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Choquequirao Trek – History and Background

Choquequirao Trek—Choquequirao whose meaning is the cradle of gold is perched in the mountains of Vilcabamba range and high above the Apurimac canyon which is deeper than the Grand Canyon reaching a depth of 4,691m/ 15,390ft. The area of Choquequirao could have been already inhabited before the arrival of Incans because pre-Incan archaeological pottery was found during the research. The ninth Incan emperor whose name is Pachacuteq was the one who brought a lot of changes for the empire, providing great public works and enlarging the empire to take advantage of each conquered province, it’s how, he started the campaign to conquer the tropical jungle side of Cusco, this place was suitable for him for the Coca production, extract the gold from the river’s banks, and tropical fruits production.

To have a total control of this area he was setting up big cities which later on would become the last inhabited cities and strongholds for the Incan empire to resist the Spaniard’s collision. The constructions at Choquequirao were finished by the tenth Incan emperor Tupac Yupanqui, although this place was never finished in being built, as the Incans were still building more to keep enlarging the city. The last inhabitants who were still living in were moved due to reduction law to San Pedro de Cachora a Spaniard foundation village between 1590 – 1596 by viceroy Garcia Hurtado de Mendoza.

Choquequirao Trek

Choquequirao Trek

The First Steps at Site by White Explorers

Choquequirao became forgotten by the foreigners, but not for local indigenous people who were even under control of the Spaniards still had this last city in their minds, it’s how the indigenous people became enslaved by Spaniard landowners and were used to get information about some lost cities of the Incas where the would find gold of the Incans. In 1710, Juan Arias Diaz Topete was able to reach the area of Choquequirao, which was already abandoned in absolute and the city had been already covered by the shrubs and trees of the cloud forest. 1865 the Italian geographer explored the areas of Vilcabamba and Choouequirao, mapping the whole explored area.1909 Hiram Bingham arrives Choquequirao through the invitation of prefect Nuñez of Abancay a closest main modern city to Choquequirao to explore this area, it’s how Bingham was arriving, during the excavations they made, they did not find anything except some human skeletons and many pottery shards.

Choquequirao Trek

The First Proper Inhabitants Who Immigrated This Area – Our First Generation Who We Came From!

In the mid-century 20, two brothers were arriving at a place called Santa Rosa due to the country was in conflict with other neighbor countries, This Santa Rosa whose name comes because the day these brothers were reaching this place was the day of Santa Rosa de Lima, in honor on her the place was called this way. Located very close by to Choquequirao where they decided to settle down and start with farming labors, from this place they used to go to Cachora to get some goods for the week and at the same time they were meeting with their future wives, years later the formed proper families in this area of Choquequirao, once they had large families they decided to move forward to the site of Choquequirao, where they became the first explorers of the area and the ones who gave the importance to the forgotten Incan city again, they started to repurpose some Incan contructions for the wellness of them, they even reused the Incan terraces to plant some crops for their nourishment, we are talking about the Covarrubias family and I’m writing this piece in memory of my great grand parents, and grand parents, and in honor to my parents who still live in the place called Santa Rosa on the trail to Choquequirao, my mother Euphemia who is the 3rd generation of this proper families who arrived to inhabit this isolated area, she is very proud to tell her annecdotes and lots of stories about the Choquequirao, and me, I learned from my parents all the genuine stories about this wonderful place and that’s how we became with the idea of Peru Summit Adventures, a truly local family enterprise from Choquequirao to offer authentic trips with a local touch for experiences of a lifetime. If you are reading this small article about this cradle of gold of the Incans and thinking to explore, you are on the proper hands, we will be glad to organize that long waited adventure for you.

Saida & Carlos, Founders of Peru Summit Adventures

Choquequirao Trek

Our Treks to Choquequirao and Treks to Choquequirao with Vilcabamba and Machu Picchu

We have a great selection of treks to Choquequirao, treks which even finish at Machu Picchu or linking with Vilcabamba for an absolute exploration of the great Incan cities from the collision times with Spaniards. Please select the trek that is suitable for you and let us know to organize.

  1. Choquequirao Trek 4 Days On An Absolute Loop.
  2. Choquequirao Trek 5 Days On An Absolute Loop.
  3. Choquequirao Trek to Machu Picchu 9 Days.
  4. Choquequirao Trek to Machu Picchu 8 Days. Ask here for details/ itinerary.
  5. Challenge! Choquequirao Trek to Machu Picchu 6 Days. Ask here for details/ itinerary.
  6. Choquequirao Trek to Machu Picchu Via Vilcabamba 9 Days, Ask here for details/ itinerary.
  7. Choquequirao Local Living, Stay at our home with our relatives, Ask here for details/ itinerary.

