The Incan ruins of ChoquequiraoAndes, Peru
There’s no denying Machu Picchu is a stunning sight, but with thousands of visitors passing through its temples and rocky ruins every day, it’s not as if you’re going to feel like Hiram Bingham. If you’re not afraid to get a little hot and sweaty, take a trip instead to Choquequirao, high above the Apurímac River outside of Cusco. After a two-day trek, you’ll find yourself, with perhaps a handful of other hardy souls, wandering these magical Incan ruins.
One of the most amazing features is a series of terraces embellished with figures of llamas created from white stone. The only way out is the way you came, so it’s down the valley and back up again along steep switchbacks bathed in sunlight. Be sure to keep an eye out for huge shadows of the Andean condors that soar overhead. Some say this is the toughest trek in Peru, so consider engaging the help of a touring company in Cusco.
Group tours start at US$472 per person (minimum of two people). Private tours are also available.
Start training now – this is no easy hike!
This isn’t a hike to be taken lightly – seriously consider your ability before venturing out. That said, the rewards more than make up for the hard yards.