Off the Grid South America

A Get Outside Guide: The Choquequirao Trek | Peru

Choquequirao Ruins - Daniel exploring the ruins

The Choquequirao trek is an adventure in the truest sense of the word. The Choquequirao archeological site sits quite high on Quriwayrachina with steep valleys on all sides. Start into the valley on this Inca Trail alternative, and come downpour, sore left foot, or  fatigue of any kind, you’ve still got to get back up the other side.

I’m going to be honest. The trek to Choquequirao is hard as hell, but you already know that the coolest experiences usually are. While the trek is at low altitude, a 1,500 meter descent into the valley followed by an 1,800 meter climb means there are no easy days. Take on the Choquequirao trek without a guide (or especially without mules), and you’re in for an even bigger challenge. But, struggle through the tough parts, and you’ll get to experience an unbothered route to Machu Picchu and the rarely-explored ruins of Choquequirao in practical solitude. Trust me. That part is worth it.

I toughed out the trek in December 2016 . Here’s everything I learned, and what you ought to know for the Choquequirao Trek in Peru.

Choquequirao Ruins Peru - View of the Park

What is the Choquequirao Trek?

The Choquequirao trek is the 4-day to 9-day trek in the Vilcanota mountain range. The 4-day route will take you steeply into the Apurimac canyon, up the other side to the Choqeuquirao Ruins, and back out the same way. The longer Choquequirao trek to Machu Picchu takes you down and out of the canyon through Choquequirao, then along trails that eventually link with the Salkantay to Machu Picchu.

For undisturbed scenery plucked straight out of nature docs, I’d say that the Choquequirao trek is by far the best Inca Trail alternative.The Choquequirao Trek - Peru

The Choquequirao Trekking route

Wondering which route to take? You can experience the ruins at Choquequirao on your own, or take the Choquequirao trek to Machu Picchu. Below you’ll find the two most common routes, but you can adjust the route depending on your schedule or level of fitness.

The Choquequirao Trek - Daniel Backpacking

The Shortest Route | Cachora > Cachora via Choquequirao | 4 Days

Day 1: Catch a taxi from Cachora to the Mirador to save yourself from trekking 13km along the road. Arrive at the Capuliyoc Mirador, and start the steep descent into Apurimac Canyon. You can choose to stop at the Playa Rosalina campsite just before the bridge but venture further to Santa Rosa Baja or Santa Rosa Alta (5-7 hours) to make the next day easier on yourself. Day 2: Today is a tough climb, with 13km of steep uphill between you and the ruins of Choquequirao. The trail is full of switchbacks and false summits, but eventually, you’ll reach a flag and the small town of Marampata (4-5 hours). From here, it’s a mostly gradual path towards Choquequirao (1.5 hours). If you’ve got energy to spare, spend the afternoon wandering the ruins. You can set up camp in Marampata or at the campsite located within Choquequirao. Day 3: Wake up early to continue exploring the ruins, or set off back the way you came. The downhill back to the river is tiresome and will take quite a bit of energy. Continue past the river to the Chiquisca campsite (8-9 hours) and rest up for the grueling uphill back to the mirador. Day 4: Begin your ascent to the Mirador with a series of steep switchbacks (2 hours). Once you arrive, I recommend a well-deserved beer before an easy downhill hike to Cachora (2 hours) or short taxi ride.

Choquequirao Ruins in Peru - View of the ParkThe Machu Picchu Route | Cachora > Machu Picchu | 9 Days

** I didn’t do the full Choquequirao to Machu Picchu trek myself, but I’ve talked with a bunch of people who did! Forgive the distance estimates.**

