Choquequirao faqs frequently asked questions
Many people says that is it the “sister city of” Machu Picchu. I would say that this is one of the most amazing and wonderful old settlements of the Inca culture, located in the Andes at the Salkantay Mountains range, over 3100 meters above sea level, in Mollepata district, Anta province and region of Cusco, way different than Machu Picchu in terms of architecture.
Choquequirao is an Inca archaeological site, with amazing views of the Apurimac canyon, a perfect place to see an unforgettable sunset, with some characteristics similar to Machu Picchu. Its name in the correct translation means “Grey Cradle”.
Find here the most Frequently Asked Questions about Choquequirao.
1: When is the best season to go?
The best season to hike to Choquequirao is during the dry season: April is transition and provides the most spectacular vies, same as October and November, while from May to September all dry.
There are still some hikers who wants to hike during the rainy season, if that is your situation, then we can evaluate the week and accordingly we can provide you an answer if it would be possible or not. Some years are more rainy, and some not.
2: What is the weather like?
The region has extremely variable weather conditions. Temperatures are mainly warm, but the Andes weather is very changing. Here are some general highlights:
During a sunny day you can expect temperatures of about 22 – 30°C, the coldest temperatures are at Choquequirao where the minimum could be 0°C. Depending the season.
Dry season (April-October) it tends to be hot during the day, and cold nights only at Choquequirao that can reach as lowest 0°C, (between June-August, even no rain at all). You should bring warm clothing for the camp, but light gear such as t-shirts o shirts for the day time). For rainy season (November-March) it gets nice gentle temperatures during the day, but you need to bring rain gear as well, if sunny the temperatures are very warm up to 35°C at the river ground. Overall, be prepared, sub-tropical and tropical weather conditions at the same area and the same day.
3: What is the food like, along the trek?
Our meals are based on organic food, managed by our expert trekking cooks, who will pack all fresh. We serve novo Andean food (Peruvian dishes, according season) where breakfast consists in: Omelets, pancakes, cereals, eggs, oatmeal, coffee, hot-chocolate, etc.; for lunch, we provide meals based on a quinoa, pasta, vegetables, soups and main course usually in a small version of buffet including lomo-saltado, rise, potatoes, meat, salads, and similar dinner that comes with a dessert.
Note: If you are vegetarian, or vegan, no worries, we provide this meals with no extra cost, you only have to let us to know on advance.
4: How about the terrain? How challenging is it?
The Choquequirao trail in Uneven, rocky, unpaved path, rated as the hardest and the most difficult trekking trails in Peru, and covers approximately 60 km / 36 miles on uneven, rocky terrain with steep uphill and downhill for the classic trail that can be done in 3 days, 4 days or 5 days. A trail which in terms of altitude, it is entirely at a lower elevation that Cusco city, but hard because the trail descend a lot to reach the river, then a steep climbing to reach to the Inca city.
5: How is the environment like?
The tropical weather gives to the place a special mix of hot temperatures and cloud forest humidity at the upper parts especially at the east site of the canyon, and dry arid forest vegetation at the west part of the canyon. Since the walk starts at the west part of the canyon the view is amazing, at the summit of the mountains you will appreciate snow coat mounts, with exuberant green, lush, exotic flora at the slopes of the mountains. It is a clean environment.
6: How long in advance should have to book this trek?
We can even organize this trek with 2 days on advance, but we organize our treks with at least a month in advance, we have to program cooks, guides, transport and rest of crew, reason by which we advise to confirm the trek with at least a month in advance.
7: How many days should I stay in Cusco before the trek to adjust to the altitude?
The advised timing to get adjusted to Cusco terrains are at least 3 days, since Choquequirao is located even at lower elevation, during this day you can visit interesting sites at city outskirts, the sacred valley and discover the city, then you will be ready for the trek, the main reason for the altitude sickness is high elevations, give your body enough time to get adjusted. Cusco is at an elevation of 3,400 meters / 11,154 feet, but Choquequirao at only 3100 meter above sea level.
8: How difficult is the trek.
It is considered the hardest trekking trail of Peru, it covers 64 kilometers of train (32 km to each way for the traditional trek), for the 3 days, 4 and 5 days programs, while if you decide continuing to Machu Picchu, the part covered by food is about 76 kms. The trail runs by the Andean highlands, with an average of 16 km per day. Expect downhill and uphill, that demand extra energy, and previous training before you come.
9: How many people will I find along the trek?
During the high season there will be about 100 people a day during the months of august, while in the rest of the months as average 50 people as average. Since this trail demands energy and it is not well known by many tour companies, then only few offer this site, despite the site is amazing and the view reward any effort to get there.
10: What happens in an emergency: injured or get sick along the trek?
In cases of emergencies, like medical problems, we have a detailed medical protocol to follow. All our guides have a “wilderness first aid courses”, all our groups brings first aid kit, emergency oxygen bottle and emergency horse. In case of a medical problems. Since this trek is at a lower elevation than altitude sickness line, the report of altitude sickness is very low (01 person each 100 people).
