Choquequirao, which translates to "Cradle of Gold" in the Quechua language, is an impressive Inca archaeological site located in the Vilcabamba mountain range in southern Peru. The ruins are situated at an altitude of around 3,050 meters (10,010 feet) above sea level and cover an area of approximately 6 square kilometers (2.3 square miles). The site is often compared to Machu Picchu due to its similar architecture, terraces, and overall layout.

Choquequirao Citadel

Choquequirao is believed to have been built during the reign of Inca Pachacuti in the 15th century, and it served as a royal estate and administrative center. It is also speculated that the site was a stronghold for the last Inca rulers who resisted Spanish conquest during the 16th century.

Reaching Choquequirao is challenging, as it requires a multi-day hike through remote and rugged terrain. The trek usually starts from the town of Cachora or Huanipaca and takes about 4-5 days round trip to complete. The trek can be physically demanding, with steep ascents and descents, river crossings, and high-altitude conditions. However, the journey is rewarding as it takes visitors through stunning landscapes, including deep valleys, lush cloud forests, and high mountain passes.

Although Choquequirao is less well-known and less accessible than Machu Picchu, it offers a more authentic and less crowded experience for those seeking to explore the rich history and culture of the Inca civilization. The site remains relatively untouched, with ongoing archaeological work and new discoveries still being made.

For adventurous travelers, visiting Choquequirao offers a unique opportunity to explore a lesser-known Inca site, with the added satisfaction of completing a challenging and unforgettable trek through the breathtaking Andean landscape.