Many people call Choquequirao “the other Machu Picchu”. It was built for political and military purposes and one of the most demanding and unforgettable of treks.
To get there:
You start from Cachora (2903 m.a.s.l.), a village in Apurimac, on the road from Cusco to Abancay. Choquequirao (“golden cradle”) is the name of the hill on which this citadel was discovered, at 3033 m.a.s.l.
[caption id="attachment_140817" align="alignnone" width="624"] (Photo: Flickr)[/caption]
The route starts with a walk and descent to Cocamasama (2100 m.a.s.l.) to the first campsite at Playa Rosalina (1750 m.a.s.l.) The following day takes you to the hamlet of Santa Rosa (2100 m.a.s.l.), Marampata and finally Choquequirao. This archaeological site was also one of the secret places of the last Incas as they were threatened by the Spanish Conquistadors. These included Vilcabamba, Machu Picchu and Espiritu Pampa, bastions of the Inca resistance, which can also be reached on a twelve-day trek. A trip for warriors only.
Despite the distance on the map from Choquequirao to Cachora it is only 30 kilometres, but the route is difficult and the return trip can last as long as four days, so you should be in good physical shape before you start.
[caption id="attachment_140818" align="alignnone" width="624"] (Photo: Ultimate Journeys)[/caption]
The route is part of the Royal Inca Road or Qhapac Ñan, recently declared UNESCO World Heritage Site. PureQuest, the adventure travel brand of LimaTours, is sponsoring a research expedition to identify and develop rural tourism projects to benefit the communities along the Ecuador-Peru section on theQhapac Ñan.