The Dream is Almost A Reality!
Choquequirao across the valley from the town of Cachora, an envious trek for all hikers setting out on this trail to the Inca site high in the Andes.
Just recently I have had to curtail all thoughts of travelling until this COVID-19 virus clears it´s nasty head from this earth. Then it is back to making plans for my next overland adventure.
For the foreseeable future I will be split between Panama City, Panama & Lima, Peru, with the occasional visit into Mexico!
Back in Lima my camping & travel equipment is stored ready, waiting to make that journey into the unknown. Being in South America, more specific Peru, it has given me the urge to walk the Inca Trail. From the relatively unknown Choquequirao to Machu Picchu.
I have taken clients numerous times during my tour guiding with Peru Safari to view Choquequirao across the valley from Cachora, and been envious of all the hikers setting out on their trek to the Inca site high across the valley, with the Apurimac River dividing the two.
For those who are not familiar with this Inca site sat high in the mountain ranges that divide Cusco Region & Apurimac Region.
This site is deemed larger than Machu Picchu in terms of the vast area it covers, plus much of the site has still to be unearthed. It is truly an impressive site, the least visited site due to it´s location and just how difficult it is to get to.
View my post: Machu Picchu – Photo Diary
Falling in love with the beauty of Peru!
I fell in love with this region on the very first visit, and I am ready to explore alone independently, away from guests or fellow travellers.
I enjoy the freedom of the adventure, plus I can decide how long I want the trip to last based on the time I have available from work.
This trip has been running around my head for many months, and if only I had managed to catch a flight to Lima before all the airports closed, I think I would be writing a different post from the one I am writing now.
However, let me give you an insight into what my plans are, and once I embark on the trek for real, I can share the journey in more detail during my travels.
The idea is to travel to Cusco from Lima by air, then spend a few nights in Cusco to help with climatization due to the altitudes I will be walking each day.
For instance the site at Choquequirao is elevated at 3´050 Metres (10´010 feet) above sea level. Cachora village. Where my starting point will be approximately the same altitude at 2´909 Metres.
Whereas Cusco is 3´400 Metres (11´200 feet) above sea level, hence why many people stay in Cusco for their climatization before embarking to any of the Inca sites.
It is very important you have at least 5 days to adjust to altitude before you make any attempt to trek or tour the sites. Otherwise the sickness will not only spoil your trip, but could become very serious if you have not adjusted wisely. This is why many tour guides & backpackers will always carry small oxygen bottles in case of these emergencies.
Chewing of the Coca Leaves has been used by Peruvians for centuries. Drinking Coca Tea can adversely reduce the effects of altitude sickness whilst travelling in & around the Andes.
Read up on the effects of high altitude, and make sure you are healthy before attempting these treks!
After my brief stay in Cusco, I will hire a taxi to take me from Cusco to Cachora!
This should cost around $35.00 USD for the single trip. I choose to do this trip by taxi rather than the local bus service to prevent the necessity to change in Abancay.
Abancay is not one of the nicest cities in Peru, very industrial with many businesses operating with the mining companies in the region.
I will then take a “colectivo” to Cachora which is the cheapest option. For that little extra I prefer the privacy & convenience too!
Hostel Casa Nostra, Cachora
My stop for a few nights will be in a wonderful lodge overlooking the mountain peaks of Quriwayrachina & Quishwar (18´934 feet high).
The hostel is called Hostel Casa Nostra, and it is a fantastic little hotel set in beautiful surroundings at the village of Cachora, with very comfortable accommodations.
With individual rooms for singles or couples, and two large rooms for groups. Free WIFI is included, and the food is amazing.
For only $20.00 USD per night this is value for money before it´s time to start camping each night.
(Prices might vary since originally posted)
Mountain Views to Wake Up To!
This is an absolutely amazing scene to wake up to in the morning. So my plan is to relax here for the few nights, makes sure I have everything I need for the trip, buy some last minute items in the local town prior to starting the trip if necessary.
The staff at Casa Nostra will help you to get a taxi to the start point of the trail at Capuliyoc. any person walking the trail will be required to sign the register at the small shop located near the trail entrance.
