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As on all Southern Crossings tours, you´re taken care of from beginning to end – airport transfers and domestic flights are included!

 

Journey to Choquequirao

10 days, 5 trekking: US$3150 per person
Domestic flights included

4 person minimum
Depart any day!

Is it possible that in its setting and unbelievable vistas, Choquequirao is equal to or even more beautiful than Machu Picchu? As you sit on the small hill perched above this ancient city, watching wisps of cloud fly by at arm’s length and condors soar high above, with snow-capped peaks all around and the Apurimac River raging over a mile below you, we think you’ll agree. Choquequirao, often called Machu Picchu’s sister city, is the most remote of the major Inca sites, and no doubt the fact that one must hike for two days to arrive there has kept it from achieving the fame it so deserves. But it is this remoteness which keeps it so pristine, with orchids and other flora in abundance and the possibility of seeing as many condors as people along the trail. It is truly one of the world’s special places, and we are immensely proud of the opportunity to share it with you. Besides the trek to Choquequirao, our trip includes one day in Cuzco, one day in Lima, and two days within the Machu Picchu sanctuary.

Day 1: Arrive into Lima. Included city tour today or upon your return.

Day 2: Flight to Cuzco – city and ruins tour.

Day 3: Machu Picchu guided tour.

Day 4: Free time at Machu Picchu, return to Cuzco in the afternoon.

Day 5-9: Choquequirao Trek.

Day 10: Morning flight to Lima. International flights may depart any time after 3pm.


Trip itinerary

Day 1

Arrive in Lima anytime today and private transfer to your hotel. If arriving during the day, your hotel will be in the neighborhood of Miraflores, with good artesan markets and restaurants, and you’ll have an included city tour in the afternoon. The city tour lets you explore the wonders of the colonial capital, you visit the famous Plaza de Armas, as well as the impressive Cathedral in the Plaza and the beautiful San Francisco church. You also get a chance to take in some beautiful views of the coast at Parque de Amor.

Lima City Tour – Option 2: Larco Museum & Huaca Pucllana (upon request). Let us know if you would prefer this tour over the Cathedral Tour (or both for an extra fee). We could also plan a tour of the Huaca Pucllana at night if you have time in Lima. The site is lit up until midnight and looks amazing!

The Larco Museum is housed in an 18th century viceroyalty-era mansion. Surrounded by beautiful gardens, the Larco Museum is a stimulating and inspiring space in which visitors can enjoy and learn more about the fascinating history of ancient Peru. The cultures gallery provides a clear and captivating narrative account of more than 5000 years of pre-Columbian Peruvian history. Visiting the Larco Museum with their more than 45,000 meticulously catalogued archaeological objects, is a unique experience.

The Archaeological Complex “Huaca Pucllana” was an Administrative and Ceremonial Center of the Lima Culture, a society that developed at the Peruvian Central Coast between 200 AD and 700 AD. Located in today’s district of Miraflores the “Huaca Pucllana” was built around 500 AD. “Pucllana” is one of the most important ancient monuments in Lima. Based on the “Huaca Pucllanas” architecture and found objects, it is believed that the complex was the heart of development of the “Lima Culture” and served as a ceremonial and administrative center.

If arriving late at night, you’ll be close to the airport for a bit more sleep before your next day’s flight, and you’ll have your city tour of Lima upon your return.

Day 2

A short flight brings us to the famous Inca city of Cuzco. After checking into our hotel, we set out to explore the incredible capital of the Inca Empire. We head to the picturesque Plaza de Armas to the fascinating cathedral to see the colonial influence in the city, and we can admire the stunning architecture of the church and also the native influences subtly woven in into the artwork. Onwards to Qoricancha church, where the colonial and Incan architectures are on display side-by-side directly contrasted with each other. Afterwards we make our way above the city to the imposing fortress of Sacsaywaman where we can marvel at the incredible stonework and architecture of the Inca civilization. We head back to Cuzco in the late afternoon.

Day 3

A beautiful early morning train journey across the high plain above Cusco then down the Urubamba Valley to majestic Machu Picchu. Known as one of the greatest architectural achievements in the world, this historic sanctuary is considered one of the seven manmade wonders of the world. After a guided tour, take time for independent exploration of this magnificent site. Overnight in Aguas Calientes the town below Machu Picchu.

Day 4

Return by early afternoon train to Cuzco where you’ll have the day free to rest, explore or make preparations for our trek beginning tomorrow.