Day 1: Catch a taxi from Cachora to the Mirador to save yourself from trekking 13km along the road. Arrive at the Capuliyoc Mirador, and start the steep descent into Apurimac Canyon. You can choose to stop at the Playa Rosalina campsite just before the bridge but venture further to Santa Rosa Baja or Santa Rosa Alta (5-7 hours) to make the next day easier on yourself. Day 2: Today is a tough climb, with 13km of steep uphill between you and the ruins of Choquequirao. The trail is full of switchbacks and false summits, but eventually, you’ll reach a flag and the small town of Marampata (4-5 hours). From here, it’s a mostly gradual path towards Choquequirao (1.5 hours). If you’ve got the energy to spare, spend the afternoon wandering the ruins. You can set up camp in Marampata or at the campsite located within Choquequirao. Day 3: Wake up early to continue exploring the ruins. Once you’re finished, you’ll climb over a ridge and make a steep descent to Rio Blanco (6 hours). Day 4: Make the challenging ascent to Maizal with a series of switchbacks and a big leap in altitude. Continue further on to the Victoria Mines before setting up camp in Pajonal (5 hours). Day 5: Climb for an hour towards Abra San Juan pass before a long descent through Yanama where you set up camp for the night (4 hours). Day 6: After a light day of trekking through Quellqua Machay valley, you’ll reach the high point of the Choquequirao Trek to Machu Picchu. Travel along Inca Trails until you join up with the Salktantay Trek at Colpapampa (about 8 hours). Day 7: The village of La Playa is about 12km from Colpapampa (7 hours), and makes for a nice resting spot, fully equipped with snacks, drinks, and hot springs. Day 8: This is the final stretch of the trek, and you’ll ascend along an Inca Trail to the ruins of Llacapacta. You will get an exclusive view of Machu Picchu before heading down to Hydroelectrica where you’ll catch a train up to Aguas Calientes. Day 9: Get a super early start (4 am if you can bear it) to join the bus line to Machu Picchu. Spend the day exploring the ruins, and don’t forget to book your return train ticket to Cusco or Ollantaytambo!

Choquequirao Trek to Machu Picchu without a Guide


Choquequirao Ruins Peru - View of the Park

Guide or No Guide?

Unlike the Inca Trail, it is possible to do the Choquequirao Trek without a guide. That being said, the Choquequirao trek is recognized as one of the most difficult treks in Peru. You should make an honest assessment of your fitness (or sanity) before going it alone. I opted to do the trek independently, but that option might not be best for everyone.  Choquequirao Trek - Daniel Crossing the Bridge

Guided Choquequirao Tours from Cusco ($500-$1,500+ per person): 

Most operators that run the Salkantay to Machu Picchu will also offer the less famed Choquequirao Trek. The guided trek should include roundtrip transport from Cusco to Cachora, a guide, a muleteer + mule, necessary camping equipment, and food. Departures are less frequent than the other Inca Trail alternatives, but you should be able to find tours from $500 (for the short route) or $1,500+ (to Machu Picchu). Companies offering the trek are Choquequirao Trek, Choquequirao Trail, and Apus Peru, though I can’t personally vouch for their offering.

Guided Choquequirao Tours from Cachora ($250+): 

If you’ve already got your camping gear and just want a guide or muleteer for the trail, you can easily find them in Cachora. If you hire a muleteer for an independent trek, it is usually expected that you share your meals and pay for the time it takes them to return back to Cachora after the trek. Prices and inclusions vary.

Choquequirao Trek without a Guide ($150+): 

The trail to Choquequirao is incredibly easy to follow, so a guide is mostly just nice for the company and logistics. If you go independently, you’ll need to make arrangements for your own tent, sleeping bags, sleeping mats, and rain cover, at a minimum. I also recommend bringing cooking equipment (camp stove, utensils, food) as I had trouble finding food along the trail. You’ll pay out of pocket for your park entrance and transport. Going the trail without a guide is by far the cheapest option, with an independent Choquequirao trek going for about $150. You can check out my detailed cost breakdown for the Choquequirao trek solo at the end of this post.

Where to Stay on your Trek to Choquequirao

Before the Trek: You’ll spend the night in a town called Cachora before beginning your trek. The two major hotels in Cachora are Inka Dream and CasaNostra, but both are extremely basic.

During the Trek: At the time of writing, there were six campsites between Cachora and Choquequirao. The campsites are surprisingly well-maintained, and many of them have bathrooms, running water, and a place to buy simple meals. You’re also likely to find small shops where you can buy snacks, soda, and even beer that are open in the evenings.

Choquequirao Campsites & Where to Find Them

Please note these do not include campsites en route to Machu Picchu

  • Cachora (0 km): The starting point is a small town with hotels, restaurants, and plenty of food stores.
  • Chiquisca (19 km): Free campsite just before a rough descent to the river with basic facilities and simply cooked food for purchase.
  • Playa Rosalina (21 km): Free campsite next to the river with beautiful views, fire pits, bathrooms, and a very basic food store.
  • Santa Rosa Baja (24km): Paid campsite with basic bathrooms and nice views. Located next to a hut selling food and simple meals.
  • Santa Rosa Alta (25 km): A free campsite just up the hill from Santa Rosa Baja with clean facilities and simple cooked meals.
  • Marampata (28 km): A [very] small town with several campsites, stores for buying food, and even a tiny hotel! 

