Choquequirao means "cradle of gold" in Quechua although
this is probably not its original Inca name. It is
another "lost city of the Incas" located high on a ridge
spur almost 1750m above the raging glacier-fed Apurimac
River and surrounded by towering snow-capped peaks.
The US explorer Gary Ziegler suggests that Choquequirao
may have been the place where the last Inca, Tupac Amaru,
was raised among Inca Priestesses. The abundance of many
double jamb doorways and niches indicates that the place
was held in high status.
The ruins were first visited and described to
the western world by a French explorer during
the 18th century. Hiram Bingham visited the site
was his first experience of "lost cities" prior to his
discovery of Machu Picchu in 1911.
The remoteness and
inaccessibility have discouraged visitors until fairly
recently when COPESCO constructed a footbridge over the
Apurimac River below the ruins.
Even today the ruins are
still rarely visited although, with the enforcement of
new regulations on the Inca Trail, Choquequirao treks is
destined to replace the traditional hike as the serious
Choquequirao classic view: