Choquequirao, The Cradle of Gold.

Have you ever dreamed of finding lost ancient civilizations? Or maybe you've fantasized about discovering lost cities? If so, then the Choquequirao Citadel is the place for you! This site, located in the Peruvian Andes, is Nicknamed the twin sister of Machu Picchu. It is also believed to be the last Inca stronghold, and as such, it is full of history and mystery. This page will explore the Choquequirao Citadel and what makes it so special. From its rich history to the legends surrounding it, this is one place you won’t want to miss.

It is Peru's main priority to build a cable car to attract more visitors every year since it is a perfect alternative site to Machu Picchu. Visit this magic place soon, before it gets crowded.



Choquequirao, also spelled Chokekiraw, is an Inca site in southern Peru. The site is located in the Cusco Region, La Convencion Province, Lucma District. It is situated at an altitude of 3,000 meters (9,800 ft) on a hill spur on the west bank of the Apurimac River. Choquequirao has been described as "the most enigmatic site in the Inca Empire" because of its remote location and inaccessible nature.

Meaning of Choquequirao

The name Choquequirao means "Cradle of Gold" in Quechua, the language of the Incas. The site was built by the Incas in the 15th century and served as a remote mountain retreat for the Inca elite. Like Machu Picchu, Choquequirao was abandoned after the Spanish conquest of Peru.

History of Choquequirao

Choquequirao is an ancient Inca settlement occupied during the 15th and 16th centuries. During the high Inca Empire was an important citadel that dominated the Apurimac Canyon region. Pachacuteq, the 9th Inca King, was the builder of Choquequirao, and his son Tupac Inca Yupanqui remodeled and expanded until it became the largest empire in South America known as Tawantinsuyo.

During the Hispanic Invasion, it is believed that Choquequirao was used as the last bastion of the Inca resistance and refuge for the Sons of the Sun ("Incas").

The Peruvian Tourism Authority stated: "Choquequirao may be one of the entrance checkpoints of Vilcabamba and an administrative center serving political, social, and economic functions. Its urban design follows the symbolism of the imperial capital Model and has a ceremonial place dedicated to Inti (Inca sun god)"

Hiram Bingham visited the Choquequirao in 1909, two years before discovering Machu Picchu; unfortunately, they performed excavation but found very little and became disinterested in the site. He was searching for the Last Capital of the Incas, and as soon as he arrived, he knew that Choquequirao was not the city he was looking for.

The excavation began in the 1970s. Only then was it known the actual size of Choquequirao; nowadays, only 40% of Choquequirao is restored, and the vegetation still buries the central part. This great site is almost twice the size of Machu Picchu.

In 2017 this imposing complex of stone was declared Best in Travel by the Lonely Planet travel guide.

In October 2022, National Geographic chose Choquequirao as one of the five best adventure destinations.

How to Get to Choquequirao

There is only one way to get to Choquequirao, hiking. First, you will need to take a bus or drive for 4 hours from Cusco to Capuliyoc, then take a hike for 2 days until reaching Choquequirao. When you arrive at Choquequirao, you will be rewarded with stunning views of the ruins, set against the backdrop of the Andes mountains. The return is through the same route.

What to see in Choquequirao

Choquequirao is a beautiful Incan site that is often compared to Machu Picchu. The site is located in the Peruvian Andes and can be reached by an arduous 4 or 5-day hike. Once you reach Choquequirao, you'll be rewarded with stunning views of the valley below and the ruins of an ancient city. There are several key things to see at Choquequirao, including the main plaza, streets, and llama terraces.

The size and scale of Choquequirao are impressive. The main complex comprises more than 150 buildings, including temples, palaces, storage buildings, and residential quarters. There are also several outlying structures, such as baths and aqueducts. The site was intended to be a major center of Inca power and influence. Choquequirao was built when the Inca Empire was at its height. Construction began around 1530 and continued until the early 1570s. By this time, the empire stretched from Ecuador to Chile, and Choquequirao served as a sort of "last stop" for travelers heading to or from Cusco. It was also a key link in the Inca system of trade and communication, which relied on a network of roads and trails connecting various parts of the empire.

How difficult is the hike?

The Choquequirao hike is considered one of Peru's most difficult hikes. It is a 4 or 5 days hike that takes you through some of Peru's most remote and rugged terrains. The average person will burn around 4,000 calories per day on this hike. You will need to be in good physical shape and have a lot of stamina to complete this hike. But it is doable for most people with a sense of adventure.

How long is the hike?

The hike to Choquequirao is a long and difficult hike, but it is worth it. The scenery is incredible, and the sense of accomplishment you feel when you reach the ruins is unparalleled. The hike takes approximately 4-5 days, depending on your fitness level and how often you take breaks. You should take your time and enjoy the views, as there are plenty of opportunities to rest along the way.

Can I hike the trail without a guide?

Many hikers choose to hike the Choquequirao trail without a guide, as it is possible to do so. However, remember some things to remember if you hike the Choquequirao trail without a guide.

  • First, the Choquequirao trail is a challenging hike. It is important to be prepared for the challenges of the hike before embarking on it.
  • Second, while it is possible to hike the Choquequirao trail without a guide, doing so may make it more difficult. There are many guides available who can help you navigate the Choquequirao trail and provide information about the area.
  • Third, if you choose to hike the Choquequirao trail without a guide, bring plenty of food and water. The Choquequirao trail is located in a remote area, with no stores or restaurants along the way.
  • Fourth, let someone know your plans before you begin your hike. This will help ensure that someone knows where you are in an emergency.
  • Fifth, take your time on the Choquequirao trail. There is no need to hurry through the hike. Enjoy your time on the trail and take in the scenery around you.

Why was Choquequirao abandoned?

Between 1530 and 1533, the Spanish conquistadors began their conquest of the Inca Empire. After defeating the Inca army in a series of battles, they captured the Inca emperor, Atahualpa. The Spanish demanded a ransom from Atahualpa for his release, which was paid. However, the Spanish then executed Atahualpa anyway. The conquest of the Inca empire began in 1532 and until 1572, when the Spanish captured and executed the last Inca emperor, Tupac Amaru. After the Inca Empire's fall, many surviving Incas fled to remote areas of the Andes mountains. One of these areas was Choquequirao. It is thought that Choquequirao was chosen as a refuge because it was very difficult to reach, being high in the mountains and surrounded by deep valleys. It is believed that the Incas occupied Choquequirao until around 1650. After that date, there is no record of anyone living there. It is possible that the inhabitants left Choquequirao because of disease or hunger, as there would have been no way to resupply such a remote settlement. It is also possible they were forced out by Spanish settlers moving into the area.

Book the Best Tours.

To visit Choquequirao, you must travel from Cusco City by car for about 4 hours until the trailhead in Capuliyoc. The easiest way to visit Choquequirao is to start in Capuliyoc and return to Capuliyoq the same way. However, a longer trail connects with Machu Picchu and even the Last Inca Capital of Vilcabamba.

You can customize your itinerary with us, contact us about your preferences, and we will design a perfect trip for you. See below the most fantastic hike to this great destination.