Choquequirao Trek 5 days / 4 nights - Private Service
Entrancingly off the increasingly trod track, Choquequirao (“Cradle of Gold” in Quechua—“The Other Machu Picchu”, as a 2007 article in the New York Times called it) is an amazingly preserved Inca outpost, dramatically perched on a promontory nearly 1800 m / 6000 feet above the roaring Apurimac River Gorge.
Choquequirao (3.103m/10178ft), considered to be a sister city of similar significance to that of Machupicchu and built along similar lines, although harder to reach, was also presumed to have had about the same size and to have served the same religious, political and agricultural functions. However, because archaeologists long underestimated the importance of Choquequirao, the city’s existence was known for almost 300 years before the first restoration was begun in 1993 and it has only recently been accessible to nonacademics, since then quickly joining the ranks of the world’s great Lost Cities.
In this spectacular 60-km trek we drive to the charming village of Cachora, our starting point, and reach this huge archaeological complex still under cleaning and restoration process located in the surroundings of the Salkantay sacred mountain (6.271m/20569ft) and the Apurimac River canyon. The beauty of the Inca citadel, still partially covered by the weeds cumulated by the passing of centuries, its astonishing location and surrounding mountain scenery, as well as lots of Andean flora and fauna, with the chance to spot condors in its natural habitat are some of the most appreciated attractions of this program.
This 5 – day version allows an extra day in Choquequirao archaeological site versus the classical 4-day trek.
Day 1 Cusco to Chiquisca
We leave Cusco at 5.00 am in our private transport and drive towards Cachora, an Andean community located 4-5h from Cusco at 2800m/9184ft, the starting point of the trek where we meet our horsemen and horses. We start our hike climbing for two and a half hours towards the Abra Capuliyoc at 2750m/9020ft, where may we enjoy beautiful views of the surrounding mountains and the Apurimac River Canyon. We then continue descending for two more hours towards Chiquisca, where we set our camp and spend the night.
- L, D
Day 2 Chiquisca to Choquequirao
We leave Chiquisca as early as 6.00am to go down to Rosalina Beach, which will take about one hour. We then cross the Apurimac River and start climbing towards Santa Rosa, zigzagging up a steep slope. This climb will take an approximated 2h, and it is important that we leave early so that the heat does not make it more difficult than it has to be. In Santa Rosa, we make a half an hour break, where those who wish may try Cambray, a local sugar cane extract. Afterwards, we continue our hike slowly climbing for two and a half hours until we reach our lunch spot in Marampata. From here we walk another two hours until we reach the archaeological complex of Choquequirao, located at 3103m/10178ft, where we will set up camp and enjoy some free time to explore the terraces and buildings. When the sun starts to set, you might want to sit and contemplate the canyon, where condors are sometimes spotted.
- B, L, D
Day 3 Choquequirao
Today we enjoy a complete guided tour of the Choquequirao complex: we will visit the high parts (Hanan), and the lower parts (Urin), and some areas that are still covered in wild foliage and ready to be restored into the way it was when the Incas owned it. We will have the full day to explore the site and relax, enjoying the spectacular views that surround the area.
- B, L, D
Day 4 Choquequirao to Rosalina Beach
This morning we start our walk back towards Santa Rosa, where we have lunch. We then continue descending for another 2 hours until we reach Rosalina Beach at 1450m/4756ft, where we might have time to take a refreshing dip in the waters of the Apurimac River. We camp and dine here.
- B, L, D
Day 5 Rosalina Beach to Cachora
We leave camp after breakfast to start the two to three hour climb to Chiquisca, to then make our way back to the Abra Capuliyoc, close to which we have our lunch. In the afternoon, we continue on our two-hour return route to Cachora, where a private transport will be waiting to take us back to Cusco. Estimated arrival time around 9.00pm.
- B, L
* Departure and arrival times are approximated.
