Choquequirao, The Other Machupicchu:
means “gradle of gold” in Quechua “Inca’s language”, although this is probable not its original name. it is another “lost city of the Incas” rediscovered officially late in 20th century located high on a ridge spur almost 1750mts above the raging glacier-fed Apurímac river and surrounded by towering Salcantay and Humantay snow-capped peaks.
Choquequirao was built during the last days of the Inca Empire in the government of the Inca pachacutec 1490, by Tupac Inca yupanqui, and probably after the Spanish invasion in 1532. Almost 40 years the Inca’s held stand against the Spanish conquerors (between 1536 - 1572). The construction of the different levels of a temples, palaces canals and aqueducts is really fantastic.
“Choquequirao is the city which demonstrates the inspiring example of an elite Inca ceremonial center. A city dedicated to worship “the Pachamama” the Andean mother earth “the Apus” mountain gods and divinities, the river and the elements of nature.” Choquequirao finally burned down and left deserted. This happened probably after the execution of the last Inca, Tupac amaru I in 1572.
By this occasion, the plaster covering the walls, carbonized and disappeared for the most part. At east side of the complex more than 110 terraces with houses and squares are being revealed. At the west side another 170 terraces are hidden and covered by forest, in some of these terraces can be seen now an amazing in straight line white color llamas in symmetrical order, until now only 25% is put to overdraft and conserved. With this choquequirao is the largest Inca-town of the continent and much larger than Machupicchu. For the first time in 1710 they mentioned the existence of choquequirao. The first drawings of the structure of the ruins were made about 1836 by Frenchmen Leone and grand and them by eugine sartigues.
Day 01: Cusco - Cachora - Coca Masana - Chikiska Camp.
We leave Cusco at 6:00 am the morning for the 4 hour drive to Cachora in our private transportation. On the way we will make a stop to enjoy our breakfast admiring the wonderful and amazing Lima Tambo canyon, to the right the great Apu- Salcantay and Humantay mountains, then we will continue to the little village of cachora. After meeting our expedition support crew knows as arrieros we arrange our equipment on mules/ horses we will be ready to start a soft hike through this know mystery and very historically rich territory. It is a 3 hour hike to capuliyoc (2915) from where we have our first beautiful views of the Apurimac valley stretching below.
As well as the snow- capped peaks of padriyoc and wayna cachora. We then descend toward coca masana (2330m) where the climate becomes noticeably warmer and the flora and fauna begin to change. Essential to bring mosquito repellent. Finally we arrive at playa Rosalina (Rosalina beach) at 1550m besides the raging “the speaker god” Apurimac River, famous for class 5 rafting rapids. Here we will set up camp and spend the night. Your guide will introduce you to this amazing Inca land. Walking poles or wooden sticks are very highly recommended.
Day 02: Chikiska - Marampata.
After an early breakfast we will walk for approx. 1 hour to arrive to Playa Rosalina near the Apurimac river (1500m).where we will cross a typical holding bridge then a forest of cactus, agaves and exotic local fruit trees. Here we start a gentle 3-4 hours gradual climb of 1400 meters from the shores of the Apurimac River to Marampata (2900 m).here we stop for lunch surround by this beautiful landscape. At the end of this path we will see for the first time, the archaeological complex of choquequirao, easy walk for 2 hours to choquequirao ruins (3035 m). On route you will see a variety of plants and flowers. As soon as we arrive to this Inca complex we will visit the farming terraces of paqchayoc and the house of the waterfall, then we will return to our camping set near choquequirao. Second camping here where you can taste “cambric” a local cognac made from sugar cane.
Day 03: Marampata - Choquequirao Archaelogical Complex.
Today is dedicated to exploring the incredible ruins of choquequirao. Our guide will explain the history and importance of the site. After you will have free time to visit the many sectors of the complex. Late in the afternoon we will start the return trek and camp the night at Chikiska.
Day 04: Marampata - Coca Masana.
So: in the morning the will go down there to the base camp, for the same way to coca masana, in playa Rosalina you will get lunch, after will continue to base camp usually the trekking is 6 hours.
Day 05: Coca Masana - Cachora And Cuzco.
After breakfast we continue our return trek with a steep descent towards the Apurimac River where we will stop and have lunch. In the afternoon we will climb for 3 hour climb we reach capuliyoc. From then on it is a fairly flat trail back to the village of cachora. We will say goodbye to our arrieros (horse guides) and take the bus back towards Cuzco. We will stop at the archaeological site at saihuite, a chance to rest and have lunch. A further 4 hours by bus bring us back to Cuzco