Trek to Choquequirao and Machu Picchu

Hiking the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, PeruSituated amongst the Salkantay Mountain Range, Choquequirao, (Cradle of Gold in the Quechua language), rises high above the Apurimac River. It bears a striking similarity in structure and architecture to Machu Picchu and is referred to as its 'sister'. Choquequirao receives far fewer tourists than its sister site but the ruins are no less impressive. Unlike Machu Picchu, Choquequirao cannot be reached by train or bus. The only way to visit the site is to go on a very spectacular hike from Cachora, a small community four hours from Cusco.

Inca archaeological site at Choquequirao PeruAs future tourism will spread from Machu Picchu to Choquequirao and to the small Andean community of Cachora, the locals will struggle to maintain their culture, environment and homes. Often exploited by larger tour operators, members of the community work for nothing, sell their homes for pennies, and stand back watching their village change as the tourists roll in.

Join Crooked Trails on this once-in-a-lifetime adventure and help us in supporting one of the only hostels and trekking companies started and operated by an original Apurimac family and run by Cachora community members. On this program, you will trek into Choquequirao and on to Machu Picchu. (We also offer a program which is an out-and-back hike to Choquequirao only.)


Sample Itinerary

Our itineraries are designed to let the country and its people guide your experiences. Please be flexible and allow the program to unfold.



You will need to arrive in Cusco no later than the day before your Choquequirao trip begins. Let us know what hotel you are staying at, or allow us to book it for you. Your guide will arrive at 7:00 pm to brief you on the trek and answer questions. Your guide for the trek is from a village near Choquequirao.

MEALS:  None



Your guide and driver will arrive at your hotel at 1pm and you'll depart in private transport to the small hamlet of Cachora. The drive will take about 4 hours along the picturesque Panamerican Highway through the Andes, with spectacular views of snow-capped mountains. (Cachora is at 2909 m/ 9544 ft elevation.)

Arrive in the quaint and colorful town of Cachora and get settled into your locally-owned hostal. Enjoy a stroll and take in the outstanding views of Nevado Padreyuc.




Enjoy a delicious breakfast at the hostal at 7:00am, then at 8:00 am you will be transferred to Capuliyoc Lookout (2,941m / 9649 ft) where you will meet your trek staff, horsemen and horses and begin the trek. From there you will take the trail heading north from town, following the valley of Cachora with a spectacular view of the Nevado Padreyoq. Along the way you will have spectacular views of the Apurimac River Canyon. The trail zig-zags, crossing scrub and native forests. Even from here you will be able to make out the archaeological complex of Choquequirao in the distance. The trail continues downhill for about 5 hours, until you arrive at the campsite of Chikiska (1,863m). After losing so much altitude you can expect a warm night in the valley.

Maximum Altitude: 2900 m / 9514 ft
Minimum Altitude: 1860 m / 6102 ft
Distance Travelled: 8 km / 4.97 m
Approximate Walking Time: 5 hrs




We leave very early in the morning to avoid the blazing midday sun. We descend to the Apurimac River to cross over the Playa Rosalinda bridge. Here our uphill climb to Choquequirao begins. Today you will be stopping in the home of your guide Juan where you can freshen up and enjoy the sugar cane chicha which is made here, known as Cambray. In addition, you can walk in their organic gardens, pick vegetables and get a feel for the life of the rural people in the Andean mountains. We continue uphill until we reach Marampata, which is quite close to Choquequirao. You will have lunch here, rest, and enjoy the wonderful view of the Apurimac River and Choquequirao. In the afternoon you will continue on a path of short uphill and downhill sections until arriving at the INC campsite. Your guides will set up the camp and cook dinner. Enjoy the views.

Maximum Altitude: 3061 m / 10043 ft
Minimum Altitude: 1836 m/ 6024 ft
Distance Travelled: 14 km / 8.69 miles
Approximate Walking Time: 8 hrs




After a good rest and a delicious breakfast, we will have the whole day to explore the ruins of Choquequirao, visiting the principal complex for around 6 hours. We will then return to the campsite to have lunch, and in the afternoon we will visit the lower part of the complex. It’s a great slow place to completely see all of the enormous site which covers a vast area. You will then return to camp and enjoy dinner.