Choquequirao Trek - Santa Rosa Camp Site

A Choquequirao Trek Cost Breakdown (4 Days / 2 People)

It’s important you come prepared if you’re doing the Choquequirao Trek solo. I bought and rented everything I needed in Cusco, but some basic supplies are also available in Cachora. I’ve heard you can buy food on the trail during high season, but it was nearly impossible to find open shops in low season.

Below, you’ll find all the gear and food I bought for the 4-day trek (not including Machu Picchu) for two people.Choquequirao Trek - Trekking Gear

Total Cost for the Choququirao Trek: $156

Transport from Cusco to Cachora (>$25): You can expect to pay S/6 ($1.75) for the taxi to the bus station from Central Cusco. From there, it’s S/30 ($9) for the bus to Abancay, but ask to get out at  Ramal de Cachora. It will cost you S/5 ($1.50) for the collectivo or S/30 ($9) for the taxi to Cachora. Be prepared to bargain as the taxis and collectivo drivers can be a little scheisty along this route.

Camping Equipment Rental(>$60): I took care of our gear rental in Cusco at Rosly (located at Calle Procuradores N 394, just off the Plaza de Armas). The gear was in excellent condition, and available for pickup just a couple of hours after I ordered it. My rental costs were: Tent with rain cover ($12), 2x Sleeping Bags ($12), 2x Sleeping Mats ($6), 2x 40L Camping Backpacks ($13), Camp Stove + Cook Set ($4), Medium Gas for purchase ($4.50), and 2x Ponchos for purchase ($9). I already had water purification tabs, but you’ll need to buy them if you don’t. Many campsites have sources of running water, but using tablets is highly recommended.

Choquequirao Trek - Trekking at the Ruins

Food (>$30): Food is supposedly available for purchase along the trail, but I usually found that the shops and kitchens were closed. Unless you can go four days without eating, I recommend bringing most of the food you’ll need. For a two person trek, I carried: 4 liters of water ($2), 4x ramen noodles ($1.50), 2 cans of tuna ($3), 1 loaf of bread ($1), cooked rice ($1), penne noodles ($.50), 8 tamales ($3), 1 packet of peanut butter ($3), 1 packet of jam ($.50), cut broccoli and carrots ($1), 4 apples ($2), 1 packet of soup ($.50), protein powder ($1), 4 boiled eggs ($2), 6 packets of cookies ($2), condiments ($1), peanuts ($2), raisins ($1) and instant coffee ($1). All these ingredients were cheap and locally available. I highly recommend renting a cook stove, as you’ll be pretty desperate for cooked meals at the end of the day.

Choquequirao Trek - Easy Hiking MealPark Entrance ($16-$61): It costs S/55 ($16) to enter Choquequirao.

** If you’re continuing on to Machu Picchu, entry is S/152 ($44.50) including Huaynapicchu. You MUST book tickets ahead of time. You’ll also need to arrange your return train from Aguas Calientes through PeruRail or IncaRail. **

Mule Hire (optional $35): The hardest part of the trek by far is carrying your own gear. If you want to rent a mule + muleteer, the cost per day is around S/ 30, and you’re expected to share your food with them. Decide if you want one when you begin the trek in Cachora! I tried to rent one on the final ascent of our trek, and there were none to be found.

Transport from Cachora to Cusco (>$25): S/5 ($1.50) for the collectivo to Abancay, S/30($9) for the bus to Cusco, S/6 ($1.75) for the taxi back to the city center.

Thanks to the guys behind Effortless Digital for their advice before the trek! Did you find this post helpful? Click below and check out flights to Chile and hotels in Puerto Natales. It will help support our blog at no cost to you!

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Are you looking for an Inca Trail alternative that is adventurous, rugged, and completely awesome? A guide to hiking the Choquequirao Trek to Machu Picchu!

Are you planning to take the Choquequirao Trek to Machu Picchu or just to Choquequirao? Send us your questions and we’d be happy to help! There may be a teleferico all the way to the top before long, so go while you can!

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  • Reply
    why you can't miss the Choquequirao ruins - Travel Outlandish
    January 25, 2017 at 2:37 am

    […] Choquequirao trek may have been a real ass kicker, but having seen it, we both agree it is one of our most powerful […]

    • Reply
      keith stone
      February 14, 2017 at 5:35 am

      So I’m kinda stuck doing the classic trail… so based on your experience, is there anything that would prevent me from starting near MP and going in reverse to choquequirao/cachora? The tour companies have been a resounding no, so I’m leaning towards hiring my own guide and mules.

