Listed as next "Machu Picchu" - Choquequirao ruins attract more and more attention every year. Remote and hard to reach - this Inca time site stands out and remains fairly untouched for hordes of tourists.
But it seems it's only a matter of time, as new project of building funicular, that will connect the both sides of the valley, has been launched.
So it must be your "bucket list" place to visit.
How to get there
- Closest and biggest tourist city is Cusco and it has international airport. So I guess your trip to this marvelous place will start there.
- Get the bus that goes to Abancay and get off at Ramal (just after Km148 mark - around 3-4h drive)
- Minibus, taxi or walk from Ramal to Cachora (aprox. 14km)
- Stay over night in Cachora village.
"Hotel Mama Queta" is small and beautiful hotel, with lovely grandma that will host you and cook food for you.
- Next day hike the first 12km to the entrance of the park or get local taxi to drive you there as the hike is flat and pretty boring.
If you wish - horses with carriers can be arranged here too.
- At the entrance to the trail you will be asked to sign in the safety journal and you are ready to go.
There are several campsites on the route where you can build your tent, take a shower and bathroom. They also have simple shop with basic necessities.
1.day - Start descent down into Apurimac Canyon and set a camp at Playa Rosalina just by the bridge (will take you around 3-5h).
There is a shop that sells water, beer, simple food.
2.day - This will be hard day with tough climb. Sand and rocks.
Take a break at Santa Rosa Baja or few km higher at Santa Rosa Alta. Also available for camping and overnight. Shop sells all the basic products needed.
Keep hiking. When you reach Marampata village you are in final streak and only 1.5-2h left and the easiest part of the trail.
On the half way from there you will be stopped for another entry in local journal and asked to pay the entrance fee - around 16Us
Just before you start exploring the ruins, build your camp. The area is wide and in several terraces four your choice to build your temporary home.
Until it gets dark, you have several hours to explore the site you were fighting to get to.
Bring your head torch, as most likely you will return after the dark.
3.day - start your way back.
Although the walk down from the mountain is faster and seems easier, you will be exhausted in few hours. If needed build a camp in one of the campsites - Alta Rosa, Playa Rosalina (by the river) or Chiquisca (an hour hike up from the river).
Eventually we did all the hike in 3 days, as starting the return hike and leaving Choquequirao around 9am we were down by the river in Playa Rosalina campsite at noon. The day was not even in the half and we felt stupid to build the camp, so we start to climb up and to decide on the go.
The heat was getting worst as we get higher. It reached insane and windless +32C, by the time we made it all the way up in 5 exhausting hours.
What to bring with you
- sleeping bag
- yoga or sleeping mat
- light clothes
- rainproof jacket
- head torch
- cash money
- trekking poles
I'm not mentioning basic toiletries and clothes.
We brought food for 4 days, light camping stove, extra gas, and 12L (!!!) of water for 3 of us.
I would suggest to bring just 2L of water per person and light snacks as nuts or dried fruits, as all the campsites offer the food and the water.
Also consider if packing your big camera is worth it.
I had my huge Canon and tripod with me - for pictures it was worth it, but tripod never left my backpack.
The popular option to hike in Choquequirao is buy a package deal from local tour operators.
Usually you will find the full package deal with included -
- horses to carry your backpacks
- served food
- sleeping tents
As always there are options for everyone - so you can choose what will fit your style, budget or physical condition.
Needless to say - Choquequirao will leave you speechless.
But hurry up, as I mentioned in the beginning - soon it will be packed with tourist masses and the silent wind, that chases the clouds between the sleeping stones now, will echo in thousand-head human voices narrating over each other..