Choquequirao Trek vs Salkantay: the marvelous routes of Peru

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If you have doubts about the two trails, this post will interest you. We tell you all about them. So we present to you: Choquequirao trek vs Salkantay.

Travelers who visit Peru love to discover Machu Picchu. Besides, there are different routes to get there, the most famous one is Salkantay but what about Choquequirao trek? Which one is better?

The Peruvian territory is a safe destination before Covid-19 so as of today, June 2021, both treks are available 🙂

Inca City or “the hidden Machu Picchu”?

In this Choquequirao trek vs Salkantay we tell you that all excursions to Machu Picchu have the same starting point, Cusco. So you know that both of these routes start at the same place, you won’t have to get your head warmed up 🙂

banner tour to machu picchu

Yes, the main difference is in the end destination of each trek. Salkantay reaches the the Incas City (Machu Picchu), while Choquequirao reaches the ” Hidden Machu Picchu.”

And what is “the hidden Machu Picchu”? Well, it’s the spectacular ruins of the Inca city of Choquequirao that you can discover on the Choquequirao 4-day trek.

Once you know where you want to end your adventure you can choose between both trekking excursions.

Salkantay Trek

Salkantay Trek through the mountains of Peru

If you want to get to Machu Picchu you can always do the Inca Trail in 4 days or the more modern route: Salkantay Trek.

If you decide to do the latter route, you will travel 58 km surrounded by really incredible landscapes and you will visit the Humantay Lagoon, an amazing glacial lake very close to the Nevado Salkantay. A very different tour to the one you will do in the Choquequirao trek.

As for availability, this route is one of the most famous so there are more people and tour options for the Salkantay route. Of course, there is no problem with space since the trails are wide and you will be able to enjoy your adventure to the fullest 🙂

Traveler in the Humantay Lagoon

The accommodation on this excursion is nice, you will sleep in several campsites. If you already read our post about the highest cities in Latin America you will know that most of the Peruvian territory is at high altitude, so the first night will be spent at almost 4000 meters above sea level.

To fight the cold you only need hot food, a pinch of Peruvian gastronomy and a good outfit to keep you warm. Are you ready for the adventure?

You also have a premium alternative to the Salkantay Trek where you will spend a night in a glass igloo in the middle of the valley. No doubt, it is an unforgettable experience.

Person sleeping in Salkantay Trek igloo

And then comes the last night, the most special one for many. You will find yourself in Aguas Calientes to see the sunrise at Machu Picchu and gather strength to climb to the top of this Inca treasure.

Choquequirao trek

The final destination of this route is “the hidden Machu Picchu” at Choquequirao, known as the last refuge of the Inca Empire. This place is of great historical value and is considered one of the most spectacular places in South America.

But the Choquequirao trek 4 days is much more. Get ready to walk 48 km at high altitude, surrounded by mountain gods, or as they say in Quechua, Apus. Some of them are Yamana, Chokecarpu, Panta and Chokecarpu.

Views of the ruins of Choquequirao

In addition, the views of the Apurimac River canyon, valleys and snow-capped mountains are breathtaking. These places are habitat to a great variety of animals, but it is not surprising because Peru is one of the most biodiverse countries.

This hike is lesser-known, but no less magical for that. Many call it the “hidden” route because it is less crowded. That is why it is characterized by being different, personal and unique. So if you are looking for adventure and tranquility, this is your route.

If you are wondering about accommodation, the time has come! Throughout the Choquequirao tour, you will not sleep at such a high altitude as in Salkantay. That said, on this tour you also stay at different campsites.

Now you know everything, in this adventure you will visit 5 different spots and most importantly, the legacy of the Incas in a unique way. Do you dare to live this adventure?

Choquequirao Ruins in Peru

Summarizing… Choquequirao trek vs Salkantay

We hope that with all this information we have answered the big question: Choquequirao trek or Salkantay? But it is like everything else, you will make a certain excursion depending on your interests.

First you must consider whether you want to do the most common tour and visit Machu Picchu or you may prefer to see “the hidden Machu Picchu” and enjoy a quieter stay.

Machu Picchu Ruins in Peru

If you are clear that you want a more different and personal way to visit the legacy of the Incas, Choquequirao trek is what you are looking for. You will enjoy the “hidden Machu Picchu” and the less touristy trekking routes of the Andes, places more “hidden” from tourism 😉

If instead you prefer to see the famous Machu Picchu the Salkantay Trek is a very good option. The scenery that will accompany you throughout the adventure is dreamlike, such as the views of the Salkantay and the Humantay Lake.

We can’t decide for you, although we can assure you that both Choquequirao trek and Salkantay will be among the best experiences of your life.

Choquequirao trek Salkantay Trek
Origin Cusco Cusco
Places of the tour Cusco – Cachorra – Cocamasana- Playa Rosalina- Choquequirao- Rayampata – Chiquisca Cuzco – Mollepata – Challacancha – Soraypampa (Humantay Lake)- Pasaje Salkantay – Huayracmachay – Colpapampa- La Playa Sahuayaco- Santa Teresa – Hydroelectric – Aguas Calientes- Machu Picchu
Total distance walked 160000 ft(48 km) 190000 ft (58 km)
Minimum elevation gain 1540 masl 2800 masl
Maximum elevation 3030 masl 4615 masl
Final destination The hidden Machu Picchu Machu Picchu

Have you made up your mind yet? Choquequirao trek or Salkantay? which one catches your attention more?


Lucia's life motto is "go with the flow". She lets herself go with the flow and joins any plan.

She has been lucky enough to travel to many different places, but her perfect trip is any place with sun, sand and sea. Indecisive by nature, she would not know how to choose between the Canary Islands or the Balearic Islands in Spain, or between Mexican and Peruvian food. Maybe that's why she will never say no to a trip... She has to find answers!

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