The Choquequirao Trek is perfect for those looking to get away from the crowds or who are looking for something other than Machu Picchu during their trip. The trek takes you to the Machu Picchu´s sister city, Choquequirao (The Cradle of Gold), which sits high above the Apurimac Valley.
Day by Day
Day 1: Cusco – Cachora – Santa Rosa!
Our first day starts in the village of Cachora, a four hour drive from Cusco. Leaving Cachora, the path works its way down to the Apurimac Valley and we will have fantastic views of snow-capped peaks in the distance and the Apurimac Valley spread out before us throughout the day. After a few hours walking, we’ll get to have our first views of Choquequirao on the far side of the valley. The area around Choquequirao is rich in wildlife and we will see a wide variety of flora and fauna as we make our way down in to the valley.
Our campsite for the night is at Santa Rosa (2200m / 7215ft), which is on the other side of the Apurimac River. As the campsite is a little further along the trail than most, it is one of the quietest places to camp. We can enjoy the beautiful scenery around us without distraction.
- Walking distance: 8.7 miles / 14 km (6-7 hours)
- Campsite altitude: 3,000 meters / 9,842 feet above sea level.
- Difficulty: Moderate (warm up to the Inca trail)
- Weather : Warm and windy
Day 2: Santa Rosa – Choquequirao
Today is the hardest day of the trek. To get to Choquequirao we need to make our way back up the opposite side of the Apurimac Valley which involves ascending about 800m / 2624ft. over a distance of 14km / 8.7 miles through hot and humid conditions. It’s quite tough going but the views we get today mixed with the wide variety of flora and fauna you find on this side of the valley make it worth it.
Throughout the day we will see a wide variety of bromeliads, orchids and stands of bamboo; we’ll also hopefully see birds such as quetzals, toucans and a variety of hummingbirds. After about a five hour walk, we’ll arrive at our campsite close to Choquequirao (3050m / 10,005ft) and settle in for the night. If the weather is clear, the views of the sunset are amazing and we may be lucky enough to spot condors soaring over the valley below.
- Walking distance: 9.94 miles/16 km (7-8 hours)
- Campsite altitude: 3600 meters / 11,811 feet above sea level (chilly weather)
- Difficulty: Challenging (we will summit two passes)
- Area : Andes and the cloud forest
- Weather : Cold and rainy
Day 3: Choquequirao – Chiquiska
Today’s focus is on exploring Choquequirao. Waking up early you’ll head off on a guided tour of the site during which you’ll be shown the most important and interesting sections of the city and get to learn about the Inca culture and the close relation between Choquequirao and Machu Picchu.
Compared to Machu Picchu, little is known about Choquequirao even though its existence has been known for much longer. Originally discovered in the 17th century by the Spanish, it lay abandoned and forgotten until recently, when tourism raised the profile of the city and exploration began. Even with this increased interest only 25% of the city has been explored and many of its secrets still wait to be discovered.
After your tour, you’ll begin the trek back to Cachora along the route we came. Our campsite for tonight is Chiquiska (1800m / 5905ft) in the base of the valley by the Apurimac River.
- Walking distance: 6.2 miles/10km (5 hours)
- Campsite altitude: 2,600 meters / 8,530 feet above sea level. (Chilled weather)
- Difficulty: Easy (downhill walking)
- Area : High cloud forest
- Weather : Warm and very humid
Day 4: Chiquiska – Cachora – Cusco
Today is the final stretch of the trek as we make our way back to Cachora. Winding our way back up the side of the valley we’ll have our final views of Choquequirao in the distance before arriving to Cachora in the late afternoon and travelling by bus back to Cusco.
Price: 479.99 dollars per person
After we have received your booking form and confirmation your deposit was made, we will send you an electronic receipt confirming your trek has been officially booked and the exact departure date of your trek.
- Student Discount $20
- Under 18 Discount $20
- Under 7 Discount $50
- Small day pack $20
- All-weather sleeping bags $20
- Walking poles (sticks) $20
- Professional English Speaking Tour Guide
- Assistant Tour Guide for groups of 9+
- Mules to carry cooking and camping equipment and 7kg of your personal items.
- Pick-up from your hotel
- Transportation by bus to and from Cachora
- Water (excluding the first 4 hours of the trek when you need to bring your own)
- 3 Breakfasts, 3 Lunches, 3 Afternoon Snacks and 3 Dinners. If you have a dietary request such as vegetarian food please let us know.
