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Choquequirao in Peru

Machu Picchu isn't the only "lost city" to visit in Peru. Discover Choquequirao too!

Best time: May–October

Choquequirao
Choquequirao

If you have already put a tick near Machu Picchu on your bucket list, Choquequirao should be your next destination.

This location has been discovered only recently and archaeologists claim that about 70% of the whole city is still hidden underground or in nearby forests. Choquequirao means "the cradle of gold" and stories tell that it was the last Inca refuge.

Hiking to this place is possible from several directions—a two-day trek from Cachora or a longer and steeper trek from Yanama. In both cases, you can also choose a horse ride but this, of course, will make you take a local guide and spend more money.

After reaching Choquequirao you will be able to see white stone decorations, old buildings, and huge terraces. When standing in the middle of the green plaza of the city, you can feel like an Incan and look down on the snaking Apurimac river and snowy hills of Salkantay range.

Choquequirao can be visited year round, but the dry season between May and October promises much less rain, better roads, and a clearer view on the way.

Practical info

What is the meaning of the name Choquequirao and how was it discovered?

The name Choquequirao translates to 'the cradle of gold'. It is an Incan site believed to have been a final retreat for Inca leaders and their followers during the Spanish conquests. The ruins of Choquequirao were discovered only recently, and about 70% of the city remains hidden. The origin of the name is uncertain, but it could refer to the golden treasures found in the city or to how it was a cradle or haven for the Inca people. Show more

What is the duration and route of the trek needed to reach Choquequirao?

The trek to Choquequirao takes anywhere from two to four days, depending on the route. Two popular routes are available: one begins in Cachora and takes four days to complete. The other route starts from Yanama, takes nine days to complete, and has less foot traffic. Both treks afford spectacular views. While Cachora is the more accessible of the two, Yanama offers more solitude and a more challenging hike. Show more

Is it possible to take a horseback ride to Choquequirao and is a guide necessary?

Horseback riding to Choquequirao is an option, but local guides are mandatory. Travelers should note that hiring a guide will increase expenses. A guide can organize the ride, make better safety arrangements, and provide in-depth knowledge of the hike, location, history, and culture. Not all trekkers will necessarily find horseback riding appropriate, as some sections of the trail can be steep and difficult. Show more

What are the notable structures in the Choquequirao ruins, and is a guide recommended?

The ruins of Choquequirao have many notable features, including impressive original stone decorations, buildings, and enormous terrace systems used in agriculture. The terrace systems are some of the complex's most remarkable characteristics. In addition, Choquequirao reflects the rich culture and history of the pre-Columbian era. A local guide is highly recommended to enhance understanding of the history and culture of the area and visit the site with more ease. Show more

When is the ideal time to visit Choquequirao and what is the weather generally like?

The best period to visit Choquequirao is from May to October, during the dry season. The dry season promises clear views, better roads, and fewer rainy days. The temperature during the day ranges from 10-25C and is generally cool at night, but trekkers should still anticipate the symptoms of altitude sickness. Acclimating to the altitude before visiting Choquequirao is strongly advised. Show more

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Last updated: by Eleonora Provozin