From:

US$970 per person

CHOQUEQUIRAO-9 DAYS

The name Choquequiraw mean “Cradle of Gold”in Quechua. This site is another “lost City of the Incas”. Rediscoverd in the later part of the 20th century, it is located high on a ridge almost 5,540 ft above the Apurimac river and surrounded by towering Salkantay and Humanty snow-capped peaks.

The site was build during the Inca empire by Tupac Inca Yapanqui around 1490. The City was dedicated to worship “pachamama” -mother earth, the “Apus”-mountain God, the river and nature. Choquequirao finally burned down and left deserted after the execution of the last Inca, Tupac Amaru in 1572.

This expedition takes you to two of the major archaeological sites in the Cusco region of Peru: Choquequirao and Machu Picchu. Although Machu Picchu is by far the better-known and more-visited Inca ruin, be adventurous and see why Choquequirao rivals it in many respects. Along the way, wonder at the extraordinarily diverse ecosystems, from snow-capped peaks to steep river canyons and flowering prairie, alive with exotic flowers and birds.

This is a 9 days tour with the last night in a hostel in Aguas Calientes.

Dificulty
: Challanging
Tour Code
: CHO9
Activities
: Camping and hiking
Group Tour
: US$970 per person
Departures
:Weekly
Private
: From:US$1010 per person for group of 6-10 people
Seasson
: January-December
Start – End
:Cusco Includes Machu Picchu and backpackers train back to Cusco.

Day 1: Cusco – Cachora – Chiquisca

We’ll pick you up at your Cusco hotel at 5 a.m. to drive to Cachora (4 hours by car). While having breakfast at the base of the Padrayoc range (the highest peak is 5,482 mt/17,985ft.), the crew will prepare the horses for the trek. Today’s 6-hour hike affords great views of the Padrayoc and Wayna Cachora snow-covered peaks, while we walk alongside small farms on the steep mountainsides. From Capuliyoc, where condors may soar above, the descent toward the Apurímac Canyon begins and the vegetation changes from agave and tuna cactus to dwarf tree forests. We’ll have a welcome lunch at Chiquisqa (1,950 mt/6,398ft). Our campsite is in Chiquisca at 1,550 mt/5,085ft. Meals: B, L, D.

Day 2: Chiquisca – Choquequirao Ruins

After breakfast at 6:00 a.m., we’ll walk down to the Apurímac River (1,550 mt/5,085ft). The main tributary of the Amazon flows through a deep canyon—in some places twice as deep as the Grand Canyon. After a short rest, we’ll hike up to Choquequira. The first two to three hours are a steep climb, but it levels off and we walk the rest of the way surrounded by gorgeous vegetation with several varieties of delicate orchids. At around 3 p.m. we arrive at Choquequirao with time to explore and contemplate the view of the canyon we just walked through. Again, we hope to see the flight of the condors, the largest flying birds in the world with their 10-foot wingspan. We’ll make camp near Choquequirao at 3,033 mt/9,951ft. Meals: B, L, D.

Day 3: Choquequirao

We have the entire day—and we’ll need it—to explore this stunning Inca settlement. As mysterious as Machu Picchu, its name means “Cradle of Gold”. Early Spaniards knew of this place, yet its remoteness protected it. French explorers visited it in the 19th century, and in 1909 Hiram Bingham was first to scientifically investigate the site. Some speculate that the emperor Topa Inca had it built as a personal spiritual retreat to rival his father’s magnificent estate at Machu Picchu. Whoever built this place, it was undoubtedly an elite settlement, built for ceremonial purposes and occupied by Inca nobility. The Apurimac River roars distantly 1,450 m./4,800 ft. below, visible on either side of a steep ridge to which clings the Inca city. As we approach the heart of the city, a sweep of enormous curved terraces leads our eye to an artificial hill and ceremonial platform overlooking the main plaza. Here afternoon thermal currents bring Andean condors soaring over the complex of temples, mausoleums, royal residences, ritual baths, great gathering halls, storehouses, hidden gardens, and a giant stairway, all still standing as testimony to the skill of Inca engineers. Excavation work at the site is very recent, and archaeologists are continually uncovering hitherto unknown structures. The steep mountainside below the main plaza features several clusters of newly discovered buildings, including the so-called Ridge Group and the Waterfall Temple, an intriguing ceremonial complex facing the cascades of a steep ravine. Camp. Meals: B, L, D.

