The Choquequirao trek in the department of Cusco is easily one of the best hikes in Peru. But, there are quite a few ways to complete the Choquequirao trail. There are the three, four and five day Choquequirao treks to choose from. While there’s also the Choquequirao to Machu Picchu trek (7–10 days). It can be hard to know which option will suit you best. There’s also the question of whether to do a guided Choquequirao tour or hike independently.

In this travel guide, we’ll talk about all of the different options and possible itineraries for trekking Choquequirao. Hopefully, this will help you decide which Choquequirao trekking itinerary is best for you.

Personally, Beck and I decided to do the three day Choquequirao trek. Basically, whether you hike over three, four or five days, you’ll do the same Choquequirao trail (approx. 50–65km depending on your itinerary). Essentially, the three day option is the hardest option, excluding the trek to Machu Picchu. Indeed, most hikers opt for the easier four or five day Choquequirao trek. But, if you’re a keen hiker and up for the challenge, we’ll provide first-hand knowledge for trekking Choquequirao, atypically, over three full days.

But, don’t worry if three days sounds too exhausting! As mentioned, we’ll cover everything you need to know about the three, four and five day Choquequirao treks. And, we’ll also detail the Choquequirao Machu Picchu trek. Anyway, whichever of the Choquequirao treks you choose to do in Cusco, Peru, you’re bound to have an epic time!

We hope you find this guide helpful. For other amazing hikes near Cusco, other than Choquequirao, you should definitely trek Huchuy Qosqo. Or, consider doing the Rainbow Mountain and Salkantay Treks (includes details on hiking the Salkantay trail without a guide).

Guide Preview: Is It Worth Doing Any of the Choquequirao Treks?

Compared with other hikes near Cusco, the Choquequirao trek remains one of the quietest. Given the popularity of the Inca Trail and other trails near Cusco, most tourists will skip Choquequirao. But, we think the Choquequirao trail is one of the most adventurous, exhilarating and fascinating treks in Cusco, let alone Peru. Of course, it’s made all the more enjoyable by the minimal foot traffic! In fact, on average, Machu Picchu receives around 3,000 visitors per day. Whereas, the Choquequirao ruins receive only around 20 visitors per day!

Anyway, before we explain all of your options for trekking Choquequirao, there are two important things to point out.

First, camping at the Choquequirao ruins is now banned. As of 2022, this rule is in place to help with preservation of the site. Currently, many online guides are outdated, so they fail to mention this. Being unable to camp at the ruins considerably changes most suggested independent hiking itineraries you’ll find online. Don’t worry, this guide will provide up-to-date itineraries that avoid camping at the Choquequirao archaeological park.

Second, not many tour companies offer the three day Choquequirao trek. I mean, these tour companies do exist. But, most companies only offer the four or five day options. It explains why hikers, wanting to complete the Choquequirao trail in three days, have traditionally done so independently. As a result, you’ll struggle to find reviews or recommendations for three day Choquequirao tours. Thankfully, Beck and I can recommend an excellent three day guided Choquequirao hiking tour. By doing a tour, the challenging three-day Choquequirao trek in Cusco, Peru is much more manageable. That’s because you don’t have to carry all of your gear.

So, what’s so special about the Choquequirao ruins and how do they compare with Machu Picchu?

One of the best views of the ruins along the Choquequirao trek

The Choquequirao Archaelogical Park vs. Machu Picchu

The Choquequirao ruins are one of the most extraordinary Inca sites in Peru. Of course, when it comes to Inca ruins in Peru, Machu Picchu is the top dog. Interestingly though, Choquequirao is referred to as the ‘little sister of Machu Picchu‘. That’s because Choquequirao and Machu Picchu were built at a similar time in the 15th Century and share a similar structure and architecture. But, there’s something even more special and remarkable about the Choquequirao ruins. Perhaps, that’s because the Choquequirao ruins can only be reached by foot! That’s certainly the main reason why the number of visitors at Choquequirao is so low. You really have to put in the work during the Choquequirao trek to reach this impressive site.

What’s also similar to Machu Picchu is that the Choquequirao ruins avoided discovery by the Spanish during the Colonial period (16th–19th Century). Unfortunately, many Inca ruins in Peru were destroyed by Spanish invaders. Thankfully, Choquequirao, as well as Machu Picchu, remained untouched during this period. This was partly due to their difficult-to-reach locations. Remaining hidden in the mountains certainly helped Choquequirao (and Machu Picchu) to remain in impeccable condition.

In contrast to Machu Picchu, the Choquequirao ruins are widespread over the mountainside. The main ruins of Machu Picchu are conveniently concentrated and can be explored in just 2–3 hours. Whereas, the Choquequirao ruins are distributed throughout the mountainous landscape. As a result, you’ll need a full day to check out the main sites at Choquequirao. This exploration feels much more rewarding than merely wandering around the main citadel at Machu Picchu.

Anyway, let’s talk about useful things to know about the various Choquequirao treks.

Things You Need to Know About the Choquequirao Treks

Now that we’ve poo-pooed Machu Picchu and given the big thumbs and preference for Choquequirao, let’s talk about the trek! Although there are different Choquequirao treks to choose from, there are general things that are useful to know, regardless of which option you choose.

  • Difficulty: the Choquequirao trek difficulty is very hard. Whether you do it over three, four or five days, you’ll still need to descend and ascend 1,400 metres to reach the ruins. Then, you’ll need to do it all again to return to the trailhead!
  • Altitude: the three-five day Choquequirao treks aren’t high-altitude treks (although, the Choquequirao trek to Machu Picchu does reach 4,600m). The highest altitude for the Choquequirao three-five day treks is around 3,000 metres above sea level. So, the trek isn’t hard because of altitude. The trek is difficult due to the amount of elevation loss and gain. After all, you’re climbing down and then back out of a canyon – twice!
  • Trail navigation: the Choquequirao trail is easy to navigate. There’s plenty of signage. The exception is the Choquequirao to Machu Picchu trek, which requires more skilled navigation.
  • Water: the water from streams, rivers and taps is not drinkable. If you don’t have your own water filtration equipment, it’s easy to buy filtered water along the way.
  • Mosquitoes: once you descend the canyon and reach below 2,500 metres, you’ll meet plenty of mossies near the Apurimac River. Be prepared! Read Packing List For The Choquequirao Treks.
  • Tickets: you can buy them at the entrance. Read Choquequirao Trek Entrance Fee.
  • Reconstruction: expect to see areas under repair and staff helping with maintenance of the site.

Beside these general useful tips, let’s look at some nitty-gritty details about trekking Choquequirao in Cusco, Peru.

Dan admires mountain views from the Principal Plaza

Choquequirao Trail Distances

Generally speaking, the three–five day Choquequirao treks are between 50–65km. Whereas, the 7–10 day Choquequirao treks to Machu Picchu are around 110–145km. As you can see, there is huge variation in the distances covered. This is despite the three, four and five day Choquequirao treks, and, the 7–10 day Choquequirao treks to Machu Pichhu, covering the same respective routes! The Choquequirao trail distances really depend on your trekking itinerary.