This morning after breakfast you will have one more opportunity to visit the principal complex and explore it on your own, getting those last beautiful morning photographs. Then you will begin trekking towards Pinchiunuyoc. After an uphill stretch climbing through a wood of native trees, we arrive at Pajunal, before the descent to Pinchiunuyoc, where lunch is served. After lunch there is a descent to Río Blanco stream, where you cross the bridge and begin the climb uphill to Maizal. Here we have the chance to observe an incredible variety of bird species while our guides will set up camp and make dinner.

Maximum Altitude: 3300 m / 10826 ft
Minimum Altitude: 1500 m / 4921 ft
Distance Travelled: 11.00 km / 6.84 m
Approximate Walking Time: 8 hrs




Breakfast in the morning is followed by an uphill trek along a stone path which crosses through a beautiful forest of native trees. You will then arrive at the Mina Victoria Pass, where there are spectacular views of the snow-capped peaks of Choquetacarpo and Pumasillo. After stopping to take photos you will descend to the lunch spot and enjoy some great food and rest. You will then continue on to the community of Yanama, where we will have dinner and spend the night.

Maximum Altitude: 4200 m / 13779 ft
Minimum Altitude: 3800 m/ 12467 ft
Distance Travelled: 8 km / 4.97 m
Approximate Walking Time: 7 hrs




The ‘big day’! We leave early and climb up the ravine of the Yanama River, moving upriver. It begins as a gentle slope and becomes steeper and steeper as we approach the pass. You will see the changes in the landscape as you gain elevation and notice the beautiful contrast of ecological levels as you arrive in the Puna. We will have lunch right after the highest point, and then descend into the Totora River Valley. The views are amazing as you descend. We will spend the night and have dinner in the community of Totora.

Maximum Altitude: 4600 m / 15091 ft
Minimum Altitude: 2860 m / 9383 ft
Distance Travelled: 18.32 km / 11.38 m
Approximate Walking Time: 9 hrs




Rise and shine early for your departure this morning! The trail follows the Totora River towards the point where it meets the Chalan River. We will follow it downstream to the Santa Teresa River. Spectacular vegetation and beautiful waterfalls line the trail to Playa Santa Teresa, where we will stop for lunch. In the afternoon, we will stop at a locally owned coffee farm, where we will meet the owners and have the opportunity to sample a cup of the best organic coffee in the area.

Maximum Altitude: 2860 m / 9383 ft
Minimum Altitude: 2088 ma / 6850 ft
Distance Travelled: 8 km / 4.97 m




After breakfast, we start hiking uphill for 3 hours on the original Inca Trail, passing through cloud forests to reach Puncuyoc Pass. After another 15 minutes of hiking, we will reach Llactapata, an old Inca City which lies at 2,700 m / 8,906 ft above sea level. From here we can enjoy beautiful views of Machu Picchu, and Huayna Picchu and Machu Picchu mountains. Your guide will share the history and stories of this sacred place.

Afterwards, we start our hike downhill to Hidroelectrica. Here we will have lunch and rest while we wait for our train to go to Aguas Calientes, approximately 35 minute train ride. You will get checked into your hotel and take a well deserved hot shower. Go grab a cold drink and relax, or go explore. There are hot springs here as well.


DAY 10


Busses climb the steep hill to the Inca Citadel of Machu Picchu every few minutes. Your guide will let you know what time to be ready in the morning, but it’s best to be early to beat the crowds. Your guide will explain the meaning behind this amazing ruins which are incredibly well-preserved. Machu Picchu demonstrates the superior knowledge achieved by the Inca in astronomy and astrology. This knowledge is indispensable for measuring weather cycles (rainy and dry seasons) through the solstices, and for the development of agriculture which provides the primary means of survival in the Andes. You will have free time to explore the site on your own as well. Your guide will let you know what time to meet to catch the bus back to Aguas Calientes and then to catch your train to Ollantaytambo (2 hours). From there, your guide will escort you to private transport and travel with you back up the Sacred Valley to Cusco (2 hours).

Maximum Altitude: 2437 m / 7995 ft
Minimum Altitude: 2070 m / 6791 ft
Distance Travelled: 1.50 km / 0.93 m
Approximate Walking Time: 3 hrs

If your schedule allows, we recommend taking more time to explore the Sacred Valley! Talk with us about some great options.



$2,175 per person based on 2 people


10D / 9N


Custom dates available year-round




Cusco - Cachora - Chikiska - Choquequirao - Maizal - Yanama - Totora - Lucmabamba - Aguas Calientes - Machu Picchu - Cusco


Village Experience


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