Day 4: Choquequirao to Maizal

Today, we’ll experience dramatically diverse ecosystems as we walk uphill to 3,299 mt/10,823ft, and then descend to Rio Blanco at 1,909 mt/6,263ft. We first walk through a cloud forest, then open prairie with views of the mountains and valleys. In the cloud forest, the Pinchinoyoc ruins seem to appear out of nowhere, almost invisible beneath thick mosses and other vegetation. We will have our lunch near Rio Blanco, and perhaps take a refreshing bath in the pristine and bracing river water. Refreshed, we start the long, steep 3-hour climb to our campsite in Maizal (3,000 mt/9,842ft). Here we’ll camp on Inca terraces . Meals: B, L, D

Day 5: Maizal to Yanama

This morning we start our hike uphill, passing the impressive Incan Minas Victoria, where colonials mined silver, on the way to Victoria Pass. This is a long climb, but we walk in an amazingly beautiful area—first through a cloud forest and then over Andean puna with three-foot ichu grass interspersed with lovely valerians, lupines, and violas. Near the summit, we walk in the footsteps of the Incas on trails they built. We take our box lunch at the pass at 4,200 mt/13,779ft with views of the mountain Choquetakarpo. While relaxing, we’ll keep our eyes peeled for condors. We then descend toward Yanama, a small isolated settlement at the bottom of a long valley surrounded by mountains. We’ll make camp at 3,800 mt/12,467ft. Meals: B, L, D.

Day 6: Yanama to Totora

After breakfast we enjoy fabulous views of Mt. Sacsarayoj and Mt. Padreyoj as we climb slowly to the highest point of the tour, the Yanama Pass (4,500 mt/14,763ft). Again, there’s a good chance we’ll see the magnificent condor. The gentle climb reveals new landscapes we’ve not seen before, especially the wet grass fields under the snowline. In the pass we may trudge through snow or hike through foggy fields, crossing wood/dirt bridges toward Totora, where we spend the night. Meals: B, L, D.

Day 7: Totora to La Playa

Today we descend to the Totora River. We’ll be surrounded by darting hummingbirds, colorful woodpeckers and many species of magnificent orchids and begonias. We walk about 2,000 mt/6,561ft (7 hours) to the warmer camp in the village of La Playa, enjoying small waterfalls and perhaps a refreshing natural bath along the way. In La Playa, surrounded by coffee and banana plantations, we can visit the shops and stock up on snacks. We’ll make camp at 2,125 meters. Meals: B, L, D.

Day 8: La Playa – Aguas Calientes

From La Playa we walk or take a local transportation to Lucma, where we start our climb of about 3 hours to Llactapata, a newly discovery Inca site famous for a “great condor view of Machu Picchu.” We enjoy our picnic box lunch, then hike downhill for about 2-½ hours to the Hydroelectric Station, arriving by 3:00 p.m. We will catch the train to Aguas Calientes, about 45 minutes away, where we encourage you to visit to the town’s famous thermal springs. A leisurely soak feels great after finishing the trail. Entrance to the springs is a small fee of $US 3.00. Allow 3 hours to really enjoy them. The site is open until 9.00 p.m. Meals: B, L, D.

PRICING

Group Service: US$970 Per Person

Private Service Price Per Person:

  • 2 Person: US$1890
  • 3 Person: US$1760
  • 4 Person: US$1366
  • 5 Person: US$1215
  • 6-10 Person: US$ 1010

Machu Picchu Extension: $220

Included:

  • Transportation from your hotel to the starting point of the trek
  • Large, double-occupancy tents, kitchen tent, dining tent, latrine
  • tent
  • Meals as in itinerary: 4 Breakfasts, 5 Lunches, 4 Dinners
  • Cook and cooking equipment
  • English speaking guide
  • Emergency first aid kit
  • Oxygen tank
  • Horses to carry all equipment
  • 1 extra horse
  • Transportation from end of trail to your hotel
  • Sleeping bag/mat ($30 refundable deposit)
  • Park entrance fee

Not Included

  • Breakfast 1st day/Dinner last day
  • Tips, taxes, international airfare and personal expenses
  • Hotel accommodations in the city

Gear list

  • Passport
  • Backpack or duffle bag
  • Warm clothing/thermals
  • Trekking shoes
  • Sandals
  • Raincoat
  • Sunscreen
  • Flashlight
  • Raincoat
  • Insect repellent
  • Bottled water
  • Personal first aid kit
  • Bathing suit and towel
  • Hat
  • Sunglasses
  • Camera, film and batteries

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