Parque Arqueológico Choquequirao

Top choice in Cuzco & the Sacred Valley

Translating as 'Cradle of Gold,' this remote Incan site (3050m) in the Vilcabamba mountain range over the Apurimac canyon bears a strong resemblance to Machu Picchu. It's enormous, covering 6 sq km, with roughly 30% of the site excavated. Ruins include whole buildings, a leveled ceremonial area and extensive aqueducts and terraces. It was occupied during the 15th and 16th centuries, roughly during the reign of Pachacutec and his son Tupac Yupanqui. Camping is free.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Cuzco & the Sacred Valley attractions

1. Lower Plaza

0.09 MILES

The first area of the ruins you approach coming from the campground, these include the great terraces, topped by a plaza area that leads to a Hall of…

2. Usnu

0.16 MILES

This huge leveled platform was likely a ceremonial center. Enjoy the spectacular 360-degree views of the Vilcabamba range from here.

3. Upper Plaza

0.17 MILES

On the truncated peak, follow the water channel up from the lower plaza to these ruins that include a niche house and carved upper fountain.

4. Llama Terraces

0.24 MILES

Discovered only in 2002 by archaeologist Percy Paz, these steep terraces on the backside of the ruins feature unique stonework resembling that found in…

5. Ridge Group

0.26 MILES

A residential area with inferior building quality where the lower classes may have lived.

6. Eastern Terraces

0.37 MILES

Visible as you approach the ruins from Marampata, these steep terraces are only partially excavated. They are worth exploring for a closer look at the…

7. House of the Priests

0.39 MILES

While no one is sure about the use of these two walled-off buildings, their excellent structure and dominating location, off to one side of the usnu,…

8. Saihuite

12.09 MILES

The Inca site of Saihuite, 45km east of Abancay, has a sizable, intricately carved boulder called the Stone of Saihuite, which is similar to the famous…