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The Lost City of Choquequirao

from $2,235.00

A tough trek away from conventional routes to Inca ruins in Peru’s Vilcabamba
Range

  • Reviews 0 Reviews
    0/5
  • Vacation Style Holiday Type
    Guided
  • Activity Level Challenging / Tough
  • Group Size Small Group
    5 - 16
All about the The Lost City of Choquequirao.

Escape the crowds on this challenging, unusual trek through Peru’s mountainous region. This varied trek is constantly moving up and down the climatic zones, leading you up steep paths through dense cloud forest, over spectacular scenic passes and along ancient Inca paths to the Vilcabamba’s best kept secret: the lost Inca city of Choquequirao. Machu Picchu may draw the crowds, but Choquequirao will awe you in its secluded splendour. If you like being off the beaten path, are intrigued by rich history and crave dramatic landscapes dominated by lofty, snow-capped peaks, this is the trek for you.

The tour package inclusions and exclusions at a glance
What is included in this tour?Items that are included in the cost of tour price.

* All breakfasts, 7 lunches and 7 dinners
* 5 nights en suite hotels and 7 nights full-service camping
* All transport and listed activities
* Tour leader throughout. Groups of normally 5 to 16, plus tour leader. Min age 18 yrs.
* Airport arrival and departure transfers
* Full porterage throughout trek
* Kitbag
* Inflatable sleeping mat while camping

What is not included in this tour?
  • Flights
  • Single Accommodation (available on request, inquire for supplement)

Highlights

  • Quiet trekking trails (without the permit and other restrictions that are imposed on the Inca Trail)
  • Choquequirao – larger than, and one of the best-preserved Inca ruins after Machu Picchu
  • Diversity of scenery; from cloud forests and canyons to high passes and 6000m peaks of the Vilcabamba Range
  • Guided tours of Machu Picchu and the Sacred Valley
  • Time to explore historic Cuzc
  • 5 nights en suite hotels and 7 nights full-service camping
  • 8 days point-to-point walking with full porterage
  • Altitude maximum 4660m, average 3000m
  • Travel by private bus and train
  1. Day 1 Start Cuzco (3400m); afternoon walking tour.

    The trip starts in Cuzco today. The group flights usually arrive into Cuzco late morning. The Inca capital – though small enough to be easily manageable – is among the most attractive cities in South America, with much of the centre comprising colonial-era buildings with Inca foundations, and it is full of interesting museums, churches and pre-Columbian sites. We will have a short walking tour around the compact city centre to get our bearings.It is recommended to take it easy upon arrival into Cuzco and to drink plenty of water to allow your body time to acclimatise to the altitude (3400m).There will be a welcome briefing in the hotel lobby this evening.*Hotel Warari/ Koyllur Inn/ Hotel Garcilazo (or similar)*

  2. Day 2 Free day in Cuzco.

    Today has been left free for exploring Cuzco. The Plaza de Armas is a fantastic spot for people watching, and Qorikancha (the ‘Sun Temple’), located in the Santo Domingo Church and monastery is worth a visit. The Mercado San Pedro is the place to try some local produce and there are many handicraft markets to shop for souvenirs such as alpaca jumpers and scarves.If you fancy something more active then there is an array of other optional activities available from Cuzco, although you may wish to leave these until your return to Cuzco after the Inca Trail trek, by which time you will be fully acclimatised. These include paddle-boarding on a lake, mountain biking, or a combination of via ferrata and zip-lining in the Sacred Valley.*Hotel Warari/ Koyllur Inn/ Hotel Garcilazo (or similar)*

  3. Day 3 Drive to Capuliyoc Pass (2915m); begin the trek with a descent to Chiquisca.

    We leave Cuzco very early this morning, around 5am, and drive for approximately 5 hours to Capuliyoc Pass (approx. 2915m) in time for lunch, stopping to explore the archaeological sites of Tarawasi and Saywite en route. From the top of the pass, we enjoy spectacular panoramic views of the Apurimac River and the surrounding snow‐capped peaks, as well as Choquequirao itself. Descending from the pass, the path zigzags its way through dry forest above the raging waters of the Apurimac River. Our camp tonight is at Chiquisaca (1950m).*Full-Service Camping – Chiquisaca (1950m)*

