The Choquequirao to Huanipaca Trek is perfect for those looking to get away from the crowds or who are looking for the most adventure and something different than a trek to Machu Picchu. The Choquequirao trek is an established and famous hike that plunges down into the Apurimac canyon and then up again to the fascinating ruins of Choquequirao. While this is a tough hike, you are rewarded with spectacular views the whole way.
The trek takes you to the sister city of Machu Picchu, Choquequirao (The Cradle of Gold) which sits high above the Apurimac Valley. The ruins of Choquequirao, perched on a ledge high above are not as extensive as Machu Picchu, but probably more fascinating and much more remote. Choquequirao is considered the last capital of the Incas, established in the region of Vilcabamba or Antis, which was the most difficult and inaccessible by warrior tribes who were in the sixteenth century. This archaeological complex for decades resisted the Spanish conquerors. Choquequirao is located northwest of the city of Cusco, in the province of the Convention, in the eastern cordillera of the Andes; it has a chain of mountain peaks and high forest with different climatological changes constantly. This delimited by two of the deepest canyons, the Apurimac canyon. That passes through the left bank and right bank Willcamayu canyon. Both are very torrential rivers that carved and sculpted one of the most beautiful and spectacular landscapes of the Andean region. You can appreciate the grandeur of this work with architecture and perfect aesthetics.
In previous years it was necessary to trek to, and then return from Choquequirao along the same trail, which was not an ideal situation. We believe that this new route that exits via Huanipaca enhances the Choquequirao experience! This new exit route offers you a wide variety of flora and fauna, beautiful scenery and a chance to interact with the locals in remote areas. Overall, the Choquequirao Trek is the adventure of a lifetime.
Starting Altitude - 2900m / 9515ft.
Highest Altitude - 3050m / 10,005ft
Walking Distance - 64 km / 40 miles
Longest Day - Day 1, approximately 25 km/15.5 miles
Overall Difficulty - Difficult
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The CHOQUEQUIRAO TO HUANIPACA trek tour departs daily and it can be hiked year round although the months of April till October are probably more comfortable since the weather is drier. June, July and August are the high season when this tour can be fully booked so be sure to make your reservations in advance. The months of January, February and March are in the wet season so hiking the trail requires that you have a good rain jacket and waterproof tent.
The CHOQUEQUIRAO TO HUANIPACA trek is rated difficult, but not at high altitude. It is challenging due to steep ascents and descents. It is important to be in good health and feel comfortable walking for extended periods of time. You must also be well prepared specially because altitudes of 3050m are reached, so ensuring that you are well acclimatized is important. If arriving from sea level, plan to spend at least 2 full days in Cusco prior to commencing the trek. This should allow plenty of time for acclimatization and give you sufficient opportunity to visit the city of Cusco and nearby Inca ruins at Sacsayhuaman, Q'enko, Pucapucara and Tambomachay, as well as spending a day or two exploring the Sacred Valley of the Incas visiting the tradition market town of Pisac and the fascinating Inca fortress at Ollantaytambo
Let’s start the adventure!!!!
We will leave Cusco at 6 am in our private transport northward along the main road to Lima, we leave the city behind, cross Antapampa with views of Mt. Salkantay and Humantay at first and as we leave this high plateau area, Mt Pitusiray, Chicon and Veronica come into view. Once we begin to descend into Limatambo we’ll see the archaeological Inca site of Tarawasi located in the outskirts. We continue along the road, across the Apurimac River and up again through Curawasi and to Saywite it’s a famous Inca rock that was believed to be the construction plan for the Tahuantinsuyo Empire, with carvings of animals representing the main deities. (Saywite forms part of the so called route of Wiracocha). We will continue on to Cachora an Andean community located 3- 4 hrs from Cusco at 2800m/9184ft. Cachora is surrounded by majestic snowcapped mountains and Padreyoc (5570 m). This is the meeting place with the carriers and their mules will carry all the camping equipment over this expedition. After inspecting both the team camp as the mules and horses that will support the expedition when we begin our walk with some slopes ecological, throughout the tour we will have huge presence of the deity of Padreyoc and we will certainly marvel at the wide range of wildlife that nature has to offer. Besides being in brief contact with residents of the town as La Colmena and La Aguada, arrive at the first pass of the route Capuliyoc (2800). From which to appreciate the complete Apurimac valley, with this amazing view and after lunch we continue towards the Cocamasana (2300), Torwisqana, always surrounded by picturesque scenery, finally arrive at our campsite Chiquisca (2000 m) or beach Rosalinda (1550m). Where we will spend the night.
