Choquequirao: Machu Picchu's Sacred Sister

Best-Kept Secret Destination: Choquequirao

It may not be a secret for too long, but Choquequirao is a true hidden gem of the Inca Empire. Just like Machu Picchu, the Choquequirao ruins make-up an ancient, extensive site perched high in the Andes. The site is nicknamed “Machu Picchu’s Sacred Sister” because of their similar layout and importance in Inca society. In fact, these impressive ruins are even better preserved and far more isolated than Machu Picchu.

The location is no less awe-inspiring: nestled high in the Cordillera Vilcabamba, Choquequirao offers majestic view of the surrounding 17,000 ft peaks. The various temples, mausoleums, royal residences and ritual baths speak to the Inca’s worship of the natural world. Like all sacred Inca sites, the architecture also reflects the movement of the sun and other celestial bodies. However, we know relatively little about the true importance of Choquequirao. In fact, much of the site is still being excavated and studied. Newly discovered buildings include the so-called Ridge Group, and the Waterfall Temple, an intriguing ceremonial complex facing the cascades of a steep ravine.

Its mystery is only enhanced by the virtually non-existent tourist crowd. On any given day you may run into a few other tourists, but most trek groups report being alone at the site. Travelers can reach the sacred city by way of a 5-day trek, so make sure you’re up for a rigorous adventure. If you are looking for the off-the-beaten path experience, Choquequirao is sure to astound and satisfy the most rugged of traveler.

To learn more about this destination, visit Detour and book your trip before it becomes as popular as Machu Picchu.