Huanipaca Choquequirao Hike 4D

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Duration: 4 Days / 3 Nights
Availability : Every Day.
Depart: Capuliyoc
Destination: Choquequirao
Min Age : 10
Max People : 12

About the Huanipaca Choquequirao Hike

Get even more off the beaten path on the Huanipaca Choquequirao 4 day hike! Visit Machu Picchu’s “sister city” and then take an adventurous detour via Huanipaca instead of following the same route back to the Choquequirao trailhead.

See Full Description

Classic Choquequirao trekking is a circuit: you walk the same trail to the ruins and then back again. If you want to do something a bit different, then the Huanipaca detour might be the best Choquequirao hike for you.

Days 1 & 2 follow the classic Choquequirao trail, but then take a detour down a different path to the Apurimac River via Huanipaca on Day 3. On Day 4, continue climbing until you reach Villa de los Loros, where our private transport is waiting to take you back to Cusco.

This alternative Choquequirao route offers something different and a break from the monotony of going there and back on the same path. This is still a very challenging hike, though the last two days on the Huanipaca Choquequirao alternative are slightly shorter than the classic route.

Fun extras you can do on the 4-day Huanipaca Choquequirao Hike

Important Note: The Huanipaca alternative route includes a steep downhill section that is prone to rock slides and washouts, especially during the rainy season. For this reason, the route can be closed for periods of time. Send us an enquiry to find out if the Huanipaca route is currently open. We also reserve the right to follow the Classic Choquequirao circuit at any point, if necessary for safety reasons.

Huanipaca Choquequirao Highlights

  • Hike one of the area’s toughest treks to reach the Cradle of Gold, Choquequirao.
  • Take a unique detour via Huanipaca instead of returning along the same trail after visiting the ruins.
  • Enjoy the breathtaking scenery of the Apurimac Canyon, and the chance to spot Andean condors and more!
Prices are per person in USD, based on group size. We do not have fixed-date group departures. If you do not want to book a private trek, please see our Trekkers Wanted page for a list of open departures within your dates.

2 people


4-6 people


7-8 people


9-12 people


High quality personalized experience

Unique, off-the-beaten track routes

Experienced staff

Verified sustainability practices

$20 of every trek donated to Threads of Peru

Important Details About the Huanipaca Choquequirao Route

What is Included?


  • Tent: 2 people in a 4-person tent, allowing for greater comfort and backpack storage!
  • Basic foam mattress. If you would like greater comfort during the trek we can rent you an inflatable mattress. See Optional Extras & Upgrades below.
  • Toilet tent


  • Dining tent with camp tables and chairs, and kitchen tent for the cook to prepare meals
  • Cook and cooking equipment, plus assistants for larger groups.
  • Meals as indicated in the itinerary. Our professional cooks prepare a combination of traditional Peruvian and Western cuisine. Talk to your guide if you have certain preferences! Vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free options available. When served, salads are washed in boiled water.
  • Boiled water to drink on the hike (which you can carry in your own reusable water bottle)
  • Filtered water provided during the drive on the first day
  • Lunch on the last day is included in this itinerary


  • Collection from your hotel on the morning of your Choquequirao trek departure
  • Private transport from Cusco to the trailhead and return at the end of the trek

Trekking Team

  • English/Quechua/Spanish speaking professional guide, plus an assistant guide for groups over 8
  • Horses and horsemen, who carry camping equipment, food and kitchen utensils. We provide duffel bags at your briefing for your personal items (up to 8kg/17lbs per person).
  • Tents, sleeping bags and mattresses for our staff to sleep in, plus a budget for their meals


  • First aid kit including emergency oxygen bottle
  • 1 emergency horse which can be ridden if you are feeling ill or if you are a little slower

Additional inclusions

  • Pre-trek briefing
  • Entry fees

What is Not Included?


  • Breakfast on the first morning
  • Dinner on the last night


  • Sleeping bags. Available for rent if you don’t have one with you.
  • Additional horses for your personal luggage or to ride


  • Tips for the guide, cook and muleteers
  • Flights to/from Cusco
  • Travel Insurance

Optional Extras & Upgrades

We offer you the opportunity to personalize your trek and make your experience more comfortable through our Optional Extras and Upgrades. All options are available during the reservation process; please ask your sales consultant for more information.

Equipment Available for Rent

  • Extra horse to carry luggage exceeding the allowed 8kg (17lbs) per person
  • Extra horse for you to ride, and horseman to lead it
  • Sleeping Bag suitable for -5˚C
  • Deluxe sleeping bag suitable for -15˚C
  • Light-weight aluminum walking stick. Two sticks are recommended for tough hikes.
  • Thermarest inflatable mattress
  • Thermarest inflatable pillow

Service Upgrades

Optional Activities


  • When calculating the cost of renting equipment, calculate using the length of the entire trip, not just the number of trekking days.
  • Please be careful with rented equipment! You are responsible for the cost of replacement if something is damaged or broken.
  • Any upgrades or trip extensions must be requested at time of booking.

