Where is Choquequirao and How to Visit It?
While recently researching the footprints of the Inca Empire in Peru, I stumbled upon the realization that as the most popular Inca settlement, most people only know about the existence of Machu Picchu in the country. In comparison, other Inca locations are cast in the shadows.
This causes sites such as the Inca ruins of Choquequirao to be massively overlooked. But given how much the location has to teach to humans all over the world, it is important to know exactly where is Choquequirao?
The ancient Inca city of Choquequirao is based in the heart of Peru. To be precise, it is located near the Peruvian city of Cusco. While being close to such a modern city, Choquequirao can only be reached through a hike on foot, which makes it quite harder to access as compared to the more popular Machu Picchu.
That is one of the many reasons why many people don’t know about Choquequirao or haven’t seen it despite having been to Peru.
But even while being difficult to access, the ancient city remains a sight to behold. Judging by what it has to offer, it is a must-visit for anyone interested in history and architecture.
Here’s how you can travel to Choquequirao, make sure that your trip is a fun experience, and take in the beauty of the ancient settlement in all its glory.
1. Choquequirao Pronunciation Tips – How to Say Its Name?
But first things first, you should learn how to pronounce the difficult name.
Almost everyone knows how to say the name of Machu Picchu. Since it is a popular Inca site that is mentioned repeatedly through history lessons and pop culture, that seemingly difficult to pronounce name has become very easy to say.
And even areas such as Cachora have an easier pronunciation than Choquequirao.
But when you compare the pronunciation of Machu Picchu or Cachora to Choquequirao, you appreciate that saying Inca or Southern American names is not that easy.
To help you say Choquequirao the correct way and respect the culture to the best of your ability, here’s a breakdown of the word Choquequirao how to say it.
Notice how the “Cho-” part changed to “Sha-”? And how “-rao” changed to “-row”? This is all due to the pronunciation being derived from the indigenous language of Quechua.
Practice saying this a few times, and you will get a hang of it. Remember that it’s important to learn pronunciations of at least the most important names in the native language of the place you are visiting, especially the places you are going to see. This prevents you from unintentionally disrespecting the culture.
Speaking of culture, you might be wondering: how old is Choquequirao anyway?
2. How Old is Choquequirao? How is Choquequirao vs Machu Picchu?
Since Choquequirao belonged to the Inca Empire, it is believed that it is a 15th-16th-century structure. It belongs to the same general area as Machu Picchu.
But as the more famous site in the region, Machu Picchu benefits from the popularity of the Sacred Valley way more than Choquequirao.
It is because Machu Picchu is more popular, and its close proximity is more tourist-friendly than any other ancient site in the region.
On the other hand, making your way to Choquequirao could be comparatively more challenging especially if you are trying to reach Choquequirao without a guide. The area surrounding Choquequirao is comparatively more secluded than Machu Picchu has ever been in recent times.
3. Where is Choquequirao Peru Located?
Choquequirao TripAdvisor Tips
Located within the mountains of the Vilcabamba village, Choquequirao is structured in the Santa Teresa district. It is about 100 km from the modern city of Cusco.
This means that if you decide to visit the ancient sight of Choquequirao, then you would have to make plans of staying in Cusco for at least one night. While Vilcabamba village is another developed area that is right next to Choquequirao, Cusco is more tourist friendly due to its modern infrastructure.
You could book a tour with an established company in the region. Otherwise, you could make your own itinerary and bookings among different lodgings and transportation to make sure that your trip to Choquequirao is full of fun and free of any stress.
Here, your personal preference would matter a lot. If you are someone who likes to plan things to the last detail yourself, then taking the responsibility to plan the trip should logically be handled by you as well.
On the other hand, if you think that it would be better to hire a tour company that makes frequent trips to Choquequirao, then you should go ahead with your instinct. Doing so would give you plenty of free time to simply relax during the days that lead up to your trip instead of running back and forth between different transportation and lodging providers.
Now that you know the general location of where is Choquequirao Peru located and have an idea about what to do for the travel arrangements, it would be prudent to know what to expect out of the site.
In other words, is Choquequirao worth it?
4. How High is Choquequirao? Tips for Choquequirao Cable Car 2019
Choquequirao sits on top of a mountain, with the hilltop leveled into a platform since ancient times. Currently, it comprises of various ruins and borders consisting of ancient Inca architecture. The area of the Choquequirao spans approximately 18 square kilometers in size. The complex also stands at more than 3,000 meters above sea level.
Despite talks of a possible cable car that would provide easier access to Choquequirao for tourists, the project has not yet started for the public. Since the last few years, the plans to install a cable car structure and bring about more tourists to the area remain under development.
Due to these reasons, Choquequirao for now enjoys being a calmer tourist attraction. The lack of a cable car and proper roads means that it comes with its own difficulties in terms of accessibility. But what it lacks in modern cable cars, it makes up in terms of its natural allure and beauty.