- Dining tent with tables and chairs
- 4 man tent for every 2 trekkers
- Sleeping mattress
- Oxygen bottle
- First aid kit
- Breakfast on the first morning
- Dinner on the final day
- Sleeping bags
- Tips for the guide, cook and porters
- Entrance to Machu Picchu Mountain or Huayna Picchu
What you need to bring
- Sleeping bag
- Passport copy
- Walking boots
- Waterproof jacket / rain poncho
- Warm jacket
- Hat and gloves
- Comfortable Trousers
- Sun hat
- Sun cream (Factor 35 or higher)
- We strongly recommend to bring your Camel Back and water canteen due to that government of Peru will not allow disposable plastic bottles anymore on the Inca trail and in Machu Picchu.
- Toiletries/ Toilet paper
- Personal medication
- Camera and batteries
- Flashlight or headlamp
- Cash (in Peruvian nuevos soles)
- Warm sleeping bag
Why does Inka Trail Backpacker charge less than other operators?
At Inka Trail Backpacker, we offer you the basic and essential version of the popular treks in the region. We are a 100% local company that wants to provide everything you will need at the real cost of operations—never unfair upcharging! That is why our slogan is “Fun, Not Fancy Trip.”
Are you a certified company?
Inka Trail Backpacker has been a Licensed Inca Trail Tour Operator since 2014. All companies managing the Inca Trail must be certified and have an Inca Trail operators license. This license is issued annually each December; Inka Trail Backpacker is licensed through the year of 2020.
Our license as an Official Travel Agency is under the name Inka Trail Backpacker E.I.R.L. Our license as an Inca Trail Operator is under the name of INKA TRAIL BACKPACKER E.I.R.L We also work with partner company licenses, such as INTI SUN TREK E.I.R.L and GRUPO CAMINOS DEL PERU E.I.R.L. For tourists´protection, getting the permit for the Inca Trail from the government is a complicated and stringent process: in order to guarantee an Inca Trail Permit for all the tourists that have decided to book their adventure with us, we are registered to book using any of the above mentioned company licenses. We are all registered on the official government web site: www.machupicchu.gob.pe.
Trek with Like-Minded Travellers
As a traveller, you know that one of the most rewarding and memorable experiences of going to new places is meeting people along the way. When you book a tour with us, you can be confident that your group will be filled with similar travellers looking for adventure in the Peruvian Andes. Our groups provide a great opportunity to meet new people and bond with them in an exciting environment. You never know who you will meet!
We are really proud of the work we do for our community. This is a main focus for our company. We have worked with villages directly to help supply them with needs, buy all our food from local farmers and markets, and serve the freshest ingredients.
100% Guaranteed Departures
At Inka Trail Backpacker, we like to think we do trekking a little differently than our competitors. We stand by our customers and guarantee that we meet 100% of our departure dates on our treks even if you are a solo traveler.
Our office is located at 392 Calle Triunfo (the street is also called Sunturwasi), inside the Centro Artesenal Arte Inka Building, which is on the corner across the street from the Museo Arzobispal and the Twelve-Angled Stone, by a small fountain. We are on the second floor, in Suite 209.
At Inka Trail Backpacker, providing a personal experience and ensuring you are thoroughly prepared for your trek is very important to us. Before you depart on the Choquequirao trek, you will receive a briefing in our office. At the briefing, you will get to meet our staff, receive maps and a detailed description of each day of your tour, be given duffel bags if you have hired a porter, and have the opportunity to ask questions.
Why is my tour more expensive when I pay with a credit card?
When you pay with a credit card or PayPal, there is a 6% service charge added to the total cost of your tour. However, there is no service charge if you pay with cash; for this reason, the total cost of the tour will be higher when you pay with a credit card.
Do the tour guides speak English?
Our team of guides are all local to the Cusco area and speak both Spanish and English fluently. Many of them also speak Quechua (the native language of Peru). With degrees in tourism and with two years minimum of experience under their belts, they are full of energy, information about the native flora and fauna, and the Inca sites, with a vast knowledge of ready sourced stories and legends told by the Andean people.
How many people are there per group?
The maximum size of our group service is 16 people. For groups of over 8 people we also employ an assistant guide to help out (the assistant guide is a fully qualified guide but may lack some of the experience of the main guide or still need to improve his/her English skills.)
Is the Choquequirao Trek difficult? Do I need to be fit?
