Choquequirao, in Quechua Chuqi K’iraw), means literraly golden cradle). This is an ancient inca city which get so many similarities with Machu Picchu that its often call its “sister”. The walk’s beginning is located 4 hours from Cusco, and it will brings you in the middle of one the last inca’s city, lost in a huge valley marked out with forests, rivers and steep slopes with a great 360 degrees view.
The Choquequirao’s trek is easily achievable without a guide but with good preparation, as at least a tent and food to survive along the walk. Food stall are often present at different camps, but it might be very pricy, according to the desertic place where you are! However, prepare enough food and water in case everything is close. If you don’t have any camping equipment it exists in Cusco various places where you can easily find stuff. I’ve personnaly been to the shop called Himalaya, near the parade square. For a 6 days rent, we payed 60 soles a 2 persons tent, a camping stove, his cartridge, and a saucepan. My friend also payed for hiking shoes for a fair price.
Normally the way would take you 4-5 days long according to your pace. You could choose to join the Machu Picchu instead of coming back, however this walk is harder and takes you not less than 9 days of walking. Personnaly, I have done my walk within this schedule :
- Arrival on site at the end of my second day.
- 1 entire day to visit everything. I would recommend at least one day to have the time to walk everywhere, according the size of this city (it is not rare to walk around an hour to reach an other part).
- Finally, as the way up, 2 days walking to come back at the beginning.
This trek require a good preparation, and a good physical condition because of the constantly way up and down between 1400m et 3000m.
The way of 4-5 days is quite simple, while the longer one to join the Machu Picchu is different and requiers you to brings a GPS. Here is details of both routes :
Step 1 :
To join the first step of the trail, you first of all need to make it to the the town of Cachora. From Cusco, you can take a van at the station located at Arcopata’s street (“Bus to Mollepata” on Google Map), nearby a big blue portal. This one brings you not far from your final destiantion, but you would probably need to change for a cab for the rest of the way to Cachora. Once at the town, you got 2 choices :
- Immeditiatly start the trail and reach the Capuliyoc col on foot.
- Ask the cab to bring you to the col. The way in flat and relatively easy to do.
Step 2 :
The real adventure begins ! From this point is the real start of the trek. This is also the last place where you can find a real shop with all kind of provisions, essentials as mat, sleeping bag or touristic stuff. Once you passed through the view point settle a hundreds metter away, you’re ready to start the winding path and commence your journey. It is occasionally possible to admire condor hunting their prey!
Step 3 :
You walk accross some camps along your walk: some of them got little stals with food and beverage (water, fruits, chocolate, etc) but don’t count to much on them. To stock up everything, brave locals must doing back and forth until Cachora several time a week, and letting the camp without anyone. Yet you can set up your tent wherever camp you want.
List of shops and camps that may be on the way :
- Chiquisca : 2 stalls run by “Señor Pascal” and his wife.
- Playa Rosalina : No doubts that it is the best food you can find on the way. You have the possibility to order a breakfast with coffee, and also various types of course made most of the time with lentils. (by the way, the bread with fried egg only costs 1 sole and is delicious!) This is a good place to rest before the big way up, yet the camp is filled with mosquitoes because of its proximity to the river.
- Santa Rosa : 2 stalls, as well as a place to have lunch/diner.
- Marampata : This little village above the valley get a good amount of shops and houses to host you for the night with hot meals.
It is advised to spend the first night -at least- at Playa Rosalina, which offer nice facilities as well as a nice location for the next day (half-way of the trek).
Step 4 :
Here you are! Set up your tent and get free to discover this unknown marvelous place located in the heart of Peruvian lands. A whole mountain has to be discover! Terraces are located below the campsite and allows you to glance one’s eye over before the closing time, at 5.30 PM.