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 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.
FOR COMPLETE INFORMATION ON CHOQUEQUIRAO TREKKING ROUTES INCLUDING DETAILED MAPS AND CAMPSITE INFORMATION, DOWNLOAD OUR GUIDEBOOK, “THE CHOQUEQUIRAO TREK – A GUIDE TO HIKING THE OTHER INCA TRAIL“
All Things Ancient at the 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.
Planning to visit Peru? You might also like:
- A Get Outside Guide: The Choquequirao Trek
- A Get Outside Guide: The Santa Cruz Trek
- 3 Excellent Alternatives to Machu Picchu
- Pitmasters of Pachamanca
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