      • Reply
        Taylor Record
        February 15, 2017 at 1:28 am

        Are you already booked on the Classic Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, Keith?

        Doing the trek in reverse is an interesting idea! I think the trek would be manageable, but it may be more difficult to find a mule/guide in Machu Picchu willing to go to Cachora (rather than guides in Cachora willing to go to Machu Picchu). How much time do you have? Would you consider doing it as two separate treks?

  • Reply
    January 28, 2017 at 10:53 pm

    Great description! Thank you so much – will be going solo on the trek in a couple of weeks and it was exactly what I have been looking fore! Great stuff!!!

    • Reply
      Taylor Record
      January 31, 2017 at 5:16 pm

      Thanks for your comment, Florian! We hoped it would be useful for someone. Send us a note if you have any last minute questions before the trek! It’s pretty intrepid but well worth it.

    • Reply
      Anthony Coyne
      February 12, 2017 at 8:51 pm

      Hey Florian, I’m currently in Cusco looking other like minded folk to do this with and not having very much joy, everyones more keen on guided treks, bus tours etc if you wouldn’t mind the extra company let me know 🙂

  • Reply
    February 1, 2017 at 8:42 am

    Epic post! Fantastic guide and breakdown of costs, as well as images. Loved this!

    • Reply
      Taylor Record
      February 1, 2017 at 12:25 pm

      Thanks a lot, Lizzy! Do you guys have any plans to come to South America after your current trip?

  • Reply
    February 1, 2017 at 6:20 pm

    Wow guys! So glad you made it! This was the last trek we did before we stopped blogging and started Effortless Digital! Your photos are sharp and on point, you’ve got some killer bokeh shots! Looks like you did it the right way too! We knew very little about it before we left, so we carried everything, including the water. I’d highly recommend a Sawyer mini to anyone that travels to South America. It’ll save you a ton of money, weight, and you’ll use less plastic.

    • Reply
      Taylor Record
      February 6, 2017 at 2:26 pm

      Your advice was so appreciated, Will! Knowing that we only had to carry 2L of water definitely saved us a ton of weight. We used purification tablets, but love the idea of traveling with a water filter next time!

  • Reply
    3 unique drink + food experiences at Faces of Cusco - Travel Outlandish
    February 6, 2017 at 2:19 pm

    […] some months of remote trekking, quinoa soup eating, and hostel sleeping our way around South America, the idea of a sports bar […]

  • Reply
    3 incredible alternatives to Machu Picchu - Travel Outlandish
    February 8, 2017 at 3:23 pm

    […] and seen things, but we’ve never seen anything quite like Choquequirao. Accessible only by a very difficult trek, Choquequirao is a partially-excavated complex of Incan ruins estimated to be about 3x the size of […]

  • Reply
    Ken fellman
    February 11, 2017 at 4:34 pm

    Excellent post – thanks so very much! I have been going back & forth, guide / no guide….and after reading your review, and leaning no guide.

    So questions: How much time at the ruins is sufficient? Am trying to decide if we do this in 4 days / 3 nights, or add one more day and basically spend Day 3 at the ruins instead of heading back. Also am curious re: water. Already have all the gear (filter, tablets, can boil water), so how much do we really need to carry in, as I suspect we can refill along the way. Any advice on this would be really appreciated!

    • Reply
      February 11, 2017 at 7:30 pm

      Hey Ken! We’re glad it was helpful. If you can bear the thought of carrying your own gear, going without a guide definitely adds to the adventure. When are you going on your trek?

      Regarding time at the ruins, we’d recommend 4-5 hours. If you’re camping in the archeological site, it’s only about a 30 minute walk from campsite to the ruins — you can easily do sunset one day and sunrise the next and that would be plenty. If you’re staying in the town Marampata, the hike is about 1.5 hours each way, so you’d be better off visiting the ruins in one day, and adding an extra day onto your trek.

      As for the water, we were surprised how easy it was! We carried a 1L bottle/person with a 2L bottle for refills (4L total). Food is sporadically available, but you will be able to refill your water in a campsite or stream every 2-3 hours. The water looks quite clean, but having the tablets is still a good idea!

      Let us know if you have any other questions!

  • Reply
    Anthony Coyne
    February 12, 2017 at 8:27 pm

    Great post Taylor, I was looking for something precisely like this and you’ve really sold this trek to me.