Yes, the Choquequirao Trek is fairly difficult and you must exercise regularly and be moderately fit before you attempt it. In preparation, try walking 15kms per day or go to a fitness club in the months leading up to the trek. It is also important to be well acclimatised to the altitude. Try to spend at least two or three days in Cusco (3350m/11,047ft) prior to starting the Classic Inca Trail Machu Picchu.
What about toilets?
Toilets have improved a lot in the last couple of years and all of the larger campsites have flushable toilets and running water. Overall, they are kept pretty clean. If you do need to use the toilet between campsites, then please defecate away from the trail and water supplies; you can dig a hole, or cover your feces with a rock, and take the paper with you in a bag to deposit in one of the several bins along the way.
Important: As a sustainable tourism operator that takes care of our porters we do NOT take portable toilets.
Tips for the Staff: Tips for porters, cooks and guides are always welcome. The porters are also very grateful for small gifts, such as clothing and school equipment for their children. A normal amount is S/60-80 for each porter and S/120 for the chef. The group will pool money for the tip, this is not an individual amount.
Refunds: If Inka Trail Backpacker fails to confirm the reservation, your payment will be refunded in full.
Health and Safety: A participant must declare if he/she has any sickness or medical disorder and must bring his/her own medication. We recommend that you meet with a doctor before you book the trek if you have questionable health.
Food on the Trail: Always fresh and featuring organic ingredients, the food on the trek is always something to look forward to. There is always plenty to eat and lots of options including vegetables, meat, chicken, fish and other sources of protein and carbohydrates. On our tours, everyone sits down to eat together and enjoy each others´ company.
Can I have vegetarian meals, vegan, special meals?
We offer standard meals as well as a vegetarian meal option. Just let us know if you want vegetarian meals when you book your trek.
Vegetarian meals have no red meat, chicken or fish. We will assume that eggs and dairy are OK. We are unable to cater specifically for vegans as it is too complicated for our cooks (remember they are cooking in a tent). Most of our main meals in the evening are served as a buffet service so you can always leave out what you don’t like. If there is a particular food that you don’t like (i.e. tomatoes, onions, mushrooms, etc) we will ask the cook to do his best to leave them out of the dish, but we cannot guarantee this. We can also cater to lactose-intolerant and gluten free diets (mild reactions only, no life threatening allergies accepted—see below). We reserve the right not to accept a trek booking based upon dietary requirements; this may be because we already have several people booked requiring special meals and don’t want to further inconvenience our cook. Thanks for your understanding.
Standard (no dietary requirements, will eat everything)
No red meat (chicken & fish ok)
No fish (red meat and chicken ok)
Lactose-free (mild reactions only)
Gluten free (mild reactions only)
Unfortunately, we don’t offer a combination of the above i.e we don’t accept vegetarian AND gluten-free.
Storage during your trek: You can leave any of your belongings that you do not want to bring on the trek at your hotel or hostel you were previously staying in. These hostels/hotels usually have a secure, locked room where you can store your belongings. If you do not trust your hostel, we would be more than happy to securely store your belongings for you.
When do I need to pay the balance for my tour??
We require everyone to be in Cusco at least two nights prior to starting the trek, although three nights is even better. You must pay your trek balance at least two days before the trek departure. For example, if your trek departs on a Monday you must come to our office before 7:30 pm on Saturday to pay the trek balance. This ensures that everyone in the group is well acclimatized to the high altitude before starting the trek.
How many days will I need to acclimate to the altitude before the trek?
It is very important to be well acclimated before exerting yourself on a trek. This is why we require everyone to be in Cusco for a minimum of two days prior to regular treks like the Inca Trail. However, if you are doing one of our longer treks like the 6 Day Combined Salkantay/Inca Trail Trek, you will need at least four days to acclimatize because these treks occur at much higher altitudes than Cusco. You can use this time spent acclimatizing to visit the city of Cusco, nearby Inca ruins, and the Sacred Valley of the Incas.
Do I carry my own things during the trek?
No, horses will carry up to 7 kg of your personal items during this trek. If you would like, Inka Trail Backpacker can provide duffel bags for you to use. However, you will not be able to access these bags during the trek, only at the campsites. Therefore, you should carry a small daypack with any necessary items (rain poncho, insect repellent, sunscreen, camera, etc.)
Can I wear sneakers on my trek? Why do I need hiking boots?
No, sneakers are not recommended for the Choquequirao Trek! The terrain is very steep, with loose gravel, puddles, mud, and other obstacles. You must have sturdy, waterproof footwear designed for this type of terrain, with good traction and ankle support. Be sure to break in your hiking boots before your trek! Wear them on several shorter walks or hikes before your trip, so that your feet can get used to them.