11: Do I need to carry my own medicine or first aid?
Yes, you know your body, and if you have doctors prescribed medication we kindly recommend you to bring your 1st aid kid as well. Our guides will bring along the trek: some pain killers, bandages, oxygen bottle, antiseptics, antipyretics, salts and minerals, some basic pills that are part of 1st aid kit.
12: How big is the groups you take?
We are specialized in both private and small groups, but we like the private service because that way our clients get personalized service, especially when you encounter lots of things on treks, such as, flowers, flora and fauna – your guide are going to take care of you along the trail, where you can learn culture the flora, fauna and history.
In case that you join our small group, then the maximum amount per group is 8 people. But if you are coming in a larger group, we are also prepared and have experience in handling large groups of friends, students and or other entities that are coming with a whole group.
13: What is the toilet and shower situation on the trail like?
At the campsites and each certain distance, there are toilets, the local are in charge of it and we have to pay 1 sol “about 30 cents of us dollar), so you can use any of them.
You have to bring your own the toiletries, we recommend one role per each two people, but in case for any reason you will need extra, our team will have extra toilet papers for you.
14: How about shower and where to wash myself?
The campsites has cold free showers, if you don’t mind taking cold showers then it I perfect for you. Every day in the morning you will a get small bucket of warm water in your tent that you can use for washing hands and face. If you do not mind also you to bring a baby wet wipes.
15: Do you include sleeping bags? If not, can I rent from you? Should I bring my own?
We do not include sleeping bags, we advise you to bring your own, this should resist as average -10°C, if you are consider renting: Yes we rent sleeping bags. That are designed for temperatures for this trek, request them before trek.
16: Do I need walking poles?
Absolutely yes! Walking poles are recommended, a pair of walking sticks per each, as they will help you with balance in the sand and rocky parts. They help with up to 30% off the weight. If you don’t have any we also have them for rent.
17: How should I pay the balance, credit card or cash?
We prefer and kindly ask you to bring cash, if you are willing to pay with credit card, then consider to pay the commissions tax and fee increases in about 10%. If you do not want to bring cash, we have alternate systems that does not charge much. www.remitly.com is by far our favorite system.
18: Do I need to bring money on the trek?
Yes! You should consider bringing money, as along the trail there are several spots where water, soda, beer, cookies, candies, energy drinks and etc are on sale, on that way you also can help with the local economy.
19: How is the trail from Choquequirao to Machu Picchu?
Hard, the most extreme Peruvian trail, but also it provides the most incredible views, snow coats mountain views, Inca sites along the way, and we will cover about 76 kilometers by foot, and some part with land-transport to cut at the roads, the tour takes 7 days including the visit to machu picchu, 7 days from depart to return to Cusco.
20: Is Choquequirao Safe?
Yes! Choquequirao is a difficult and demanding but not dangerous hike, the trail has being adequate years ago and it is safe to walk, there is not many villages along that way that makes it as well nice to enjoy the views with no pollution, quiet and only 3 trails leading to Choquequirao that makes it inaccessible for people who are not going with guides.
21: What Happens with my gear, back pack, sleeping bag, etc?
We advise you to have a duffle-bag, this will be taken with horses, we can take up to 20 pounds per each, including sleeping bags in it, then we advise you to take a day pack, containing water, cookies, candies, sun scream, insects-repellent, water poncho and sunglasses.
22: How big are the sleeping tents? How many people can sleep in?
We have 4 season tents, and can fit 02 people in each (length 2.30 cm / 0.90 inch, width 1.70cm/0.70 inch). If you are a solo traveler, and do not want to share it, then we can consider it in a single supplement.
23: Should I tip to the guide, cooks, and helpers? If I yes, how much?
All our team are treated well, according our politics they get better than the average However, most of our clients want to show their appreciation by giving a tip and the crew may expect some tipping. Feel free to do it at the end of their work.
24: Is there electricity supply along the trail?
No, there is no electricity along the entire trek, reason by which we recommend you to bring extra batteries or portable recharger. Bring as well batteries for your headlamps to use it during the night.
25: Do you provide drinking water?
Yes! We’ll be provided boiled drinking water. We advise you as well to bring water purification tablets, so if you need some more water along the trek, you can re-fill your bottles and purify them. There are as well locals selling water along the trail, then consider bringing cash money, we recommend to bring Nalgene water bottles or camel bags.
26: Who can make this trek?
The trail limitation are reducing the trek to be able to only people who are fit, in good physical conditions, people who can resists the challenge of the trail. The I can say that be aware of bringing kids that are younger that are 7 years, unless you are planning to carry them along the way, regarding the older ages, consider that trail is difficult and demands a lot of energy.
27: How about if I smoke?
Smoking is forbidden, you should bring the electronic cigarettes if you do.