Factors such as start/endpoint, the number of Choquequirao sites explored and side trips can all influence the distance covered. That’s why you’ll see contradicting Choquequirao trek distances reported online. Personally, Beck and I hiked 50km during our three day Choquequirao trek. We started and finished the hike in Capuliyoc, instead of Cachora. This was the main reason we covered the lower distance range.

Choquequirao Trail Elevation

Usually, the elevation gain and loss for the three–five day Choquequirao treks are around 4,000 metres respectively. Roughly speaking, you’ll descend 1,400 metres to go down the Apurimac Canyon and then ascend 1,400 metres to hike back up the other side. During your exploration of the Choquequirao ruins, if you visit most of the sites, your elevation gain and loss will be around 1,200 metres respectively. Then, to return to the trailhead, you’ll repeat the approx. 1,400 metre canyon descent and ascent. So, all up, you’re looking at around 4,000 metres of elevation gain and loss during the Choquequirao trek in Cusco, Peru.

On average, during the 7–10 day Choquequirao to Machu Picchu trek, the elevation gain is around 8,500–10,000 metres. In comparison, the elevation loss is roughly 9,500–11,000 metres. So, during the Choquequirao to Machu Picchu trek, there’s approx. 1,000 metres more elevation loss than elevation gain!

But, again, similar to the Choquequirao trail distances, the elevation gain and loss will depend on your trekking itinerary. Read Choquequirao Trekking Options to figure out which of the Choquequirao treks in Peru is best for you. For specific itineraries, read the sections under Choquequirao Trek Itinerary.

Choquequirao Trek Maps

We’ve provided interactive maps of both the three–five day Choquequirao treks, as well as the 7–10 day Choquequirao to Machu Picchu treks. For those trekking Choquequirao independently, we recommend saving and using these maps. Yes, trail navigation on the three–five Choquequirao treks is fairly straightforward. But, the 7–10 day Choquequirao to Machu Picchu trek is much more difficult to navigate. So, definitely save this map if you intend to do it independently.

Of course, if you’re doing a guided Choquequirao trekking tour in Peru, then you practically won’t require a map for the trail. But, these Choquequirao trail maps can still be useful to help you get a rough idea of what you’re getting yourself into!

FYI – the three–five Choquequirao treks generally follow the same classic route. This is an out and back from Cachora or Capuliyoc to the Choquequirao ruins. However, there is an alternate route. It’s called the Huanipaca route, which starts from Cachora or Capuliyoc, goes to the ruins, and then exits via a different trail via Huanipaca. You’ll likely spend your last night at Villa los Loros. This trail option is far less popular and is often inaccessible due to landslides. When Beck and I visited in 2022, the trail was closed for this reason. Because this Choquequirao trail is rarely hiked, we won’t go into any further detail about it. But, find a map below of the Huanipaca route if you’re curious.

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Choquequirao Trail Map For 3, 4 and 5 Day Treks

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Choquequirao Trail Map For the 7–10 Day Treks to Machu Picchu

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Choquequirao Trek Entrance Fee

The Choquequirao trek entrance fee is S/60 ($18USD). You’ll pay the entrance fee at the ticket office in Capuliyoc where you’ll also register your details.

Now that you know the essentials, let’s look at the different Choquequirao treks to choose from in Peru!

Capuliyoc – ticket office and cabins located along the Choquequirao trail
Capuliyoc

Choquequirao Trekking Options

Basically, there are four main options for trekking Choquequirao in Cusco, Peru. These include:

So, which of these Choquequirao treks is best for you? There are a few key factors to help you decide on which trekking itinerary you should choose. These include:

  • Difficulty: the more days, the easier it will be. Spreading the load over five days is much easier than over three days. Obviously, choosing to trek to Machu Picchu from Choquequirao over 7–10 days is the most demanding of them all.
  • Time: how much time do you have in Peru? If you have plenty of time, you can spread out the joy of the Choquequirao trek over four or five days. Or, are you a bit short on time? Go on, smash it out in three days and you’ll have saved a day or two!
  • Machu Picchu: are you planning on doing the Inca Trail, Salkantay Trek or visiting Machu Picchu separately? If so, there’s no need to do the Choquequirao to Machu Picchu trek.

Personally, Beck and I were planning on doing the Salkantay Trek. So, that ruled out the Choquequirao to Machu Picchu trek. Also, we had three months in Peru during our 2022 trip. So, time wasn’t an issue. But, we wanted a physical challenge. Ipso facto, we chose the three day Choquequirao trek!

Of course, there’s also the question of whether to do the Choquequirao trek solo or guided.

Fantasic views from Principal Plaza, seen during ay of the Choquequirao treks

Should You Do the Choquequirao Trek Solo or a Guided Tour?

Overall, hiking independently is cheaper, but much harder with having to carry your own gear. In reality, the decision to hike solo or with a guide comes down to personal preference and circumstances. Personally, at the time of trekking Choquequirao, Beck and I had already been hiking fairly non-stop for three months in Central America. Following Choquequirao, we would still have another two months of non-stop hiking in Peru. So, to help manage our weary legs, we decided a guided tour would be best so we didn’t have to carry our gear. Thank you to the mules and muleteers!

If you also decide to do a guided three, four or five day Choquequirao tour, it’s possible that your accommodation will be in cabins. Whereas, if you hike independently, you’ll have the choice of camping or lodging. In the past, lodging wasn’t an option. But, these days, many of the campsites and villages en route provide basic but comfortable lodging options. Of course, for those looking for the cheapest way to trek Choquequirao, then camping it is! But, if you don’t mind spending a little more for comfort, then staying in cabins during the trek can be a real game-changer. In addition, you won’t have to carry heavy camping equipment.

If you’re hiking solo and are happy to camp, read the full list of Choquequirao campsites. Or, if you want to hike independently and stay in cabins, head to the Choquequirao Trek Itinerary section. Here, you’ll find details on staying at and booking cabins along the Choquequirao trail in Cusco, Peru. Otherwise, if you’re sold on a guided Choquequirao tour, continue below.

Guided Choquequirao Tours

There are many benefits to doing a guided Choquequirao tour. If you don’t mind spending extra money on a tour, then doing a guided Choquequirao trek is much easier and more convenient. The main benefit is not having to carry your own gear. As mentioned, the Choquequirao trek is physically demanding. So, any help to reduce the weight of your backpack is very helpful!

Roundtrip transportation from your accommodation (usually in Cusco) to the Choquequirao trailhead is much quicker and easier than using public transport. All meals are cooked for you and usually, snacks are provided too. So, it means you can just concentrate on hiking and having a good time! Obviously, the tour company will take care of all bookings for lodging. Again, that’s one less thing to organise if you do a Choquequirao tour!