If you do not have hiking boots, or they are too bulky for your suitcase, you can rent them in Cusco for under one hundred soles.
How warm are the sleeping bags that you rent?
Our sleeping bags are rated for temperatures as low as -10°C, but are more suitable for temperatures of about -5°C. Since you won’t find temperatures as low as this on the trek, we rate them as very warm and cozy! We charge US$20 per person for the whole trek.
Is there an oxygen bottle available during the trek, just in case?
Yes, all our tour guides take an oxygen bottle with them along the trail and will provide oxygen as needed.
Where do I have to be on the morning of the trek and where will I be dropped off at the end of the trek?
On the morning of the trek departure, we will pick you up from inside your hotel in Cusco (don’t wait outside in the street) and drop you off either in the Plaza de Regocijos ( next to the main square) or Plaza San Francisco (two blocks from the main square) upon your return to Cusco. You won’t be dropped off directly at your hotel/hostels.
It helps us if you try to stay in a hotel/hostal that is within a few blocks of the Plaza de Armas (Main Square). If your hotel/hostal is far away from the main square we will ask you to come to our offices with the exact location and name of your accommodation. If you are not staying in the city center, we may not be able to pick you up from your hotel. You must take a taxi to the center.
The guide will come into your hotel and ask for you at reception. Because the centre of Cusco is full of small cobblestone streets, our larger bus/van is not permitted to enter certain zones in the city centre, so you will then have to walk a short distance to where the bus/van will be waiting for you. Traffic regulations prohibit large buses/van from entering the main square but usually after 10pm we don´t have a problem and will be able to drop you off in the main square upon your return. You can then take a taxi back to your hotel (between US$2 to US$4 for a taxi).
If we have to drop you off in Plaza San Francisco, you may be a bit disoriented (some people may need to be woken up!!) but we recommend that you ask for directions to the Plaza de Armas and our guide or driver will be happy to help. It’s only two blocks away, but usually it’ll be quite late at night so it is best to walk together as a group back to the Plaza before taking a taxi or walking back to your hotel.
Is there a minimum group size? What happens if Inka Trail Backpacker does not meet the minimum size?
We require a minimum group size of just four people. During the last few years, Inka Trail Backpacker has always managed to meet the minimum group size for ALL of our departure dates and have never had to cancel any group departures due to group size.
If in the unlikely event that we do not reach the minimum required number of persons we reserve the right to combine our clients with another trekking company of similar cost.
What vaccines do I need for my trip? Will I need malaria pills?
Before traveling to Peru, you should consult your doctor. Routine vaccines, Hepatitis A, and typhoid vaccines are recommended for most travelers by the CDC. Some travelers may also need vaccines for Hepatitis B, rabies, and yellow fever. Women who are pregnant or may become pregnant should also be advised that the Zika virus is present in Peru.
Malaria pills are not necessary for these treks.
Do you recommend a rain poncho, or is a rain jacket okay?
The rainy season in Cusco is generally from November to April, when there are near-daily showers and the ground—especially in trekking areas—is wet and muddy. However, there are occasional showers throughout the rest of the year; you should always pack a rain jacket, regardless of when you plan to visit. For treks, a rain poncho is highly recommended—since you will be walking through rain for potentially several hours without shelter, a poncho will be much more effective at keeping all of your belongings and your base layers warm and dry. Waterproof shoes are also strongly recommended.
What if I get sick on the trail during my tour?
In the event of illness or injury, we will offer all of the support and care we are able; however, you should carry any medications you expect to need with you (ask your doctor for specific recommendations or prescriptions for altitude sickness, traveler´s diarrhea , colds and sore throats, and pain or inflammation). If you are not capable of completing the trek, we will transport you back to Cusco, where you can seek medical treatment. However, the cost of this transportation is not included in your tour and you will be expected to pay the additional expense—for this reason, we highly recommend travel insurance for your trek.
Do I need walking poles?
Although not required, walking poles are recommended for any trekkers worried about joint stress or balance. They also are quite helpful in providing stability and leverage on especially steep climbs and descents. If you do not have poles or are unsure how to use them, we are able to rent them to you and provide instruction.
If I am travelling alone, can I have my own tent?
If you are travelling alone and are willing to share a tent with a member of the same sex, then there is no additional cost. If, however, you would like your own tent, there is an additional supplement of US$40.
Is transportation to and from the Cusco airport included?
No, transportation to and from the airport is not included in your tour. Please plan accordingly.