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By Gayatri Bhaumik | May 6th, 2016

Where to? Choquequirao in Peru

Why you’ll love it: We are all for trekking up iconic Machu Picchu but there’s a less crowded but equally as epic Inca site nearby. Head for hidden gem Choquequirao, which is located 98 kilometers west of Cusco, Peru. The 15th century Incan site is similar in style and design to Machu Picchu, but it’s often overlooked by travelers.

Only about 5,000 visitors each year brave the two-day hike to get here, making it much more exclusive. Once you’re there it’s like an ancient wonderland, stretching across 6 square kilometers of temples, residences, plazas, and bath structures.

There’s more to come, too. Excavations on Choquequirao only started in the 1970s, and are still going on today. Only about 40 percent has been excavated so far!

Fun fact: It’s possible to continue hiking from Choquequirao to Machu Picchu, but expect a seven- to 12-day journey and lots of preparation.

Get there: Fly to Cusco on Air France via Paris and Lima, or fly Cathay Pacific via Los Angeles and Lima. From there, it’s a five-hour drive to Cachora. The journey continues with a two-day hike through the Apuramic Valley and Willkapampa mountain range. You can join an organized tour for more support and equipment, or you can prepare ahead and go it alone.

Click here to return to The Loop’s 30 Days of Travel Inspiration series.