Organized trips usually take upto 4 days / 3 nights to Choquequirao ruins & return back to Capuliyoc, or 7 days / 6 nights trekking to Machu Picchu. These are guided tours with “sherpa” assistance throughout the journey.
Has mentioned I am going to be travelling independently for my trip!
Along the route to Choquequirao there are a few campsites set up for the organised trips, however there are small shops operated by the villagers who live near to the site. I will be able to stock up on essentials, which will prevent having to be overloaded at the start. But certain luxury items I will but in Cusco before leaving.
Food & Drink Choices!
Coffee for me is an important commodity, and I have travelled many years with sweeteners from the UK – Sweetex. Very light to carry, and with 1200 in a tube, it serves me well for many months!
The other is Worcestershire Sauce, which again combined with pasta or rice gives that added extra flavour to any meal. A small bottle of Extra Virgin Olive Oil provides me with enough cooking oil for a month at least. So essentials like these are already in my pack ready!
The usual food items would be rice, pasta, various soup sachets, fruit juice powder. For as long has I can remember I cannot drink water on its own, I always add a sweet flavouring.
I carry trail mix usually with dried fruit, dried meats purchased from the local Cusco market. Pot Noodles are very light to pack, plus nearly all places in Peru sell these!
It is important to carry enough food for 7 nights, and the opportunity to stock up at any one of the camp sites is always available. However, never rely on them having items when you arrive, so always be prepared.
It is all in the planning!
My equipment for the trek has been carefully selected, for weight & durability. Many of the items have been escorting me around the world, waiting to be used at short notice whenever I can get away to camp somewhere.
My main items are:
- Lowe Alpine 85 Litre Rucksack with Rain Cover
- Vango Banshee Pro 300 Tent
- Vango Venom 600 Sleeping Bag
- Thermarest NeoAir UberLight Sleeping Mat
- Mammut Ergonomic Inflatable Pillow
- ENO Profly Rain Tarp
- Coleman Fyrepower Alpine Gas Stove (with 3 canisters of gas)
- Sea to Summit Cooking Pot Set
- Trangia 25 Fuel Cook Set (1 litre alcohol) backup cooking stoves due to low air at altitude.
- 1.5 Litre Stainless Steel Drinking Flask
- 2 Litre Plastic Flexible Water Canteen
- Carbon Fibre Walking Poles
- Canon EOS 250D Camera (Include 1 X Zoom Lens & 1 X Telephoto Lens, 2 X spare fully charged batteries)
- Poweradd 20000 Power bank Charger ( 4 X Full charge for my mobile phone)
- 1 Metre Durable Charging Cable.
- 1 X Mini Tripod ( for selfies).
I also carry a windup LED Torch & High power headlight with spare batteries, 2 X Jet Flame Lights, Personal First Aid Kit, Small Celestron 8X40 Compact Binoculars, Water Purification Straw.
Choosing what clothes to take is important.
For clothing I have always tried to keep to the minimum, and depending on your preferences, I wear light breathable tops & trousers.
- North Face Lightweight Waterproof Jacket (Camouflaged)
- Columbia 2 Seasons Windjammer Jacket
- North Face Fleece
- 2 X Under Armour Heat Gear T-Shirts
- 2 X Columbia Short Sleeved Shirts
- 1 Pair Brasher Hiking Pants
- 1 Pair Columbia Breathable Shorts
- 2 Pairs of thick woolen socks
- 1 Pair Berghaus Hillmaster Hiking Boots
- 3 pairs of boxers
Of course the usual toiletries & toothbrush, comb, insect repellant, lip balm & small sun screen.
My mobile / cell phone is always with me, and carrying the extra power bank charger will give me enough support to charge my phone. Especially if I use it has a backup camera for quick snaps on the move.
I am always cautious of weight when hiking, so I purchase items with that in mind all the time. Sometimes it is not always easy, but I never carry more than I can physically hike. Especially for more than 10 to 15 kilometres without feeling the stress.
For that reason I am not going to push myself to complete this trek within a set time frame. I want to enjoy the experience, take in the beauty of my surroundings. Hopefully capture it all on camera to share with you guys in the future.
Thank you for reading, and I look forward to giving you an update when the trek is completed.