Anniversary Adventure to the Lost City of Choquequirao

By: Heather & Jeff Hentz

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February 5, 2019 | 50th Anniversary Stories

Our MT Sobek adventure was a trek to Choquequirao and Machu Picchu. We were looking for a unique way to celebrate our 25th anniversary and our impending 50th birthdays—and wow did we succeed. Choquequirao is often called Peru’s “lesser-known lost city” but there was nothing “less than” in our 41-mile journey.

We booked a private excursion. It was just our trip leader and us for the next 9 days. Our first full day we enjoyed a tour of Cusco and the surrounding areas. It was a wonderful time to adjust to the altitude and learn about our guide and the city’s vibrant culture and history. We ended our day sipping champagne from a scenic overlook and watching the sun set.

The four days and three nights on the trail to Choquequirao were strenuous but awe inspiring. We saw few others as our guide made the journey memorable with tales of Inca history, personal anecdotes and information about plants around us. We were enveloped in panoramic views as we descended and ascended the steep, Peruvian mountains. Our cook and horsemen made sure that tired legs and hungry stomachs were greeted with delicious meals and a comfortable tent. When we finally reached our destination, we knew for sure this was worth the training and the miles.

Choquequirao was ours alone. No crowds or buses of tourists. We earned this little seen treasure perched high in the Andes and we luxuriated in the sites and solitude. As we ate lunch among the ruins, we realized this trip was more than a vacation. It is still hard to put into words what is like to at once be exhausted and exhilarated. To see the southern cross in the night sky from a remote campsite. To walk where few had tread. We made it! Not just to the cradle of gold but to our silver anniversary.

But no anniversary is complete without a bit of luxury and after several days on the trail we were happy to return to the beautiful city of Cusco and our hotel. A visit to the spa and pisco sours at the bar eased our weary muscles and gave us time to reflect on our accomplishment.

Our journey was far from over. The train ride to the start of our hike along the Inca Trail told us this part of our adventure would be quite different. The trail had a gradual accent that led to a jungle waterfall and the treasure that is Winay Wayna. It is said the journey is as important as the destination, how true. Though eager to arrive at the sun gate, we were both were taken aback at the beauty that is Winay Wayna. And we took our time exploring these ruins that were an unexpected gift.

The final steps to Intipunku made my stomach flutter. This is what started our search for adventure in Peru. This view was the siren call that led to everything else. And it didn’t disappoint. Our guide knew this. He gave us time to just sit and look. It didn’t seem real—to be a part of an iconic picture you’ve seen in every travel magazine. But there we were staring down at Machu Picchu.

There is more to the story, there always is, but we’ll end here. We’ll end at what started our search for MT Sobek. We’ll end at the view that marked a personal milestone; and yet in so many ways started us thinking of all we have yet to accomplish. If we could do this, if we could hike 41 miles into the jungles of Peru, we could do anything.

Heather & Jeff Hentz, MT Sobek Guests

MT Sobek Trip: Trek to the Lost City of Choquequirao, 2018