We at Apus Peru were pioneers of the Choquequirao Huanipaca route, implementing this alternative as far back as 2010.
The Classic Choquequirao trek is an arduous 4-day trek through the spectacular Apurimac canyon. It is considered the toughest trek in Cusco. (But see why we think it’s the best one!) Hikers walk two days to reach the Choquequirao ruins, and then return another two days along the same route.
Clients often commented that this backtracking could be improved. You asked, we answered! Apus Peru started operating the Choquequirao Huanipaca route in 2010 as a unique alternative that avoids some of that repetition.
What is the Choquequirao Huanipaca Route?
The Choquequirao Huanipaca route is a brilliant exit route from the Choquequirao ruins, and a great alternative to the classic Choquequirao circuit. The detour starts on Day 3. Instead of returning along the same path, trekkers descend straight down from the ruins. At the bottom of the canyon, they cross the San Ignacio Bridge over the Apurimac River.
Night 3 is spent at the Villa de los Loros lodge, a lovely retreat and a nice change of pace after two nights of camping. Day 4 is spent returning to Cusco by private transport.
The Huanipaca route is an incredibly steep descent which can be hard on the knees, so make sure this is the right alternative for you!
Can I Hike the Choquequirao Huanipaca Route Now?
Yes! As of 2018, the Choquequirao Huanipaca route is open, and we are gladly offering this alternate route to our clients.
The Huanipaca route does experience occasional closures, so it is important to discuss this option with us in advance. Huanipaca is a great alternative to the classic Choquequirao route, but it is very remote. Given the steepness of the trail, it is also vulnerable to rockfalls and wash-outs during rainy season. Due to its remoteness, it can take a while to clear debris and re-open the trail, making it non-operational for weeks or months at a time.
Our team is constantly monitoring the conditions. The best way to know if you can hike the Huanipaca alternative to the Choquequirao trek is to get in touch!
Written by Ariana Svenson, Apus Peru Co-Founder. This post was originally published on 3 Sept, 2011, and updated on 2 July, 2019.