Last but not least, a guide is super useful to have at the Choquequirao ruins. When Beck and I visited, we saw many confused independent hikers not really knowing where they were going or what they were looking at. The Choquequirao ruins are huge. In fact, they’re bigger than Machu Picchu. Additionally, they’re spread all over the mountainside. Some can be hard to find without a guide. Beck and I agreed that we wouldn’t have seen half as much of the Choquequirao ruins without professional guidance.

In terms of price, the difference is whether you do a guided Choquequirao tour from Cusco or Cachora. It’s much more common to do a guided Choquequirao tour from Cusco, as that’s where most tourists will be based. So, this is most convenient. But, doing a Choquequirao tour from Cachora is cheaper. Although, you’ll just have to get yourself from Cusco to Cachora independently in the first place. Let’s look at guided Choquequirao tours in more detail below.

Antonio explains the Choquequirao ruins to Dan

Guided Choquequirao Tours From Cusco

Most hikers doing a guided Choquequirao tour will do so from the city of Cusco. You’ll find tonnes of Cusco based tour companies offering the four or five day Choquequirao treks from anywhere between $400–1,500USD per person. Generally speaking, these companies in Cusco offer the 7–10 day Choquequirao trek to Macchu Picchu for around $900–2,500USD per person.

As mentioned, most companies in Cusco only offer the four or five day Choquequirao treks or the 7–10 day Choquequirao trek to Macchu Picchu. But, if you’re keen to take on the Choquequirao trek in three days, you’ll find far fewer companies in Cusco offering this. Thankfully, Beck and I found a Cusco based trekking company that offers the three day Choquequirao trek. Step forward Apu Andino Travel Peru.

This family-run Choquequirao tour operator organises memorable three day Choquequirao treks from Cusco. Beck and I really enjoyed trekking with Apu Andino Travel Peru. They organised everything flawlessly. We were lucky to have the owner, Antonio, as a guide, who is one of the best trekking guides in Peru. Apu Andino Travel Peru offers the three day trek for $550USD per person. They also offer the four and five day Choquequirao treks, as well as the Choquequirao treks to Machu Picchu.

To book any of the Choquequirao treks or any other treks or day tours in Cusco such as a Sacred Valley tour, simply contact Apu Andino Travel Peru on Whatsapp (+51 984 609 485 or +51 984 067 472). Otherwise, drop into their office in Cusco (Centro Commercial Imasumaq, Office #216) to find out more information. Also, feel free to check them out on Facebook and Instagram.

Guided Choquequirao Tours From Cachora

It’s also possible to do a guided Choquequirao tour from Cachora. Traditionally, the Choquequirao trek starts and ends in Cachora. So, it’s a convenient place to start a guided Choquequirao tour. The inconvenient aspect is that you’ll need to get yourself to Cachora from Cusco independently. To save the trouble, most travellers are happy to do a Choquequirao tour from Cusco, which includes transportation to Cachora or beyond to Capulioc. However, if you’re looking to save pennies, a Choquequirao tour from Cachora is much cheaper as it doesn’t include the four hour journey from Cusco. That’s why a guided three–five day Choquequirao tour from Cachora is closer to $250USD+. The Choquequirao to Machu Picchu treks will also be much cheaper from Cachora.

There are far fewer tour operators in Cachora compared with Cusco. If you’re looking for a guided Choquequirao tour from Cachora, we recommend Choquequirao Guest House. Beck and I actually stopped here for breakfast during our three day Choquequirao tour from Cusco. The owner was super friendly. Additionally, they also offer the three day option! Although, they don’t seem to offer the Choquequirao to Machu Picchu trek. Anyway, feel free to contact them on Whatsapp for more details (+51 973 181 754).

Otherwise, feel free to rock up at Cachora the day before you intend to start the trek and ask around at hotels and restaurants. We’ve heard many trekkers have done this and found a guide or last-minute Choquequirao tour.

For information on how to get to Cachora independently, read How to Get to Choquequirao From Cusco.

Doing the Choquequirao Trek Solo

It’s possible to do any of the Choquequirao treks solo. When Beck and I did the Choquequirao trek, we saw around 15–20% of trekkers doing the trek without a guide. The majority of these independent trekkers were doing the three day Choquequirao trek. We didn’t meet any trekkers doing the Choquequirao to Machu Picchu trek independently. After all, the Choquequirao trail to Machu Picchu isn’t quite as straightforward as the three–five day Choquequirao treks.

We also found most independent trekkers were camping. By doing so, the costs of doing the Choquequirao trek are considerably lower. To trek Choquequirao independently and camp along the way will cost around $150USD+ per person. However, we did meet solo trekkers who were doing the hike unguided but without camping either. These trekkers were staying in lodges. Of course, staying in a lodge would increase the Choquequirao trek price to around $200USD per person. But, the total price will depend on how many days you’re choosing to complete the Choquequirao trail.

If you’re trekking Choquequirao solo and camping, you can simply rock up to the Choquequirao campsites without pre-booking. Alternatively, if you’re hiking independently and want to stay in lodges, it’s recommended to book in advance. At peak times, popular lodges such as the Choquequirao Sanctuary Lodge can book out. In reality, each of the lodges only have a few rooms to offer. So, better to be safe than sorry and book in advance. Read the Choquequirao Trek Itinerary section for contact details of lodges to stay at along the Choquequirao trail in Cusco, Peru.

Dan stands along the Choquequirao trail
Should You Hire a Muleteer?

Certainly, one of the drawbacks of doing any of the Choquequirao treks solo is having to carry all of your gear. Thankfully, there are some solutions to this problem. One, you could simply do a Choquequirao tour from Cusco or Cachora. But, if you’re set on doing the Choquequirao trek solo, you could stay in lodges instead of camping. That way, you won’t have to carry heavy camping equipment. But, if you’re set on camping during your solo trek, then it’s possible to hire a muleteer and mule.

By hiring a muleteer, a mule will kindly carry all of your camping gear. You can also feel good that you’re providing work to the local community. Usually, hiring a muleteer costs around $12USD per day. The best way to hire a muleteer is to ask around when you arrive in Cachora. Of course, a muleteer on short notice isn’t guaranteed. That’s why Beck and I didn’t go down this route. We had so many hikes planned in Peru that we couldn’t afford a potential two or three day wait for a muleteer to become available. Although, it’s likely that a muleteer will be available given tourism is the main source of income for many locals living in Cachora.

Choquequirao Campsites Overview

These are the main Choquequirao campsites you’ll find along the trail. Of course, this section is a bit more important for those trekking independently rather than doing a Choquequirao tour. You’ll find most, if not every campsite, charges S/5 ($1.25USD) to pitch per night. If you’re interested in lodging, cabins are generally between S/15–30 ($5–8USD) per night. Below, you’ll find a table with the most important camping details. Below the table, you’ll find some more in-depth information about which campsites you should choose during your Choquequirao trek.

CampsiteLodging (Cabins)FoodShower
Cachora (0km)YesRestaurants, shopsYes
Capuliyoc (10km)YesHot meals, shopYes
Chiquisca (19km)YesHot meals, shopYes
Playa Rosalina (21km)NoShopYes
Santa Rosa Baja (24km)NoHot meals, shopNo
Santa Rosa Alta (25km)NoHot meals, shopYes
Marampata (28km)YesHot meals, shopsYes

What Choquequirao Campsites Should You Choose?

Choquequirao Campsites South of the Apurimac River
  • Cachora: this is a small town, which is the traditional starting point of the Choquequirao trail in Peru. Many independent hikers will stay in Cachora the night before embarking on the three, four or five day Choquequirao treks. It’s possible to camp here. But, most hikers will treat themselves to a hotel or guesthouse before setting out on the tough trek.
  • Capuliyoc: this is the closest place accessible to the Choquequirao ruins by vehicle. So, many companies will start their trekking tours here. But, you’ll also find independent trekkers who’ll arrive at Cachora from Cusco, grab a taxi to Capuliyoc (approx. S/30) and camp there before starting the three day Choquequirao trek.
  • Chiquisca: is located approx. 9km down the canyon, but before the final 2km steep descent down to the river. This is where hikers on the five day Choquequirao trek will likely stay on their first and fourth nights. By staying here, trekkers will break up the hike up and down the canyon over several days to make life easier. To accomplish something similar, the other option is to camp at Playa Rosalina.
  • Playa Rosalina: hikers on the five day Choquequirao trek, could also consider camping here on the first and fourth nights. It’s actually situated next to the river crossing. However, since 2019, the campsite isn’t maintained. In 2022, when Beck and I visited, this campsite no longer looked like a viable option.
Choquequirao Campsites North of the Apurimac River
  • Santa Rosa Baja: for those starting in Cachora, this campsite, alongside Santa Rosa Alta, would be a suitable option if doing the three or four day Choquequirao trek. Logistically, you’d stay here on your first night. Truth be told, Santa Rosa Alta is only 1km further up the canyon and has nicer facilities. So, it’d make sense to opt for Santa Rosa Alta.
  • Santa Rosa Alta: similar to Santa Rosa Baja, this campsite is a solid option for your first night of camping if you’re doing the three or four day Choquequirao trek. However, because Santa Rosa Alta/Baja (and Chiquisca/Playa Rosalina) drops to around 2,000 metres above sea level, expect lots of mosquitoes! That’s one reason to avoid camping at these sites if possible.
  • Marampata: this small town has started providing many more lodging options. In fact, there are five families here offering cabins. It’s essentially the gateway town to the Choquequirao ruins. So, those doing the three day Choquequirao trek could stay here two nights. Similarly, those doing the four or five day Choquequirao treks, will also likely stay here one or two nights. We’ll explain more in the Choquequirao Trek Itinerary section.

How to Get to Choquequirao From Cusco

For those based in Cusco who want to hike the Choquequirao trail in Peru independently, you’ll need to get to Cachora. To do so, initially head to Terminal Terrestre del Cusco. From here, catch a bus heading to Abancay. Importantly, ask the driver to stop at the turnoff to Cachora (AKA Ramal de Cachora). The journey should take around 4 hours. Then, catch a colectivo from the Cachora turnoff to Cachora town. It should cost around S/5 ($1.25USD) and take 30 minutes. But, you’ll have to wait for the colectivo to fill before it departs. So, alternatively, you can grab a taxi to Cachora for around S/30 ($8USD). Or, you could take a taxi all the way to Capuliyoc (S/50–60 [$12–15USD]). Whether you go to Cachora or Capuliyoc depends on your Choquequirao Trek Itinerary.

Many companies such as Oltursa, Cruz del Sur, and Movilbus offer tickets for the route online for around S/40 ($12USD). Generally, these buses leave in the afternoon. So, after leaving Cusco, you won’t really have any time left in the day to begin the Choquequiro trek. Your first night will be spent in Cachora or Capuliyoc. However, there are some buses that leave in the morning. We’ve been recommended to head to Terminal Terrestre del Cusco directly to buy tickets to increase your chances of an earlier departure. That way, it may be possible to start trekking in the afternoon and perhaps reach Chiquisca on your first night. Although, it’s much more common to shack up at either Cachora or Capuliyoc and begin the trek early the next day. Read the Choquequirao Trek Itinerary section for more information on your options.

Choquequirao Trek Price Breakdown

For those doing a guided Choquequirao tour, your costs will depend on where you start the tour. As mentioned earlier, if starting from Cusco, you’ll be looking at $400–1,500USD per person for the three–five day Choquequirao treks. The 7–10 day Choquequirao trek to Macchu Picchu are around $900–2,500USD per person. A three–five day Choquequirao tour from Cachora is closer to $250USD+. The Choquequirao to Machu Picchu treks would be closer to $500USD+.

For those doing the three–five day Choquequirao treks independently, costs should be around $150–200USD. Of course, costs will depend on your exact itinerary. But, here’s a breakdown of the main costs:

  • Roundtrip transportation from Cusco to Cachora/Capuliyoc: $30–50USD
  • Campsite/lodging: $10–60USD
  • Food and water: $30–50USD
  • Choquequirao entrance fee: $18USD
  • Renting camping gear (if needed): $50–60USD
  • Mule hire (if preferred): $36–60USD

If you’re doing the 7–10 day Choquequirao trek to Machu Picchu independently, costs should be around $220–500USD. If you have your own camping gear and don’t use a mule, the costs will be at the lower end of this range. But, again, costs will depend on your itinerary. Generally though, here’s a breakdown of costs:

  • Roundtrip transportation from Cusco to Cachora/Capuliyoc: $30–50USD
  • Campsite/Lodging: $15–80USD
  • Food and water: $50–100USD
  • Choquequirao entrance fee: $18USD
  • Renting camping gear (if needed): $100–150USD
  • Mule hire (if preferred): $100–150USD

In terms of renting camping gear, it’s possible to do so from Cachora. But, availability is limited. So, it’d be a bit risky to rock up at Cachora expecting to find everything you need straight away. The safer bet is to rent your camping gear from Cusco for the Choquequirao trek.

Choquequirao Trek Itinerary (3–5 Days)

Righteo, it’s time to talk about the most exciting stuff – your Choquequirao trek itinerary. In this section, we’ll cover the most common and ideal itinerary options when it comes to trekking Choquequirao over three–five days. As mentioned, Beck and I did a guided Choquequirao tour over three days. So, we’ll provide personal insight regarding this option. We’ll then detail the four and five day Choquequirao trek itineraries, covering the most important details on where you’ll likely start and end each day, and everything in between!

Fun fact: Choquequirao was discovered in the 18th Century by a French explorer named Eugene de Sartiges. The ruins were also visited by Hiram Bingham just prior to his discovery of Machu Picchu in the 20th Century.

An impressive Inca site along the Choquequirao trek

Choquequirao Trek 3 Days

Doing the Choquequirao trek in three days is the most physically demanding option (excluding the long slog from Choquequirao to Machu Picchu). But, Beck and I absolutely loved the challenge. Actually, you’ll find most independent hikers choose to trek Choquequirao in Peru over three days. But, in reality, the trip to Choquequirao takes much longer than three days for solo trekkers.

