THE CHOQUEQUIRAO TREK
When it comes to difficulty, the trek to Choquequirao is pretty damn hard, but you probably already know that the coolest experiences usually are.
The 4-day trek means a 1,500m descent into the valley followed by a 1,800m climb (and back out the same way you came). Suppose you undertake the full 9-day Choquequirao Trek to Machu Picchu. In that case, you’ll make the same plod to the ruins but continue along for several days, climbing high passes and dipping into lowland basins.
The Choquequirao trek (with or without a guide) is relatively tricky compared to other treks in Peru.
But, struggle through the tough parts, and you’ll get to experience one of the best Inca Trail & Machu Picchu alternatives in all of the Sacred Valley.
And to experience something like Machu Picchu, but with practical solitude makes the Choquequirao trek worth it.
Are you interested in undertaking the Choquequirao Trek? Get out there and do it.
Go for the adventure, go for the experience, and most importantly, go before they build a damn cable car. I’ll show you how.
Choquequirao trek is a 58km return hike to Choquequirao Ruins in the Sacred Valley of the Incas near Cusco, Peru. It can be done as a separate trek or combined with hiking to Machu Picchu and can be completed independently, which is cheaper but more challenging or with a tour company – more expensive but easier.
The return hike to Choquequirao ruins and back will take between 4 and 5 days, a trek to Machu Picchu will require 8 to 9 days.
Around Cusco there are dozens of Inca ruins, everyone knows about Machu Picchu, thousands of people (to be more precise 3000) visit MP every day, but not many know about the “little sister” of MP ruins Choquequirao.
Probably the main reason for it being unknown is its location and difficulty to get there. First of all, there is no road to the ruins, the closest point you can get by car is about 1,5-2 walking days away.
The ruins itself are well maintained; only about 40% has been excavated. Choquequirao Trek complex is quite significant; you need at least one full day to explore it. The structure is similar to MP, buildings with steep roofs, terraces and massive walls.
Choquequirao was built about 200 years before the Spanish conquest, reasons it was abandoned are unknown. Its location is not as impressive as Machu Picchu, but the views of the valley and canyon from the ruins are stunning, especially at sunset.
What we liked about Choquequirao is its quietness, all day we saw six people, you have the ruins all to yourself. Unfortunately, the Peruvian government is planning to build a cable car to the ruins, it’ll bring a lot of money for the vast region, but at the same time, it will destroy the unique atmosphere. Go there now before it’s too late! If you want to know more about trekking in Peru, check out our post Best hikes in Peru.
Best months for trekking
Summer months; December to March – a lot of rain, the worst time for hiking in the mountains, not many tourists due to bad weather, low season. The Sacred Valley and Cusco are located high in the mountains. As a result day temperatures have little season difference, nights are warmer in summer.
Winter months; June to August – almost no rain, cold nights, days are warm, many tourists due to summer holidays in the northern hemisphere and dry season. Expect prices to be higher, sights are crowded, and hotels are full.
In our experience the shoulder season; April, May, and September, October is, in general, the best – fewer people, lower prices, not much rain, nights are warmer. We’ve been to Cusco twice and both times in shoulder season.