The archaeological site of Choquequirao is known as ‘The Sacred Sister of Machu Picchu’ due to the similarity between both Inca sites. Currently, the only way to reach this place is through a 4-day trekking route. Find out all the information you need to visit Choquequirao, a place as incredible as Machupicchu.
- Choquequirao, basic information
- Trekking route to Choquequirao
- More information about Choquequirao
- What are the differences between Choquequirao and Machu Picchu?
- Who discovered Choquequirao?
- How much does the entrance to Choquequirao cost?
- How much does a tour to Choquequirao cost?
- What is the admission schedule?
- What is the difficulty of the Choquequirao tour?
- What does a tour to Choquequirao include?
- Photo gallery Choquequirao
- Questions and answers about the trip to Choquequirao
Choquequirao, basic information
What does Choquequirao mean?
Choquequirao is a Quechua word that means ‘Cradle of Gold’. The name comes from the nomination of a hill near the archaeological site.
Where it is located?
Choquequirao is located in one of the fringes of the mountain Salkantay, north of the Apurímac River. It is currently located in the district of Santa Teresa, province of La Convención, department of Cusco, Peru.
How high is it?
Choquequirao is located 3,033 meters above sea level. Due to its location, it is presumed that this Inca enclosure served as a checkpoint between the main Inca sites such as Pisac, Cusco and Machu Picchu.
What’s in Choquequirao?
Choquequirao has only been excavated 30%. In spite of this, it already has several very important Inca constructions:
- Main square – The main plaza or Huaqaypata divided the site into two. It is a two-story stone construction. Next to it, there are other buildings connected to each other.
- Colcas – Typical constructions of the main Inca centers. In Choquequirao, these platforms have internal subdivisions. The purpose of these deposits was to store products for food, clothing and others.
- Platforms – Choquequirao has an important number of platforms for cultivation. In the western sector there are 22 engravings in the shape of a flame arranged on 15 platforms. These figures are known as the ‘Llamas del Sol’.
- Housing – In the highest part of Choquequirao, there are up to 5 buildings whose purpose was probably housing for the priests of the enclosure. It is believed that this Inca site was an important ceremonial center.
- Inca Cemetery – Also known as the ‘Triumphal Wall’. There were found 17 funerary bales and a water gutter called “The house of the fall of water”.
- Kallankas – These rectangular buildings had multiple functions such as workshop, administrative center, meeting space, etc. In Choquequirao there are 2 Kallankas in whose walls there were gutters that supplied water.
- Ushnu – This oval platform construction is located on the top of a hill. Due to the wall that surrounds it and of the privileged view to the snowed ones, the river and all the enclosure; it is believed that it had a religious purpose.
How to get to Choquequirao?
The only way to get to Choquequirao is by land. Currently, the main route is going to the town of Cachora (2,903 masl), 3 or 4 hours by road from the city of Cusco (2 hours from the city of Abancay).
There, start the hike to the Inca archaeological site. The route crosses important points such as Capuliyoc, Maranpata and Sunchupata. It is estimated that from Cachora, after 32 kilometers on foot you will reach Choquequirao.
The walking time from Cachora to Choquequirao on average is 10 to 12 hours. A cable car is currently being built which would significantly reduce this time. This project could exponentially increase the visit to this archaeological site. It is expected that with the cable car the trip to Choquequirao will take only 15 minutes and will have the capacity to carry up to 400 people per hour.
Map Tour 4 days to Choquequirao
How’s the weather?
The archaeological site of Choquequirao is located at 3,033 meters above sea level. The climate is temperate with cold at night. However, the tourist will not remain in the Inca site until after sundown.
However, the road that leads to the summit of Choquequirao is hot due to the proximity of the Apurímac canyon. It is estimated that the temperature at the archaeological site varies between 5º C and 25º C.
How is the flora and fauna in Choquequirao?
Choquequirao is home to a variety of animals and birds such as the condor, foxes, vizcachas, pumas, hummingbirds, spectacled bears and the cock of the rocks In addition, like Machu Picchu, there is a great variety of orchids.
Trekking route to Choquequirao
4 day tour to Choquequirao
The most usual way to get to Choquequirao is through the trekking route of 4 days and 3 nights. You can hire this tour online or directly in an agency in the city of Cusco.
The tour to Choquequirao in 4 days and 3 nights is like this:
- Day 1: The tour begins in the city of Cusco between 5 a.m. or 6 a.m. At that time, the bus leaves for Cachora (4 or 5 hours). There you rest a little to start the trekking route. After about 5 hours of walking, you spend the night on the banks of the Apurímac River.
- Day 2: The walk continues very early after breakfast. The ascent becomes more arduous until reaching Marampata (3,000 masl). The route continues until finally arriving at the archaeological site of Choquequirao, after 10 kilometers of road.
