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The Choquequirao Trek (including the Vilcabamba Trek)

From the mountaintop fortresses of Choquequirao, Vitcos-Rosaspata, Sayhuite, and the Ñusta Hispana (the White Rock), to the striking beauty of the Peruvian Andes, there are many reasons why you should start thinking about the Choquequirao Trek. If you want to go against the grain and travel through the Sacred Valley on one of the best alternative routes, consider the Choquequirao Trek, which can also be combined with the Vilcabamba Route for a challenging, yet memorable experience. The best part, like most of the routes in the Sacred Valley, is that you won't have to contend with many other trekkers along the trail.

  • The Location:

The Inca city of Choquequirao can only be accessed after 2-3 days hiking into the wilderness, however, most tours that operate on the Choquequirao Trek start from Cachora, Huanipaca, or Yanama.

  • Highest Point:

On the Choquequirao Trek, the highest point is located at Yanama Pass, which reaches a height of 4,668 m and is definitely known as one of the tougher alternative routes to the Inca Trail. 

  • Duration: 

The Choquequirao Trek is 65 kilometres in length, and the average time to complete the trek is 9 days. However, it can also be combined with the Vilcabamba Route and extended up to 12 days. 

  • Trail conditions:

One of the best features of the Choquequirao Trek is the rich biodiversity. Travellers can expect to see verdant green jungle terrain, rocky mountain passes, and a variety of flora and fauna. 

The Choquequirao Trek difficulty rating

The highest altitude of the Choquequirao Trek is Yanama Pass, located 4,668m above sea level. This trek requires hiking for 6-8 hours daily for 8 to 10 days with daily ascents between 900m to 1000m, hence, previous hiking experience is highly recommended. You need complete confidence in your ability to trek over difficult terrain as well as strong physical and mental stamina to complete the trek as the days will be both long and tiring.

The Choquequirao Trek tips

  • Make sure you stay hydrated. Water will become your best friend on the trail and will help to reduce the chances of altitude sickness. 
  • Don’t forget to pack a camera so you can capture memories to last a lifetime. 
  • Hiking poles are a great investment to help stabilize yourself during the trek. 
  • Before you embark on this adventure, make sure you spend time researching where you want to do, what you want to see, and which tour that fits your budget. Don’t fall into the trap of booking the cheapest option as sometimes, it might just be too good to be true.
  • Keep your pack as light as possible and only carry the essentials. Yes, toilet paper will be necessary, but you do not need three rolls. 
  • Take each step nice and slow during your hike, as there is no need to race to the finish. 

Machu Picchu weather

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High °C242525252525252526252626
High °F757777777777777779777979
Low °C1313131211991011121313
Low °F555555545248485052535555
Rainfall (mm)1381411516223172224447586121

How to climb Machu Picchu and the Sacred Valley

  • How do I prepare for Machu Picchu?

    The best way to prepare for a trek to Machu Picchu is to participate in plenty of cardiovascular activity. Activities such as swimming, cycling, or long-distance running will place you in a strong position to complete the trek with ease. Remember; a happy heart makes for a happy hiker. Learn more.
  • When should I climb Machu Picchu?

    Machu Picchu can be climbed year-round, but travellers should be aware that the Inca Trail is closed in February every year for necessary maintenance. The most popular time to hike the Inca Trail, for example, is June-August and is known to be quite crowded. Learn more.
  • What permits do I need?

    Only 500 permits are allocated per day for the Inca Trail due to the overwhelming popularity of the route and must be booked in advance. Other trails and routes in the area do not need a permit. Learn more.
  • Do I need a guide to climb?

    From 2001, it is a compulsory requirement that travellers on the Inca Trail, in particular, must travel with a registered guide. Many of the alternative trails, however, do not require a guide, and you are able to hike as you wish unassisted. Learn more.
  • How do I get to Machu Picchu?

    The best way for travellers to reach Machu Picchu is to fly into Cusco, Peru. Spending a few days in Cusco prior to embarking on a trek to Machu Picchu will help travellers acclimate, and reduce the impacts of altitude sickness. Learn more.
  • What should I pack and what equipment do I need?

    Walking poles, hiking boots, waterproof clothing and plenty of layers are just a few of the essentials that you will need for your hiking adventure. As for tents and cooking equipment, be sure to check with your tour operator as this may be provided for you. Learn more.

Machu Picchu routes


  1. Inca Trail. Distance: 45 km, average duration: 4-5 days
  2. The Lares Trek. Distance: 33-45 km, average duration: 4 days
  3. The Salkantay Trek. Distance: 55 km, average duration: 5 days
  4. The Choquequirao Trek. Distance: 65 km, average duration: 8-10 days
  5. The Vilcabamba Trek. Distance: 62 km, average duration: 5 days
  6. The Huchuy Qosqo Trek. Distance: 20 km, average duration: 3 days
  7. The Quarry Trail. Distance: 26 km, average duration: 4 days

Machu Picchu tours & reviews