That’s because solo trekkers will generally need a day on either side of the three day trek to get to and from Cachora. So, really, for independent hikers, doing the three day trek becomes a five day trip! That’s one huge benefit of doing a Choquequirao tour. Leaving Cusco early on the first day (depart 3am) and arriving back to Cusco late on the third day (7pm), the entire Choquequirao trekking experience genuinely takes three days. With those spare days up our sleeves, Beck and I could fit in more adventures in Peru!

Your starting point for all of the Choquequirao treks in Peru is either Cachora or Capuliyoc. Cachora is the traditional starting point of the Choquequirao trek. Admittedly though, the approx. 10km trek from Cachora to Capuliyoc follows a dirt road and doesn’t offer much in terms of views or exciting hiking. Because the three day Choquequirao trek is difficult enough, we highly recommend starting at Capuliyoc. That way, you’ll avoid around 20km of uninspiring trekking. Most tour companies start their guided Choquequirao tours here.

Additionally, for solo trekkers, it’s easy enough to get a taxi from Cachora to Capuliyoc. If you arrive in the afternoon, it’s possible to camp or lodge at Capuliyoc before starting the three day trek. In fact, you’ll find awesome cabins run by Choquequirao Wasi (Whatsapp: +51 974 555 258).

Dan descends the Choquequirao trail

Day 1: Capuliyoc to Marampata

  • Type: One-way
  • Distance: 17km
  • Time: 9–11 hours
  • Accumulated elevation gain: 1,430m
  • Accumulated elevation loss: 1,380m
  • Difficulty: Hard
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After an early wake-up (2:30am) in Cusco, Beck and I were picked up at around 3am and headed to Cachora for breakfast. We then drove to Capuliyoc, registered at the ticket office, and began the trek at around 9am.

Early on, we encountered quite a lot of low-lying mist. So, we didn’t enjoy the breathtaking canyon views at the Capuliyoc Mirador. Luckily though, as we descended the switchbacks, the mist started to clear and we enjoyed awesome views of the Apurimac Canyon.

The rocky and uneven trail then led us to Chiquisca, where we enjoyed lunch and more impressive canyon views.

After lunch, we descended to Apurimac River in the blazing sun. We passed by Playa Rosalina, and stopped by the river for a quick soak. We then crossed the footbridge and began the tough climb up to Marampata. In total, there are 32 switchbacks from the river to Marampata.

So, expect a tough old slog if you’re descending and then ascending the canyon, all on the first day. On the way, you’ll pass by Santa Rosa Baja and Santa Rosa Alta. These are good places to rest. As you climb further, in the distance, you’ll also see the impressive San Ignacio Waterfall.

By starting early in the morning, you should hopefully reach Marampata before sunset! In fact, Marampata is where we’d stay for two nights. We really enjoyed our stay at the Marampata Guest House (Whatsapp: +51 973 181 754). But, we’ve also heard good things about the Choquequirao Sanctuary Lodge.

Day 2: Marampata to Choquequirao Ruins Out & Back

  • Type: Out & Back
  • Distance: 16km
  • Time: 9–11 hours
  • Accumulated elevation gain: 1,130m
  • Accumulated elevation loss: 1,130m
  • Difficulty: Moderate
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After a restful night in Marampata, we made our way to the incredible Choquequirao ruins, which translates to ‘golden enclosure‘. The trail is initially undulating. You’ll eventually reach the main entrance. After passing through, the trail winds around the mountainside, revealing glimpses of the awesome terraces on the southern slopes of the ruins.

Choquequirao entrance

You’ll then arrive at a two-way fork. From here, you can take a left and explore the ruins in a clockwise direction or head right and explore in an anti-clockwise direction. Although, you’ll find some independent hikers that merely do an out and back to the Principal Plaza. This is where you’ll find the most mindblowing ruins. But, we recommend exploring all of the sites on offer.

By having a guide, we got to truly appreciate and learn about all of the sites. For the most enjoyable visit, it’s recommended to explore in a clockwise direction. Firstly, you’ll arrive at the old campsite, and descend down to Casa de la Caida de Agua (Waterfall House). Here, you’ll enjoy excellent views of Paqchoyc Waterfall.

Make sure you don’t skip this area of the ruins. You’ll get to walk on the terraces and see less-explored areas. Then, you’ll return to the old campsite and continue to Pikiwasi (administration area) and Casas de los Sacerdotes (priest’s house). Also, make sure to check out Mirador Sacerdotes, which is just next to the ruins. Next, you’ll head to the main lookout of the Principal Plaza. This is where you get the most epic views of the Choquequirao ruins.

Choquequirao Ruins

After enjoying the views, it’s time to trek down to Principal Plaza. Around midday is the busiest time at the main plaza. So, we recommend doing the short, but steep, out and back to the Mirador de Llamas. That way, when you return to Principal Plaza, there’ll be far fewer people. At the viewpoint of the Mirador de Llamas, you’ll see 26 llamas embedded throughout the terraces. Incredibly, this site was only discovered in the early 2000s!

Views from Mirador de Llamas
Views from Mirador de Llamas

After checking out the llamas, it’s time to head back to Principal Plaza. With the small crowds vanished, feel free to explore the plaza by yourselves. We recommend climbing the steps to see and enjoy the ruins from different angles. You’ll also get to explore various rooms and significant sites. If you know where to look, you can even see the remains of mummies! Beck and I can’t believe these artifacts aren’t stored away in a museum. Absolutely amazing! After exploring the Principal Plaza, it’s time to head back to Marampata to rest for the final day’s hike back to Capuliyoc!

Day 3: Marampata to Capuliyoc

  • Type: One-way
  • Distance: 17km
  • Time: 9–11 hours
  • Accumulated elevation gain: 1,430m
  • Accumulated elevation loss: 1,420m
  • Difficulty: Hard
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The third and final day of the Choquequirao trek is a tough slog back down and then up and out of the canyon. Basically, you’ll be doing the first day in reverse. So, it can feel tedious at times as you retrace your steps, sweating and grinding your way back to Capuliyoc. But, it’s all worth it in the end! Unlike other multi-day treks in Cusco (e.g. Ausangate and Salkantay), Choquequirao is at a lower altitude. So, Beck and I were able to enjoy some speed hiking on our way back to Capuliyoc.

What’s speed hiking? Basically, it’s hiking at a fast pace. Usually, in Peru, most treks are at high altitudes. So, speed hiking isn’t an option. But, the Choquequirao trek is suitable for speed hiking.

With an early start, you should make it back to Capuliyoc by mid-afternoon. If you’re doing a Choquequirao tour, you’ll head back to Cusco and arrive by evening. If you’re hiking independently, you’ll either spend the night at Capuliyoc or Cachora and then head back to Cusco the next day.

