Choquequirao Last Hidden City of the Incas
Posted on : 13 August 2021
Choquequirao is another “lost city of the Incas” officially rediscovered at the end of the 20th century. It is settled at 3,050 meters above sea level, on top of a mountain at almost 1,750 meters above the magnificent Apurímac River, fed by glaciers and surrounded by the Salkantay and Humantay snow-capped peaks. The impressive fortress is located in the Vilcabamba area, where the Incas resisted for 36 years the Spanish conquerors, who never managed to expel them from it.
Choquequirao was possibly one of the entrance points to the Vilcabamba region and therefore an administrative center with political, social, and economic functions. Its urban conception followed the symbolic patterns of the imperial capital with places of worship dedicated to the Sun, the ancestors, the earth, water, and other divinities. The complex is made up of nine architectural stone groups and a system of 180 platforms, apart from the areas of residential, administrative, artisan houses, irrigation system, among other buildings built based on stone.
It is located on the border of Apurímac and Cusco, the archaeological complex was not built to be a place of easy access, and now reaching it requires two days of disciplined march, greatly compensated by the beauty of the landscape that accompanies the walker from his first steps. The journey begins in Cachora (2,800 m.a.s.l.), a small town of Apurímac that is reached, departing from Cusco, after four hours of good road. It is there where the mule porters are contacted, who also act as guides. A local family offers lodging and the only telephone in the town. From there you will start a 30-kilometer walk that takes 4 or 5 days, with a total of 60 kilometers, crossing areas of abundant and varied vegetation and fauna from the high Andean zone to the jungle, crossing the Apurimac River canyon.
Currently, the Choquequirao trek has become one of the best alternatives to the famous Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, with which it competes in scenic beauty and adventure. The traditional route is Cachora, Coca Masana, Playa Rosalina, Choquequirao, Raqaypata, Chikisca, Cachora. Some treks link Machu Picchu with Choquequirao making this a full experience through the Inca astonishing engineering.