Choquequirao archaeological complex
12-day adventure

The Choquequirao Trek

Peru
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Code: PRCQ

12 days
3/5

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Our office in Cuzco was first established in 2012 and now offers a wide range of trekking options in the area including the Inca Trail, Lares Trail, Salkantay Trek and Choquequirao Trek to name just a few. Our team in Peru also provides trips to Lake Titicaca, Rainbow Mountain and the Amazon for those wanting to experience more of the country before travelling home. With quality equipment and highly experienced guides, you are in safe hands from...
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Kandoo's view

Choquequirao, meaning Cradle of Gold, is an Incan City built during the late 15th and early 16th century. It is thought that Pachacuti, the Incan Emperor responsible for commissioning Machu Picchu, founded Choquequirao, which was then passed on to his son, Tupaq Inka Yupanki, who then extended and remodelled it. Restoration of the site began in the 1970s and still continues today. As of 2014, nearly 50% of the site had been excavated.

Choquequirao is located at 3,050 meters above sea level in the Cuzco region of the Province La Convención and can only be reached by hiking 2-3 days from the towns of Cachora, Huanipaca or Yanama. Our trek begins in Cachora, following the Apurimac Valley for two days to reach Choquequirao. We spend a full day exploring the archaeological site, which is larger but much quieter than Machu Picchu.

The trek from Choquequirao to Machu Picchu is more strenuous, starting with a 1500m descent and ascent to cross the Rio Blanco river, followed by two days where we will cross mountain passes over 4000m. Our trek finishes with a short train ride into Aguas Calientes, where we spend the night in a hotel before our tour of Machu Picchu.

Trip highlights

  • Trek through the Andes up to 4700m
  • Visit two Inca cities – Choquequirao and Machu Picchu
  • High guide to client ratio

Experiences

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    Hikers in Thorong, during the Annapurnas Tour
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Itinerary

  • Day 1

    ARRIVE IN CUZCO

    All trekkers need to organise their own flights to Cuzco Airport (CUZ). From the airport we will arrange an airport transfer for you. That evening you will meet your local Kandoo representative and have a full pre-trek briefing.

    • Max. altitude: 3400 m
    • Accomodation: Hotel
  • Day 2

    ACCLIMATISATION IN CUZCO

    The city of Cuzco sits at an altitude of 3400m and is a great place to acclimatise before you start your Choquequirao trek. You’ll have plenty of time to explore this charming city and soak up the local atmosphere

    • Max. altitude: 3400 m
    • Accomodation: Hotel
    • Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 3

    CUZCO TO CAPULIYUC TO CHIQUISKA

    The trek starts with a 4-5 hour drive to Capuliyuc (2,800m) where we meet our muleteer team and have lunch. In the afternoon we’ll begin our trek by hiking for 3-4 hours down into the Apurimac Canyon to our first campsite at Chiquiska at 1835m. The path is straightforward with a few switchbacks and downhill all the way, and there are fantastic views of the surrounding snow peaks and Choquequirao in the far distance.

    • Hiking time: 5 - 6 hours
    • Descent: 1565 m
    • Max. altitude: 3400 m
    • Accomodation: Camping
    • Meals included: Breakfast / Lunch / Dinner
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Trip information

Difficulty

The Choquequirao Trek is considered to be a fairly challenging trek. There is a 1,800 meter climb to start proceedings, however, with porters or pack horses, the climb is not too difficult. Altitude is generally not a problem on this trek, but a good level of fitness is required.

Food & drink

Staying well-fed on your trek is absolutely vital, especially when conditions are such that you might not want to eat or drink as much as you should. Because so many trekkers experience a loss of appetite at altitude, our head chef has developed special menu plans that are appealing, healthy, and filled with all the energy you need to make it to Machu Picchu. By default, our meals include fresh fruit and vegetables every day, as well as fresh meat and fish.


BREAKFAST

Breakfast is usually fairly hearty. Of course, you’ll also have hot drinks, generally a choice of tea, coffee or hot chocolate. Let your guide know if you are still hungry, or even if you think you could ‘pack in a few more bites’. Our cooks always try to provide more food than necessary to ensure everyone gets a good meal.


LUNCH

Lunch is packed for you, to carry in your rucksack.


AFTERNOON TEA

Afternoon Tea is served at the end of the days walking, once you get to camp. In addition to tea and other hot drinks, there are plenty of snacks to help restore some of the energy you’ve just burned off.


DINNER

Dinners are quite filling. They usually begin with a nice hearty soup, and then a main course with fresh vegetables, and plenty of rice, pasta or potatoes, followed by a yummy dessert.


DRINKING WATER

On the trek, we filter and boil all the water that we give to you for drinking. You may wish to bring purification tablets as an extra precaution but they are not essential. Every morning we will fill up your water bottles or hydration bladder with at least 2 litres of water.


