Explore The Mystical Ruins Of Choquequirao, Peru
Traveling to new places gives you a fresh perspective on life, opens your heart, and fills your soul with happiness. The world is filled with upbeat, exotic, and thrilling places. One such place is Choquequirao, a historical site in the heart of Cusco-Peru, also known as the “sister of Machu Pichu.” If you are thrilled by traveling to eccentric and unique places, Choquequirao is just the perfect place. You can explore the archaeological ruins at Llama Terraces, the lush green scenic backdrops, trek on the famous Choquequirao trail, and camp amidst the wilderness. These factors contribute to an epic, fascinating, and thrilling adventurous trip.
Opulent History of Choquequirao
Choquequirao is an exemplary reflection of the Inca's great architecture. This ancient city was built in the same era as the renowned Machu Pichu. This historic city is also known as the "Cradle of Gold" and is situated in the heart of the stunning Vilcabamba Valley. This city was the epicenter for all agricultural activities in the valley and was responsible for the major cultivation of coca. Many historic buildings are still intact and made up of limestone and granite. The ruins are famous worldwide because of their historical importance and ideal location, next to Machu Pichu.
Things to do and visit!
Go on a memorable trek at the Choquequirao Trail
This is surely an adventurous ride in the most authentic way, situated in the majestic Vilcabamba mountains. This trek gives you a spectacular look at the ruins of the 15th century from the summit. The trek is one of the hardest trails in Peru. The trail is approximately 1800m and has a descent of as low as 1500m. The Choquequirao Trail is one of Peru's best trails and is considered second after Machu Pichu Inca Trail. The trek takes around 4 to 9 days and is filled with scenic views and picturesque backdrops.
Routes For The Choquequirao Trek
There are mainly three different routes that you can take to the Choquequirao summit. Let us take a look and find out the best option:
1) The Most Common Route: This classic route takes 4 to 9 days to complete the trek starting from Choquequirao and ending in Cachora.
2) The Yanama Route: This route is the most scenic, offers scenic views of the Sacred Valley, and is around 9 days long.
3) The Huanipaca Route: This is the quickest trekking route to Choquequirao and takes only 4 days to reach the final destination. This is surely the fastest and hardest route to enjoy an unforgettable trek.
Best Time To Trek
The most appropriate time to trek and enjoy the scenic views of the Sacred Valley with majestic mountains, rugged rocks, and exotic flora is between April-May and September-October. During these months, the sky is clear, there are no rains, and flowers and lush green backdrops surround the trail. June and August are also favorable for trekking as the sky is clear and the temperature is also moderate. Several tourists visit the trail during these months, and you can find the trail crowded with travel enthusiasts. If you plan to trek between December and March, you will face a lot of rain and slippery slopes, and hiking might become difficult.
What To Pack For The Trek?
Choquequirao Trek is one of the most difficult treks in Peru and takes between 4 to 9 days, so you must pack according to the complexity of the trek. There are no eating stops or lodges between the trek, so here are a few points you can consider while packing for the trek.
1) Pack lightly as you must climb up a steep slope on a rugged path; you need to pack only the necessary items for a 9-day trek.
2) A good sleeping bag is a must because, at night, the temperature drops, and you need something to keep you comfy and warm.
3) No hiking trip is complete without high-quality hiking gear, which will become your best friend during the trek.
4) Since you will be trekking for days, you need a reliable and sturdy tent that does not leak during the rains and provides comfort between difficult terrain.
You can enjoy both a guided tour and an independent adventure. Many tour operators include all the important things required for a seamless camping experience. The package includes food, camping requirements, water, food supply, and mules or horses if you require any during your trekking journey. The price for the package ranges from 500$ to around 1200$. The trek has an admission fee of about 5$.
Main Attractions in Choquequirao
Visit the Stunning Ushnu Mountain
This mountain is situated in the heart of Choquequirao and has immense religious value according to the ancient history of the place. The place where the religious activities and sacrifices took place are still present in the Corihuayrachina hills and Pumasillo hills. It is a great place to hike and witness a breathtaking view of the Sacred Valley. Ushnu was the administrative capital, where all the cultural activities and religious ceremonies occurred.
Explore The House of The Priest
Near the Ushnu mountains, two towering buildings are known for their fascinating structure and amazing location. These buildings were supposed to be the house of priests in the Inca age, where they resided and performed religious ceremonies. It is a great feeling to explore these ruins and get an opportunity to take a sneak peek into this place's mystical and interesting history.