Meals: Lunch, Dinner
Accommodation: Camping Maximum Altitude: 3,400 m
Minimum Altitude: 1,350 m
Distance Travelled: 21 km approx
Approximate Walking Time: 7 – 8hours
Today is Choquequirao!!!
After breakfast we started our walk approximately at 6:00 a.m. towards our idea Choquequirao. We crossed the suspension bridge Rosalinda beach, where we will start the ascent from the river level (1,350 meters), and start climbing towards Santa Rosa, zigzagging up a steep slope. This climb will take an approximated 2h, and it is important that we leave early so that the heat does not make it more difficult than it has to be. In Santa Rosa, we make a half an hour break, where those who wish may try Cambray, a local sugar cane extract and we can observe the impressive Apurimac the Canyon its depth, its shape, the river, we will climb slowly for two and a half hours until we reach our lunch spot in Marampata (2850m /9350f), where we rest and we will take a lunch and have the opportunity to see a magnificent archaeological complex Choquequirao , after lunch if we’re lucky we can see the flight of the Condors to make their appearance in the sky of Choquequirao while flying way to higher ground. Along the way you can appreciate the beauty of the landscape, flora and fauna and sunset is puzzling in Choquequirao (Golden Cradle) located at 3100m/10178ft is considered the Sister City of Machu Picchu, because of several similarities, it hangs 1,500 meters above the Apurimac Canyon, and Machupicchu hangs above the Urubamba canyon. It was a religious and administrative center. It is at the same latitude and it is a large citadel with more of 8 hectares, only one third has been uncovered and every day archeologists are finding new things. We will set up camp and enjoy some free time to explore the terraces and buildings. When the sun starts to set, you might want to sit and contemplate the canyon, where condors are sometimes spotted.
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Maximum Altitude: 3,100 m
Minimum Altitude: 1,350 m
Distance Travelled: 12 km approx
Approximate Walking Time: 6 – 7hours
After a heartwarming breakfast!!!
Early in the morning, after our breakfast we continue through Choquequirao, where we will explore the different archaeological sites located at different points on the hillside overlooking the Apurimac River. We pass the stream of Chunchumayo; the views from here to the other side of the Canyon are spectacular. First reports of a visit to this complex are from 1768 with many more later-explorers, scientists and treasure hunters all the way through 1909 when Hiram Bingham also visited the area reportedly his first contact with a lost citadel of the Incas. we will visit the high parts (Hanan), and the lower parts (Urin), and some areas that are still covered in wild foliage and ready to be restored into the way it was when the Incas owned it finding our way behind the upper plaza, going up though high cloud forests to the Choquequirao Pass. Afterwards the trail continues through some agricultural terraces or (Andeans) called Pichiyoc which means (water jumping forward) this terraces have some curious ritual fountains. Also this terraces in the Inca Times where cultivated to provide food for the locals. Our lunch will take close to the set, to not interrupt the visit and view, with a little luck, the flight of the majestic Andean Condor on the deep canyon of the River Apurimac. We returned to camp, where they serve dinner and will be the night
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
After to observe the sunrise over Choquequirao we imagine how wonderful the great masters and intelligence that took the man who built this relic that today makes us return the gaze towards the glorious time of the Inca Empire. Entranced by so much beauty, with a thousand ideas in your head and with some nostalgia that we begin our descent to cross the Apurimac River over the bridge of San Ignacio (1550m). The descent is very steep and so we took our time, slowly descending. This route will show how steep is the valley, as well as exposing some spectacular views and extraordinary, along this way we will have impressive as the Apurimac canyon at greater length, kindness in flora and fauna. With a different altitude between Choquequirao and San Ignacio beach. Where we will take a little rest and enjoy our repairman lunch before continuing with our walk. After our lunch we started to ascend for about 2 hours to reach our camp in a beautiful paradise place known as the former farmhouse San Ignacio (2000m). We will Camp and spend the night, warm climate moderated with mosquitoes.