** Campsites are subject to change according to our guide’s criteria and the group progress
Challenging: The route has steep ups and downs, with changes of altitude in one day of over 1600m/5200ft and usually warm weather during the day due to the lower altitude vs Cusco. We recommend allowing one-day acclimatization in Cusco prior to the trek departure.
- Price information
Price per person 2017
Prices per person depend on the group size, the larger the group the lower the price per person.
Please click here to check our prices, specifying:
- trekking program
- number of people in the trek
- departure date
Available discounts (these discounts are not cumulative)
- Students: US$ 6.00 (students require a valid International Student Identity Card. Please note that Youth Travel Cards are not valid)
- Teenagers: US$ 6.00 (up to 16 years of age, passport copy required for all bookings)
- Children: US$ 12.00 (up to 7 years of age, passport copy required for all bookings)
Additional discounts (that may be added to the above-mentioned)
- Early bookings: 5% on full program price for all bookings confirmed at least 6 months in advance. This discount may not be applicable in case a promotional price is offered
- SAE: 5% on full program price (valid South American Explorers Club membership card required). This discount may not be applicable in case a promotional price is offered
- Departure dates
Daily departures are available along the year, although the period March to December is recommended to avoid the heart of the rainy season.
All private service departure dates are adapted to your request.
- Group size
To suit group requirements.
- What is included
- Pre-departure briefing
- Collection from your hotel in the morning and transfer in private transport to Cachora, starting point of the trek
- Choquequirao entrance fee for visitors and agency staff
- Personal tents: 2 people in each 4-people-capacity tent, to allow for higher comfort and a safe keeping of backpacks. Our tents are 3-season, highly maintained to ensure an excellent performance in field. Eureka Timberline 4 Outfitter tents are employed when double accommodation is requested and Eureka Timberline 2XT for single travelers
- One inflatable sleeping pad per person
- One sleeping bag per person: our sleeping bags are -18ºC-comfort (0ºF), mummy form and include a sleeping liner. They are cleaned after every use and have a maximum usage of 30 trips
- One pillow per person
- Dining tent with tables and chairs
- Kitchen tent
- Toilet tent with biodegradable toilet facilities
- English speaking professional and official tourist guide (2 guides for groups of over 8 people)
- Chef and cooking equipment
- Pack animals (to carry tents, food and cooking equipment)
- Pack animals to carry personal gear up to a maximum of 9kg per person (including sleeping pad and sleeping bag)
- 1 emergency horse every 6 persons
- Accommodation for all our staff
- Meals (04B, 05L, 04D + daily morning snack + daily tea service except last day). Vegetarian or special menus are available at no extra cost
- One textile snack bag per person, to avoid the usage of plastic bags that contaminate our environment
- Filtered boiled water from lunch time on 1st day onwards
- Bio-degradable personal hand soaps
- Bio-degradable dishwashing detergents used by our kitchen staff
- Others: hot water every morning and evening for washing purposes / boiled water to fill in your water bottle every morning and night, and at lunch time if requested with enough time ahead
- First-aid kit including emergency oxygen bottle
- Private transport from Cachora to Cusco, including transfer to your hotel in Cusco
- 24-h guest service: please ask for the emergency number available during your time of visit
- What is not included
- Breakfast on the first day
- Dinner on the last day
- Tips: please note that our agency staff is well paid so please feel free to tip or not as you wish
- What we recommend that you bring
- A backpack with a change of clothes for the whole period of the trek
- Rain gear (jacket and pants if available) or rain poncho (plastic ponchos can be purchased in Cusco)
- Strong footwear, waterproof trekking boots recommended
- Sandals or jogging shoes for a higher comfort while at camp
- Warm clothes, including jacket, fleeces
- Flashlight/headlamp and batteries
- Camera and batteries (batteries consume more quickly under cold conditions)
- Hat or cap to protect you from the sun, rain and cold
- Sun block
- After-sun cream or hydrating cream for face and body
- Insect repellent – minimum recommended 20% DEET – no malaria risk has been reported
- Toilet paper and tissues