COCA TEA

Coca tea is thought to help relieve the symptoms of altitude sickness. In Cuzco, all the hotels have dried leaves and hot water available throughout the day so you can make your own tea whenever you wish. On the trek we will take coca leaf tea bags for you.

Accommodation

We use only the very best high altitude mountain tents, Eureka K-2 XT, to ensure you stay warm, dry and comfortable on your Choquequirao trek. Please bear in mind, these are proper mountain tents, designed to cope with extreme conditions so don’t expect to be able to stand up and walk around inside!


Your meals will be taken in a separate mess tent where you will be able to sit comfortably, while you relax and chat to your team mates and enjoy the wholesome food that our cook has freshly prepared for you. Inside, you’ll be pleased to find a table (of course) and a proper, comfortable chair. With a full 2 metres of headroom, even the tallest climbers will be able to stretch a bit, and move about without hunching over. They are fully waterproof, and regularly withstand the worst weather the Andes has to offer.


A toilet tent is provided with toilet paper.


Our pre- and post-trek accommodation is based in Cuzco, with an additional night in Aguas Calientes after the trek. Where your hotel basis is B&B, you can usually purchase snacks or meals at the hotel, which can be paid in Peruvian Sols, or often in US Dollars. Alternatively, there are plenty of restaurants in Cuzco within walking distance of your hotel.

Transport

We insist on using a high standard of vehicle and driver for all of our transfers. In Peru it is not a legal requirement to have seatbelts fitted in the back of vehicles, and while we try to use vehicles that do have rear seatbelts fitted, this cannot always be guaranteed. If you are unhappy about any aspect of the vehicle or the standard of driving, please speak to the driver or our local office immediately.

Luggage

Kandoo Adventures operates a strict limit of 10kg for your main equipment bag. This limit includes your sleeping bag, even if it is rented from us. This is more than sufficient for your needs on the trek. Your bag will be weighed before you leave the hotel to start the trek and if it is overweight you will have to take items out and leave them at the hotel.


Additional porters can be hired but they will cost $25 per day

How do I get there?

There are two good ways to get to Cuzco from Europe or the UK. The first is to fly KLM to Lima with a stopover in Amsterdam. The second is to fly BA who offer direct flights from Gatwick to Lima or Iberia who fly to Lima via Madrid. From Lima you will have to get a domestic flight to Cuzco. Domestic airlines include LATAM, Avianca, Star Peru or Peruvian Air. We recommend flying with LATAM as their planes have the capability to land in the foggy conditions that can affect Cuzco and Lima. Most flights from Europe land in the evening, local time. Most flights for Cuzco don’t leave until the morning, so if you don’t fancy loitering in the airport all night (which we do not recommend), you’ll need an overnight stay in Lima.

Trekkers starting off in North America have a much wider set of options. American Airlines and US Airways both offer flights into Lima, as do several other carriers. In addition to existing security measures at international airports, passengers MAY be required to show that the electronic devices in their hand luggage are charged up. You may therefore be asked to turn on any electronic devices such as mobile phones, tablets, e-books and laptops in front of the security team and/or demonstrate the item’s functionality. We recommend that any electronic devices that you are carrying in your hand luggage are fully charged before you travel. If you have any further questions then you should check with your departure airport.

Budget & change

The Peruvian Sol can be purchased in advance, although US Dollars are also widely accepted in larger establishments. If you want to change money when you arrive we can take you to an ATM or foreign exchange bureau. When changing money, request small denominations (10’s, 20’s and 50’s) as the larger notes can be hard to spend. If you withdraw money from an ATM, you are likely to receive 100 sol notes.


If you are relying on a credit or debit card for emergency funds, make sure you tell your card issuer that you will be using it abroad, or you may find that it won't work when you really need it.

Tips

We realize that tipping may not be a common practice in all countries but for Peru it is a standard practice that all operators support. The decision on how much to tip should be determined by how well the team served you while you were on the trek. Tips are always discretionary and if you are not happy with the service you have received you do not have to pay tips. Tips can be made in US dollars or Peruvian Sols. It is very important that US bills be new (post 2006), crisp and untorn.


We say goodbye to our crew at the Hidroelectrica station, before we continue to Aguas Calientes and Machu Picchu. Any tips that you wish to give to the cook and arrieros will need to be carried on the trek with you.

Formalities & health

Passport

Unlike many other countries where Kandoo operates, there is no requirement that your passport be valid for 6 months longer than your expected stay. As long as it is valid through your departure date, you are fine.

If you are coming into Peru from Ecuador, get your passport stamped for entry at the local immigration office nearest your border crossing. Most enter this way through Aguas Verdes in the Tumbes region. Make sure you find your way to the immigration office there, as if your passport is not stamped you will have to go back to the Ecuador border if your papers are inspected. You may also have trouble if you do not have a valid exit stamp from the country you left before coming to Peru.