Day 5

This morning we head out of Cuzco to the tiny, picturesque village of Cachora, the starting point of our trek. We’ll take it easy today, walking generally downhill for about six hours. Shortly after leaving the village, we’ll find ourselves skirting a ridge high above the Apurimac River, with a stunning line of glistening white peaks, the Salkantay range, directly across from us. Our trail then takes us winding into the vertiginous Apurimac Canyon. Flora varies according to the season, but orchids, giant blooming agaves and entire hillsides covered in a carpet of blue and purple flowers are some of the things we may see. The views are spectacular from the start on this trek. The campsite is near the raging Apurimac River.

Day 6

This morning we cross the Apurimac and ascend for a couple of hours to the small farm of Santa Rosa, where a welcoming glass of chicha, traditional Andean corn beer, often awaits us. Afterwards we climb for approximately three more hours up lush, verdant hillsides and past gushing waterfalls before relaxing for a late and well-deserved lunch. From here it is just a two-hour, mostly level hike to the ruins of Choquequirao. We set up camp just outside the ruins.

Day 7

Today is dedicated to exploring the incredible ruins of Choquequirao. Nearly as large as Machu Picchu and many would say in a more stunning location, Choquequirao was never discovered by the Spanish conquistadors. It was probably one of the “royal estates” of the Incas and served as a gateway to the wild Vilcabamba region beyond. It was also likely used as a base from which to attack the Spanish on the road from Cuzco to Lima during the Inca rebellion of the 1500′s and may well have held Spanish prisoners. Today, the site is only partially cleared, allowing us to see many of the delicate and beautiful aspects of Inca architecture while also allowing us to “play Indiana Jones” and discover many constructions still buried in vegetation. Our guide will explain the history and importance of the site. Afterwards you will have free time to visit the many sectors of the complex and watch for condors which frequent the site. Same campsite, just outside the ruins.

Day 8

After breakfast we begin our return trek with a steep descent on an Inca trail to the Apurimac River. Afterwards we ascend towards the village of Pumapata, camping near the fascinating ruins of an old colonial hacienda.

Day 9

A gentle ascent up a small, colorful canyon to the village of Pumapata, where we’ll catch our private transport back to the comforts of Cuzco. Dinner and a night out to celebrate a successful adventure!

Day 10

Morning flight to Lima. International flights may depart any time after 3pm.

Is this trip for me?

This trip includes five days of trekking of approximately the same difficulty as the classic Inca Trail. No trekking experience is required, but one should be in good physical health with no serious heart or respiratory conditions. Anyone is welcome on this trip; those over 55 should receive a medical check-up and doctor’s approval within six months of the start of the trip. As always, a certain patience is required for the inconsistencies and occasional delays of developing-world travel.

Joining the tour

On all Southern Crossings tours, you are met at the airport by one of our representatives (holding a Southern Crossings placard), who will accompany you to our joining hotel. No bargaining or being ripped off by airport taxis!

What’s included in the trip

  • Private airport pickups – at the beginning of trip and drop off at end of the trip.
  •  Southern Crossings bilingual guide
  •  Domestic flights – Lima-Cuzco, Cuzco-Lima.
  •  Four nights of 2 star hotel accommodation, one night of 3 star accommodation, 4 nights camping
  • Trek to Choquequirao – including bilingual guide, Choquequirao entrance fee, food, personal cook, tent, sleeping bag and sleeping mat.
  • Five breakfasts, five lunches, and five dinners on our trek to Choquequirao.
  • Breakfast – included with all hotel stays.
  • The Cuzco Visitor’s Ticket – which includes entrance to the ruins in and around Cuzco and the Sacred Valley, and many churches and museums in Cuzco.
  • Private Machu Picchu excursion – including bilingual guide, round trip train fare, transportation to/from ruins/Aguas Calientes and one-day entrance to the Machu Picchu sanctuary.
  • Private Lima city tour
  • Private Cuzco city tour
  • 24 hour customer support line while on tour

What’s not included

International flight to/from Lima, pre- & post- tour accommodation, visas, vaccinations, personal insurance, meals except where specified above, drinks, laundry, souvenirs, tips while on optional excursions and other items of a personal nature. Medical travel insurance is not included through Southern Crossings though we do require that you have a policy, cancellation insurance is advisable.  Any medical insurance is acceptable.

Extra accommodation

We will gladly arrange additional accommodation for you before or after your trip:
In Lima/Cuzco/Machu Picchu: $85 double/$75 single

Extra activities

Add extra activities such as river rafting, horseback riding, mountain biking, hiking, climbing, zip lining, surfing and free days to your custom itinerary. Ask about these options and we’d be happy to add them to your quote.  If you have any special requests or interests like birding, cooking or crafting that you would like to explore please let us know!

