Choquequirao Machu Picchu trek (8 days)
The Choquequirao Machu Picchu trek is best described as a pilgrimage, suited to those for whom Machu Picchu isn’t simply another box to be ticked, but instead a real bucket list destination to be appreciated and enjoyed. This off the beaten path trek is the perfect addition to your custom Peru tour!
Choquequirao is sometimes described as Machu Picchu’s “sister city”. However, a significant difference between the two is that Choquequirao is seldom visited, so it offers a fantastic opportunity to visit a real “lost city”! The Peruvian government is planning to open up Choquequirao in the next few years by building a cable car, so now could be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to visit the city at its best.
Enjoy a true adventure that is the ultimate expression of “off-the-beaten-track”, as you descend valleys, climb mountain passes and hike through the cloud forest, culminating in the awe-inspiring citadel of Machu Picchu!
- On the Choquequirao Machu Picchu trek, you will hike through one of Peru’s most beautiful unspoiled wildernesses.
- Explore the majestic ruined city of Choquequirao, the last refuge of the Incas and the last refuge away from the crowds at Machu Picchu!
- Walk along authentic Inca trails and discover seldom-visited archaeological sites.
- Enjoy a huge diversity of landscapes, climates, flora and fauna over the course of a challenging seven-day hike.
- Be overwhelmed when you finally arrive at Machu Picchu, a wonder of the world and the endpoint of your odyssey!
Choquequirao Machu Picchu trek Itinerary Overview:
Click through to “Tour Plan” to see the full itinerary
Day 1: Cusco – Cachora – Chiquishca
Your private transportation will pick you up from your hotel for your transfer to Cachora, the start of the Choquequirao Machu Picchu trek! Warm up with a mostly flat, easygoing hike to Capuliyoc lookout point, from where you can enjoy spectacular views of the Apurimac Canyon and even a glimpse of Choquequirao! Descend into the canyon to your campsite at Chiquishca and enjoy some well-earned rest.
Day 2: Chiquishca – Santa Rosa – Choquequirao
Warm up with a hike along the bottom of the canyon, before beginning your ascent to Choquequirao! You’ll be able to enjoy a huge range of flora and fauna as the climate changes with the altitude. Spend the afternoon exploring the enigmatic archaeological site of Choquequirao with your guide; visit the nine ancient towns that made up the city and visit the twenty-four llama mosaics.
Day 3: Choquequirao – Río Blanco – Maizal
Head back up to Choquequirao in time for sunrise over the ruins, and spend some more time exploring the extensive site. Continue your trek up the Choquequirao pass, and down again to the bottom of Rio Blanco canyon, stopping off at the Inca ruin of Pinchayunuyoc on the way. After lunch, climb out of the canyon and up to your campsite at Maizal. The afternoon’s hike is challenging, but very rewarding, as Maizal campsite boasts some of the best views of the entire trek!
Day 4: Maizal – San Juan – Yanama
Your morning hike will take you along an authentic Inca trail up to San Juan Pass, passing through a cloud forest into the Andean highlands. Visit an ancient mine, and take in the spectacular views of the Vilcabamba mountain range, before descending to your campsite at Yanama, situated at the bottom of a valley.
Day 5: Yanama – Paso Yanama – Totora Valley
This morning’s hike will take you to the highest point of the entire trek: Yanama pass! From here, you will enjoy a fantastic view of Salkantay mountain, one of the Inca’s most important apus, and you might even catch a glimpse of the no-less-majestic Andean condor! Descend into the beautiful Totora Valley, where you will spend the night.
Day 6: Totora Valley – Wiñaypocco
Today is an easygoing hike! Descend towards the village of Wiñaypocco, observing the changes in the natural environment as the weather gets warmer. You will finish your hike early in the afternoon, so you will have the chance to swim in the natural waterfalls, or explore the orchards of tropical fruit.
Day 7: Wiñaypocco – Llactapata – Hidroelectric – Aguas Calientes
Descend through the Lucmabamba Valley, strolling through orchards of tropical fruits. After lunch, take up an authentic Inca trail, and ascend towards the beautiful archaeological site at Llactapata. From here, you’ll be able to get your first glimpse of Machu Picchu! Finish your hike at Hidroelectrica, and take the train to Aguas Calientes. Here, you’ll check into your hotel and get an early night ahead of your sunrise visit to Machu Picchu!
Day 8: Aguas Calientes – Machu Picchu – Aguas Calientes – Cusco
You’ll catch the first bus up to Machu Picchu in order to beat the crowds! Enjoy a Machu Picchu tour with your expert guide, before spending some free time exploring the site by yourself. Next, hike up Huayna Picchu with your guide for spectacular views of Machu Picchu itself, and of the surrounding mountains. Travel back to Cusco in the afternoon, feeling very proud of your achievement, and full of wonderful memories of the Choquequirao Machu Picchu trek!
Day 1: Cusco - Cachora - Chiquishca
Day 2: Chiquishca - Santa Rosa - Choquequirao
Day 3: Choquequirao - Río Blanco - Maizal
Day 4: Maizal - San Juan - Yanama
Day 5: Yanama - Paso Yanama - Totora Valley
Day 6: Totora Valley - Wiñaypocco
Day 7: Wiñaypocco - Llactapata - Hidroelectric - Aguas Calientes
Day 8: Aguas Calientes - Machu Picchu - Aguas Calientes - Cusco
You’ll begin the day with an early breakfast, so that you can catch the first bus to Machu Picchu and beat the crowds to enjoy the mysterious, ruined city at its best. Nothing beats the feeling of seeing this wonder of the world for the first time, especially when you’ve walked for so many days to get there!
Wander through the magnificently-preserved ruins, and discover the city with your expert guide, before spending some time exploring the city at your own pace. Contemplate the magnificent, ruined buildings, wonder at the many unsolved mysteries of the majestic site and admire the breathtaking views of the Sacred Valley, almost as impressive as the citadel itself!
After your tour, you will hike up Huayna Picchu with your guide. You can explore ruins of Inca shrines on the way up the mountain, away from the crowds that often fill the rest of the site. From the tranquillity at the summit of Huayna Picchu, you can take in awe-inspiring views of Machu Picchu, and of the surrounding mountains.
In the afternoon, you’ll take the bus back to Aguas Calientes. After some free time in town to grab lunch and some last-minute souvenirs, you will take the train back to Cusco, where you private transfer will be waiting to take you back to your hotel. You’re sure to be exhausted, but also absolutely ecstatic at your achievement of having walked the most challenging path to Machu Picchu!