Those entering overland from Columbia generally enter through Leticia. You will need to get your passport stamped in Santa Rosa, on the Columbia/Brazil/Peru border. Please keep in mind that Santa Rosa is rather under-policed, and tourists should avoid isolated places, and travel only in groups.

Lastly, if you are crossing into Peru from Bolivia by road, you will need to visit the immigration office for the Puno region, in Desaguadero.

Visa

British and EU nationals do not need a visa to come to Peru as a tourist. You can get permission to visit upon arrival at the airport, and the duration is usually up to six months. American citizens and nationals do not need a visa either so long as they have a valid US passport, but will generally only get permission to stay as a tourist for 90 days. Still, this is usually plenty of time.

Vaccinations

You must though consult your own GP or medical adviser. Your GP will understand your overall fitness levels and any health issues you may have, and will be able to give you much more specific advice about what vaccinations or other medications you need, and which you should not have. When in doubt, ask your doctor!

That having been said, the following is a list of common vaccinations that are useful to many travellers in Peru and surrounding countries, and some specifics about each.

Hepatitis A and B
Kandoo recommends all travellers to the Andes region are vaccinated against Hepatitis A and B.

Typhoid
Typhoid is also present in the region, and it is a good idea for all travellers to be immunised against it.

Yellow Fever
Yellow fever is a problem in the area, especially in regions like the Amazon, the areas around Cuzco (but not the city itself), Loreto, Madre de Dios, north-eastern Ancash, northern Apurimac, northern and north-eastern Ayacucho, northern and eastern Cajamarca, the far north of Huancavelica, most of Huanuco, the north and east of Junin, the east of La Libertad, most of Pasco eastern Piura and northern Puno, as well as San Martin and Ucayali. Anyone travelling to these areas should be vaccinated against yellow fever, unless given specific medical advice otherwise.

Lambayeque, Tumbes, and certain parts of Cajamarca and Piura are less at risk, and only those who can expect to be bitten by large numbers of mosquitoes specifically need to be vaccinated.

Lastly, you will not need yellow fever vaccination if you will be above 2300 metres of elevation for your whole stay, or if you will only be visiting Cuzco, Lima, Machu Picchu and/or the Inca Trail.

Rabies
Trekkers who will be spending a great deal of time out of doors, who will for some reason be dealing with bats, or who are otherwise at risk of being bitten by animals, should be vaccinated against rabies.

MMR (measles, mumps and rubella)
If you have not already had the MMR vaccine and were born after 1956, you should have two doses.

Tetanus-diphtheria
This vaccine should be taken if you have not had the tetanus-diphtheria jab in the last ten years.

Insurance

It is your responsibility to ensure that you are fully and adequately insured for the duration of your trip. Please ensure that all activities, excursions and destinations in your itinerary are included in your travel insurance policy, in addition to your regular cover for cancellation and medical expenses. Most of our treks in Peru do not exceed 4700m with the exception of the Ausangate Trek which will reach 5200m. Please ensure that your insurance policy covers you for trekking at these altitudes.

We ask that you keep a copy of your policy summary (containing policy number and the emergency contact number for your insurer) in your day sack at all times, so that we can access this information should we need to contact the insurer on your behalf.

Health

Altitude Sickness

Altitude sickness, called soroche in Peru and also known as Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS) or hypobaropathy, is an illness caused by exposure to low air pressure, especially low partial pressure of oxygen, which many climbers experience at high altitudes. AMS is caused by exerting yourself at high altitudes, especially if you have not been properly acclimatised. It is most common at altitudes above 2400 metres. Our routes have been designed to aid your acclimatisation wherever possible, but the following will also help your body adjust:

Slow and steady. You need to keep your respiration rate low enough to maintain a normal conversation. If you are panting or breathing hard, you must slow down. There is no pressure on you to keep up with other members of your group.

Drink much more water than you think you need. Proper hydration helps acclimatisation dramatically. You need to drink at least three litres each day.

Diamox

There has been a lot of research on Diamox that shows is that it has been reasonably well proven to be helpful in avoiding AMS by speeding up the acclimatisation process. In the UK it is a prescription drug which must be prescribed by a doctor, but some doctors are reluctant to prescribe it. The concern is that by taking Diamox, people believe that they are immune from AMS and can ignore the symptoms. In reality, although Diamox can help prevent the symptoms, should symptoms still develop it means that you are not acclimatising and you have to take notice. Diamox is taken before you start the trek to prevent altitude sickness, not once symptoms have developed.