Accommodation Upgrades

This tour includes mostly 2 star hotels. We would be happy to give you an upgrade to three, four or five star. Please ask then work it into your custom itinerary.

Pre-trip planner

Required documents

All travelers to Peru are required to have a passport valid for at least six months from date of entry. Visas are not required for E.U., U.S., Canadian, Australian or New Zealand passport holders. For other nationalities, please consult the nearest Peruvian embassy or consulate. An onward ticket and proof of funds may also be required at entry and should be available to show to immigration. Traveler’s checks, currency, or a bank statement, from the bank or printed off the internet, are sufficient for proof of funds.

Required immunizations

No immunizations are required of travelers to these areas of Peru. Travelers may wish to receive hepatitis vaccinations and should be current on all other standard vaccinations. No areas visited on this trip are malarial or yellow fever zones. Please consult your physician or local health department for more information.

Things to bring

During our trek, mules will accompany us to carry most of our things, including all the camping gear. Each passenger is allowed 15 pounds / 7 kilos of personal items which will be carried by the mules. Such items would include warm clothing for camping, toiletries, etc. During the day you’ll be using a your daypack and will just need to carry water, snacks, rain gear, and a layer for changing weather conditions. Of course most people also carry a camera.

One should come well prepared for outdoor activity.  A list of things to bring would include:

  • Passport and, if necessary, visa
  • ATM card (notify your bank you will be travelling to Peru)
  • Airline ticket and Travel Insurance Policy
  • Photocopies of airline ticket and documents
  • Wearable pouch for documents and money
  • Sturdy backpack or suitcase
  • Smaller, comfortable day pack
  • Hiking boots or sneakers, comfortable and worn-in
  • Sandals or flip-flops
  • Rain poncho or jacket
  • Waterproof pants
  • Sun hat
  • Hat for cold weather
  • Good, warm clothing for cold weather (think layers!)
  • T-shirts
  • Socks (thin wool or biking socks are best), undergarments
  • Camelback or Nalgene refillable bottle (optional)
  • Flashlight and/or head lamp
  • Sunscreen (biodegradable & eco-friendly)
  • Insect repellent (biodegradable & eco-friendly)
  • Lip balm
  • Earplugs
  • Alarm clock or watch
  • Sanitizing hand wipes or gel
  • Camera and film/digital memory cards
  • Camera batteries
  • Reading material
  • Toiletries

It is best to bring from home such items as prescription meds, eyewear and care, unusual film and camera batteries. Please bring used batteries home to recycle!

Climate

Rain is possible at any time of year, especially in high mountains and cloud forest, and one should always be prepared for temperatures ranging from 35° to 85° Fahrenheit / 2° to 30° Celsius and for extremes of sun and the possibility of rain. The climate in sites we will visit is as follows:

Cuzco: days are warm if sunny, slightly chilly if cloudy. Nights are chilly in Cuzco.
Lima: warm to hot days, cool evenings, almost never any rain. Often overcast.
Trek: all ranges of weather from hot desert at the bottoms of canyons to possible snow and rain at higher elevations. Most people trek in shorts or light pants (synthetic, fast-drying fibers are preferable to cotton) and a t-shirt, and carry a layer or two (thin fleece and micro-fibers are, again, preferable to cotton), plus a poncho or other rain gear. There are some biting insects on sections of the trail, so even in warm weather some people opt to cover more skin with a long sleeve t-shirt and long pants.
Machu Picchu: lower and warmer than Cuzco, with rain possible all year round.

Baggage

For your international flights, please check with your airline. Within Peru, you are allowed 23 kilos (46 lbs) of checked baggage, as well as one carry-on and another small, purse-like item. The carry-on size regulations are the same as international carry-on size regulations.

Money guide

The unit of currency in Peru is the nuevo sol. Automatic cash points are available in Lima and Cuzco. Visa, MasterCard, Plus, and Cirrus are the most common usable types of cards. Traveler’s checks (American Express is best but you may be charged 5-8% to cash) or a Visa or MasterCard for cash advances are also options. Do not bring Money Grams or International Money Orders, as they are extremely difficult to exchange. Banks and exchange houses are available in Lima and Cuzco. For currency, U.S. dollars are recommended and most easily exchanged. Please note that cash must be untorn. It can be older-looking, but even the slightest tear on an edge will make it un-changeable. Acceptable bills come out of the ATMs in country.

Expect to spend about US$3-10 on a meal, US$2 on a beer, water or soft drink in Peru.

Shopping prices are usually lower than people expect. Alpaca sweaters, for example, run between $5 and $30.  Currency Converter