Our Trek to Choquequirao
We travel and we travel a lot. We usually get hotels, hop around on transportation like busses, trains, taxis, and planes. We've never been on a hiking trip, this was our first, and it was amazing. We booked a tour with BioAndean Expeditions.
We booked a 6 day, 5 night trek, it was 4 nights on the trek to Choquequirao and one night in Aguas Calientes. The trip started with us getting picked up in Cusco, around 4am, and driven to a small town named Cachora. This ride was the worst ride I have ever taken in a car. The wife and I threw up for most of the 5 hour drive.
We stopped for food at a someones house on the side of the road, a Peruvian truckstop it looked like. They'd kill the chickens and cook them up for you, and I would have most likely taken them up on this, but was feeling terrible.
We arrived at Cachora an hour or two or 85 later, who knows, it took a long time and got worse by the minute. Either way, we arrived, our guide and other hikers, Donna and Lydia, were shocked when my wife was able to get up and start. We might have eaten a little, we might not, I do not remember. We were let off at someones land, and just hiked across it and headed for the trail.
After a few hours, in which we got a taste of what we were in for with Donna and Lydia (they were much, much faster than us) we got to this little house that was the last house on the actual road. After this it was mountain hiking on small trails. We had lunch and started out.
This was the start. The far mountain, that is where we were going. This view was the start of the almost vertical switch-backs. Followed by skirting the mountain for quite a few miles, then a head back downhill to the Apurimac River.
At the top, during lunch, a police officer arrived and set off on foot, there was something going on. At the bottom, where the path crosses the river, there is, or was, a bridge. The bridge has been wiped out by the river, and a zip line has been setup. The zip line was fun. They are building a new suspension bridge, and the day we were hiking three workers fell in the river and died. We came across a group of men carrying a body up the hill, and later came across a body wrapped up near a hut. The third body they did not find.
The bridge was brought down piece by piece by these men, no vehicles. It was sad to see the loss of life.
At the bottom are structures, that include non-running toilets and the coldest darkest showers there are; it was nice, however, to have some kind of amenities. We had our second meal of the day, which would be dinner, it was a full meal, 3 courses, all cooked by our chef, who was amazing! Early to bed, in our tents, early to rise.
Today was basically a vertical climb of switchback after switchback. It took quite a few hours, and Donna and Lydia were miles head of us. We ran across a small stop in the middle that was a hut with a few chairs. We stopped and got a drink, and then the climb got harder. Many much harder.
Throughout the morning hike, we ran into a few other hikers on their way down, and many locals with donkey's going up and down. Around noon or so, after a 7am start, we ended up getting to Marampata, which is the top of the hike. Our guide's mother lived here. We had lunch, we woke Donna and Lydia up, they had gotten there a few hours before us. Full courses for lunch.
Our hike continued, onto Choquequirao. This was much easier, as the hike was mostly flat, but it did take a few hours because of the ground we had to cover. After an hour or so, out of Marampata, we caught our first glimpses of the terraces. It was amazing.
We still had quite the walk, as we had to skirt the side of the mountain to get where we were going. This walk was the most treacherous, ups and down, and sheer cliffs on the side. We arrived at the entrance, and we had to give him our passes, which included waiting for our guide to catch up. Then on our way!
We got to our camp, our tents were already setup and food was getting close to being ready. We talked, hung out, I played with a dog, and then to bed. Tomorrow was our day to go downhill to a waterfall and the terraces, and then upwards to the top. It was amazing.
I do not remember the names of things, so I'll just put in a few pictures of the area. We had the first night, this whole day, that night, then we left in the morning.
The next day, in hopes of getting back to Ollyantatambo, we decided to hike as far back towards Cachora as we possibly could, which put us almost all the way back to the end of the road. We had lunch at the river crossing, I took a sweet bath in the river, which was great. I helped get people across with the zipline, and we were on our way. This day was mostly just move move move, and we did not stop to take many photos, as it was just a reverse of the trip two days before. The real gem here was our view for sleeping this night. It was at the peak of the valley, and we got to watch the sunset, and the sunrise all the way down. It was gorgeous.
Early morning and a quick hike back to Cachora, which put is there just in time to wait and wait. Our ride was late, we loaded up, and then got stuck in roadwork for about 2 hours, missing our ability to see Ollyantaytambo. It was ok though, the hike was one of the best experiences of my life. I would do it again in a minute. The scenery was beautiful, the hike was long, and the company was amazing.