Choquequirao Trek 4 Days

Most hikers will complete the Choquequirao trek in Peru in four days. The most popular Choquequirao tour offered by companies is the four day trekking option. Also, for solo trekkers, four days can be a more appealing option. By splitting the Choquequirao trek over four days, the trail is much more manageable. After all, the three day trek is very physically challenging.

Let’s look at the four day Choquequirao trek below. Because the four and five day Choquequirao treks follow the same trail as the three day trek, we won’t repeat the hiking description laid out here. We’ll simply detail the main logistical differences between the three and four day Choquequirao treks in Peru.

Dan and Beck enjoy mountain views

Day 1: Cachora/Capuliyoc to Chiquisca/Santa Rosa Alta

By doing the four day Choquequirao trek, it’ll be much more manageable to begin and end the hike from Cachora – the traditional trailhead. From Cachora, it’s around 19km to Chiquisca, which is a logical place to camp on the first night. However, if you’re convinced that the trek from Cachora to Capuliyoc is unnecessary, then you should start from Capuliyoc – the official entrance.

By cutting out 10km, it would make more sense to cross the Apurimac River and camp at Santa Rosa Alta. Hiking from Capuliyoc to Santa Rosa Alta is around 15km and can take 7–9 hours. By crossing the river and hiking to Santa Rosa Alta, you’d have completed around half of the climb up the canyon towards the Choquequirao ruins. It’ll make the next day much easier. Alternatively, you could always walk from Capuliyoc to Chiquisca for a much easier day (9km and no ascent).

Day 2: Chiquisca/Santa Rosa Alta to Marampata/Choquequirao Ruins

If you’re starting from Chiquisca, Marampata should be your final destination on day two. You’ll descend to the river crossing and then complete the steep 1,400m climb to Marampata. This is where you’ll stay the night before hiking out and back to the Choquequirao Ruins on day three.

If you’re starting from Santa Rosa Alta, you have two options. You can either trek to Marampata and then spend day three at the Choquequirao ruins. Or, you can bypass Marampata, go to the Choquequirao ruins, and return to Marampata on the same day. To be honest, neither option is ideal. That’s because purely hiking from Santa Rosa Alta to Marampata should only take around 3 hours. It means you’ll be twiddling your thumbs in the afternoon. Alternatively, if you hike to the Choquequirao Ruins from Santa Rosa Alta, you won’t have time to check out all of the sites before returning to Marampata. You’ll probably only have time to see the Principal Plaza.

Bottom line: the best option for the four day Choquequirao trek, is to start from Cachora and spend your first night at Chiquisca. Then, hike to Marampata the next day. This means you have all day to explore the Choquequirao ruins on day three.

Day 3: Marampata to Choquequirao Ruins Out & Back or to Chiquisca/Capuliyoc

From Marampata, you can spend all day exploring the incredible sites of Choquequirao in Peru. But, if you squeezed in a quick visit to the ruins on day two, then you’ll spend day three trekking back to Chiquisca or Capuliyoc. By the third day, you’ll be pretty buggered. So, it makes sense to hike to Chiquisca. That means you’ll have the rest of the fourth day to finish the climb up and out of the canyon. If you have enough energy, you could always hike all the way to Capuliyoc. This means on the fourth day, you can hike along the Choquequirao trail to Cachora, early enough to possibly get back to Cusco the same day.

Day 4: Marampata/Chiquisca/Capuliyoc to Capuliyoc/Cachora

From Marapata, you’ll have a long day of trekking to return to Capuliyoc, let alone Cachora. If that seems like too much, then the five day Choquequirao trek may be a more suitable option for you. However, if you’ve got enough left in the tank and can at least reach Capuliyoc, then you can organise a taxi back to Cachora. Otherwise, if you’re starting from Chiquisca, it’s more than reasonable to trek back to Capuliyoc or Cachora to finish the Choquequirao trail.

Choquequirao Trek 5 Days

Finally, let’s look at the five day Choquequirao trek in Peru. It’s quite similar to the four day trek. But, you’ll have more time to complete the gruelling trek back to Capuliyoc or Cachora. Again, we won’t repeat a hiking description in this section. Instead, we’ll cover the logistical difference of doing the five day trek, when compared with the three and four day options.

Dan hikes along the Choquequirao trail

Day 1: Cachora/Capuliyoc to Chiquisca/Santa Rosa Alta

With five days at your leisure, you’ll have plenty of time to complete the entire Choquequirao trail from Cachora. But, again, there’s nothing wrong with starting from Capuliyoc. That means an even more relaxing trek. Similar to the four day trek, we recommend staying at Chiquisca on your first night if you start from Cachora. And, if you start from Capulioc, you should stay at Santa Rosa Alta on your first night.

Day 2: Chiquisca/Santa Rosa Alta to Marampata

From either Chiquisca or Santa Rosa Alta, you’ll trek to Marampata. As mentioned, the trek from Santa Rosa Alta to Marampata doesn’t look like much with a distance of 3km. But, this trek does involve 700 metres of elevation gain in the usually blazing heat. So, hiking from Santa Rosa Alta to Marampata in one day is more than reasonable. At least, you’ll save your energy for a long day of hiking and exploring the Choquequirao ruins on day three.

Day 3: Marampata to Choquequirao Ruins Out & Back

From Marampata, you’ll spend a fantastic day exploring the Choquequirao ruins in Peru. You’ll then return to Marampata to stay for a second night.

Day 4: Marampata to Chiquisca/Capuliyoc

On the fourth day, you’ll likely trek from Marampata to Chiquisca. This involves descending the entire canyon. And then, you’ll ascend just 2km to reach Chiquisca. If you have enough energy, you can always hike all the way to Capulioc. You’d then stay the night before hiking to Cachora the next day to finish the Choquequirao trek in Peru.

Day 5: Chiquisca/Capuliyoc to Cachora

Even when spread out over five days, your final day of trekking will be a tough one. From Chiquisca, you’ll have 9km of a pure uphill climb to battle to reach Capuliyoc. Then, it’s another 10km to Cachora to finish the trek. As mentioned, if you’re starting point is Capuliyoc, you’ll have an easier day reaching the endpoint at Cachora.

Choquequirao to Machu Picchu Trek (7–10 Days)

Known as an alternative Machu Picchu hike, the Choquequirao to Machu Picchu trek is a challenging endeavour spread over 7–10 days. Given the length of time, the popularity of the Inca and Salkantay treks and the ease of visiting Machu Picchu by train, this trekking option isn’t popular. But, if you’re an intrepid traveller with a sense of adventure, this could be the perfect option for you. Better yet, the trail from the Choquequirao ruins to Machu Picchu in Peru is super quiet. You’ll hardly see another traveller! Instead, you’ll come across locals from the various villages you’ll pass.

Usually, the Choquequirao to Machu Picchu trek in Peru is completed in 8–9 days. In the itinerary below, we’ll showcase an eight day itinerary. For those looking to take their time, you can simply break up the trek over 10 days. On the flip side, it’s also possible to smash this hike out in seven days. But, that would be a punishing option.

