Choquequirao trekking: an alternative to Machu Picchu

Choquequirao trekking: an alternative to Machu Picchu

If you want to see Machu Picchu and have more than one day to do it, hiking to the place is an attractive way. A few days in the area will let you know that Machu Picchu is an important place, but only one of many. Choquequirao is one of the least popular. Nature, landscapes in a radius of several dozen kilometers surprise with its richness.

Why an alternative to Machu Picchu?

Trekking to Choquequirao

Crowds of people: Machu Picchu is visited by about three thousand tourists every day. Choquequirao certainly less than a hundred people a day, in high season. While visiting the ruins, we met 10 people in their area.
Price: the entrance to Machu Picchu is expensive. This year, the entrance to the complex is S / 150 (approximately), and you must add another amount if you want to go to one of the two peaks that rise above the historic city. You can walk a dozen kilometers on foot, but you can also pay other amounts in US dollars. Buses full of tourists arrive at the entrance door every few minutes. Queues are everywhere. Prices not so much to which Peru is accustomed.
Reservations are needed: if you want to see the ruins at dawn, you must book your ticket in advance. If you want to go to Huayna Picchu, set up your planning a few months in advance. It doesn’t have fun. Fortunately, we were able to buy an admission ticket at 2pm, the day before entering, in the high season.
Prohibitions and orders: there are several prohibitions and orders on the admission ticket.

Why watch Choquequirao trek?

Trekking to Choquequirao

The architectural style of Choquequirao and Machu Picchu is similar. Solid stone walls, agricultural terraces, residential and ritual facilities. The terraces of llamas are very impressive. The shape of a life-size animal is made of white stones inserted between gray in several dozen terraces. Choquequirao was probably founded in the fifteenth century and expanded in the sixteenth century. It is believed that it was founded by the Inca ruler Pachacuti, the same for which Machu Picchu was to be built. Later, Choquequirao was supposed to be a refuge for the ruling Manco Inca Yupanqui, when at the beginning of the 16th century he had to flee from Cusco controlled by the Spaniards. Many strangers here, history fans will surely find interesting stories among the Inca stones.
Choquequirao is surprisingly well preserved. The area of ​​both complexes is comparable. Only 40% of the ruins are visible at this time, most of them are still covered with lush vegetation.

How long does it take to see Choquequirao?

Trekking to Choquequirao

Choquequirao can be visited during a 3-5 day trip, depending on the pace of the march, or combine the observation of these ruins with the visit to Machu Picchu, which will take a minimum of 7 days of walking. Standard access to the ruins takes 1.5 to 2 days, tourist visits at least half a day and then you have to leave. Most people return in the same way. In Peru there are many buildings left after the Inca civilization. Choquequirao was visited by a handful of tourists because it is difficult to access.

Choquequirao trekking – difficulties

Trekking to Choquequirao

The biggest challenge during the trip to the ruins is to overcome the elevation, the variable temperatures and the insects. The maximum height of the archaeological site is approximately 3100 m above sea level, and the Apurimac River is below 1500 m above sea level. The road rarely has a slope of less than 20%, often 30%. Even trained muscles can be unhappy after exceeding such high altitudes per day, especially when the high ambient temperature removes a lot of water, and you have to shake your hands like in a Korean dance chasing biting flies. During the day the temperatures reach 30 ° C, at night they can approach 0 ° C, depending on the altitude. It is worth considering starting the trail before dawn, when it is pleasantly cool.
 The altitude should not be a problem. Most people come from Cusco (3,400 m) or Abancay (2,400 m) and the highest point of Choquequirao is 3,100 m above sea level.

Treks and routes to get to Machu Picchu

Treks and routes to get to Machu Picchu

At the top of the list of tasks for all travelers in Peru: Machu Picchu, the wonders of the world. But what options are there to visit the famous Inca terraces? The best routes that consider these possibilities.

What trek to Machu Picchu is recommended?

Machu Picchu day trip:

By bus they will pick you up early at your hotel in Cusco and take you to the train station in Ollantaytambo. From there, take the train to Aguas Calientes and then continue by bus to the entrance of Machu Picchu. Then follow a guided tour of the famous Inca ruins, which is already back to Aguas Calientes by bus, train to Ollantaytambo and bus back to the hotel. This is what most agencies look like.
For people who do not have much time, but do not want to miss Machu Picchu, it is surely a good alternative. For me, this tour was out of the question. I had more time and wanted to experience something more unconventional.

Inca Trail to Machu Picchu:

 Inca Trail to Machu Picchu:

The Inca Trail, one of the most famous hiking trails in the world, The walk usually lasts 4 days and 3 nights. You walk through breathtaking landscapes, pass a pass at 4200 altitude, experience the jungle and camp in the middle of these landscapes.
However, there is a faster route of 2 days. Where you can see important Inca architectural remains before arriving at Machu Picchu.

Jungle trail to Machu Picchu:

Jungle trail to Machu Picchu

This hike is the most adventurous alternative to get to Machu Picchu. It is less about hiking / trekking itself, but rather a combination of trekking, rafting, zip line and mountain biking. Especially among the youngest travelers in Peru, this route is one of the most popular.
The little walk, which makes the walk attractive, finally allowed me to decide against it. I was allowed to walk a little more.

Salkantay trek to Machu Picchu:

 Salkantay trek to Machu Picchu:

The Salkantay Trek combines the cultural and natural beauties of the Machu Picchu landscape. The highlight of the route and the difference with the other possibilities is the passage of the snow-covered Salkantay with a height of 6264 m. It is considered the most representative mountain of the Vilcabamba mountains. From there it crosses the cloud forest and the jungle to Aguas Calientes.
The walk is considered more demanding, rugged and, above all, less crowded and remote than the Inca Trail. Especially, the latter makes it more authentic for me and finally I was touched by some testimonies about my decision to choose the 5-day Salkantey trek to Machu Picchu.