Malaria

There is no risk of malaria in Cuzco or on our treks due to the altitude. However, there is a risk of malaria in rural areas of Peru below 2,000m. This would include Tambopata National Park, so if you are planning an extension to the Amazon Rainforest, you need to plan anti-malarial medication for this part of your trip. In addition to taking medication, we would recommend you take every precaution to prevent mosquito bites by wearing long-sleeved trousers and shirts at dusk and dawn when the mosquitos are active, and by using a DEET based mosquito repellent.

Dehydration

You can easily become dehydrated at high altitudes. The lower air pressure forces you to breathe more quickly and deeply, and you lose a lot of water through your lungs. You will also be exerting yourself, and sweating, and may even suffer from diarrhoea. As a result, you will have to drink much more water than you normally would and you should drink at least 3 litres of fluids every day while climbing. Even when you do not feel thirsty you have to drink this amount as a minimum – preferably more. Stay on the look-out for signs of dehydration in yourself and your fellow climbers. The most common symptoms include thirst, dry lips, nose or mouth, headache and feeling fatigued or lethargic.

Equipment & clothing

Equipment supplied by Kandoo Adventures

  • High quality mess and sleeping tents with a comfortable insulated sleeping mat

RENTAL GEAR

If you’ve decided to rent gear, then below is a list of equipment available. Just let our team know what you’d like to hire at your Pre-Trek Briefing. 

All payments are made locally in US Dollars (cash only):


North Face 0° Sleeping Bags $30 per trek

Trekking Poles $20 per trek

Duffle Bag $5 per trek


All items must be packed in your main equipment bag.

They should not be attached to the outside, as we are not responsible if items fall off when the bags are being carried on the trek. The sleeping bags weigh approximately 2kg each

Clothing to bring

HEADGEAR
  • Warm beanie style hat – knitted or fleece
  • Neck gaiter or scarf -  comes in useful for keeping dust out and can double as a warm layer for your neck / face!
  • Sun hat – preferably wide-brimmed for protection
  • Sunglasses – high UV protection
  • Headlamp (plus extra batteries)

UPPER BODY

  • Thermal or fleece base layer (x1)
  • Long sleeve shirt/tshirt – light or medium weight, moisture wicking (x 1)
  • Short sleeved shirt/tshirt – lightweight, moisture wicking (x2)
  • Fleece or soft shell jacket (x1)
  • Insulated jacket – down or primaloft
  • Lightweight water/windproof hard shell outer jacket
  • Poncho – a cheap plastic poncho is the best way to cope with a sudden downpour
  • Gloves – lightweight, fleece or quick drying fabric

LEGS

  • Trekking shorts (x1)
  • Trekking trousers – light or medium weight (x1) – convertible trousers work well
  • Waterproof hard shell trousers – ski pants work fine

FEET

  • Trekking boots – mid weight with good ankle support
  • Training shoe or similar – to wear around camp
  • Mid-weight trekking socks (x3 pairs)
  • Breathable, high-wicking liner socks (x2 pairs)

Equipment to bring

  • Small Rucksack or Daypack (25-30 litres) to carry water and personal items
  • Lightweight duffle bag (approx 50 litres) – max weight when full should be 10kg. This weight restriction includes your sleeping bag, whether you brought one with you or rented one from us. Your duffle will be carried by a mule
  • Sleeping bag (3 season or 0 Deg C) and compression sack
  • Trekking poles
  • Water bottle or hydration bag – must be able to carry 1.5-2L of water

OTHER ACCESSORIES

  • Sunscreen high SPF
  • Toiletries, including toilet paper, wet wipes and hand sanitiser – please carry all rubbish back off the trek
  • Camera and spare batteries
  • Personal medication and first aid kit
  • Insect repellent – ideally contains DEET
  • Personal snacks and energy bars – dried fruit and nuts are also a good source of energy
  • Isotonic drink powder / energy drink powder to mix in with your water. This improves flavour and helps replace electrolytes
  • Microfibre towel for wiping hands and face each day
  • Ear plugs, if you are a light sleeper
  • Pee bottle, if you prefer not leaving the tent at night
  • Dry bag (only required if your main duffle bag is not waterproof)

Dates & prices

No date is available at the moment

Want to add flights or create a private trip? Don't hesitate to contact us!

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Price includes

  • Your hotel stay for the nights before and after the trek
  • Airport transfers
  • Transfer to and from the trek start point
  • Choquequirao entry, Machu Picchu entry and camping fees
  • A fully supported trek
  • All meals and drinking water on the trek
  • A private portable toilet
  • High quality mess and sleeping tents with a comfortable insulated sleeping mat
  • Access to emergency oxygen and first aid kit

Price does not include

  • Airfares and visas
  • Tips for your guides and crew
  • Personal items
  • Travel insurance (you must be insured, and specifically for treks up to 4700m)
  • Your personal trekking gear
  • Your personal medicines or prescriptions
  • Snacks on the trek
  • Meals and drinks not on the trek

Options

  • Additional hotel nights before or after your trek