    Unfortunately I’m solo traveling and everyone I’m meeting in Cusco looks at me like I’m mad when I suggest it. I’ve got all the gear, tent, stove, sleeping bag etc but not not really up for a 9 day solo hike or going with a guide.

    If anyone is around and wouldn’t mind the company of a friendly Englishmen let me know, I’d really hate to miss out.

    Muchos gracias.

  • Reply
    Kristen Padilla
    May 18, 2017 at 8:10 pm

    Great post! Thanks for all of the info. I will be heading on a solo trek in the coming weeks and am very excited! Can you confirm that there is a bridge to be crossed at the bottom of the canyon. I know it was washed away, a while ago but I have been unable to confirm if they are still using a pulley system or if a new bridge was built.


    • Reply
      Taylor Record
      May 20, 2017 at 8:00 pm

      Hi Kristen. I’m so glad you found it useful! There was a serious suspension bridge when we were there in December 2016 (see the picture of the back of Daniel’s head). I have to assume this is the new bridge, so no pulleys required!

  • Reply
    May 19, 2017 at 3:16 am

    Great post! We have tickets booked to Machu Picchu and were planning to go to Choquequirao after. Could we just do the 9 day trek backwards starting from Machu Picchu? Or will we get stopped if we’re not with an official guide?

    • Reply
      Taylor Record
      May 20, 2017 at 8:12 pm

      Good question, Anna! I haven’t heard of anyone doing the hike backwards, but it’s my understanding the only one where a guide is required is the Inca Trail. As you’d be walking along the Salkantay route, my only recommendation would be to check out the elevation gain/loss each day to ensure it’s doable. Let me know if you end up doing it this way! I’d be really interested to hear about it.

  • Reply
    The Choquequirao Trek Without a Guide – revel in the novel
    May 22, 2017 at 2:28 am

    […] agencies offer the typical four-day trek (two days to get there, two days to return), I’d read that the trek was totally doable on your own, and much cheaper (the cheapest tour I found was $300 […]

  • Reply
    May 25, 2017 at 7:23 pm

    Great advice! Any tips on how to actually find and book a guide/muleteer from cachora if you decide you are not quite hardcore enough to go it alone? Thanks..

    • Reply
      Taylor Record
      May 28, 2017 at 5:53 pm

      Hey Alex. You’d be surprised how easy it is! It seems almost everyone can recommend you to someone who offers the service. I’d recommend arriving a day before and asking around – your hotel, restaurant, or one of the small agencies in town can certainly set you up with someone last minute. Enjoy!

  • Reply
    May 29, 2017 at 5:38 pm

    Hi there!
    I want to do the trek in a couple of days, is there anyone who would like to share company? Want to do it solo and probably without mules.
    Staying in cuzco right now and will visit the machu picchu seperately with my girlfriend, she has to return home after and im free to do the trek! 😀

    • Reply
      Taylor Record
      May 30, 2017 at 3:51 pm

      Good luck finding a companion, Jasper! Hope you enjoy the trek as much as we did.

  • Reply
    June 14, 2017 at 7:09 am

    Thanks for the guide! Seems really helpful!

    One more thing about the equipment:
    How cold and how rainy & windy is it getting? Is a +3°C comfort sleeping bag and a ultralight-weight tent enough?


    • Reply
      Taylor Record
      June 16, 2017 at 4:05 pm

      Hey Martin. The minimum altitude is 1,500m and the max is 3,000m so this trek is relatively low altitude for Cusco. We went with a +3°C sleeping bag in December and was sweating one night! The biggest challenge in December was the rain. When are you planning your trek?

      • Reply
        June 30, 2017 at 2:16 pm

        Thanks mate for the answer. Totally forgot to answer back…
        We’ll be there at the beginning of September.

  • Reply
    A Choquequirao Trek
    June 19, 2017 at 6:55 pm

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  • Reply
    Leland Dorchester
    July 13, 2017 at 2:41 am

    Hi there, thanks for the great post! Some friends and I want to do this trek in a few days and we just have a couple logistical questions we were hoping you could help with.
    1) Does anyone know if the bridge withstood the flooding that occurred towards the end of March (2017)?
    2) How easy is it to hire a mule/muleteer in Cachora? We are planning on doing the trek unguided but would still like to have a mule to carry some gear and we will also likely only have 1 day in Cachora and would ideally like to leave the following morning.
    3) How difficult is it to find lodging in Cachora if not prearranged prior to arriving?

    Thanks in advance for any help!

