CHOQUEQUIRAO CABLE CAR, WHAT‘S TRUE. “Habemus Papam!”

We are talking about the consulting Company that won the public bid “Improvement of public tourist services of the Archaeological Park of Choquequirao”, to which we send our congratulations.

This is “Consorcio Choquequirao”, composed of three specialized Companies that,

yesterday in the afternoon, was awarded the good pro of ProInversión for an amount of

S /. 10,447,080.31.   In a week the contract will be signed.

We demand to the professionals of the Consorcio Choquequirao a proficient labor; also we hope they will have a calm work, absent from any hassle linked to legal or social problems caused by idiot people, enemies of development.

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CHOQUEQUIRAO CABLE CAR, WHAT‘S TRUE. “There is no peace for Choquequirao”

While we wait for January 31, 2018, day in which Proinversión will announce the name of the winning Company of the public bid “Improvement of public tourist services of the Archaeological Park of Choquequirao”, anomalous land purchases are recorded in Marampata area.

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Located on the right bank of the Apurímac River, Marampata belongs to the Cusco region and it is an intangible área; it is located in the Regional Conservation Area and Archaeological Park, being the closest cushioning zone to the Inca Complex of Choquequirao.

In Marampata hamlet, totally rustic, are living few peasant families who, with the approval of the Park’s management, have specialized in offering to the hikers some basic tourism services: we think it is excellent and would be necesary help them to improve their activities.

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(Beautiful picture of a Marampata peasant trader, by Mark Rowland)

 

The alarming affair is that a part of these settlers are in the process of selling their land to tourist companies who are buying with the obvious purpose of building more modern structures.

We have always reiterated that Choquequirao does not develop adequately due to lack of formal and qualified tourist services, but in this case we are perplexed and worried: in addition to violating the intangibility of the Archaeological Park of Choquequirao and its principle of authority, a population growth in this area would result in a serious environmental impact.

Probably these companies are betting that the arrival station of the future Choquequirao cable car could be there. Frankly, we believe it unlikely, being Marampata two hours walk far from Choquequirao; each way, they will put pressure on the consulting company, trying to affect the free development of the specialized consultancy.

Finally, we think that boundary disputes will be accentuated, being Marampata a border area between the districts of Santa Teresa (The Convention) and Mollepata (Anta) (see previous post).

 

For now, we can only exhort the Park Management to be very careful with granting permits and recommend them to dictate strict building parameters, firmly inspecting any eventual construction work in the area.

CHOQUEQUIRAO CABLE CAR, WHAT‘S TRUE. “Waiting for the great transformation of Choquequirao”

That is all information about the Choquequirao cable car affair and its status at the end of 2017.

As you could see, it is almost certainly that, in the future, Choquequirao will can be visited by different modalities (trekking, cable car, mixed) and through different gateways (Districts of Huanipaca, Cachora, Santa Teresa, Mollepata).

I do not know which will be the best options for the travelers but something is sure: until 2021, Choquequirao will continue being a goal only for the hikers.

Therefore, I add a Choquequirao topographical map to show the trekking paths that, today and until cable car system will be operative, hikers can travel to get in & out the Archaeological Complex of Choquequirao.

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CHOQUEQUIRAO CABLE CAR, WHAT‘S TRUE. “Peruvian government is once again promoting the Choquequirao cable car project”

On March of 2017, by request of the Ministry of Foreign Trade and Tourism, the project “Installation of cable access services for the transit of the population and visitors to Choquequirao, town of Kiuñalla, district of Huanipaca, province of Abancay, department of Apurímac, and locality of Yanama, district of Santa Teresa, province of La Convención, department of Cusco “ was definitively deactivated.

 

But… I have to take a step back.

The failure of the Choquequirao cable car project was a disappointment, but it marked an important precedent and produced a partial regret among the people of Cusco who had liked the idea of ​​the cable car.

Therefore, spontaneous approaches arose between the municipalities of Santa Teresa and Huanipaca, signature of agreements and discussions undertaken with regional governments of Apurímac and Cusco, in order to unleash the Choquequirao cable car plan.

But the actual Apurímac Governor (now the regional President is called Governor) did not want to get into trouble and the Governor of Cusco region did not want to talk about the issue, intimidated by the territorial dispute between the provinces of Anta (District of Mollepata) and La Convención (District of Santa Teresa).

The situation changed when, in September 2016, the new government of Peru (PPK) appointed as Vice Minister of Tourism to a skilful businessman from Cusco with a great career and respected in the Cusco region (Rogers Valencia Espinoza).

His first puzzle was to unlock Choquequirao and he had clear ideas to the respect: the Choquequirao cable car had been an excellent plan, but the project was oversized, uneconomical and incomplete.

A more flexible system, such as that installed in Kuelap (inaugurated in March 2017), would have been the ideal solution for Choquequirao: the construction of two stretches of cableway (one in Cusco and another in Apurímac) complemented by a road ring could be a satisfactory measure for both Regions.