What to Pack

It gets hot in the Apurimac Canyon!

Although there will be plenty of cold nights along the trail, you should also be prepared to de-layer when we climb down towards Apurimac river.

We recommend that you bring the following items with you:

  • A fleece or down jacket is an essential item at this elevation;
  • Hiking trousers with zip off shorts are a good idea, as day time temperatures can be quite warm, yet temperatures plummet as soon as the sun goes down. You can supplement these with leggings or thermals to wear underneath;
  • A rain poncho or waterproof jacket is also important. It can rain or even snow at certain times of the year!;
  • Water-resistant trekking boots are advisable. The trail on this hike can sometimes be muddy and wet, so we also recommend to bring extra socks!;
  • A warm sleeping bag, rated to -15°C (5°F). If you prefer, you can rent one from us;
  • A headlamp or torch;
  • A high factor (SPF) sunscreen, a sun cap and sunglasses. The sun can be really strong, especially in dry season. Sun protection is essential!;
  • A small daypack to carry your necessary items for each day’s hiking.

For our full packing list for treks in the Andes, see What to Bring.

Our blog How to Prepare for a Trek in Peru will also give you some great tips for how to get ready for your trek, before you even leave home.

Available Discounts

  • Students: USD $30 off, in certain circumstances. Please enquire for details about eligibility.
  • Youth 12-17: 5% off. A valid passport must be presented upon booking.
  • Children 5-11 years: 15% off. A valid passport must be presented upon booking.
  • Children 0-4 years: Free. A valid passport must be presented upon booking. Children under 4 will not count towards the total number of guests in a group. Car seats, cribs and other baby needs may not be included and must be discussed in advance. For more information about travelling with infants and toddlers, please see this blog as well as the Age Requirements section of our Booking Conditions.
  • 5% off a day tour listed price when you also book a 3-day or longer trek operated by Apus Peru

Guides & Safety on the Trail

Our entire trekking team is very knowledgeable of the area and know the Choquequirao region like the back of their hand! They are some of the warmest, endearing and wonderful people you are ever likely to meet.

Our guides are all licensed and receive regular training. They share their experience, professionalism, knowledge and enthusiasm with our passengers on every trek.

Get to know our team!

Trekkers Wanted

Want to join a trek? Ready to confirm a departure date of your own, but interested in having others join you? Then Trekkers Wanted is for you! Our innovative Trekkers Wanted system matches people up who are interested in hiking the same trek, bringing costs down and multiplying the fun for everyone!

Read More about Trekkers Wanted, post your trek or search for confirmed departures!

Important Info

  • Each guide has their own preferred route and so the route you trek might not correspond exactly to the route described here.
  • The times cited in this 4D Choquequirao Trek itinerary are approximate. Walking times depend on the group, and the guide may change lunch spots and campsites, depending on the progress of the group.
  • Choquequirao Trek is probably the toughest hike in the region. This trek should not be attempted by those who do not have some experience in trekking, plus a solid level of fitness!

Ready to Book?

  • Does this trek sound like just what you were looking for? If you’re ready to book or just want to find out a bit more information, fill out the Inquiry Form in the top right-hand corner of this page to get the ball rolling. You’ll be connected with one of our amazing sales people who will be able to turn your dream of hiking in the Andes into a reality. For more information on the entire booking process, please see our How To Book page.
  • Travel insurance is a must! World Nomads offers travel insurance for adventure activities.

4 Day Huanipaca Choquequirao Hike Itinerary

Day 1Cusco - Capuliyoc - Chiquisca - Santa Rosa

      • Total Walking Distance: 12.2 km
      • Total Walking Time: 6-7h
      • Minimum Altitude: 1520m (4,986ft) / Maximum Altitude: 2970m (9,744ft)
      • Altitude of camp: 2095m (6,973ft)
      • Approx. night temperature: 8°C (46.4°F)

Our 4-day Huanipaca Choquequirao trek begins just like the classic route. We start early from your hotel and head towards Capuliyoc. After about an hour and a half of driving, we will arrive at Tarawasi (2675m / 8776 ft) for a short but interesting visit.

Tarawasi is a ceremonial centre that dates to Incan times. One of the most striking features of this archaeological site is the presence of an usnu, a ceremonial structure where ritual offerings would be prepared.

Tarawasi comes from the words tara and wasi, in Quechua. Tara is a type of local tree, and wasi means “house,” so Tarawasi means “the house of the Tara tree”. Tara produces large bean pods that turn orange when ripe. The seeds inside are used as a natural dye, and also have medicinal purposes.

Leaving Tarawasi, we continue another 3 hours until we arrive at Capuliyoc (2970m / 9744ft). Here we’ll have our first breathtaking views of the Apurimac Valley below, as well as the impressive Padreyoc and Huayna Cachora peaks.

