Choquequirao: A trek to this Incan citadel, as opposed to it’s more famous sister site and the largely oversubscribed Inca Trail; is to appreciate the engineering and serenity of the Apurimac Valley where it is located. Considerably less frequented, as a route, this trek gives you a sense of being on a trail where you can appreciate the effort the Incans went to; to build this particular fortress. On a scale comparable with Machu Picchu, the site is impressive in itself; but arguably more impressive is the setting of the valley and the landscapes that are ever present along the way.
Often hard and dusty trails, it’s best to set off each day at the crack of dawn, if not earlier. This allows you to trek in shade and the relative cool of the early morning climates. Once the sun beats down, depending on which part of the trail you are on; the heat can be unforgiving and you’ll find yourself reaching for your backpack more often than you’d like.
To make the most of the trek we recommend allowing yourself 5 days minimum. Having recently been in 4 days it can become a race against time and you find yourself longing for the next pitstops to recuperate!
The first day is a long descent down to the Rio Blanco, we would recommend camping here and allowing yourself a full day on the second day to reach the Choquequirao citadel. Then you have a full day on day 3 to explore the entire area and ruins at your own leisure.
There are two options at this point, depending on how your trek is setup; you can either head to Huanipaca for your way out and back to Cusco or you trace back the way you trekked in. Having done both, there is no real lesser option, it’s still impressive to see the way you came in on the way out but admittedly it is probably a tougher route physically.
However you decide to do this trek; you’ll remember it for a very long time for it’s sheer beauty and breathtaking landscapes but also for the incredible people you meet along the way for whom the valley is a way of life.