  4. Day 4 Cross Apurimac River then climb to Santa Rosa and Maranpata (2920m); on to Choquequirao camp (3035m).

    Another very early start for a long day’s trek. Just over an hour of walking downhill brings us to Playa Rosalina (1500m), from where we cross over the Apurimac River before beginning the long and steep switchback climb up to the village of Santa Rosa. After a rest stop, we continue climbing to a plateau above Maranpata (2920m) where we usually have a lunch break in a small village. The gradient eases off a little here and the path undulates towards Choquequirao for a couple of hours. The forests here are home to Spectacled bears, and we may catch sight of them as we approach the Inca citadel. After walking through the terraces, we set up camp close to the ruins themselves (3035m). This campsite has cold showers and flushing toilets.*Full-Service Camping – Choquequirao (3035m)*

  5. Day 5 Full day to explore the magnificent Inca site of Choquequirao and the terraces of Pacchanta.

    We have ample time to fully explore the vast, sprawling ruins of Choquequirao. Larger than Machu Picchu, the site is made up of nine different areas which each had a distinct role covering religious, political and military functions. The quality of the stonework indicates that it housed important Inca officials or royalty, and in common with other important sites, it features ritual baths and temples dedicated to the sun, moon and Pachamama, the earth spirit. Much of Choquequirao is unexcavated and many buildings are still hidden beneath the thick forest which surrounds the main site. There are incredible views of the whole site and the Apurimac Valley from the truncated hilltop of Sunch’u Pata, a short distance up from the main plaza. In the afternoon we will visit the terraces of Pacchanta.*Full-Service Camping – Choquequirao (3035m)*

  6. Day 6 Cross Choquequirao Pass (3215m) then descend to the Rio Blanco via Pinchinoyoc; continue to Maizal (3000m).

    We cover a lot of ground today, starting with a short but steep climb to the top of the Choquequirao Pass (3215m) from where we enjoy our last panoramic view over Choquequirao. After the pass we walk steeply downhill on a wide but dusty road to Pinchinoyoc (2400m) where we visit Inca terraces that were previously covered in vegetation. We continue our descent right to the bottom of the valley, where we cross the Rio Blanco (1800m) and begin our ascent up the other side of the valley. This is a long, steep climb up to Maizal at 3000m. This is a strenuous day, descending over 1500m and ascending over 1500m over the course of the day.  *Full-Service Camping – Maizal (3000m)*

  7. Day 7 Steep climb over San Juan Pass (4170m) with impressive mountain views; descend to Yanama (3400m).

    We start the day with a steep, switchback climb (approx. 5hrs) up the San Juan Pass (4170m) – the effort of ascending the pass is balanced with incredible views of the snow-capped peaks of the Cordillera Vilcabamba, including Choquetacarpo, Pumasillo and Sacsarayoc. On a clear day you can see the magnificent glaciers and enjoy a 360 degree panorama of these beautiful, serrated mountains. As we near the top, we stop at the 500-year-old La Victoria silver mines. Crossing the pass, we descend for roughly three hours to our camp at Yanama (3400m), following an old miners track which glitters with silver dust. In May this path winds through landscapes filled with wild lupins in flower. Today you have good chances to spot a mighty Andean condor as it soars on the thermals.*Full-Service Camping – Yanama (3400m)*

  8. Day 8 Trek amidst Vilcabamba Range and over Yanama Pass (4660m), surrounded by glaciers, to Totora.

    Stunning scenery abounds today as we trek deep in the heart of the Vilcabamba Range, climbing for approx.5 hours up to the highest point of the trek, the Yanama Pass (4660m). There is a new road from Yanama village up and over the pass, however, our trail avoids it wherever possible – and vehicles are few and far between. Our gravelly trail follows the river up the valley before it begins the climb, crisscrossing the new road until reaching the top of the pass and the high point of the trek where lofty Sacsarayoc dominates the skyline from the pass. A long (approx. 4hr) descent from the pass brings us through along the valley, passing small villages along the way and following the river to Totora campsite (3440m), where we spend the night.*Full-Service Camping – Totora (3400m)*

