Choquequirao Peru

Choquequirao Peru is a South America destination that has been getting a lot of attention in recent years. Similar to Machu Picchu in many ways, this lost city of the Incas sits high above a river in the Andes Mountains and was most likely never discovered by the Spanish, at least not by the early conquistadores who arrived in the 1500s. The first non-Incan who likely visited the Choquequirao site arrived in 1710, and written reference to its existence didn’t occur until 1768.

In the 1800s, Choquequirao was rediscovered, and while the site was mapped in 1837, the city was eventually forgotten about for decades on end. It only became significant again after Hiram Bingham visited in the early 1900s. (Bingham is more famously credited with discovering Machu Picchu, it should be noted.) As for the first excavations of Choquequirao, they didn’t begin until the 1970s, and only recently has the ancient city started to gain the attention of world travelers who are looking for that next great destination.

Choquequirao Ruins

Choquequirao Ruins
Choquequirao Ruins

The Choquequirao ruins are both well-preserved and dramatically situated. Among the main features are the typical Inca terraces that you will find at other ancient sites. Also found at Choquequirao are ruined administrative buildings, a temple, and living quarters that were most likely used by aristocrats; the living quarters for the common people are found in a village area outside of the main site. Other things that Choquequirao visitors will find among the ruins are aqueducts, water springs, and water channels. The Choquequirao ruins are still being uncovered, so it remains to be seen what other things lie among the overgrowth.

Choquequirao Treks

Choquequirao Treks
Choquequirao Treks

Currently, the only way to get to Choquequirao Peru is to hike. The Peruvian government has proposed a cable car system that would reach the ruins, and the idea of using trains to get there has also been tossed around. It should be noted that trekking to Choquequirao isn’t exactly easy. It takes a couple of days at the least to get there, and trekkers experience plenty of elevation changes. There are rewards, however. For starters, the scenery is absolutely stunning, and it is hard to prepare yourself for the magical nature of Choquequirao. Better yet, this ancient city of the Incas isn’t overrun by tourists. In fact, those who trek to the site often find that they have it to themselves upon arrival.

Tours of Choquequirao

Tours of Choquequirao
Tours of Choquequirao

The Choquequirao tours are similar to the tours that involve hiking the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu. Guests on these tours do a lot of trekking, for example, and camping is the only lodging option. In relation to Choquequirao, it takes at least two days to hike there, with the common starting point being the town of Cachora. This town is found outside of Cusco. Different tours offer different itineraries, and if you consider the time needed to hike out, it usually takes around four or five days to complete your average Choquequirao tour. There are trekking routes that link Choquequirao to Machu Picchu, and some tours include visits to both sites. These tours are understandably longer than those that just visit Choquequirao. Either way, things that are likely to be included in the tour package are all necessary transportation, a foam mat, a sleeping tent, access to a kitchen tent, access to a bathroom tent, access to first aid kits, and the entrance fees for any sites in question.

Choquequirao Lodging

Choquequirao Lodging
Choquequirao Lodging

As mentioned, camping is the only lodging option once you begin your trek to Choquequirao, but before or after the trek you can stay in a hotel. Since Cusco is the most common place to arrange Choquequirao tours, many travelers who are interested in visiting the site tend to end up spending a night or more at one of the Cusco hotels. It is also possible for Choquequirao visitors to spend a night at one of the rustic hostels that are found in the town of Cachora.

Image: Miradas.com.br (flickr)

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