Maximum Altitude: 3,100 m
Minimum Altitude: 1,500 m
Distance Travelled: 9.5 km approx
Approximate Walking Time: 6 – 7hours
After breakfast, we started the walk towards the former farmhouse Tambobamba (2500m), by approximately 2.30 or 3 hrs (7 km) path reminiscent of the colonial era and hard work under pressure from farmers, currently offers very natural in different areas of agricultural and livestock production, preserving tradition and knowledge of our Andean ancestors. This is the point where our private bus we will be waiting to take us back to the city of Cusco. Continuing our tour we will visit Pacobamba community, then we will enter Huanipaca (3350m) from where it will appreciate in all its splendor Sacsarayoc glaciers chain, located in the region of the Vilcanota, after of this impressive view, we take the path of Abancay – Curahuasi which will take us back to the city of Cusco for approximately 3 hrs.
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch
Maximum Altitude: 2,000 m
Minimum Altitude: 3,400 m
Distance Travelled: 7 km approx
Approximate Walking Time: 3 hours
• Pre trek briefing
• Collection from your hotel in the morning of trek departure.
• Transport from Cusco to the trailhead at the beginning of the trek in private car
• Entry fee to Saywite and Choquequirao
• English/Quechua/Spanish speaking professional guide (you will have an assistant guide for groups over 6 people).
• Tents - 2 people in a 4 person tent which allows for greater comfort, and also storage of backpacks.
• Basic foam mattress. If you require greater comfort during the trek we can hire you an inflatable mattress (eg. Thermarest)
• Cook and Cooking equipment (Assistants are provided for larger groups)
• Toilet tent
• Meals as indicated in the itinerary (optional vegetarian food). Our professional cooks prepare meals that incorporate elements of the western diet and also traditional Peruvian delicacies. (Please communicate with your guide/cook during the trek if you have a preference for certain types of dishes). Salads, if served, are washed in boiled water.
• Horses (for equipment and personal items) including horsemen. They carry camping equipment, food and kitchen utensils. We provide duffel bags at your briefing for your personal items and sleeping bag (up to 7 kg/15lbs per person).
• 1 emergency horse which can be ridden if you are feeling ill or if are a little slower
• Dining tent with camp tables and chairs & Kitchen tent for the cook to prepare meals
• Tents for our staff to sleep in
• First aid kit including emergency oxygen bottle
• 1 night accomodation on a twin share basis at Villa de los Loros Lodge. (if you are a single traveller you will need to pay a supplement) If the lodge is booked out, accomdoation will be camping.
• Private transport from Cachora to Cusco
• Lunch on the last day is included in this itinerary.
• A light day pack with a change of clothes for the whole period of the trek - prepare for a vast range of changes in temperature
• Rain gear (jacket and pants if available) or rain poncho. Plastic ponchos can be bought for about $1 in Cusco
• Strong footwear, waterproof trekking boots recommended. Extra socks are a must.
• Sandals or plastic slip on thongs are also good to give your feet a chance to breath in the evenings if you wish to carry them.
• Warm clothes, including jacket, fleeces, gloves, scarf and beanie/touk. Thermal clothing is also recommended, especially for sleeping.
