Get an amazing experience by visiting the last refuge of the Inka “Choquequirao” (cradle of the gold). It is constructed on 3000 meters above sea level and surrounded by fascinating views of the Vilcabamba mountain range. The Choquequirao trek is a truly spectacular hike that plunges down into the Apurimac canyon and then up again to the fascinating ruins of Choquequirao. The ruins of Choquequirao, perched on a ledge high above the Apurimac are not as extensive as Machu Picchu, but probably more fascinating and much more remote. This is a very unique trail in the high Andes.
We depart Cusco around 9am in a private car. First, we will take a break to visit the ruins of Tarawasi Limatambo in the lower valley and then continue onto the archaelogical site of Saywite, an incredible Inca carved boulder, boasting many animal, plant and town figures carved in it. We will stay the night at the Los Balcones hostal in Cachora, which is a rustic, charming hostel which also offers modern conveniences. They have a full-service restaurant: enjoy pizza cooked in an authentic wood oven, or an outdoor barbeque. They have comfortable beds, hot and showers. After lunch, the afternoon is free for you to wander the traditional mountainsides (with advice from your guide) or simply rest in the charming village. Enjoy the views of the snow-capped peaks of Padrayoc and Wayna Cachora. In the evening your meal is at the Tres Balcones restaurant. Accommodation: Tres Balcones hotel, Cachora.
Today we will meet our arrieros, and with full mule support we descend 1600m into the Apurimac canyon, passing by Capuliyoc (2915 metres/ 9561 feet) from where we have our first beautiful views of the Apurimac valley stretching below as well as the snow-capped peaks of Padrayoc and Wayna Cachora and then onto Chiccisqa (1836m / 6023ft). After lunch, we descend to Playa Rosalinas and the magnificent Apurimac River (1550 metres/ 5084 feet) about 1 hour of hiking. We the begin our steep climb to Santa Rosa (2095m / 6873ft); Total hours hiking: 7 hours Accomodation: Camping at Santa Rosa
Today we have a few hours of challenging hiking (approx 2-3 hours) before getting our first glimpse of Choquequirao ruins, from where we hike another couple of hours. We enjoy the entire afternoon and evening at the site.
Only about 30% of the Inca remains of Choquequirao have been excavated. What can be seen today however, is most impressive and very much worth the challenging trek to get here. The stonework in Choquequirao is not as sophisticated as that found in Machu Picchu, because the stone found here is very difficult to carve, but the buildings are impressive and suggest a site of high status. Condors can be seen frequently. Accomodation: Camping at Choquequirao.
We have a chance to more fully explore the ruins and have a little rest in the morning. In the afternoon we return along the edge of the Apurimac canyon, descending to our tropical campsite at Santa Rosa. (5 hours hiking) Accommodation: Camping at Santa Rosa (2095m / 6873ft) Depending on the progress of the group, the guide may elect to camp at Chiccisqa (1836m / 6023ft).
Early in the morning, in order to escape the heat of the canyon of the Apurimac, we descend to the raging river, and then begin an arduous climb that is rewarded with spectacular views. We climb for about four hours, and have lunch in Capuliyoc (2915 metres/ 9561 feet). The final two hours of our hike into the village of Cachora refreshingly flat through pretty farming countryside. Our private car will be waiting to take us back to Cusco (4 hours drive). We will arrive in Cusco between 7and 8pm.
**Optional extra (no extra cost, but must be booked at the time of booking or at the latest during your briefing) About 3 hours from Cusco we will take a small detour to the hot springs of Conoq… a little known hot spring popular with local people. You can take a soak there before getting back in the private van for the rest of the drive back to Cusco.
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