- Day 3: After appreciating the most remote spaces of Choquequirao, the way back begins by the same way in which it was arrived. After almost 5 hours of roads, a camp is set up in the Chiquisca area.
- Day 4: The last day starts early. On the route you will reach Wayna Qali viewpoint where you will appreciate the beauty of the Apurímac canyon (considered the most beautiful in South America). After approximately 3 hours of walking, you will reach the town of Cachora where a car will return the tourist to the city of Cusco.
Tour Cusco – Choquequirao – Machu Picchu
There is another tour that connects Choquequirao with Machu Picchu in 8 days and 7 nights. In total 115 kilometers of history and adventure are covered.
- Day 1: The adventure that day begins in Cusco and ends on the banks of the Apurimac River after a bus trip to the town of Cachora. You walk between 4 or 5 hours that day.
- Day 2: The day starts early with an uphill and difficult road (4 or 5 hours) until arriving at the archeological site of Choquequirao ..
- Day 3: After touring Choquequirao, the route continues through places such as the Río Blanco sector and the Maizal sector. The day is demanding but rewarding for the landscapes it crosses.
- Day 4: The day crosses the Yanama pass, to then reach the so-called ‘Mina Victoria’, an ancient silver deposit. The day is not as demanding as the previous one.
- Day 5: That day begins to descend to the tropical geography of Peru. The zone of ‘Totora’ and the camp of ‘Collpa’ can be seen. The day is not of high demand.
- Day 6: The day goes through beautiful landscapes like different banana plantations and coffee plantations. The descent arrives at ‘La Playa’, where a waterfall falls.
- Day 7: The day starts very early until you reach the so-called ‘Hydroelectric Station’. The walk continues to the town of Aguas Calientes, at the foot of Machu Picchu. There he stays overnight in a hotel or lodging.
- Day 8: The day begins with an ascent to Machu Picchu. That morning, and part of the afternoon, is dedicated to tour the Wonder of the World. Then, the return to Cusco is by train and bus.
Tourists touring Choquequirao
Choquequirao on its own and without a tour?
Although many tourists choose to arrive in Choquequirao with a tour, it is also possible to do it on their own. To achieve this, you must follow the usual route and pay the entrance fee at the entrance to Choquequirao.
Important information to get to Choquequirao on your own:
- You can start the trip by bus to the town of Cachora from the city of Cusco or Abancay. You can use public transportation services at low cost from both cities.
- From the village of Cachora, the trekking route begins through well-marked paths.
- When walking on your own it is important to calculate the weight of the backpack. The food should last at least 5 days but should not weigh more than necessary.
- The normal tour lasts 4 days and 3 nights. By doing it on your own, the visitor can take more or less time.
- Once in Choquequirao, you must pay the entrance price (tours include the entrance). With that ticket, the visitor can spend the night in the surrounding camps to the Inca archaeological site.
What to take on a trip to Choquequirao?
Whether with a tour or on your own, there are some things necessary for all tourists visiting Choquequirao:
- Repellent against mosquitoes.
- Hat or cap.
- Sticks for walking.
- Raincoat (in case of rainfall).
- Sleeping bags (not included in the tours).
- Trekking shoes
- Trekking backpack.
When is the best time to travel to Choquequirao?
The best time to travel is between April to October. Choquequirao has two stations:
- Rainy season (from November to March): it is characterized by frequent fluvial rainfall. The sun is not so intense but the rain can harm the walk.
- Dry season (from April to October): it is characterized by the lower frequency of rains. The days are hotter and the nights are colder. However, the low possibility of rain, favors the walk.
Tips to go to Choquequirao
- While you do not need to be an expert mountaineer to visit Choquequirao, it is recommended that you do a little exercise before the adventure.
- Due to the altitude at which Choquequirao is located, altitude sickness or soroche can cause discomfort during the ascent. It is advisable to acclimatize to the climate of Cusco (or Abancay) before starting the trekking.
- Unlike Machu Picchu, Choquequirao receives very few visitors per day.. It is recommended to enjoy the nature and the archaeological site but with responsibility.
More information about Choquequirao
What are the differences between Choquequirao and Machu Picchu?
|Choquequirao and Machu Picchu differences|
|Translated names||‘Golden cradle’||‘Old mountain’|
|Location||Convención Province – Santa Teresa, Cusco||Urubamba Province – Aguas Calientes, Cusco.|
|Altitude||3,033 masl.||2,430 masl.|
|Extension||18 square kilometers||120 square kilometers|
|Function||Citadel and religious center||Citadel and religious center|
|Building date||1536 AD||1450 AD|
|Discovery date||1909 (Hiram Bingham)||1911 (Hiram Bingham)|
|Entrance ticket||60 S/. (general admission)||152 S/. (Machu Picchu ticket only)|
|How to get?||With a 4-day walking route (round trip)||With a 4-hour tourist train ride (optional 4-day Inca Trail)|
|weather||Temperate (from 5º C to 25º C.).||Warm temperate (from 13ºC. to 26ºC.).|
|Tour price||USD 510 for a 4-day tour (approximately)||USD 250 for a 1-day tour (approximately)|
Who discovered Choquequirao?