Perhaps, if you only have a week to spare, it’s best to do a seven day Choquequirao to Machu Picchu trek with a tour company. As part of the tour, you’ll usually skip 19km of hiking from Lucmabamba to Aguas Calientes. Instead of hiking, you’ll usually catch a van from Lucmabamba to Hidroelectrica and then even a train to Aguas Calientes. Indeed, most trekking companies offer Choquequirao tours ranging from 7–10 days. So, if you don’t want to do a solo trek, then consider a guided Choquequirao trekking tour to Machu Picchu.

As you’ll see below, the first two days are similar to the three–five day Choquequirao treks. From day three, the trek actually passes through the Choquequirao ruins and continues in the direction of Machu Picchu!

Beck at Machu Picchu

Day 1: Cachora/Capuliyoc to Chiquisca/Santa Rosa Alta

From either Cachora or Capuliyoc, you’ll spend your first night at either Chiquisca or Santa Rosa Alta. For more details, click here.

Choquequirao trek to Machu Picchu difficulty: this trekking option isn’t for the faint-hearted. Particularly, after reaching the Choquequirao ruins, trail navigation is more challenging. Solo trekking from Choquequirao to Machu Picchu should only be completed by experienced trekkers.

Day 2: Chiquisca/Santa Rosa Alta to Marampata/near Choquequirao Ruins

On day two, you’ll be hiking from either Chiquisca or Santa Rosa Alta to Marampata or to a campsite near the Choquequirao Ruins. As mentioned, it’s now forbidden to camp at the actual ruins. Of course, this is a shame! That’s because camping at the Choquequirao archaeological park in Peru would have been an awesome experience. We’ve read about others who watched sunrise from the ruins when camping at the site was allowed. Second, given the route of the Choquequirao trek to Machu Picchu, camping at the ruins would be convenient. But, at least you can camp near the ruins, which will give you a head start compared with staying at Marampata. Although, Marampata offers more lodging options.

Day 3: Marampata to Maizal via Choquequirao Ruins

Today, you’ll be exploring the breathtaking Choquequirao Ruins – one of the best Inca sites in Peru! Then, instead of returning to Marampata as you would for the three–five day Choquequirao treks, you’ll continue to Maizal. From the ruins, you’ll initially climb 300 metres through beautiful cloud forest to the Choquequirao Pass (3300m). Then, you’ll have a massive descent to Rio Blanco (1,900m). Here, there’s no river crossing. So, you’ll have to wade across. May as well go for a swim! But, you won’t have loads of time. That’s because you still need to climb 1,100 metres to reach Maizal (3,000m). Needless to say, this is a long and physically difficult day of trekking – possibly the hardest of the entire trek!

Day 4: Maizal to Yanama

From Maizal, it’s a 17km trek to Yanama. Similar to the third day, you’ll have another tough day of trekking. Initially, you’ll tackle a steep incline to Minas Victoria Pass (4,200m). Then, you’ll descend to Yanama (3,700m). Expect exceptional views from the Minas Victoria Pass. And, if you’re lucky, you might even catch sight of condors. They’re truly majestic creatures. Beck and I were lucky to see condors during the 2 Day Colca Canyon and 8 Day Huayhuash treks.

Day 5: Yanama to Colpapampa

Day five of the Choquequirao trek to Machu Picchu doesn’t get any easier! You’ll be hiking 22km from Yanama to Colpapampa. From Yanama, you’ll hike to the Yanama Pass, which is the highest point of the trek at 4,600m. Next, you’ll hike down to Totora (4,100m) and then Colpapampa (2,870m). Once again, you’ll be physically and mentally challenged by the difficulty of trekking. At least, from the Yanama Pass, you’ll enjoy exquisite mountain views! Once you reach Colpapampa, the trek joins the Salkantay trail. So, expect to see a lot more people from this point of the trek.

Day 6: Colpapampa to Lucmabamba

From Colpapampa, you’ll finally have an easier day covering 14km to Lucmabamba (2,100m). With only around 750 metres of decline and no elevation gain, day six will feel like a piece of cake. You’ll be trekking in nice forests and passing coffee plantations. Whilst you’re in Lucmabamba, why not do a coffee plantation tour? Alternatively, you can catch a minibus from Lucmabamba to the Santa Teresa Hot Springs. The journey takes 30 minutes and is a great way to soothe your aching muscles. You’ll just need to return to Lucmabamba to continue the trek the next day!

Day 7: Lucmabamba to Aguas Calientes

From Lucmabamba, you could walk 19km to Aguas Calientes, also known as Machu Picchu town. The trek isn’t strenuous. But, once you reach the Hidroelectric station, the 10km walk along the train tracks to Aguas Calientes is pretty tedious! And, by this stage of the trek, you’ll be exhausted. So, maybe consider the train! Or, spice up your walk with a dip in the river. At least, once you reach Aguas Calientes, it’s time to get excited for the glorious finale of the trek – a visit to Machu Picchu.

Day 8: Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu Out & Back

From Aguas Calientes, you’re just a stone’s throw from the unbelievable Machu Picchu. If you’re keen to continue trekking, it’s an approx. 4.5km trek from Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu, which takes around 2 hours. Expect a steep climb up. Otherwise, if you’re absolutely knackered, you should consider catching the bus from Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu. You can simply rock up at the bus station (located just off the main street of Avenida Hermanos Ayer) in the morning and buy tickets. In 2022, the price of the bus is $12USD one-way. Admittedly, the walk back from Machu Picchu to Aguas Calientes is much easier as it’s all downhill. So, you could get the bus up and walk back down to town! For more information, read our Salkantay trek guide.

In terms of visiting Machu Picchu, you have many options. If you’re not too tired, you should consider hiking Machu Picchu Mountain, Huayna Picchu and/or Huchuy Picchu. Or, simply do a Machu Picchu tour to appreciate and learn more about the Inca ruins. Even if you’ve hiked independently, a guided tour of Machu Picchu should help improve your experience. You can easily organise a tour in Aguas Calientes or find a guide at the entrance of Machu Picchu.

Dan walks along a dirt path a Machu Picchu

Weather: Dry Season and Rainy Season

In Peru, there’s a dry and rainy season. The dry season is from May to October. During this time, your chances of experiencing rain are low. But, the dry season also coincides with Winter! So, temperatures can drop during the evening. With this in mind, you’ll definitely need to pack warm clothes for the Choquequirao treks, especially if you’re camping at higher altitudes during the trek to Machu Picchu!

In contrast, the rainy season runs from November to April. You can expect regular rainfall during this time. So, make sure to pack a waterproof jacket if you do any of the Choquequirao treks during this time! But, on the flip side, temperatures are generally warmer throughout the evening and there are fewer people hiking!

Dan hikes along a stone trail

Best Time to Trek Choquequirao

The best time to trek Choquequirao in Peru is during the dry season between May and October (Winter). That way, you’re more likely to avoid adverse conditions and miss the really hot weather.

