have a similarity. This special characteristic is also because all the Inca archaeological sites or before them, do not have this formation. For specialists, all Choquequirao has a unique feature in the world.

The lamas of Choquequirao would come to represent an act, they follow a sequence in which they approach the main square. Although this sounds less important, it is not, the sequence is arranged in such a way that exists a narrative in the order. In addition, the stones that make up the llamas have a white color that contrasts with the rest of the gray. Something important to highlight is that they are structural decorations, this means that if someone decides to remove or remove the stones that make up the llamas, it would cause the platform to collapse or at least cause considerable damage.

The entire sector of the Lamas of the Sun, makes us understand the planning of the construction since to understand the movement that has the sequentiality of the act, it is necessary to have a panoramic view of the entire sector. The 24 lamas have a juxtaposed arrangement that connects from platform to platform. This form of artistic expression is what exalts its particularity compared to the rest of pre-Columbian art.

Archaeological Investigations in Choquequirao, Cusco, Peru. Vol. 1 (2019) is the book that brings together some of the recent archaeological and scientific studies of the sister of Machu Picchu. In the book, you can find a review of stories, previous records, and reports of some excavations. If you are a lover of Peruvian history, you cannot miss this text by the authors: Gori – Tumi Echevarría and Zenobio Valencia.

Where is Choquequirao?

Choquequirao is located on a plateau that borders the valleys and canyons formed by the Urubamba River. It is located in the district of Santa Teresa – Choquequirao belongs to the province of La Convención in the Cusco region. It is rarely visited because access is only through hiking trails. This allows few visitors to the entire Choquequirao archaeological site.

How to get to Choquequirao?

The only way to get to Choquequirao is through hiking trails. The minimum number of days is four days, including a round trip. This hiking route begins in the community of Cachora. Cachora is approximately 4 hours away. The distance from Cachora to Choquequirao is 32 kilometers along different ascending and descending trails. During the walk, it is possible to appreciate beautiful landscapes.

What to wear?

In recent years, the completion of the cable car project is expected, which achieved a more fluid visit to the place. Until that happens, the only way to get to Choquequirao is by hiking, which takes approximately 4 days. For this trip, what is necessary is to have resistant footwear ideal for hiking, light clothing, and change for the 4 days, and finally, the desire to discover all this spectacular Inca construction.

When is the best date to go?

If you are an adventure lover and ready for challenges, any time or month of the year is ideal to visit Choquequirao. However, to avoid any unforeseen events or problems, it is recommended to make the trips in the dry season which includes the months of April to October. If you want to visit Choquequirao for the rest of the months, we recommend that you check the weather conditions for the days on which you join the adventure.


By Ticket Machu Picchu – Last updated, February 24, 2023