- Snacks: biscuits, energy bars, chocolate, dried fruits, muesli, etc. Please note that we do provide a daily morning snack and our meal service is very complete and well supplied. This recommendation applies for all clients being used to a specific snack, as it may happen that it is not included in our selection
- Water container and water for the first morning
- Optionally: water- sterilizing tablets in case you pick up water from streams or rivers along the route. Otherwise, we provide filtered boiled water, which is safe to drink and has not reported any health problem so far
- Small towel
- Swimsuit (if you wish to take a bath in the river)
- Cash in soles and/or US$
- Original passport
- Original International Student Identity Card (in case you have applied for a student discount)
- Optional: walking sticks or poles (rubber covers required in order not to damage archaeological sites)
- Optional services to be hired
- Massage sessions: US$60.00 per 1-hour session (US$50.00 per session if at least 2 sessions are booked). Our massage therapists have the highest recognition in Cusco and offer the following treatments: relaxing massage, stress-relieving massage, spinal column massage, energizing massage, Inca massage, altitude problems, aroma therapy, therapy with honey, therapy with glass, therapy with stones, foot reflexology, shiatzu, reiki and puddle of flowering. We recommend massage sessions before and after your trekking program. Services are at the hotel and are only available in Cusco.
- Appropriate clothing along this hike
Hiking pants and T-shirts are recommended during the day, eventually complemented by sweaters, fleeces and jackets in the evening. We recommend convertible hiking pants and / or shorts as some parts of the route run at low altitude and warm weather. It is also very convenient to have light raingear available in the daypack (rain poncho or jacket and/or rain pants) as the weather changes easily and rains can suddenly occur. At night, warm clothing is required along the route. The rest of necessary implements are included in the “What we recommend that you bring” list.
Cusco’s climate is divided into two differentiated seasons: the rainy season, from November to April (the heaviest rainfalls occurring usually between January – March); and the dry season, from May to October. The dry season is colder, so temperatures can drop to below 0 degrees at night.
Along the route to Choquequirao, temperatures range from 15-25ºC during the day if it’s sunny, to 10-20ºC during the day if not sunny. Temperatures drop in the evening and at night, especially in Choquequirao, at a higher elevation, reaching 5ºC although rarely below. Warm clothes are hence however necessary for this hike.
- Why choose ENIGMA
- Because all our treks are only and strictly operated by Enigma and its very professional staff. Other agents claiming daily departures operate their treks jointly with other companies in service rotation. Hence, you book a departure with tour operator A, which risks to be finally operated by tour operator B without you knowing. ENIGMA has a quality of service and a high reputation, which is only possible by ensuring that only ENIGMA staff operates ENIGMA treks. Even if we only have a single traveler for a set departure date, this will be operated by us.
- Because we have and can prove an excellent treatment to our staff, including chefs, porters and wranglers. ENIGMA not only complies with the Porter Law and Regulation, but our wages are over the minimum requested by law and above the average paid by most of the tour operators, all our staff eats well and more than enough, they are provided with sleeping bags, thermal clothes, sleeping tents, trekking boots, thick rain ponchos, harnesses and lumbar support for their duty on field. Most importantly, they have a program ensuring them a minimum number of departures per month and hence, a minimum income per month as well.
- Because we are very careful to choose the best guides for each group. About 80% of our guides work exclusively for ENIGMA and are highly trained, have excellent language proficiency and communication skills and are regularly evaluated by the service reports each guest fills in after each service. We have special guides for special requests (ornithology, history and archaeology, flora and fauna and also generalist guides). All our guides have been trained in advanced first aid by the Sierra Nevada Outdoor Education / Wilderness USA. We also have guides proficient in several languages besides English and Spanish, including French, Italian, German, Chinese and Japanese. In all of our treks, not only on the Inca Trail, there will be a guide for every 8 guests with one of them being the head guide. This ensures a higher safety and attention to guests versus other operators.
