Cusco / Cachora / Apruimac River
From Cusco we will travel by road to the typical Andean village of Cachora, where many local residents supplement their incomes by working as mule drivers or porters for those who come to trek to Choquequirao. During the drive from Cusco there will be time to stop and visit the Saywite stone, a limestone outcrop around four meters in diameter which the Inca’s carved into a 3-dimensional representation of the territory of their empire, Tawantinsuyo.
The stone is carved with images of the flora, fauna and geography of the empire and was employed in ceremonies associated with the worship of water. From Cusco it is a 150 kilometer drive to Cachora along an asphalted road, with the final 10 kilometers to the village completed via a dirt road.
Cachora is situated at an altitude of 2892 meters (9488 feet), and it is here that our trek will begin, as we hike along a gradually descending trail for just over 2 hours to the pass at Capuliyoc (2987 meters / 9800 feet), from where there are fine views of the Apurímac River and the forested slopes on the other side of the canyon.
It is at this pass that our steep descent into the canyon begins, as we trek through a semi-arid landscape dominated by cacti, contrasting with the verdant slopes of the other side of the canyon. After around three and a half hours we will arrive at our first campsite, at 1465 meters (4806 feet), on the bank close to the racing waters of the Apurímac River.
Distance by road:
Cusco – Cachora 160 kilometers / 99.4 miles (asphalted road: 150 kilometers / 93.2 miles); 3-4 hours
9 kilometers / 5.6 miles (gradual ascent);
9.50 kilometers / 5.9 miles (steep descent); 6.5 – 7 hours
Cusco: 3400 meters / 11,154.8 feet;
Saywite: 3620 meters / 11,877 feet;
Cachora: 2892 meters / 9488 feet;
Highest pass: 2987 meters / 9800 feet;
Campsite: 1465 meters / 4806 feet
Meals: lunch & dinner