    • Reply
      Taylor Record
      July 14, 2017 at 11:21 am

      Hi Leland, glad to hear you’re going! 1) I have to assume it’s still passable. The bridge is a sturdy suspension bridge and quite high above the river. 2) Extremely easy! The first woman we met in town asked if we needed to hire her son. Any hostel, restaurant, or shop can recommend one. As it’s the key industry in Cachora, many young guys are ready and able to do the job whenever you’re ready to go. 3) I believe there are only 2 budget hotels in Cachora, and one nicer hotel (CasaNostra). You shouldn’t expect much – our room was a concrete floor with gaps in the walls and ceilings – but anything will do after a few days of trekking! Please let me know if you have any questions come up, and I’m looking forward to hearing about your trek!

  • Reply
    Daniel Gaines
    July 23, 2017 at 11:19 pm

    A quick question about transportation. Do you know how easy it is to take a collectivo to Cachora? Also you said 9 bucks for the taxi, that{s not all the way from Cusco is it? Just trying to figure out what time we need to leave Cuzco and also how early we have to make it back to Cachora to catch a bus back to Cuzco on the last day.

    Also was it easy to find lodging in Cachora when you got there or did you arrange it ahead of time?

    • Reply
      Taylor Record
      July 24, 2017 at 4:45 pm

      Hey Daniel!

      There are collectivos from Abancay to Cachora (about 30 minutes), but they only depart when they’re full. In our case, we were trying to start the hike the same day, so the taxi was our only real choice. We left Cusco at around 6am, got to Abancay by 10am, and started hiking around 11:30am. If I were to do it over again, I would have hired a taxi from Abancay all the way to the mirador to shave off the dull bit of the hike. Buses departing Abancay are a bit sporadic. We planned to leave the last day of our trek, but ended up missing the final bus. When you book your bus ticket to Abancay, try asking at the desk about current return schedule. I’d guess if you can finish up before 3pm, you can get back to Cusco on the same day. Good luck and let me know how it goes!

  • Reply
    July 31, 2017 at 7:45 pm

    Hey guys,
    Thank you very much for all the Information. If someone is interested: Me and my brother will start at the 2nd of August to do the whole hike from Cachora to Machu Pichu (8 days). Equipment and Experience exists. Feel free to Text me. Cheers, Felix

  • Reply
    September 28, 2017 at 6:37 pm

    I just did the Choquequirao trek 2 weeks ago. I read this post first and was a little afraid but it turned out surprisingly easy for me! I went with a tour at only $280. I met a hiker doing it independently without carrying equipment. There are hospedajes and restaurants at Marampata.

    • Reply
      December 26, 2017 at 10:44 pm

      hi Owen, by any chance do you remember the name of the company? I’m headed there mid-Janauary

    • Reply
      January 7, 2018 at 7:49 pm

      Hey, I’m also considering heading in mid January, do you remember the name of the tour guide company?

  • Reply
    October 16, 2017 at 4:26 am

    Very interesting, thanks for information. Do you know anything about the Huanipaca route? I guess it was closed for a long time and just recently opened back up. I can’t find much info except for a little blurb on wikitravel – Instead of walking the same way back, an easier way out is to go to Huanipaca: Within 5-6 hours (2 hours down to the river, 3h uphill) you can reach the hotel “Villa Los Loros”

    I would think a roundtrip from that hotel would be a much shorter option.

    • Reply
      Taylor Record
      November 1, 2017 at 11:25 pm

      Hi Trevor. I haven’t heard of the Huanipaca route, but it sounds super interesting! Choquequirao is really on the top of a mountain, so it’s hard to imagine a shortcut. Are you planning to do it? Would love an update if you do!

    • Reply
      Lisa Sheppard
      March 6, 2018 at 1:38 am

      Trevor, Wondering if you ever found any info/experience regarding the trail out to Huanipaca. We are planning on doing the trek at the end March and would appreciate having an alternate route to get back.

  • Reply
    October 24, 2017 at 8:29 pm


    Really, thank you for your article, it is really helpfull! I’m about to do this trip this January and most of the time all the info are for the high season and I wasn’t sure what to expect… I wanted to ask you if you, is it possible to do the 9 days trek without any guides? In this case, we just need to buy the entrance ticket for the Machu Picchu?
    Do we need to reserve in advance as well to see the Choquequirao ruins?
    Thank you so much for your help!