- Because we have one of the best equipment in field, renewed every year, employing excellent brand and performance tents, surgical steel vaiselle for best hygiene, best water filters, therm-a-rest inflatable sleeping pads, orthopaedical foamy three-level sleeping pads, among others.
- Because we have one of the best meal services in field in the area: our chefs have been trained by several institutes in Lima, Cusco and also by chefs coming from the NY Culinary Institute. They have learned the HACCP method and their operation ensures maximum hygiene. Above all, be prepared to not only have a superb trekking experience but also a culinary one, including generous and delicious breakfasts, snacks, lunches, tea services and dinners that we can adapt to your very specific requests. Our menus include a variety of Peruvian and international food and also cater for vegetarian, vegan and special dietary requests (Atkins, Gluten-free, etc), all at no extra cost. ENIGMA is recognized for its gourmet meals, the quantity and quality of food, as well as for its outstanding menu design. This is another factor for a higher price as we take natural ingredients on the treks and prepare them in the field, we do not take prepared low quality food, the meals being an added experience in all of our programs.
- Because ENIGMA’s responsible operation makes sure to cause a low impact on the environment of the natural protected areas where it runs. We train all our staff in our environment policy and, for example, ENIGMA is so far the only Inca Trail Official Operator to run a yearly Inca Trail Clean-Up.
- Because we pay legal taxes (19% IGV or consumption tax) on all services contributing to the country’s growth and development. Further to this, we pay a 30% tax on all earnings. There are many tour operators who do not pay taxes and do not declare neither their sales nor most of their earnings, or declare them with a lower value, giving them this the possibility of lowering their prices through what to our eyes is an unloyal competition. Our policy will never be not to declare taxes.
- Because all of our Group Services have a maximum group size of 12, whereas most tour operators work with a maximum of 16 on the Inca Trail, since this is the authorized by law, or even higher on other routes. We have established 12 as a maximum since this increases the quality of our service, as there are definitely spots along the treks where being 16 makes it impossible to provide a personalized service and explanation.
- Also, our excellent treatment to our staff is not reduced in the low season: porter wages are maintained, same as guide fees, which is something highly appreciated by our staff, since some operators prefer to decrease prices and wages as they know the porters, guides and chefs do not have as many demand for work as in the high season. We have our own staff which is exclusive and do not like abusing in this way since, basically, the work they do and the quality of performance we demand has to be the same in the sunny or rainy season, whether you book ahead or in the last minute.
- Finally, because all in all and due to all of the above, we have very highly satisfied guests, as our numerous testimonials prove. In our Testimonials section of our website you may find reports dating from 2003 (when we started our operation) to today. The original reports are available at our office in Cusco.
We are aware other operators may offer the Inca Trail or other programs at a lower price. This does not mean they are offering the same program at a lower price: the level of service will not be the same. We understand price is definitely an issue but we kindly request our potential guests and clients to choose a responsible tour operator as otherwise, you risk to be indirectly promoting the exploitation of rural communities and the growth of informal and illegal operators that do not build on the country’s development and growth.
- How to make a booking
If you would like to make a reservation for this program, please go directly to the Booking Online section of this website.
- Once you have chosen your tour, please read the Booking Terms & Conditions, as your booking is subject to these terms.
- Then fill out and submit the Reservation Form that you will find in the Booking Online section of this website.
- In a maximum of two working days, you will receive an email from one of our travel consultants confirming or denying your booking.
- In case your reservation is confirmed, a money deposit will be requested to secure your reservation.
- Once we confirm the deposit reception, your booking is confirmed. A Service Confirmation Form will be sent to you including all the details of your program.
In case you have any doubts, queries or require additional information, please contact us, we will be very glad to assist you. Your request will be answered by return mail within a maximum of 2 working days.
- Booking terms & conditions
Once you have chosen your program, please read this terms and conditions as your booking is subject to the terms listed below. A contract is entered into once ENIGMA receives your booking form and deposit, and we accept and confirm the booking. Please note that travel arrangements are not confirmed until stated so in writing by ENIGMA.
