Choquequirao: the “other” Machu Picchu

Choquequirao: the “other” Machu Picchu

The city of Choquequirao are located at 2,987 meters (9,800 feet) above sea level in a remote corner of the Peruvian Andes. A visit to these ancient of ruins means that you are in for a real adventure.

Unlike its neighbor Machu Picchu, there are no trains or buses that will bring you here. To reach this important piece of Incan history, you’ll need the will to endure the steep trail of the Choquequirao Trek.

Choquequirao – cradle of gold in the Quechua language  – was built by the Incas around the turn of the 16th century, before they fled into the jungle beyond Cuzco to escape the invading Spanish Conquistadors. It was an ancient Inca urban center before the Spanish conquistadores started their conquest of Peru. The American explorer Hiram Bingham knew the site in 1910 (a year before arriving at Machu Picchu and introducing it to the outside world). However, the excavations are slow and continue to date.

Inevitably Choquequirao was christened the ‘Sister of Machu Picchu. But, while the new Wonder of the World receives around 5.000 visitors a day, ‘Choque’ is almost completely deserted. Just like Machu Picchu, his famous sister, Choquequirao seems to have been a kind of royal city for the Inca nobility.

The city was built one or two generations before the arrival of the Spaniards. It has several buildings such as the ‘Kallanka’: two ceremonial rooms with stairs and irrigation channels inside. It is one of the most important constructions.

Restoration of the site began in the 1970s and still continues today. As of 2014, nearly 50% of the site had been excavated.

Due to its remoteness it is only visited by only 5800 people a year, something planned to drastically change in the future since a cable cart system is planned, eliminating the need for a grueling 4 to 5 day hike to visit the site.

There is no standard route since many tour companies offer a different itinerary.

The best time to do the trek is in the dry season running between April and October.
Sweat, campsites and an incredible 4 day hike (2 outbound and 2 back) separate this ancient Inca city from any nearby road or hot shower. During those days, the route is easier due to the infrequent rainfall.

To learn more or book the 5-day Choquequirao trek.


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