Embarking on the hike to Choquequirao, a mesmerizing odyssey through the heart of Peru, was a captivating deviation from the laboratories and research papers that define my usual scientific pursuits. As a scientist who thrives on unraveling the mysteries of the world, this expedition provided a unique intersection of historical exploration, physical endurance, and the sheer marvels of nature.
With each step, the trail revealed a captivating narrative etched in the Andean landscape, challenging not only our physical resilience but also igniting a deeper connection with the ancient wonders of Choquequirao. In the following account, I recount the four remarkable days that unfolded, an experience that I enthusiastically recommend to my esteemed colleagues.
Day 1: Cuzco-Chicquisqa, Peru
The inaugural day saw us departing from the ancient city of Cuzco under the shroud of darkness, the anticipation heightened by the promise of archaeological wonders awaiting us. The private car journey wove through the Andean terrain, with a brief stop at the intriguing archaeological site of Saywite. Our descent to the mountain village of Cachora, at 2909 meters, was a last-minute opportunity to gather supplies, a precursor to the challenges that lay ahead. The subsequent two-hour hike to Capuliyoc (2915m) unfolded to unveil the majestic Apurimac valley and the snow-capped peaks of Padrayoc and Wayna Cachora, setting the tone for the adventure that awaited us.
Day 2: Chicquisqa-Choquequirao
The second day’s journey commenced with an early departure, as we descended to Playa Rosalinas along the banks of the formidable Apurimac River. The ensuing steep climb to Santa Rosa at 2095 meters provided a refreshing pause for rest and replenishment. Continuing our ascent towards Marampata (2913m), a plateau with panoramic views of Choquequirao, we indulged in lunch amidst the breathtaking surroundings.
The afternoon unfolded with a two-hour hike culminating in the awe-inspiring archaeological site of Choquequirao at 3110 meters. As the sun dipped below the horizon, condors gracefully soared overhead, creating a magical ambiance for our exploration.
Day 3: Choquequirao-Santa Rosa
The third day afforded us the luxury of exploring the intricacies of the Choquequirao site in greater detail. The morning was dedicated to unhurried exploration, delving into the historical nuances that surrounded us. The afternoon brought us along the edge of the Apurimac canyon, a descent leading to our tropical campsite at Santa Rosa. Five hours of hiking, interspersed with moments of awe and reflection, marked the completion of yet another captivating day on the trail.
Day 4: Santa Rosa-Cuzco, Peru
The final day unfolded with the early morning descent to the roaring Apurimac Canyon, a strategic move to escape the impending heat. A four-hour climb ensued, revealing spectacular vistas that served as a fitting reward for the challenges overcome. The trail then led us into the village of Cachora along a surprisingly flat and picturesque route through captivating farming countryside.
Our private car awaited, signaling the end of the trek as we embarked on a four-hour drive back to Cuzco. The journey concluded under the starlit sky, with the clock ticking to 7 or 8 pm, leaving us with memories etched in the very fabric of our adventurous spirits.
The Choquequirao Trek is a symphony of history, nature, and personal endurance, an odyssey that transcends the ordinary into the extraordinary. For my colleagues seeking a harmonious blend of historical immersion, physical challenge, and natural splendor, I wholeheartedly endorse this trek.
The Choquequirao experience is a testament to the indomitable spirit of exploration, offering not just a journey but a profound connection with the rich tapestry of Peru’s ancient wonders. As scientists, embracing the extraordinary is an essential facet of our pursuit of knowledge, and the Choquequirao Trek serves as an extraordinary chapter in that ongoing exploration.
Check out Bamba Travel’s free itinerary to Choquequirao below:
Guest post written by Jun Sayco
Meet Jun Sayco, a passionate scientist with an insatiable curiosity for both the mysteries of the natural world and the diverse cultures that inhabit it.