Payment / Deposit
An appropriate deposit per person for the chosen program is requested at the moment of the booking. This deposit is non-refundable in case of cancellation by the client. The balance of the program has to be paid prior to departure in a date that will vary according to the program that you are booking and the indications that you will receive from your travel consultant.
Cancellation by Us
ENIGMA reserves the right to cancel a program in case any of the following circumstances occur:
Client’s failure to pay the due balance of 60 or 20 days (according the booked program) prior to the departure date. In this case, the client will not have any right for the deposit refund.
Force majeure: Impossibility to operate the program due to unusual or unforeseen circumstances outside ENIGMA’s control. Ie. Delays in departures on travel arrangements caused by technical problems, weather conditions, over-booking or closure of a hotel, strikes, riots, decisions by State Governments or Tourist Organizations altering the itinerary, the duration of the time spent in a city or even omitting a city or part of the itinerary due to the local situation. In such cases, ENIGMA will propose viable solutions to operate the program or comparable travel arrangements. If any of the circumstances listed above occur during the course of the tour, we reserve the right to alter the scheduled itinerary accordingly and no compensation will be paid. We will make every reasonable effort to provide you with the booked program arrangements but changes may occur. If they are significant we shall, if possible, inform you before the departure date.
Again, we will offer comparable alternative arrangements. All additional expenses derived will be at the expense of the client. Please note that ENIGMA will not be liable to reimburse additional expenses undertaken by the client in preparation for the tour, this including international tickets, used mileage awards and fees, cost of visas, immunizations, shots, among others.
Alterations by You
If the client requests any amendments to the initial travel arrangements once a booking is confirmed, no amendment fee will be payable unless the program changes its nature significantly. Upon request of additional services such as train tickets, domestic airfare, etc., ENIGMA will charge an additional $30.00 for each solicited service. If due to the amendment, ENIGMA should have to assume significant communication charges or other expenses, these would be payable by the client. If amendments are requested after the commencement of the tour, ENIGMA will do its best to implement them, but we cannot guarantee that it will be possible. In the event of such an amendment being made, the client will be liable for any cancellation/retention charges that may be levied for the previously booked service and for any costs incurred by ENIGMA in attempting to secure any revised arrangement.
Cancellation by You
In case of cancellation by the client, this should be notified to ENIGMA in writing. Please note that the program deposit is non-refundable. Such notification will only be deemed to have been given on receipt of your letter or e-mail, since we can only act on receipt. Please state the reason for cancellation as you may be covered by your insurance policy.
For Custom Programs:
If notification of cancellation is received more than 60 days before the departure, the client will only lose the deposit. For notifications received within 60 days of departure, cancellation charges are as follows:
60 to 31 Days: 50% of program price
30 to 16 Days: 75% of program price
15 to the Day of Departure 100% of program price
For Treks and Expeditions:
If notification of cancellation is received more than 30 days before the departure, the client will only lose the deposit. For notifications received within 30 days of departure, cancellation charges are as follows:
30 to 16 Days: 75% of program price
15 to the Day of Departure 100% of program price
For all cancellations within 30 days of departure, the unused trek permit will be returned as well as the return train ticket from Aguas Calientes to Cusco and the bus tickets from Machu Picchu to Cusco. Clients may be able to re-use the tickets by presenting them to the respective authorities and paying an additional amount, which varies depending on the ticket.
Cancellations received Fridays for program departures that weekend (Saturday, Sunday or Monday) will be treated as day of departure cancellation. We cannot give any allowance or refund for meals, rooms, excursions, etc. not taken, when these are included in the price of the tour. No refund can be made on lost, mislaid or destroyed travel tickets or vouchers. There will be no refunds made for cancelled or unused services whatsoever.
Any reimbursement expenses derived from a cancellation by you will not be assumed by ENIGMA.