As well as Machu Picchu, many people knew the existence of Inca archaeological remains in Choquequirao. However, it was Hiram Bingham (the discoverer of Machu Picchu) who in 1909 made known to the world the importance of the Inca site..
It was not until 1970 that excavation work began. Currently, it is estimated that only 30% of Choquequirao is unearthed and put on display to the public.
How much does the entrance to Choquequirao cost?
If you travel by your own account you will have to pay the following rate at the entrance to Choquequirao:
|How much does the entrance to Choquequirao cost?|
|Rate for all countries||Price in soles (S/.)||Price in dollars (U$D)|
|General adult||60 S/.||18 U$D|
|College student||30 S/.||9 U$D|
|Childrens||25 S/.||7 U$D|
*The price of the ticket allows you to stay more than one day in Choquequirao.
How much does a tour to Choquequirao cost?
The price of a 4-day, 3-night tour to Choquequirao depends on the number of visitors in a group.
Cost of a tour to Choquequirao on average:
|How much does a tour to Choquequirao cost?|
|Number of visitors||Price in soles (S/.)||Price in dollars (U$D)|
|2 people||1632 S/.||510 U$D|
|3 people||1408 S/.||440 U$D|
|4 people||1280 S/.||400 U$D|
|5 people||1120 S/.||350 U$D|
What is the admission schedule?
Choquequirao opens its doors every day from 7 am to 5 pm The ticket allows you to spend the night in a camp located near the Inca site.
What is the difficulty of the Choquequirao tour?
The trekking route to Choquequirao has a medium-high difficulty. From the town of Cachora to the archaeological site, a total of 31 kilometers are traveled, and another 31 kilometers. The hike includes a descent and a steep climb.
What does a tour to Choquequirao include?
The tour to Choquequirao depends on each tourism agency. In general, these include:
- Transportation from Cusco to the town of Cachora.
- Food (breakfast, lunch and dinner for the duration of the trek).
- Camping equipment
- Carriage of luggage.
- Tickets to Choquequirao.
- Official tourist guide.
- Transportation from Cachora to Cusco.
Choquequirao receives an average of 20 tourists per day (Machu Picchu receives 5,000). With the construction of the new cable car, this number will increase to 3 million per year. However, for tourists who visited Choquequirao it is a special experience to tour the archaeological site with hardly anyone there. Even the second night camps next to the Inca citadel.
Questions and answers about the trip to Choquequirao
1) How can I get to Choquequirao?
The route to Choquequirao is done on foot starting from the town of Cachora (165 kilometers from the city of Cusco). The walk is demanding. You travel 32 kilometers until you reach Choquequirao. The return leg is the same.
2) Where are the ruins of Choquequirao?
The archaeological site of Choquequirao is located on the slopes that make up the Vilcabamba mountain range. It belongs to the district of Santa Teresa, province of La Convencion in Cusco. You get there with a walk of 32 kilometers.
3) What is the price of the entrance ticket to Choquequirao?
The entrance to Choquequirao costs 60 soles for foreign adults and 30 soles for university students.
4) What is the best time to go to Choquequirao?
According to the tour guides who carry out the route, from April to November, the walk to Choquequirao can be made with a clear sky, ideal for this adventure. In these months is the best time of year to visit Choquequirao.
5) How much does a tour to Choquequirao cost?
A tour to Choquequirao costs from 350 to 500 dollars per tourist or even more depending on the tourism agency of your choice. The tour lasts 4 days.
6) Can I go to Choquequirao without a guide?
Yes, the route from Cachora to Choquequirao is free for tourists and anyone can do it on their own. It is also recommended to hire the company of a tour guide.
7) Can I camp in Choquequirao?
Yes, the entrance ticket to Choquequirao allows camping next to the archaeological site (in an area designated for camping).
8) When is the worst time to visit Choquequirao?
In the rainy season, the walk to Choquequirao becomes more difficult due to the rains that can occur at any time of the day. The rainiest months are January, February and March.
9) Is the trip to Choquequirao dangerous?
The route to Choquequirao is safe. However, due to the difficulty of its paths, it is recommended to be in good physical condition. This way you can make a much safer walk.
10) What clothes to wear on the trip to Choquequirao?
For the route to Choquequirao, do not forget to bring light clothing, comfortable and resistant shoes, a windbreaker jacket, sunscreen, mosquito repellent, a comfortable backpack, a poncho in case of rain, snacks, rehydrating drinks, documents and cash.
Advice from people who have been there
“Choquequirao incredible “
“I came with my husband and it was really the best to see llama figures on the platforms... really a unique place“
By Ticket Machu Picchu – Last updated, April 1, 2023