  9. Day 9 Descend to Lucabamba.

    From Totora it is a descent (approx. 7hrs) to Lucabamba. We will notice more trekkers around today as we converge with a section of the Salcantay trail and pass enter a more inhabited area. We follow the road for a short section, then a gravel path beside the river; the surroundings are green as we are walking through cloud forest once again. We’ll also see lots of fruit trees and coffee plantations. Tonight’s campsite is particularly special: your tents will be pitched on Inca terraces, and the campsite is in the middle of a coffee plantation. Time permitting, there is the chance for a tour of the coffee plantation (for PEN10, or free entry should you purchase some coffee, PEN25 for a large bag).*Full-Service Camping – Lucabamba*

  10. Day 10 Follow Salcantay River to Santa Teresa (1900m); train to Aguas Calientes.

    Rising early, we follow an original Inca trail which climbs uphill for three hours to the site of Llactapacta. After a final two hour descent, we reach the hydroelectric station at Santa Teresa (1900m) – a good spot for lunch. After lunch, we cross the Vilcanota River and finish our trek at the train station. We board the train to Aguas Calientes in the afternoon and check into our hotel upon arrival for a well-earned rest and a shower!*Hotel Inti Punku El Tambo (or similar)*

  11. Day 11 Morning tour of Machu Picchu; train to Ollantaytambo.

    In order to beat the day-trippers arriving from Cuzco and reach the ruins as early as possible, a very early start is required to queue for Machu Picchu; only government-registered buses can make the 30-minute drive up the winding road to the site entrance and during high season (May-October) queues can be hours long. Machu Picchu is one of the architectural and engineering marvels of the ancient world and what makes it all the more dramatic is its mountain backdrop of staggering immensity. The Spaniards never found it, the Incas left no records of it, and so Machu Picchu remained a great enigma, a city lost for centuries in the jungle until it was rediscovered in 1911 by the American historian Hiram Bingham. New regulations for visiting Machu Picchu are now fully enforced; of the three possible visiting slots, Exodus will purchase the morning slot from 06:00 until 12:00 (unless unavailable), you will be limited to a maximum of four hours within the site and must be accompanied by a guide. There will also be three set routes to follow around Machu Picchu; Exodus selects the most comprehensive route. We catch an afternoon train back to Ollantaytambo (1hr 30 mins) where we spend the night.*Tunupa Lodge (or similar)*

  12. Day 12 Sacred Valley tour; continue to Cuzco.

    We wake to explore the narrow cobbled streets and the colossal Inca stone terraces which dominate the hillside above Ollantaytambo town. The archaeological site at Ollantaytambo was the royal estate of Inca Emperor Pachacuti as well as being of religious and defensive significance. Travelling by road we next visit the ruins of the Citadel at Pisac where Inca terraces are carved into the solid rock itself and there will also be time to walk around the colourful market. Afterwards, we continue the drive to Cuzco, passing through high-Andean scenery dotted with old towns and villages dating back to pre-Columbian times.*Hotel Warari / Koyllur Inn / Hotel Garcilazo (or similar)*

  13. Day 13 End Cuzco.

    For land only travellers, the trip ends in Cuzco after breakfast today. Those who are travelling on the group flights will be taken to Cuzco airport to catch your overnight flight back to London.

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Where you stay

Hotels & Camping

We spend five nights in hotels during this tour (in Cuzco, Ollantaytambo and Aguas Calientes). All of our hotels are small and locally-owned with en suite bathrooms and breakfast facilities. In Cuzco, all are located within walking distance of the central Plaza de Armas. Most hotels have a safety deposit box in the room but if not, there will be one at the reception.

Please note that central heating is very rare in Peru, even in good standard hotels. Most hotels provide plug-in heaters and spare blankets. Additionally whilst all of the hotels have a hot water supply, it can be temperamental when there is high demand.

A railway line runs straight through the centre of Aguas Calientes and whilst we try to allocate rooms away from it whenever possible, the trains might be heard from some rooms.

The seven-night trek is on a full-service camping basis with full porterage, meaning that our camp staff will erect and dismantle the tents for you, cook, and do all of the camp chores for you. You need only carry your daypack. There is a separate dining tent for meal times, as well as a toilet tent for use both in camp and during lunch stops. A bowl of warm water for washing with is provided each morning and evening, and boiled and filtered drinking water is also provided in the mornings and at lunch and dinner times so we can fill our water bottles.

Additional accommodation

Should you wish to extend your stay in Peru, Breakaway can book additional nights’ accommodation prior to or after your tour in Cuzco. Please enquire at the time of booking. We recommend the early booking of pre/post tour accommodation to guarantee availability.