We meet our arrieros (muleteers) here and after a short 15 minute walk, we’ll stop to have our lunch at the Capuliyoc lookout point. Refueled and refreshed, we’re ready to start the steep 4 hour descent into the Apurimac Canyon until we reach Chiquisca (1950m / 6397ft), with incredible drop-offs at our sides. After another hour of hiking, we reach the roaring Apurimac River (1520m / 4986ft) where we’ll begin the climb to the Santa Rosa campsite (2095m / 6873ft). This is a tough, 2-hour climb but you’ll be thankful for it the next day! This campsite is further along the trail than the most popular camp, making for a more restful evening where you can soak up the stars.

This day is flexible and so the route you trek might not correspond exactly to the route described here. Walking times depend on the time of departure and on the nature of the group. The guide may change lunch spots and campsites, depending on the progress of the group.

Please take note that there might be biting insects on the trail, thus repellent will be needed! It can get very hot on the trail (not just in the canyon!), going up to 30-35ºC (86ºF – 95ºF). It can get as hot as 40ºC (104ºF) in the canyon.

Day 2Santa Rosa - Choquequirao Ruins

      • Total Walking Distance: 9.3 km
      • Total Walking Time: 5-6h
      • Minimum Altitude: 2095m (6,873ft) / Maximum Altitude: 3050m (10,007ft)
      • Altitude of camp: 2900m (9,514ft)
      • Approx. night temperature: 5°C (41°F)

We start early again today on the Huanipaca Choquequirao route, and what a day we have ahead! We head out at 6am and continuing climbing steeply upwards for 3 hours to Marampata. We’ll have a well-deserved break at Marampata (2940m / 9646 ft), then once we get going again, we will have our first glimpses of the spectacular Choquequirao ruins. From this point, it’s another 2 hours of hiking up gentle, undulating terrain until we reach the ruins, a welcome respite compared to what we’ve just accomplished!

We will have lunch at the Choquequirao trek campsite (2900m / 9514 ft) nearest to the ruins. Then, we head to the Choquequirao ruins (3050m / 10,007 ft) where we will spend the afternoon. Only about 30% of these Inca ruins have yet been excavated; the rest remains shrouded in mystery. We will be able to watch the sunset from the ruins and keep our fingers crossed for the chance to see condors. We camp tonight at Choquequirao campsite.

Day 3Choquequirao ruins - San Ignacio

      • Total Walking Distance: 9km
      • Total Walking Time: 4.5-5h
      • Minimum Altitude: 1487m (4,822ft) / Maximum Altitude: 3000m (9,843ft)
      • Altitude of camp: 1850m (6,069 ft)
      • Approx. night temperature: -3°C (32°F)

We will enjoy a bit of a relaxed morning today, with a later start and more time to spend wandering the Choquequirao ruins. Keep a watchful eye out as you wander because you might just spot a condor soaring on the morning air currents!

The afternoon is where our Huanipaca Choquequirao trek deviates from the classic route. We will take a different path back, walking down towards the Apurimac river below the ruins. As we walk along the Huanipaca detour, we’ll have a unique opportunity to spot the Andean cock-of-the-rock (rupicola peruviana), Peru’s national bird, which also goes by the local name tunqui.

We will continue to head downhill for about 3h, covering a distance of 6km, until we reach the river. At the river, we will walk across a suspension bridge at a place known as San Ignacio beach (1470m / 4822 ft).

Once on the other side of the river, we begin to climb again. We will walk uphill for about an hour and a half until we reach San Ignacio campsite where we will spend the night (1850m/6069 ft).

Day 4San Ignacio - Villa de los Loros - Cusco

      • Total Walking Distance: 8km
      • Total Walking Time: 4-5h
      • Minimum Altitude: 1850m (6,069 ft) / Maximum Altitude: 2550m (8,366 ft)

On the last day of our Huanipaca Choquequirao route, we start our ascent quite early in the morning in order to avoid the worst of the canyon heat. The first hour of our hike on this Huanipaca detour will be intense! After that, the path will become less steep and more pleasant as we continue our hike through the Tambobamba valley, surrounded by abundant flora and fauna.

Finally we arrive at Villa de los Loros (2550m / 8366 ft), also known as Tambobamba, where the trail ends and the road begins. There is a lovely inn here where we will rest and have lunch. Then it’s time to head back! Our private vehicle will be waiting to take us back to Cusco, about a 4.5h journey.

1 Review
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Padraig N

Group Traveller

Brilliant experience, however logistics needed improvement.

Herbert was very friendly, knowledgeable and catered really well for all the group. Excellent guide.

Great hike ending at the site. Best we have done in Peru! Exploring the site with only 6 people was a great experience.

A late departure and other delays en route meant that we arrived late at some campsites and lunch spots. Overall the plan/schedule could have been explained much clearer and the logistics implemented better.

20 September, 2019