Choquequirao: Trek to the Cradle of Gold

Discover a Remote Inca Mountain Sanctuary

Repertory Trip: No Future Dates Set


Perched on a knife-edged promontory at 10,000 feet and ringed by the snow-capped Vilcabamba Mountains is Choquequirao, a true “lost city of the Incas.” For its absolutely stunning location, Choquequirao (“The Cradle of Gold”) is often compared to Machu Picchu, yet this hidden Inca site has no road access, few visitors, and a haunting ambience unmatched at other Inca ruins. First discovered in the 1700s, Choquequirao was not excavated until more than 200 years later. Less than 40% of the ruins have been uncovered, with many of the site’s secrets still undiscovered.

In the company of our archaeologist Trip Leader Kevin Floerke, our spectacular and challenging trek brings us through the canyon carved by the roaring Rio Apurimac and across mountain passes to majestic Choquequirao, with its stunning plazas and mysterious shrines. Trekking onward, we cross the entire Vilcabamba range over high passes, ending our trek at world-renowned Machu Picchu. Kevin has conducted intensive mapping survey of the Inca Road System (which has been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site), as well as a study of high-altitude ceremonial sites in the cloud forests of the Vilcabamba. Each exhilarating day of hiking will end at our exclusive camps, where we can savor peaceful nights beneath a star-filled sky. Our fitting finale is a visit to the extraordinary Inca citadel of Machu Picchu. This is a true trek into the heart of the Inca Empire. Join us!

Itinerary at a Glance

Days 1-2
Cusco / Saqsayhuaman / Tambo Machay

We discover the ancient capital of the Inca Empire on foot, with a warm-up hike that brings us from mighty Saqsayhuaman, a towering stone fortress, down to Cusco through a fascinating array of Inca sites.

Casa Andina Premium Cusco
Cusco, Peru
Days 1 to 2 (2 nights), Day 12 (1 night)
Days 3-6
Cachora / Choquequirao

Our trails lead us into the deep canyon of the Apurímac River, with the snow-capped peak of Salkantay (20,574') rising high above us. From our campsite at 10,000 feet just below Choquequirao, we explore this extraordinary complex, with its zigzagging terraces and ceremonial buildings laid out in alignment with the movement of the sun. In the stillness and remoteness here, surrounded by snow-capped mountains, we will sense the majesty of the Inca Empire.

Choquequirao Trek Camps
Choquequirao, Peru
Days 3 to 11 (9 nights)
Days 7-11
Pincha Unuyoc / Qoriwayrachina / Minas Victoria / Lucmabamba

Climbing up above Choquequirao, we descend to the Inca site of Pincha Unuyoc, which may have housed Choquequirao’s royal servants, and hike further to the lost outpost of Qoriwayrachina, a site our Trip Leader has studied extensively (and that was first discovered by another WT Trip Leader!). An Inca-paved road leads us over Minas Victoria Pass (14,500'), where we might see soaring condors. Descending to the pretty village of Yanama, we end our trek in Lucmabamba (6,378'), set in a subtropical landscape.

Choquequirao Trek Camps
Choquequirao, Peru
Days 3 to 11 (9 nights)
El Mapi Hotel Machu Picchu
Aguas Calientes, Peru
Day 11 (1 night)
Days 12-14
Machu Picchu / Cusco

We have a fantastic day of exploration at Machu Picchu, including a hike up Huayna Picchu, with its bird’s-eye view of the ruins. Return to Cusco on Day 13 and depart on Day 14.



Hike a challenging trail to a major Incan city that sees few visitors
Explore remote Inca sites, including newly discovered Qoriwayrachina
Visit remote Andean settlements, enjoy the lush cloud forest environment
Experience the Inca citadel of Machu Picchu with a specialist guide
Hike up Huayna Picchu, the peak behind Machu Picchu (with the best views!)


Length: 14 days
Cost From: TBA  
Arrive: Cusco, Peru
Depart: Cusco, Peru
Lodging: 4 nights hotels, 9 nights camping
Meals: All meals included except 2 dinners as indicated in the Detailed Itinerary (B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner)
Activity: Hiking / Trekking, Archaeology, Cultural Adventures
Trip Level:

9-day trek on moderate to strenuous trails, 5-8 hours a day, altitudes between 9,500-14,500 feet

Recent Travel Blog Posts

In Awe of Choquequirao

Recent Travel Blog Posts

In Awe of Choquequirao