With this structure, lush green mountains and high elevation, Choquequirao is visually very similar to Machu Picchu. In fact, it resembles the more popular ruins to the point where it is also called the “little sister” of Machu Picchu.
With that being said, Choquequirao provides a wholly different experience when it comes to the overall exploration of the site. If you compare Choquequirao to Machu Picchu, visiting Choquequirao deems to be a subversive choice. To some, it could very well be defined as being a more adventurous option.
While the more popular Machu Picchu and its nearby Sacred Valley is swarmed by tourists, Choquequirao provides a more tranquil experience. Only a limited number of tourists make trips to Choquequirao as compared to the whopping amount of visitors who flock to Machu Picchu.
5. When to Visit Choquequirao? Choquequirao Tours Advice
Due to its high elevation and a lack of other modes of transportation than actual trekking, Choquequirao remains challenging to visit for those who don’t travel frequently or who are traveling without any professional tour company’s help.
This is especially true for those who want a smooth road to Choquequirao that leads right to the ancient ruins. If you are planning to visit Choquequirao without a guide, then achieving that feat would be quite difficult.
Since the Choquequirao is only accessible through manual trekking, it is best that you seek help along the way. This is especially true if you are new to Peru or have visited Machu Picchu only a few times.
As compared to Machu Picchu, a trek to Choquequirao is a very demanding adventure which might take a lot out of you if you don’t have any experienced individuals to accompany you.
Since tour guides or locals have been through the experience multiple times, they would be able to tell you about exactly how to go to Choquequirao when to go as well.
According to experts, it is best that you visit Machu Picchu and Choquequirao when the weather is dry and pleasant. It’s because it keeps you from running into any weather-induced delays, while also ensuring that you don’t feel uncomfortable in the extremities of the local weather.
This is why, it is recommended that you visit Choquequirao between the months of April to October.
Depending on whether you have any plans to experience Choquequirao to Machu Picchu trekking, it is best that you consult with locals or professionals right before you make your arrangements to understand the situation on the ground.
This way, you can make an informed decision and prevent yourself from running into any issues.
6. How to Visit Choquequirao? How Much Does a Choquequirao Trek Cost for Choquequirao to Machu Picchu?
The trekking path to Choquequirao is quite tricky to follow and requires manual effort. But if you are not shy of seeking out the best of what history has to offer, it wouldn’t be a problem for you.
With that being said, it is important to note that even the closest starting point of Cusco requires you to put aside two days to reach atop the Choquequirao complex.
How a Cusco to Choquequirao Roundtrip Typically Looks Like?
A trip from Cusco to Choquequirao and Choquequirao to Cusco takes around 4 days.
This is what the trip looks like:
- You start your trip in Cusco.
- You take a ride to Cachora, which is typically a 4-hour drive.
- From Cachora to Choquequirao, you need to trek your way to the hilltop that holds the complex. This takes about two days with resting stops in between.
- You follow the same path back from Choquequirao to Cusco.
But once you reach Choquequirao, you also have the option to make your way onward to Machu Picchu. From there, the duration of your trip would depend upon how you want to complete it.
How a Typical Trip from Choquequirao to Machu Picchu Looks Like?
Typically, most tour guides or plans offer the following options for you to take your trip from Choquequirao to Machu Picchu.
- Choquequirao to Machu Picchu 7 days
- Choquequirao to Machu Picchu trek 9 days
If you decide to march on and have minimal rest and sightseeing along the way, then you could complete the Choquequirao to Machu Picchu trip in as little as 7 days.
But if you think that resting more along the trip is going to be beneficial for you, then the trip might take around 9-10 days.
Whatever you decide, you have the option to avail the Choquequirao to Machu Picchu express, which takes about a day for you to reach Machu Picchu. More specifically, it takes around 4 hours for the express to take you to Machu Picchu.
This is what the typical trip looks like:
- You start your trip from Cusco.
- You make your way to Cachora through a 4-hour car ride.
- You trek your way from Cachora to Choquequirao.
- You then have two options:
- You return to Cusco and take an express to Machu Picchu from there.
- You trek your way down to Villa Carmen and go to Machu Picchu from there.
- You make your way to Machu Picchu.
- If your intention is to return to Cusco, you end your trip by making your way back to the city.
Your Choquequirao trek cost would fluctuate depending upon the plan you choose.
The updated cost could be checked through any reliable Cusco to Choquequirao or Choquequirao to Machu Picchu trek forum.
Make sure that whatever option you choose to visit Choquequirao, it remains something that you are comfortable with. The trip is only going to be fun if you are actually enjoying it and not forcing yourself to make compromises due to budgetary or peer-pressure issues.
Don’t forget to check the weather, stay safe and keep an eye out for hairless dogs and other cuties. And if you would like to see Choquequirao through our eyes, check out the post I made on my personal blog called 50 things you need to know about Choquequirao.
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