Cachora is the most popular starting point for travelers who want to see the amazing newly-rediscovered Incan site, Choquequirao. Guides and mules for the trip may be found in Abancay for the trek. Start out early from Cachora to make it to camp before nightfall and take in all the views as the sun goes down over the Andian Valley. The first day is around a six hour hike and 1,500 meters elevation change down the mountains. There are multiple campsites, all well marked, with running water and bathrooms. On the second day, finish the hike down the valley and look at the new investments made by the Peruvian government, attempting to attract more tourists. There is a high-bridge for crossing the river, then get ready for an intense hike up the other side. About 1,800 meters up, Choquequirao awaits. Constant switchbacks and mule droppings torment you as you struggle up the hill, trying to finish before the sun rises above the valley around 11 O'clock.
A local entrepreneur has wisely opened a shop with gatorade and snacks about 10 minutes before you find another shop. Apologize to the nice lady for having already bought your snacks at the first store. Just past a gate is the top and you are rewarded with the first views of the Incan site and a nice bench to eat lunch at. Hike another hour or so and stake out your campsite. Explore the lower site that day and then see the rest of the sites on the following day. Unless you are in great shape, the relaxing day of exploring the site is necessary and must be done to truly enjoy the Site.
There is an 11 sol fee (may 2006) that someone will collect from you. There is generally no tourism and the park worker becomes your personal tour guide. Much of the site is rebuilt poorly. Concrete and markings on the stones are eyesores. Whenever you decide to leave, turn back for cachora or continue down the trail into another city below, another two days is required.
Total time with a 50lb pack, no guide, no mules: 5 days. Excellent scenery and a great alternative to the Incan trail at Machu picchu. You may see only three other tourists in the five days on the trail and at the site.
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