Visit the Llama Terraces
Located on the north side of the ruins of Peru, this stunning architectural marvel was discovered in the year 2002 by archaeologists. The steep terraces are a unique feature in the ruins of Peru and consist of 22 descending steps. The structure looks majestic, but it is very steep, and thus tourists should be cautious while coming down the cascading steps.
Stroll In The Lower Plaza
This is the first structure that will introduce you to the archaeologically rich historical world of the Inca region. The Lower Plaza consists of Residential complexes presided by high-ranked officials of the Inca region. In the lower plaza, you can find ruins of homes, kitchens, and common service areas surrounded by natural mountains and trekking trails.
Explore The Temple of The Three Windows
This ancient marvel is situated around 3 km from Machu Pichu. The temple is a testament to ancient craftsmen and artisans' creativity and architectural superiority. There is a small hike you need to climb up to the top of the temple, and picturesque views of the valley welcome you. This place is heaven for all photography enthusiasts and is a great point to witness a breathtaking sunset.
Other Attractions in Cusco before Choquequirao
Visit The Magnificent Museum of Pre-Columbian Art
The museum takes you back to Peru's glorious past and introduces you to artifacts almost 3000 years old. The displayed sculptors and art were designed by the Inca region's ancestors and give you a sneak peek into the history of Cusco's rich culture and tradition. The museum is one of the top attractions in the city and is visited by tourists worldwide.
Relax In The Plaza de Armas
This is the city's heart and a spectacular sight for the eyes. The square is adorned with colonial architecture and hints of influences from Spanish culture. This was the very place where the inception of the Imperial city took place. The plaza has many religious temples and buildings with great religious and historical importance. You can also relax and enjoy charming cafes and restaurants lining the square.
Places To Stay before Choquequirao Tour
Since there are no places to stay near the 4-day long Choququirap Trek, it is best advised to opt for a lodge or a hotel in Cusco so that you are relaxed before your long journey into the mystical ruins of Peru. We have researched and curated a list of some of the best places to stay near Choquequirao.
1) Casa Biru Hotel:
This beautiful property is located just minutes away from Cusco Square. The hotel has a stunning garden overlooking the Religious Art Museum. You can relax, enjoy spacious rooms, and indulge in delicious cuisine at the restaurant. The cost per night in Casa Biru Hotel can cost you around 82$.
2) Palacio del Inka:
If you want a luxurious and royal experience, you should go to Palacio del Inka for accommodation. This stunning property has been built in a five centuries-old opulent mansion. The hotel is donned with rich architecture and artifacts from the Peruvian culture. You can enjoy authentic and delicious cuisine while serenading in the view of the majestic valley from your hotel. This place will introduce you to the culture and art of Peru in the most magical way. The cost per night in Palacio del Inka is around 205$.
3) Casa Andina Premium Cusco:
If you want an authentic experience of Cusco traditions, art, and culture, then Casa Andina is a perfect place to unwind and relax. The rooms are opulent and are provided with high-end facilities. The terrace gives you a great view of Cusco's main city square, and when the spectacular view is accompanied by delectable and tempting food, it is surely a combination that will fill your heart and soul with contentment. The cost per night in Casa Andina can cost approximately 90$, a great deal for the service and hospitality you will receive during your visit.
Enjoy The Delectable Peruvian Cuisine during Choquequirao Trek
The food in Peru is a beautiful blend of various cultures and traditions, reflected in the taste and flavors of the cuisine. Peruvian cuisine is known around the world for its unique culinary techniques. No trip to Peru is complete if you haven't tried the famous Ceviche; this dish is prepared with fish, lemon, natural herbs, and a generous amount of chilies. You can easily find it in any restaurant or as a mandatory dish when you visit a local home.
Causa Rellena, or Potato casserole, can be easily found in any kitchen and has numerous variations; it is generally served as a generously filled roll with chicken, eggs, and avocado. Another great mix of flavors is served in the form of creamy chicken called Aji de Gallina. The shredded chicken is cooked in authentic Peruvian cream sauce and is served with cool and refreshing ginger ale.
At the end of the Choqeuquirao Trek, we will prepare a special Pachamanca Lunch to celebrate the completion of one of the hardest treks to the great lost Inca City.
Another great and must-try thing on your visit to Peru is refreshing Coca tea, which is made by simmering the coca plant leaves with the addition of mint, sugar, spinach, and lemon.
Choquequirao is a place that you should explore once in a lifetime. It is away from all the city's hustle and fills your heart with immense gratitude when you witness the marvels of nature standing tall right in front of your eyes. The whole experience is something that you will cherish forever and will give you some great moments. We hope this guide helps you explore this historical city in the Inca region better and you have your itinerary sorted for your trip to Choquequirao.