Acceptance of Risk
Some of ENIGMA’s itineraries have been designed to provide participants with an exposure to the true nature of the environment visited. They therefore involve an element of personal risk and exposure to potential, which could result in physical or emotional injury, paralysis, death, or damage to the client, his/her property or to third parties. The client understands that such risks simply cannot be eliminated without jeopardizing the essential qualities of the activity and therefore assumes them as part of the tour. The client accepts that he/she is aware of his physical and health condition and that, under the knowledge of this he/she decides to undertake the abovementioned risks. The client excludes ENIGMA from any responsibility linked to any accident or injury that may occur associated to the clients’ health, physical condition or other.
Authority on Tour
At all times the decision of the company's guide or representative will be final on all matters likely to endanger the safety and well being of the tour group.
The client must at all times strictly comply with the laws, customs, and foreign exchange and drug regulations of Peru. Should the client fail to comply with the above, or should the client interfere with the well being of the group then the guide or company representative may order the client to leave the tour without recourse to any refund.
It is the responsibility of the individual traveler to secure the proper documentation prior to joining the program. The client must be in possession of a valid passport with at least six-month validity from the date of entry and all visas required for the whole of the journey. Any information or advice given by the company on visas, vaccinations, climate, clothing, baggage, special equipment, etc. is given in good faith but without responsibility on the part of the company.
The company shall not be liable for any damage or loss if the failure to carry out the contract is:
1. Attributable to the client
2. Attributable to a third party unconnected with the provision of the services contracted for and the event is unforeseeable or unavoidable
3. Due to unforeseen and unusual circumstances beyond the company's control, the consequences of which could not have been avoided even if all due care had to be exercised. The company will do its best to minimize the effects of matters outside its control, but cannot accept any liability for these matters which include political disputes, border closures, refusals of visas, industrial action, delayed flights, unforeseeable climate, strikes, war, civil disturbances, natural disasters, government actions, mechanical failures or any acts of God, among others. The client accepts to assume all extra costs derived by any of these factors.
ENIGMA directly operates part of the services included in a program but also makes arrangements with airlines, hotels and other independent parties to provide you with the travel services you purchase. We do take all reasonable steps to ensure that organizations providing services maintain our quality standards. However, these parties are independent suppliers over whom we have no direct full control.
ENIGMA can therefore not accept liability for negligence of the staff of these organizations. The participant waives any claim against ENIGMA for any damage to or loss of property, injury or death due to any act or negligence of any airlines, surface transportation company, hotels or any person rendering any of the services or accommodations included.
ENIGMA cannot be held responsible for any claim, losses, damages or delay of baggage or other properties, inconvenience, loss of enjoyment, upset and disappointment, distress or frustrations, whether physical or mental, resulting from the act or omission of any party providing the services. In the event of any service being withdrawn by any of our suppliers, ENIGMA shall have no responsibility beyond refunding all monies paid by the participant for that service.
When you travel with an airline, the conditions of carriage of that airline will apply. These conditions are the subject of international agreements and may limit or exclude liability. ENIGMA is not liable for any expenses or consequences resulting from flight delays, cancellations or missed connections, and such expenses shall be borne by the client.
Claims and Complaints
If a client has a complaint against the company the client must first inform the tour conductor, guide or company representative while on the tour in order that the guide/representative can attempt to rectify the matter. Any further complaint must be put in writing to the company within 7 days of the end of the tour.
Venue for all claims or disputes shall be exclusively in Cusco, Peru, whose courts, using Peruvian Law, shall have exclusive jurisdiction. Damage claims against ENIGMA shall be limited to the value of the particular item in dispute.
Any liability is limited to the full price paid for the tour. In all cases the company specifically excludes all liability for indirect, incidental or consequential loss or expense including loss of profits.
ENIGMA assumes responsibility for representations it makes, but not for those made by others and including, but not limited to, any employee of ENIGMA or any independent travel agent.
Payment for reservations on any ENIGMA program or tour shall constitute consent to all the provisions in the Booking Terms & Conditions set out herein and is binding on all tour and travel participants.