This is a truly unique sojourn through the south part of the Cordillera of the Andes.You will be trekking trough the Vilcabamba mountain range and visit two ancient and remote cities from the Incas times. Explore the different ecosystems and experience the biodiversity of one of the longest mountain range in the world.
Choquequirao is one of the largest of abandoned Inca cities. To reach it requires an extraordinary hike through the Andes in the Vilcabamba mountain range with the incredible Canyon view of a mighty river called Apurimac (one of the main sources of the Amazon River).
Day one: Trekking Cachora, Capulichayoc, Chikiska
We depart from Cusco early in the morning, crossing the mountains, driving for 4 hours into the department of Apurímac for about 153 kilometers. This area was a historical place for the Incas and Chancas nation. We will stop to enjoy and to photograph the awesome views of the mountains along the way. The town of Cachora, at 2900 meters, is the entrance of the Apurímac River Canyon, where we will make our preliminary preparations. After 1 hour hike with incredible views of the snow-capped Padreyoc, 5771mts, and part of the Cordillera of Vilcabamba, we will arrive for lunch in Capulichayoc, at 2915 meters. During this stop we will see native tree called Capuli “Prunus Capuli”. Here we will enjoy another view of the sacred river Apurímac and the Inca ruins of Choquequirao from across the canyon. From here we hike for about 4 hours down the gorge trough on a zigzag trail, moderate to difficult conditions.
The hike from Cahora down to our camp at Chiquisca, 1800 meters, will be about 15 kilometers. During this descent down hill we will see one ecosystem called the Andean semidry and dry forest and we may see some of scrub bush vegetation called Chilca “Bacharis Peruviana”, some Molle “Schinus Molle” and Tara “Caesalpina spinosa”. These trees are used for medicinal purposes in the area. There will be several opportunities to see bird life, perhaps hummingbirds and if we are lucky we will see the Andean Condor “Vulture Gryphus”, Black Chested Buzzard Eagles “Geranoaetus Melanoleucus” and Falcons flying above the canyon of the ApurImac River. Today we cover 19 kilometers in about 6 hours (B, L, D)
Day two: Chiquisca, Santarosa, Marampata
Today we’re off to an early start hiking up and out of the gorge of the Apurimac River. After a short hike down hill, we will arrive to Rosalina Beach at bottom of the Canyon, where we can enjoy an early bath in the river. Then we will hike all the way up trough a zigzag trail on moderate to difficult conditions over gravel and dirt terrain then stop for a break in the village of Santa Rosa, at 2115 meters. We then continue upward trough the Andean dry forest where we will see several species of bromeliads and cactus called the Tree Cactus “Neoraimondia” , the Prickly Pear “Opuntia” and the Condon Columnar Cactus “Pilosocereus Tweedyanus”, also a tree from the acacia family called Willka “Acacia Macrocantha”. All of these trees have medicinal purposes and are considerd sacred by the native people. We will watch for hummingbird and several species of finches. After hiking upwards for 3 hours, we will have lunch in a nice spot with beautiful views of the mountains and the cloud forest in the little village of Maranpata, at 2910 meters. In the afternoon we will hike for 3 hours more, through the cloud forest to our camp located near the site. On this trail we will see some tree species in the birch family called the Aliso “Alnus Jorullensis” and our national flower called Kantu “Cantua Buxifolia”. In Choquequirao, at 3033 meters we will have time enjoy the sunset and to explore. The total hike today is about 6 hours and we will cover a distance of 15 kilometers, 6-7 hours. (B, L, D)
Day three: Choquequirao
Early in the day we hike into the archaeological site of Choquequirao “Cradle of Gold” to catch the sunrise, if the weather is nice. The tour will take the rest of the day. There is much to see in this remarkable archaeological site. This site is thought to have been built by the last Incas of the Empire and to have been used as social, political and military center during the expansion. It was the last city refuge of the Incas and likely was a check-point at the entrance in to the Vilcabamba region. We will cover different sectors of the site and we will have a picnic lunch. Late afternoon we go back to our camp, close to the ruins.(B, L, D)
Day four: Choquequirao, Marampata, Santa Rosa, Playa Rosalina,Chiquiska
We’re up for sunrise and last views of the Inca remains. After breakfast we will continue hiking through the cloud forest for about 2 hours to Marampata, 2910 meters, and then down over gravel and dirt pathways to Santa Rosa, 2115 meters, where we will have a short break and some snacks. In the afternoon we will continue to Rosalina Beach, 1550 meters, where we will have a nice bath in the Apurímac River, a late lunch and then continue up to camp at the town of Chiquiska, 1950 meters. The rest of the afternoon is free to relax. Today we hike about 19 kilometers in about 7- 8 hours. (B, L, D)
Day five: Rosalina, Chiquiska, Capulichayoc, Cachora
It’s another early morning and after breakfast we go up the trail in moderate to difficult conditions. Today we will be ascending the Apurímac Canyon through the Andean dry forest in to the Andean semidry forest. It will be dry and hot or maybe windy and cool on the summit. The hike is about 6 – 7 hours, covering 15 kilometers total. There will be great views of the Apuirimac Canyon and some opportunities to see Andean flora and fauna. We will stop for lunch in Capulichayoc, 2915mts. Mid-afternoon we will arrive in the town of Cachora where our transportation will pick us up and return us to Cusco, 3155 meters, by late afternoon. (B,L,)