    • Reply
      Taylor Record
      November 1, 2017 at 11:22 pm

      Hi Christelle, so glad you found it helpful! It stands out as one of my favorite memories from all of South America. It is possible to do the trek without guides, though you’d be carrying a fair amount of food and water for a trek of that duration! As I mentioned, I didn’t do the full thing, but I’ve heard it’s possible. In that case, all you’d need is your booking for Machu Picchu — you’ll be lucky if the guy is even at the ranger station to sell you a ticket when you get to Choquequirao 😉 Best of luck, and let me know if you have any other questions.

  • Reply
    Niklas Schmutz
    November 2, 2017 at 2:46 pm

    Hey Taylor
    First of all great post!
    My question is where is the best place to find equipment or guides which have equipment? Cusco, Abancay or in Cachora. And what I’ve read there’s no reservation needed and I guess it’s cheaper if you share a guide with another person or?

    • Reply
      Taylor Record
      November 3, 2017 at 9:01 am

      Hi Niklas! Cachora and Abancay are just a spec on the map, so I’d recommend getting your equipment in Cusco ahead of time. The spot we rented from was called Rosly (located at Calle Procuradores N 394, just off the Plaza de Armas). I imagine the guides are independent, so rather than paying per person, you’ll pay for their time. If you already have a travel buddy, its cheaper, but might be tough to find someone departing the same day. Let me know if you have any other questions!

      • Reply
        Schmutz Niklas
        November 3, 2017 at 1:25 pm

        Thank you for your answer!
        Yes I have one more question and that is where I could find guides which have food and equipment included as you mentioned before I think.

    • Reply
      Ken F
      November 3, 2017 at 11:53 pm

      Niklas, my family of 6 (Mom, me & 4 boys) just did the trek from Cachora to Choquequirau in July and while we had our own backpacks and trekking poles, we stayed at Casa de Salcantay the night prior to departure, and arranged through the owner, Jan, to rent tents and a stove, as well as he arranged a local porter (his name was Louis) who took 2 donkeys to carry our gear. Jan and his wife also will prepare an amazing meal for you, and they have a killer view to the mountain ahead. Rooms were okay, beds solid, shower not so hot (literally, very sporadic hot water and low flow, but WTH, it was a shower). As for Louis, he was super gracious & friendly, spoke only spanish. He was not a guide in the sense of hiking with us and sharing local history, but he did set up our tents, enjoy a meal with us (we took our own food and also were able to pay locals for a basic meal at a few remote sites along the way. You don’t need a guide to take you on the trek. It is well marked and safe. You would be well advised (IMHO) to have your gear carried by a donkey. The trek is arduous, reward worth it

  • Reply
    Niklas Schmutz
    November 9, 2017 at 11:12 pm

    Hey Ken,
    Thanks alot for your reply helped alot!
    Just a last thing is there any entrance fee or something like that or will you just find the ruins on their own?

    • Reply
      Ken F
      November 10, 2017 at 12:13 am

      Yes there is a small entrance fee that you pay at a Park station which is just outside of Marampata. If by chance you or someone you are traveling with happens to be enrolled in a college or university, take your Student ID in addition to your passport (you do need your passport by the way) and you can get a discount for the admission. From the Park station, you just hike on the way to the ruins. You will likely have them nearly to yourself. Be sure to save energy to hike down to the Llama terraces which are on the back side of the ruins as you approach them…and also energy to hike back up and over to get back. Steep, but worth it.


  • Reply
    choquequirao trek
    November 18, 2017 at 2:58 am

    Less is known about the Blog Choquequirao this expedition will take you to two of the major archaeological sites in the Cusco-area: CHOQUEQUIRAO TREK TO MACHU PICCHU. The towns in our history is marking the begin and ended of the Incas society during the trek you live the most big experience hiking on the trail of the oldest culture.

  • Reply
    Jeff Pinnes
    November 21, 2017 at 2:22 am

    You can recommend with which local travel agency I can travel these traveling alone and I would like to join a group.

  • Reply
    Marta Negro
    December 28, 2017 at 7:06 pm

    Hello!! Thank you so much for all the information. I was looking for information with prices and finally!
    Some questions:
    1) The ticket to enter to choquequirao, can you buy it the same day? or do you need to buy it in advance as the machu pichu?
    2) If you do all the trek without guide, do you have to pay for camping?

    Again thank you so much. I´m going to be traveling around perú, during february and march the next 2018 and i would like to do this trek instead the inca trail.

