Off the Grid South America

The Other Machu Picchu: Choquequirao | Peru

Choquequirao Ruins Peru - View of the Park

What is Choquequirao? Archeological Site
Where is it? 33km trek from Cachora, Peru
How long do I need? 4 days
How much does it cost? The Choquequirao entrance fee is S/.55.00 soles (2017)

While Machu Picchu is awfully impressive, it does have one major problem. Everyone knows it’s great. With an estimated 2,500 visitors per day, you can get there early, take the last bus, be the first through the Sun Gate, visit in the low season, go in the rain, or go on Christmas, and still, any semblance of solitude is a distant memory. How are you supposed to imagine an ancient civilization while you’re stuck behind a tour group chasing llamas with their iPhones?

By all means, go to Machu Picchu. Go for the perspective, and for a glimpse at one of the world’s most iconic, best-preserved sites. But if you’re seeking a quieter more adventurous experience, there’s only one alternative to Machu Picchu as far as we’re concerned. High on a hill in the Vilcabamba mountain range are the overwhelming, impressive, and absolutely incredible Choquequirao ruins.

Choquequirao Ruins in Peru

Choquequirao vs Machu Picchu

The 15th-century ruins of Choquequirao sprawl more than 18km though presently just 30% excavated (take that, Machu Picchu!). The complex is divided into 12 sectors and closely resembles Machu Picchu with features like terraces, temples, plazas, and aqueducts. But very unlike Machu Picchu, Choquequirao sees an average of 20 visitors per day. With nothing but the setting sun and sporadic rains to distract you, you’re free to explore the park in absolute peaceful silence.

The Choquequirao trek may have been a real ass kicker, but having seen it, we both agree it is one of our most powerful travel experiences ever. Go for the adventure, go for the experience, and most importantly, go before they build the damn teleferiqo. Here’s our guide to exploring Choquequirao.


A GET OUTSIDE GUIDE: THE CHOQUEQUIRAO TREKChoquequirao Trek - Daniel Crossing the Bridge


 

All Things Ancient at the Choquequirao Ruins

Choquequirao Ruins - Daniel exploring the ruinsChoquequirao Ruins in Peru - Ruins at Choquequirao

Choquequirao Ruins - Stairs at Choquequirao

Choquequirao Ruins Peru - Plants growing out of the ruins

Choquequirao Ruins - Taylor with the Ruins from afar
Choquequirao Ruins - Taylor's Hair
Choquequirao Ruins - Daniel's Hair
Choquequirao Ruins - Central Plaza
Choquequirao Ruins in Peru - View of the Plaza

Choquequirao Ruins - Plants growing from the stone

Choquequirao Ruins in Peru - View of the ParkChoquequirao Ruins - Long Corridor at ChoquequiraoChoquequirao Ruins - Daniel Looking at Choquequirao Ruins

Where to Stay In Cachora

Need a place to stay before your trek? There are just a couple of hotels in Cachora.

CasaNostra Choquequirao | CasaNostra Choquequirao is the best accommodation in Cachora by a landslide. While the simply furnished hotel is a bit outside of the center, the attractive surrounds and friendly staff make up for it. Double rooms start from $35.

Inka Dream | There’s not much dreamy about the Inka Dream. You’ll want to check out your room in advance and go in without high expectations for service. That being said, the basic hotel is one of the only properties in Cachora which will keep the rooms booked for the time being. Double rooms start from $40.

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If you're seeking a more adventurous alternative to Machu Picchu, the Choquequirao ruins are the way to go. Photos + information for visiting Choquequirao and the Choquequirao trek.

What’s the most remote place you’ve ever been? Have any questions about visiting the Choquequirao ruins in Peru? Let us know in the comments below!

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