• It gets hot in the Apurimac canyon, you should also be prepared for hot conditions on this trek.
• Sleeping bag (we can hire these to you)
• Torch/ Flashlight and spare batteries
• Camera, films and batteries (batteries consume more quickly under cold conditions)
• Hat or cap to protect you from the sun, rain and cold
• Sun block
• After-sun cream or hydrating cream for face and body
• Insect repellent - minimum recommended 20% DEET - although no malaria risk has been reported
• Toilet paper, pack in & pack out
• Snacks: biscuits, energy bars, chocolate, raw fruits, muesli, etc.
• Non-disposable canteen (Nalgene type) and water for the first morning.
• We advise you to bring water sterilizing tablets in case you collect water from streams.
• Your own medical kit with any special medications that you might require, paracetamol, second skin for blisters etc.
• Small towel or sarong
• Bathers/swimsuit (if you intend on swimming in hot springs )
• Cash - sufficient for tips and souvenirs, or any drinks or snacks you might want to buy along the way.
• Original passport & ISIC (International Student Identity Card) if you have one.
• Walking sticks or poles (we can rent these to you.
• Binoculars (if you have them)
• Breakfast on the first morning.
• Dinner on the last night.
• Sleeping bags - If you haven't got a sleeping bag or you don't want the hassle of bringing one all the way to Peru with you, then we have sleeping bags for hire.
• Tips for the guide, cook and porters
• Additional horses for passengers luggage.
• Extra mule to carry YOUR things - $10.00 per trip day
• Extra riding mule and muleteer to lead it - $18 per trip day
• Sleeping Bag suitable for – 10deg $4.00 per trip day
• Deluxe Sleeping Bag suitable for -15deg. $5.00 per trip day)
• Walking stick lightweight aluminum ($2.00 per day, per stick) Two sticks are recommended for tough hikes.
• Thermarest inflatable mattress - $4 per trip day
• Inflatable pillow - $2 per trip day
• Comforting Camping trek upgrade $40.00 per trip day
• Single tent supplement (ie you don’t want to share a tent) $25.00 per person
• The Choquequirao to Huanipaca Trek is non-transferable, non-reimbursable and the participant cannot change the date of departure.
• If during the length of the program the traveler abandons the excursion due to altitude, health, or for any other reason, no reimbursement will be made and no claim will be accepted. RAINBOWMOUNTAIN.CENTER does not cover the expenses made by the traveler due to abandonement such as meals, hotel, return transportation, medical expenses, etc.
• Certain Services might be interrupted or even cancelled due to weather conditions, natural disasters or other disturbances such as civil unrest, worker strikes, etc. These are out of the control of hotels, Service suppliers, RAINBOWMOUNTAIN.CENTER or its partners and therefore, no refund will be given.
• In case of force majeur, when a trek or tour cannot start or be completed, RAINBOWMOUNTAIN.CENTER will find an alternative. If this alternative is of lower value than the originally booked tour, RAINBOWMOUNTAIN.CENTER will refund the difference.
• It is compulsory that all clients have personal travel insurance. This insurance must cover personal accidents, medical expenses, loss of effects and all other expenses which might arise as a result of loss, damage or injury occurring to the client. RAINBOWMOUNTAIN.CENTER cannot be considered responsible for any accident or loss of personal belongings the customer caused by his/her acts
The Client may cancel this tour package at any time provided that the cancellation is communicated to firstname.lastname@example.org in writing. Cancellation charges will be applied as shown below calculated from the day written notification is received by email@example.com. All reservations cancelled are subject to a cancellation fee:
|Cancelation Notice Received||Cancelation Penalty %|
|16+ Days advanced notice||$20 Penalty|
|10-15 Days advanced notice||60% Penalty of total booking paid|
|7-9 Days advanced notice||80% Penalty of total booking paid|
|0-6 Days advanced notice||100% Penalty of total booking paid|