Single Supplement

Single accommodation (including tents) can be booked, subject to availability. Please request this at the time of booking.

Eating and Drinking

All breakfasts, 7 lunches and 7 dinners are included in the price of the tour.

Peruvian cuisine has developed a reputation for its flavors and originality and it’s well worth trying out a few of the local delicacies. Among these are ceviche (a spicy dish of seafood or fish marinated in lime juice), lomo saltado (a Peruvian take on a beef stir-fry) and various hearty soups such as the delicious quinoa soup. Other dishes include roasted cuy (guinea pig), alpaca steak, and to drink, the national beverage: Pisco Sour.

Hotel breakfasts are normally simple buffet-style affairs, usually including bread/toast and jam, cereal, sometimes eggs or a cooked dishes, sometimes fruit, tea/coffee and fruit juice. Regrettably, we cannot guarantee that wheat/gluten-free products will be available for breakfast in all locations – if you have an intolerance you may wish to bring your own breakfast food.

Where lunch and dinner is not included in Cuzco/Aguas Calientes/Ollantaytambo we’ll visit a variety of cafes and restaurants.

During the trek hearty breakfasts are served and good quality cooked lunches and dinners are provided, and usually consist of soup or a starter, a main course with meat/fish and some form of carbohydrates, followed by a dessert. Some snacks between meals are also provided. Drinking water (boiled and filtered) is provided in the mornings and at lunch during the trek so that you can refill your bottles. Bed tea/coffee is brought to your tent each morning and juice or hot drinks are provided with all meals during the trek.

Drinking water is provided. The tap water in Peru is not safe to drink; boiled and filtered drinking water is provided on the trek and elsewhere your leader will buy large water containers for you to refill your bottle from.

This full-service camping trek is graded as Challenging/Tough (Activity Level 6), with eight days point-to-point walking and full porterage throughout. Please refer to our activity level guidelines.

Significantly more strenuous than the classic Inca Trail, this demanding trek takes you up to high altitudes on steep but well-defined trails, mostly following mountain switchbacks as you move from valley floor to mountain pass on your journey through the Andes. This trail follows ancient Inca pathways the same as the Inca Trail, but without the restrictions of trekking permits and human porterage. Expect early starts and long days (up to 11 hours) with steep gradients throughout, all rewarded with breath-taking views across the Andes. This trek is not technically difficult and is suitable for all walkers with a good level of fitness and some experience of multi-day trekking. There are some steep drops and narrow paths which makes this trek unsuitable for vertigo sufferers or those without a head for heights.

As this trip spends considerable time at altitude, we ask you to refer to the altitude warning within the Trip Notes. We spend two days in Cuzco (3400m) acclimatizing before starting the trek. the maximum altitude reached on this trip is approximately 4,660m (Yanama Pass).

Protest action/strikes are not uncommon in Peru, and while

these are generally peaceful, they can involve roadblocks and cause disruption to travel. Occasionally your leader may have to adapt your itinerary in response to this.

Walking hours stated within the itinerary are given as approximates only. Timings stated include lunch and photo stops and will vary depending on the pace of your group.

New List of Regulations for visiting Machu Picchu (which apply from July 1st 2018).

The main points impacting your visit are the following:

  1. The tickets are valid only for one entry which means that you cannot leave the site and re-enter.
  2. Once you have done the chosen circuit with your guide, you cannot walk back to view anything already visited and once you finish the circuit, you will have to leave the site. You can no longer explore the site further after the guided tour.
  3. The two visit times for visiting the site, either 6am-12pm or 12-16.30pm.

These new regulations will affect how long you are able to spend at Machu Picchu.  In the past, after the guided tour passengers could stay longer to explore the site, this is not possible anymore. The alternative that we are implementing on our visits to allow you further time, is to explore the upper part of Machu Picchu (Sun Gate and Inca Bridge) before starting the guided tour.  The guided tour will be about 2 hrs in duration, and unfortunately at the end of it, you will need to exit the site.

Schedule of visit to Machu Picchu on this itinerary:

  • Early bus to Machu Picchu and explore upper part with the tour leader
  • Between 9-10am start the guided tour
  • Between 11.30am-12.30pm passengers leave Machu Picchu
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May 5, 2019
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