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Cusco: Choquequirao among the 25 best destinations in 2019, according to La Nación de Argentina

The travel magazine ‘Lugares’ of the newspaper La Nación de Argentina published its list of the 25 destinations that every traveler should know in 2019. The citadel of Choquequirao in Cusco is in second place.

For several years the citadel of Choquequirao has been awakening the curiosity of travelers from around the world because it is a destination away from mass tourism, unlike other attractions in Cusco. In fact, it is not the first time that it appears in this type of rankings, National Geographic put it on its list of best sites to visit in 2015, and Lonely Planet did the same in 2016.

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Choquequirao

For several years the citadel of Choquequirao has been awakening the curiosity of travelers from around the world because it is a destination away from mass tourism, unlike other attractions in Cusco. In fact, it is not the first time that it appears in this type of rankings, National Geographic put it on its list of best sites to visit in 2015, and Lonely Planet did the same in 2016.

On this occasion, Choquequirao appears in the second place of this list, after the Falkland Islands, among other important world destinations such as Balos in Greece, Porto in Portugal, Yellowstone in the United States, Istanbul in Turkey, or Chefchaouen in Morocco.

The publication describes Choquequirao as “the other Machu Picchu” and it stands out as a “lost citadel in the middle of the mountain range” which is reached after a demanding walk of 63 kilometers between and back. Likewise, it highlights its constructions in stone laja canteada and its sophisticated irrigation system.

A ‘golden cradle’
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Choquequirao

Spread over three peaks and 12 sectors, Choquequirao is not as photogenic as Machu Picchu, but this crest citadel, often hidden in the clouds, offers a solitary experience unimaginable in most of the great ancient ruins. It also has countless tentacles for the enjoyment of amateur archaeologists.

Abandoned in the middle of s. XVI, was ‘rediscovered’ several times over the last three decades, before efforts for its conservation began formally in 1992. Modern archeologists believe that its location responds to a geocosmic design aligned with its ‘sister’ city ceremonial, Machu Picchu. It has a temple and administrative buildings around a central square, with houses grouped a little further away.

A high level of sophistication is evident in ceremonial rooms with gabled roofs, stone ‘fridges’ and complex irrigation channels carved out of rock. From the main square you can see the snow-covered peaks of 5000 m of the Willkapampa mountain range, and flying condors.

Going down the stairs from this square you reach one of the most iconic sectors of the place: a set of terraces decorated with a mosaic of white flames. A longer and winding path leads to the whole Cascade House, with stone buildings on the edge of a cliff overlooking a beautiful waterfall.

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Choquequirao

Choquequirao means ‘cradle of gold‘ in the Quechua language. Some historians believe that it was the last stronghold of the Incas when the empire collapsed and royalty fled Cuzco during the 40-year revolt against the Spanish conquistadors; but perhaps it was the administrative and ceremonial center that united Cuzco with the Amazon. Or maybe they were the royal domains of Tupac Yupanqui, the tenth governor of the Inca Empire. The answer, for now, remains buried deep in the jungle.

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