The Chasquis were known as some of the greatest runners in history capable of relaying messages at speeds of over 200 miles per day at altitudes above 13,000 feet. While these great athletes were endowed with incredible strength and stamina, they also had wisdom and a way of connecting with the land and its inhabitants that helped propel them along the steep mountainous terrain. Through this connection it’s said they were able to flow like water over rock. We will explore this connection and perspective throughout the journey as we travel in their footsteps.
Our route will traverse one of the most stunning sections of the Inca Road, between the great city of Choquequirao and the citadel of Machu Picchu. Choquequirao is considered one of the most remote ancient ruins in the world and is currently visited by fewer than 70 people per day, which the Peruvian government plans to change when it builds a road and tram system to the site in the near future. Currently the site is only accessible by two-day walk across a 5,000-foot deep canyon.
Situated at 10,000 feet Choquequirao is located in pristine cloud forest and features extensive waterways, temples and agriculture terracing as impressive as Machu Picchu. While the site is only 30% excavated, the energy of the site is profound and there are ample opportunities to find solitude as we explore the origins of this remote lost city. While at the site we will work with local shaman and participate in a traditional Despacho ceremony giving gratitude to the spirit of Pachamama.
As we explore the rich history of the Andean people, we also discover the diversity of the land. Peru boasts the highest concentration of microclimates in the world, and our journey travels through five climate zones, including rare cloud forest, which is home to one third of Peru’s birds, mammals and frogs. Here we will see an incredible diversity of flora and fauna, including bromeliads, orchids, butterflies, giant hummingbirds and the Andean condor.
As we venture deeper into the Andean highlands the landscape opens into high alpine Cordillera, passing near permanent glaciers and high villages. The mountains here are sacred to the Andean people and we honor these great spirits, as we pass within view of the Apus Kiswar, Quriwayrachina, Pintuyu. Here we begin to see the magnitude of how great the Chasqui runners were as we travel elaborate stone paths constructed centuries ago and still in use by local people today as they pass these steep mountains.