Choquequirao Trek

Physical Grading:  1 2 3 4 5 6

VERY STRENUOUS, CHALLENGING: Full-day hikes (7-9 hours), mountainous, steep terrain (hiking up or down as much as 4,000 feet) on many days, with some camping and hiking at extreme altitudes. Most hikes take place at altitudes above 11,500 feet, with some days ascending as high as 16,850 feet.


Hiking / Trekking, Cultural Adventures, and Archaeology Adventures.

Highlights of Our Tour Choquequirao Trek

  • Experience a genuine trekking to the lost Incan city since the hands of local experts who born, lived, hiked here, that’s a real PLUS for an authentic experience. And that makes us very different to other tour operators. “We are people from the Zone”
  • Fully supported trek with your own private guide, muleteers, horses, delicious camp cuisine prepared by your personal cook.
  • The best camping gears on the route, you will love them.
  • Camp along remote mountainsides, where we can savor peaceful nights beneath a star-filled sky.
  • Soak in views of snow-capped Andean peaks, deep canyons, and awe-inspiring ruins sites.
  • Flexible Treks, which can be extended to Vilcabamba and Machu Picchu.
  • Small groups, Big Adventures (min 2pp – max 8pp / average 3-4pp).

Choquequirao Trek

Hike Training Preparing For Your Trek

Whichever trail people choose, it’s important that they make the right preparations. The hike into the Andes is difficult for most, if for no other reason than the high altitude. No matter what, hikers should give themselves at least two days to adjust to the high altitudes in Cusco before beginning their journey. Once setting out, it’s important to be prepared with all of the essentials. Vendors will sell bottled water and snacks on the way, so it’s a good idea for travelers to carry currency just in case. Also, the trail gets cold at night, so it’s important to have proper sleeping bags and warm clothes even when hiking in Peru’s summer months.

The Tour Choquequirao Trek and Tour Choquequirao Trek to Machu Picchu are mostly bridle path and it goes up and down across green mountains while crossing one high-altitude passes. For the most part, you can hike at your own speed because we always have a staff member hiking in the lead as well as one behind with the slowest hiker in our group if there are 7 participants in the group. Any fit, experienced hiker will enjoy this hike, but we recommend you make an extra effort to prepare by engaging in regular exercise well beyond your normal routine. To accelerate your conditioning, try walking faster than 1.5 miles per hour, walking on steeper inclines, using your gym’s stair-climbing machines, or going on long hikes (also a good way to break in your boots). Please be aware that there are a few sections of long, steep stone staircases, so we do suggest hiking poles to protect your knees. The trek takes place at altitudes between 6,540 feet and 15,147 feet.

What To Pack. Your 18 pounds will be carried by horses to the camp sites. Thus, you do need to pack light for the trek, but you will find it is not that challenging since all you really need are the following: comfortable hiking clothes, with additional warm layers, good hiking boots, and personal toiletries (we provide a detailed clothing list). You can bring your own, or rent a Peru Summit Adventures sleeping bag, and hiking sticks. Your non-hiking luggage will be safely stored for you at your Cusco hotel. One of our Area Managers will be your point person from your first inquiry throughout your preparation for the trip, and they will be happy to answer any questions you have about preparing and packing for this incredible journey.

Choquequirao Trek

When to Go

The Tour Choquequirao Trek and Tour Choquequirao Trek to Machu Picchu can be hiked all year around except in late December and February, the rainiest months, when the trail is blocked and damaged sometimes by the rainfall and dangerous by the rockfalls. The trail reopens in March and April, when the rains lighten up and the mountains are still green. High season begins in May and extends through September, as these are the driest months. October through December are considered shoulder season, when occasional rain is possible, but keep in mind that the highlands of Peru are a temperate desert and it is not uncommon for it not to rain for weeks at a time even in the height of the rainy season. This is also the time with the fewest hikers on the trail, more flowers in bloom, and fewer tourists at Machu Picchu as well as in Cusco. Temperatures in the Cusco-Machu Picchu region range from the high 60s in the daytime to the low 40s at night, with some variation depending on the time of year you go.

Choquequirao Trek