Dan and Beck sit in a hammock overlooking the Apurimac Canyon

Cusco Accommodation

Most hikers that trek Choquequirao will usually do so from Cusco. So, where to stay in Cusco before and after the trek? Certainly, there are many options to choose from! To save you the headache, we’ve narrowed down the best budget, mid-range and luxury options.

  • Budget – Secret Garden: this is a great option for the budget traveller looking for a highly-rated dorm room. Secret Garden is conveniently located in the heart of Cusco. It’s possibly one of the best value stays in Cusco when you consider price and quality.
  • Mid-range – Fiesta Inn Cusco: Beck and I really enjoyed staying here. Fiesta Inn Cusco is located just outside of the city centre. So, it’s nice and quiet. Breakfast is included and it’s awesome. Also, the Wifi is fantastic.
  • Luxury – Cozy Room Cusco: this bed and breakfast is a fantastic option for optimal comfort and rest after doing the Choquequirao trek in Peru. Cozy Room Cusco offers phenomenal views of Cusco and the surrounding mountains. Better yet, this highly-rated and popular B&B has excellent facilities, including a shared lounge and terrace to enjoy the views. Sure, there are more luxurious options. But, you’ll pay a fraction of the price at Cozy Room Cusco and have just as good an accommodation experience.

Cachora Accommodation

Compared with Cusco, there are far fewer accommodation options in Cachora. As mentioned, personally, Beck and I didn’t stay in Cachora. But, we did have breakfast at the Choquequirao Guest House. Whilst we were there, we scoped out the facilities and can highly recommend staying here before trekking Choquequirao in Peru.

Five Hiking Essentials For the Choquequirao Treks

Here are some hiking essentials for the Choquequirao treks in Cusco, Peru.

Hiking Essential

Why do you need this?


See it in action

You'll want a good pair of hiking boots for the Choquequirao treks. These boots are lightweight, breathable and very comfortable

This camera is lightweight and compact, so it's perfect for a multi-day trek. The Sony Cybershot RX100 VII takes high-quality photos and 4K videos

A waterproof jacket is a non-negotiable, particularly if you do any of the Choquequirao treks during the rainy season

If you're looking for a fantastic backpack for trekking, we recommend the Osprey Aether AG 70L backpack. The anti-gravity suspension makes the backpack feel super light and you can adjust the back support so it fits your body perfectly

A fleece jacket is just one of the layers you'll want to take to keep you warm during the night. The North Face TKA Glacier has a great warmth:weight ratio, so it's ideal for multi-day trekking

Five Camping Essentials For the Choquequirao Treks

Of course, if you’re doing a Choquequirao tour or renting gear in Cusco, you won’t need to worry about buying and taking the camping essentials. But, if you’re trekking solo and want to take your own gear, there are definitely some camping essentials that you’ll want for the Choquequirao treks.

Camping Essential

Why do you need this?


See it in action

Of course, a sleeping bag, tent and sleeping mat are a no-brainer. But, for an extra layer of warmth, cleanliness and an extra anti-mosquito measure, you should take a sleeping bag liner

A headlamp is absolutely necessary during nighttime at camp

This compact inflatable pillow is an absolute game-changer for a comfortable night's sleep whilst camping

A sleep mask will also help you get a good night's sleep

A portable battery pack will come in handy to charge your electronics during the Choquequirao treks

Packing List For the Choquequirao Treks

Other than the five hiking and camping essentials, here’s a general list of other things to wear/pack for the Choquequirao treks in Peru. Of course, the quantity of these items will depend on how many days you are trekking.

  • Water
  • Snacks
  • Quick-dry T-Shirts
  • Waterproof trousers, or water-resistance trousers and packable waterproof over-trousers
  • Warm clothes: down jacket, long-sleeve top, thermals, etc.
  • Beanie (hat)
  • Hat (cap)
  • Gloves
  • Neck gaiter
  • Spare pairs of underwear and quick-dry hiking socks
  • Sunglasses
  • Sunscreen
  • Toothbrush/biodegradable tooth paste
  • Baby wipes/toilet paper
  • Bug spray
  • Ear plugs
  • Trekking poles
  • Any necessary medications
  • Action Camera (GoPro Hero 9)
  • Phone (alarm clock/watch)
  • Bag for rubbish to take back down with you

For a more complete gear list, check out our 66 Travel Accessories That You Must Travel With. Or, for a general summary of everything you’d need for a trip to Peru, visit our Ultimate Packing Checklist.

Alternative to Machu Picchu and the Inca Trail Trek

Indeed, exploring the Choquequirao ruins in Peru is a more adventurous, intrepid and exhilarating experience compared with visiting Machu Picchu. To that end, the Choquequirao trek to Machu Picchu is a fantastic alternative to the Inca trail trek. Compared with the Inca trail trek, the Choquequirao trail is extremely quiet and you’ll arrive at an equally impeccable set of Inca ruins. Best of all, unlike the Inca trail trek, you don’t need to book the Choquequirao trek in advance. Simply, rock up and go for it! Also, a guide isn’t mandatory for the Choquequirao trek, unlike the Inca trail trek.

Choquequirao Cable Car

In 2018, Peru’s private investment promotion agency ProInversión was awarded a project to build a cable car from the town of Kuiñalla to the Choquequirao archeological park. This cable car will allow around 400 visitors to access the Choquequirao ruins every hour! Indeed, this is why you should do one of the Choquequirao treks ASAP; before the ruins become overcrowded with tourists. Also, it means the Choquequirao to Machu Picchu trek could be completed in just 5–6 days! However, progress on the project is at a snail’s pace. So, you probably have most of the 2020s to do one of the treks before the Choquequirao cable car project is completed.

Travel Insurance For the Choquequirao Treks

You’d be reckless to travel without travel insurance! We recommend World Nomads as a reliable and trustworthy provider.

Bonus Tips

  • Do other Peru treks: the short Inca Trail, Classic Inca Trail or one of the other Inca Trail Treks, Huchuy Qosqo trek are other fantastic treks you should consider other than the Choquequirao trail!
  • Altitude sickness: thankfully, altitude sickness isn’t common during the three–five day Choquequirao treks as it’s a relatively low-altitude hike. Altitude sickness can occur on the Choquequirao trail to Machu Picchu as it does reach 4,600m. But, reaching this high point is gradual with many bouts of descending.
  • Machu Picchu costs: of course, for those doing the 7–10 day Choquequirao trek to Machu Picchu, you’ll need to factor in costs for visiting Machu Picchu. This depends on what ticket you buy! There are tickets for general entrance, as well as for hiking Machu Picchu Mountain, Huayna Picchu and Huchuy Picchu. Check out the links for prices and more information.
  • You might need to re-visit in the future: only 30–40% of the Choquequirao ruins in Peru have been excavated. So, perhaps one day, there’ll be more to see and explore.

We hope you found this the best guide to Choquequirao treks. If so, show us your appreciation by reading our other South America guides from Peru and Patagonia.


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