In the time of the Incas, it was united and in communication with Machu Picchu by a complex network of trails. Choquekiraw is situated in the spurs of the mountain range of Salkantay, at 3035 m.a.s.l., surrounded by the snow-capped Apus of Yanama, Ampay, Choquetacarpo, Pumasillo and Panta on the right side of Apurimac river in the Santa Teresa district, the Convention province of the department of Cusco. Choquequirao Trail is an Inca town formed by small sites spread out in rubblework that in its adjoining constructs a complex metropolis similar to those of the other regions placed on the crest of the hill by the same name- Choquequirao Trail.Less
Our first day starts out from the village of Cachora, a 4 hour drive from Cusco. Leaving Cachora the path works it's way down in to the Apurimac Valley and we will have fantastic views of snow-capped peaks in the distance and the Apurimac Valley spread out before us throughout the day, also after a few hours walking we'll get to have our first views of Choquequirao sat on the far side of the valley. The area around Choquequirao is rich in life and we will see a wide variety of flora and fauna as we make our way down in to the valley.
Our campsite for the night is at Santa Rosa (2200m / 7215ft.) which is on the other side of the Apurimac River. As the campsite is a little further along the trail than most groups go it is one of the quietest places to camp on the whole trek so we can enjoy the beautiful scenery around us without distraction.
Today is probably the hardest day of the trek. To get to Choquequirao we need to make our way back up the opposite side of the Apurimac Valley which involves ascending about 800m / 2624ft. over a distance of 14km / 8.7 miles through hot and humid conditions. It's quite tough going but the views we get today mixed with the wide variety of flora and fauna you find on this side of the valley make it worth it.
Throughout the day we will see a wide variety of bromeliads, orchids and stands of bamboo; we'll also hopefully see birds such as Quetzals, Toucans and a variety of hummingbirds. After about a 5 hour walk we'll arrive to our campsite close to Choquequirao (3050m / 10,005ft.) and settle in for the night - if the weather is clear the views of the sunsetting from here are amazing and we may be lucky enough to spot Condors soaring over the valley below.
Today you will have a guided tour of all the main sites of interest throughout Choquequirao and then have some free time to explore by yourself. Choquequirao is one of the most extensive Inca sites to be discovered and a large portion of it has yet to be excavated.
After lunch we'll set off again on our trek heading for the pass above the city. From the pass we'll make our way down in to the Rio Blanco valley below and camp at the terraces of Pinchinuyoc (2487m / 8160 ft.).
From our campsite we'll carry on down in to the valley until we reach the river far below. In the dry season the river is calm and it's waters are warm so it's a perfect place to stop and have a refreshing dip and ease out your tired muscles. After our swim we'll make our way back up the opposite side of the valley heading for our campsite at Maizal (2891m / 9488 ft.).
Today we will see a wide variety of native plants and birds and have beautiful views of the lush and green Rio Blanco valley. On arrival to our campsite at Maizal you will have the option of visiting a nearby Inca site.
Todays walk takes us from Maizal to the small community of Yanama. The views are once again amazing and we'll see a variety of plants and birds, walk along original Inca Trails and pass by abandoned gold and silver mines from Peru's Colonial days.
Our campsite for tonight is at Yanama (3520m / 11549 ft.) where we will stay on the land of one of the local families. After lunch we will have the chance to visit their home and learn about their customs and traditions.
From Yanama we begin making our way back up out of the valley as we head for the highest pass on the trek (4840m / 15879 ft.). Having been trekking through mostly lush valleys up to this point you'll notice the scenery change to the high puna (barren grasslands) as we head for the pass. Once at the pass we'll have fantastic views of the surrounding mountain ranges including the might Salkantay (6270m / 20570 ft.). From the pass the path leads us back down to warmer climes again and our path will eventually converge with the Salkantay Trek at Colpapampa (2900m / 9514 ft.) where we will camp for the night.
Our destination today is the village of La Playa about 12km down the valley from Colpapampa. Our route takes us along the Lluskamayo River through an area that is teeming with life and that has various coffee and fruit plantations.
Tonight we will stay at the village of La Playa (2400m / 7874ft.) which is well connected and there are plenty of places where you can buy snacks and refreshments, you can also try some of the locally grown coffee. If you are interested there is the option to visit some hot springs that are close by, let your guide know in advance so that he can organise this for you.
Today is the final stretch of the trek before we reach Aguas Calientes at the base of Machu Picchu. The main focus of today is a visit to the Inca site of Llactapata sat on the mountainside high above. Following an original Inca Trail we'll arrive to Llactapata by early to mid morning and can enjoy the fantastic views of Machu Picchu that we get from here.
After a tour of Llactapata in which we'll learn about the Inca people and their culture we'll head back down the mountainside to the Hydroelectric Station from where we'll catch our train to Aguas Calientes.
Waking up early we'll take the first bus back up to Machu Picchu to enter the site as it opens. We'll have a 2 hour guided tour of the site during which you'll learn about the Incas and visit all the most important areas of the citadel. After your tour you'll have free time to explore the site by yourself and if you have permits to climb either Huayna Picchu or Machu Picchu mountain. In the afternoon you will take the train back to Ollantaytambo from where you will carry on by bus back to Cusco.