The Ultimate Hiking in Peru
The ultimate hiking in Peru, we’ve all had dreams of the Inca Trail and walking a path so steeped in history and beauty. But the reality is you have to book months in advance and the experience offers very little in the way of real adventure. If the idea of authentic exploration excites you, consider the Choquequirao trek, the best alternative to Machu Picchu and the Inca Trail.
High on the Qoriwayrachina mountain range of Peru lies the Choquequirao archaeological site, and the only way in or out is on foot. With sweeping views of the Andes and opportunities to observe local plant and wild life, including the sacred Andean condor, this trek is a must for any serious hiker. With the country’s popularity growing among international tourists, it is becoming difficult to find an authentic, uncrowded adventure in Peru. The Choquequirao trek is just this.
The Choquequirao route takes you through the steep Apurimac Canyon; as you descend down into this plunging valley, and hike back out the steep on the same way, you will pass through several microclimates that vary with the altitude.
Surrounded by lush rainforest and snow-capped peaks, the Choquequirao route has new views at every turn and it should come as no surprise that this mountain-top city is being lauded as the “new Machu Picchu” and is widely considered as the ultimate hiking in Peru and treks in South America.
What is Choquequirao?
Choquequirao, meaning Cradle of Gold, is an Incan city that was built in the same era as Machu Picchu. Thought to be built by Pachacuti, the Incan Emperor who envisioned Machu Picchu, the city was extended by his son, Tupaq Inka Yupanki.
It’s roughly the same size as Machu Picchu and contains a few different architectural styles. Despite covering six square kilometres, only about a third of it has been reclaimed from the jungle.
Choquequirao was built on a flattened hilltop that was levelled centuries ago and ringed with stones to stop it sliding down the mountain. Though much of the city is inaccessible due to the encroaching jungle, a temple and several other buildings around the main square have been cleared, as well as several terraces. On the west side of the summit, huge stepped terraces have the shapes of llamas built into them with carefully carved white rocks.
Altitude and climatology of the Choquequirao Trek
Choquequirao is located 3,033 meters above sea level. Precisely because of its height, it has a temperate climate with cold at night. The temperature in the Inca archaeological site can vary between 5 and 25 degrees centigrade.
Fauna and flora in the Chequequirao Trek
It houses a wide variety of animal species and birds such as the condor, foxes, pumas, vizcachas, hummingbirds, spectacled bears and the cock of the rocks. As for its most important flora, there is a great variety of orchids.