What does Choquequirao mean?
Choquequirao is a Quechua word that means ‘Cradle of Gold’. The name comes from the nomination of a hill near the archaeological site.
Where it is located?
Choquequirao is located in one of the fringes of the snowy Salkantay, north of the Apurímac River. It is currently located in the Santa Teresa district, La Convencion province, Cusco department, Peru.
How high is it?
Choquequirao is located 3,033 meters above sea level (m.s.n.m.). Due to its location, it is presumed that this Inca enclosure served as a checkpoint between the main Inca sites such as Pisac, Cusco and Machu Picchu.
What’s in Choquequirao?
Choquequirao has only been excavated by 30%. Despite this, it already has several very important Inca buildings:
Main square – The main square or Huaqaypata divided the enclosure into two. It is a two-story stone construction. Along with this, there are other buildings connected to each other.
Colcas – Typical constructions of the main Inca centers. In Choquequirao, these platforms have internal subdivisions. The purpose of these warehouses was to store products for food, clothing and others.
Platforms – Choquequirao has a significant number of platforms for cultivation. In the western sector there are 22 engravings in the form of a flame arranged on 15 platforms. These figures are known as the ‘Flames of the Sun’.
Housing – In the highest part of Choquequirao, there are up to 5 buildings whose purpose was probably housing for the priests of the compound. This Inca site is believed to have been an important ceremonial center.
Inca Cemetery – Also known as the ‘Triumphal Wall’. There were found 17 funeral bundles and a water trough called “The House of the Fall of Water”.
Kallankas – These rectangular buildings had multiple functions such as workshop, administrative center, meeting space, etc. In Choquequirao there are 2 Kallankas on whose walls there were gutters that supplied water.
Ushnu – This oval platform construction sits on top of a hill. Due to the wall that surrounds it and the privileged view of the snow-capped mountains, the river and the entire enclosure; it is believed to have had a religious purpose.
How to get to Choquequirao?
The only way to get to Choquequirao is by land. Currently, the main route is going to the town of Cachora (2,903 masl), 3 or 4 hours by road from the city of Cusco (2 hours from the city of Abancay).
There, the walk begins to the Inca archaeological site. The route through various important points such as Capuliyoc, Maranpata and Sunchupata. It is calculated that from Cachora, after 32 kilometers on foot, you reach Choquequirao.
The walking time from Cachora to Choquequirao on average is 10 to 12 hours. A cable car is currently being built that would significantly reduce this time.
How’s the weather?
The Choquequirao archaeological site is located at 3,033 meters above sea level. The climate is temperate with cold at night. However, the tourist will not stay in the Inca complex until after sunset.
However, the path leading to the top of Choquequirao is hot due to the proximity of the Apurímac canyon. The temperature at the archaeological site is calculated to vary between 5º C and 25º C.
What is the flora and fauna like in Choquequirao?
Choquequirao is home to a diversity of animals and birds such as the condor, foxes, vizcachas, cougars, hummingbirds, spectacled bears and the cock of the rocks.In addition, like Machu Picchu, a great variety of orchids are concentrated there.
Choquequirao trekking route
Choquequirao 4-day tour
The most usual way to get to Choquequirao is through the trekking route of 4 days and 3 nights. You can hire this tour online or directly from an agency in the city of Cusco. Choquequirao Trek Information