Exploring Choquequirao: The Hidden Gem of the Andes

Exploring Choquequirao: The Hidden Gem of the Andes

Choquequirao: Discover the Untouched Sister City of Machu Picchu
Dive into the heart of the Andes with our guide to Choquequirao, Machu Picchu's lesser-known sister city. Uncover the beauty, mystery, and solitude of this untouched Incan site. Perfect for adventurers and history buffs alike.

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Choquequirao, often referred to as the 'Sister City of Machu Picchu,' remains one of the most mesmerizing, yet less visited, ancient Inca sites in Peru. Nestled in the Salkantay mountain range, it offers a unique adventure to those seeking the beauty and mystery of the Andes beyond the well-trodden paths. This guide invites you to explore the majesty of Choquequirao and discover why this hidden gem is worth every step.

The Journey to Choquequirao

  • The Trek: Embark on a challenging yet rewarding trek through the stunning landscapes of the Andes. The journey to Choquequirao is not for the faint-hearted, with rugged paths that ascend and descend through the mountainous terrain. However, the unparalleled views and the sheer beauty of the untouched environment make it an unforgettable adventure.

  • What to Expect: Prepare for a 4 to 5-day hike that covers approximately 64 kilometers round trip. The trail takes you through remote villages, over breathtaking passes, and alongside rivers, offering a glimpse into the natural and cultural beauty of the region.

Unveiling the Mysteries of Choquequirao

  • The Site's Significance: Learn about Choquequirao's role in the Inca empire and its significance as a religious, political, and agricultural hub. Much of the site remains unexcavated, adding to its allure and mystery.

  • Exploring the Ruins: Wander through the expansive complex of terraces, plazas, and temples. Highlights include the ceremonial center, the upper and lower sectors, and the intricate water systems. The llama terraces, with their unique white stone llamas embedded into the terracing, are a sight not to be missed.

Wildlife and Flora

  • Biodiversity: The trek and the site itself are home to a wide array of flora and fauna. Keep an eye out for Andean condors soaring above, spectacled bears in the surrounding forests, and orchids adding splashes of color to the green landscape.

When to Visit

  • Best Time to Go: The dry season, from May to October, offers the clearest and safest conditions for trekking. However, visiting just before or after this period can also be rewarding, with fewer travelers and more vivid landscapes.

Planning Your Visit

Visiting Choquequirao is a rewarding yet demanding experience. Proper preparation is crucial for a successful and enjoyable journey. Here's what you need to consider:

Physical Preparation

The trek to Choquequirao involves steep climbs and descents. It's important to start training several months in advance, focusing on cardio, leg strength, and endurance. Practice hikes with a weighted backpack can also be beneficial.

Packing Essentials
  • High-quality hiking boots

  • Layered clothing for varying temperatures

  • Rain gear

  • High-SPF sunscreen, sunglasses, and a wide-brimmed hat

  • Water purification method

  • High-energy snacks and electrolytes

  • Basic first aid kit and personal medications

  • Camping equipment, if not provided by a tour service

Hiring a Guide

Though it's possible to trek without a guide, having one enriches the experience significantly. Guides offer insights into the history and environment and handle logistical aspects such as meals and campsites.

Permits and Entrance

Choquequirao does not require advance permits, but there is an entrance fee. Regulations can change, so it's advisable to check the most current information or consult with your guide service.

Best Times to Visit

The dry season from May to October offers the best trekking conditions. Despite being the peak season, Choquequirao receives fewer visitors, ensuring a more solitary experience.

Leave No Trace

Minimizing environmental impact is essential. This includes packing out all trash, staying on designated trails, and respecting the local wildlife and vegetation.


Spend a few days in Cusco or another high-altitude area to acclimatize and reduce the risk of altitude sickness. This is a crucial step for ensuring your health and enjoyment during the trek.

By adhering to these guidelines, your journey to Choquequirao will not only be memorable but also respectful to the pristine environments and rich cultures you'll encounter.


Choquequirao invites the intrepid traveler to step back in time and experience the majesty of the Inca civilization in a way that few other places can offer. Its remote location and the effort required to reach it only add to its allure, making it a perfect adventure for those looking to explore beyond the ordinary.

Embark on a journey to Choquequirao and let the wonders of the ancient world inspire you. For an even more enriching experience, contact our in-country specialist to create a custom trip itinerary for this majestic site. Discover the untouched beauty of Choquequirao and create memories that will last a lifetime.