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Sacred Valley of the Incas: what is the best route for the Choquequirao?

A few dozen kilometers from Machu Picchu, the mysterious Choquequirao offers itself to motivated hikers. To make the most of this rather sporty trek, follow our itinerary.

First stop in Santa Rosa

On the program for this first day: 7 kilometers to the Capuliyoc watchtower then the descent to playa Rosalina and, after a good snack, a hell of a climb to the Santa Rosa baja campsite. The program is dense with this day of 7-8 hours, but the hardest part is done.

Second stop in Marampata

On the morning of the second day, continue the climb to the Marampata camp (just before the village of the same name). So get rid of your big bags (yes, you read that right, it feels good) and pitch your tent so that you only go up with the essentials: water, sunscreen, camera and snacks. In 2 or 3 hours, you will then reach the site of Choquequirao (after having obtained your entrance ticket against 60 soles), having all the morning and the beginning of the afternoon to stroll around the site. Once amazed, you can begin the descent to Marampata (about 2h30) to spend the night there.

The "Choque" in 3 days, it's possible

On the third day, you have two options. The first: departure at dawn to quickly descend to playa Rosalina and begin the (long) ascent to the Capuliyoc watchtower, then spend the night up there. You will then have an hour's walk the next day to reach Luisa's house, where a taxi will be waiting for you to return to the Sayhuite crossing. You will be in Cusco in the middle of the day.

Halve the return?

The second option is to split the return into two days. The first, you go down to playa Rosalina and then back up to Chiquisca camp, half way up the ascent. The next day, you can then complete the climb and then reach Luisa's house where the taxi will be waiting for you. You will be in Cusco in the evening.

Another option: camp directly at Choquequirao

Another route option, if you want to spread out the effort, is to sleep at the Choquequirao campsite on the second night (by stopping for example at playa Rosalina the first night). You can then enjoy the site the same evening and the next morning. The counterpart being to go rather quickly on the return. And then it is difficult to arrive early in Cusco on the 4th day.

The “Shock” has to be earned. Posted at 3,000m above sea level, these Inca ruins are only accessible to hikers. After 2 days of walking, the reward is largely in the effort. Isolated in the middle of the mountains, the scenery is magnificent. Difficult to access, it is therefore only available to the most motivated visitors, happy to enjoy (alone) this mystical site.

The good plan “at Luisa’s”

The trek to Choquequirao is hard, it's true. So why not enjoy it while being well rested? Savor 2-3 hours surveying the premises. For that,the program starts from Cusco.


First, prefer to spend the night at Luisa's (framed) in Colmena, rather than chaining transport from Cusco and starting the walk towards the “Choque” in stride. Serious things start the next day. After a hearty breakfast at Luisa's, head out around 7am.

The night costs 30 soles per person (breakfast included) and it is possible to eat on site the day before your big departure for the hike!

Luisa's WhatsApp: +51 993 384 264

"At Luisa's"

The route in walking time

D1, from Luisa's in Santa Rosa:

7h (18kms, elevation gain +700, -1400)


D2 morning, from Santa Rosa to Marampata:

2h (3kms, +750)


D2 morning, from Marampata to Choquequirao:

2h30-3h (5kms, +250)


D2 afternoon, from “Choque” to Marampata:

2h-2h30 (5kms, -250)

D3, from Marampata to the Capuliyoc watchtower:

8h (14kms, -1350, +1400)

OR D3, from Marampata to Chiquisca:

3h (7.5kms, -1350, +400)

D4, from the Capuliyoc watchtower to Luisa's place:

1h-1h30 (7kms, -100)


D4, from Chiquisca to Luisa:

3h (13.5kms, +1000, -100)

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