A building in Choquequirao

Choquequirao is an archaeological site as magnificent as Machupicchu. However, the former is less crowded than the latter and the reason is simple: the only way to get there is on foot.

Thus, you may be wondering whether it is possible to do this 4D/3N hike just by yourself. Well, I did it alone a few years ago so here are some ideas to help you out with your decision.

– You can choose either the towns of Cachora or Huanicapa as your starting points. The trail from Cachora is more popular, less steep but longer than the one from Huanicapa.

– A good piece of advice would be to sleep in Cachora and start the trek early morning the next day. The common practice, however, is to go from Cusco to Cachora and start the hike right away around 10am under a killing sun. I even saw hikers starting as late as 2pm.

– Walking sticks are strongly recommended. The slope down to the Apurimac river is very steep.

– My biggest mistake was to run down the steep slope to the river carrying my 12 to 15kg backpack. The result: pain in my left knee. Thus, walk down slowly and use walking sticks.

– It is very exhausting to reach the second base camp (at Santa Rosa) the first day. You may consider overnight at Chiquiska, the first campsite, before crossing the river. It took me 10 hours from Cachora to Santa Rosa Baja and I was literally biting the dust.

– My worst enemy was the sun so one of the best suggestions is to start as early as you can. I usually got up at 5am.

– Even though the killing sun, cover your body (especially arms and legs) because there are mosquitos especially near the river. Otherwise, you will regret it.

– Do not worry about navigation. The trail is clearly marked and there are some posts and lookouts along the way. Moreover, you will even find local children selling snacks and drinks.

– There are always porters with horses just in case you no longer want to walk.

– Every Thursday there is a local fair at Cachora where you can buy some fruits.

– It can take aproximately 5 to 7 hours to sightseeing all Choquequirao which comprises not only the summit  but also both hillsides: one of them with terraces that have figures of llamas; and, the other, a very steep slope with an amazing water fountain. It is so steep that I had to slide it down on my derriere.

I hope this post would help you out in your decision to visit Choquequirao…alone!!! And your comments are welcome in case you also have more suggestions to do this amazing yet challenging trek.

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