    • Reply
      Taylor Record
      December 30, 2017 at 11:54 pm

      Hi Marta. Glad you found it helpful! You definitely don’t need to buy advanced tickets to Choquequirao. Just rock up to the ranger station when you get to the top of the mountain and pay there. There are both free and paid camping sites, but we managed to stay in only free ones. The paid sites tend to have better facilities and they’re quite cheap. Ultimately, this decision should come down to how far you’re actually able to walk for the day. Hope you enjoy your time in Peru! Couldn’t recommend this trek more as an Inca Trail alternative.

  • Reply
    Lisa Sheppard
    January 2, 2018 at 12:54 am

    Is there ample size trees along this trek for hammock sleeping?

    • Reply
      Taylor Record
      January 15, 2018 at 7:20 pm

      That’s a good question, Lisa. I’m afraid I wasn’t specifically scouting for this, but if you send me your email address, I can send pictures I took at a few of the campsites for you to assess?

      • Reply
        Lisa Sheppard
        March 3, 2018 at 6:07 pm

        Not sure if you received my email address for the campsite pics. Here it is again. We are leaving in 2 weeks but not doing the trek till end March.

  • Reply
    January 20, 2018 at 4:40 pm

    I’m planning to do this trek in late February… I read that this is a rainy month. Would rain make this trek dangerous at any points? Do you know if many people do the trek in feb?

    • Reply
      Taylor Record
      February 2, 2018 at 1:59 pm

      Hi Ed, sorry for the delay! I have to admit that the rainy season in Peru is quite serious. The hike is tough enough without rain as it’s a steep incline/decline. If you do get hit with rain, I imagine the trails would become muddy and a bit more difficult. That being said, I would say “difficult” over “dangerous”. If you hike with poles and have decent gear, it’s doable! We got hit with a pretty bad rain one night in January, and made it out to tell the tale 😉 Let me know what you decide to do!

  • Reply
    Josh Masterson
    February 9, 2018 at 4:09 pm

    Thanks so much for the article! My partner and I are planning to do the 4 day trek this upcoming mid to late February (in a week or so)..just had a few questions
    1) is the actual trailhead for the 4 day trek in Abancay or Cachora? We were thinking of spending the night in Cachora then hiking early the next day…just wanted to know where exactly to start hiking.
    2) where exactly does the trail finish? Also curious if the trail is well marked and easy to stay on course?

    Thank you so much for the information! Super helpful

    • Reply
      Taylor Record
      February 11, 2018 at 8:00 am

      So glad you found it helpful, Josh! 1) Cachora is closer. Abancay is the point you can reach by bus, and Cachora is about 30 minutes on by taxi or combi. Technically, the trail starts from the Capuliyoc Mirador. If you want to shave off the day of walking along the road, it’s best to take a taxi ride there and start from the Mirador. 2) Most people will finish the hike at the Choquequirao ruins and backtrack. The trail is insanely easy to follow as it’s really the only worn path in the whole valley. Good luck, and let me know if any other questions pop up!

  • Reply
    David Helms
    April 22, 2018 at 9:15 pm

    Hi, thanks for a great guide.
    We are three people planning to do the Choquequirao trip the next week (in the end of April).
    We heard from a travel agency (Machu Picchu Reservations, a big agency) that you actually don’t need to bring a tent, instead you could stay in the houses of locals for the night (for a small cost of course). Do anyone know if that’s true?

    • Reply
      April 24, 2018 at 3:29 pm

      David, when we went in low season (December) we hardly saw any people/houses along the way! You can for sure find accommodation in Marampata and Cachora, but I’d be nervous to recommend going without a tent. Does anyone else know?

  • Reply
    May 21, 2018 at 9:17 pm

    Thank you for your answer :). Sorry for responding so late. We went to Choquequirao in the end of April and I can confirme that you need to bring a tent but you can buy meals and water in the route.

    • Reply
      May 25, 2018 at 3:47 pm

      Thanks for the update, David! Hope you had a nice hike 🙂

  • Reply
    Jason H
    June 16, 2018 at 8:39 pm

    Hey, so I am planning to do this trek alone (just the 4 day route that you did), and was wondering did you do it completely alone or did you hire a mule to help carry weight? I am very confident in my hiking/backpacking ability but it would be reassuring to find someone else who has completed it solo without any help at all. Thanks

    • Reply
      June 17, 2018 at 7:36 pm

      Hey Jason. We did this one on our own (no mule or guide!), and it’s definitely doable. I will admit I would have LOVED to have a mule for the last day of the trek, but there weren’t any for hire on the trail. Good luck with your hike!

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