The historic step for the unlocking of Choquequirao was the signing of two documents, which I call “Agreements of Choquequirao“.

On January 2017, the Vice Minister invited all Cusco region authorities that were involved with Choquequirao and asked them to accept a policy of “separate ropes”; it meant that, although their territorial disputes continued, they had to accept that the Government worked, in parallel, on the tourist resource with a comprehensive development plan to benefit both provinces (Anta and La Convención).

Not without discussions, the first, fundamental, Choquequirao agreement was signed.

The next day, he convened a new meeting for all authorities involved with Choquequirao, from both regions, Cusco and Apurímac.

We were received (I was there), unusually, in a climate of surprising confraternity: the Governor of Cusco (Edwin Licona Licona) warmly greeted his colleague from Apurímac (Wilber Venegas Torres) and all the authorities of Apurimac, saying that Cusqueños were happy to share with Apurímac his great resource, Choquequirao.

 

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Vice Minister (center) with regional governors, Cusco (left) and Apurimac (right)

 

The meeting concluded with the signing of the second, fundamental, Choquequirao agreement in which the main actions and works to be developed were agreed with the National Government: road rings to be built, maintenance of existing trekking roads and construction of a new one, different cable car sections.

Recently, at the end of November 2017, Proinversión has launched the public bid “Improvement of public tourist services of the Archaeological Park of Choquequirao”: its minimalist title hides the broad scope of the project study.

It is enough to read the bidding rules, posted on the PROINVERSIÓN website, to understand that the Peruvian Government will implement comprehensive measures for the tourist value of Choquequirao, through the construction of adequate infrastructure for the four support districts (Santa Teresa, Huanipaca, Mollepata and Cachora).

The President of Peru has assured that the Choquequirao cable car will be in operation before the end of his governmente (July 2021).

…to be continued

CHOQUEQUIRAO CABLE CAR, WHAT‘S TRUE. “Choquequirao cable car first plan and its halt”

A popular saying says, “you must wash the dirty rags in family” but informations about an international tourist destinations, such as Choquequirao, are of public domain.

In 2011, the neo-elected regional presidents of Apurímac (Elías Segovia Ruiz) and Cusco (Jorge Acurio Tito) thought of building a cable car in Choquequirao: providing adequate accessibility conditions and integrating Choquequirao with nearby tourist destinations such as Salcantay and Machu Picchu, a tourist circuit would have been created between the two regions of Cusco and Apurímac.

This political will was concretized through a “bi-regional agreement” signed on August 10 in “Villa los Loros lodge” (Huanipaca), where a reception was held.

Subsequently, the regional authorities presented the project to the President of the Republic (Ollanta Humala Tasso), who was enthusiastic and approved the plan.

The regional government of Apurímac took charge of the feasibility study, empowering the Ministry of “Housing, Construction and Sanitation” to request the incorporation of the Choquequirao cable car project into the PROINVERSIÓN projects portfolio.

In September 2013, was declared the feasibility of the Public Investment Project ”Installation of cable access services to Choquequirao, between Kiuñalla locality, Huanipaca district, Abancay province, Apurímac department, and locality of Yanama, district of Santa Teresa, province of La Convención, department of Cusco.”

One year later, in September 2014, the public bid was announced by Proinversión: the project consisted of the design, financing, construction, equipment, operation and maintenance of a cable car, as well as the departure and arrival stations.

The cable car length would have been of 3.3 miles, crossing the Apurímac canyon to more than 4,000 feet high and carrying 50 passengers per cabin. The start of work was scheduled for July 2015 and its completion in 2016, with an estimated investment of 179.5 million of nuevos soles.

But, while the regional government of Apurímac and the national government of Peru were promoting the Choquequirao cable car project, countermeasures were being planned in Cusco.

Jorge Acurio Tito had been disqualified from his office (for being guilty of corruption when he was a resident of a construction in Calca town) and now the Cusco región in charge president (René Concha Lezama, invested in January 2014), pressed by the provinces of Anta and La Convención, showed a very different attitude from his predecessor.

He declared that there had been political interests in this affair, that he did not understand how the permits were issued and finally, if the region of Apurímac would the cable car to Cusco territory, the Government would have had to build other two cable cars in the Cusco region, one for Mollepata and another for Yanama (Santa Teresa).

The absence of answers from the Government encouraged the people of Cusco to establish a technical Commission composed of professionals from Cusco, Mollepata and Santa Teresa to evaluate the case; in June 2014 the Commission concluded its analysis with a predictable strike: “Choquequirao cable car project is an attack against the sacred interests of Cusco!

The opinion of the Commission, the prolonged silence of the Government and the project public bidding approximate, were the trigger that armed with pen the hand of Eulogio Uscamayta, mayor of the same town (Anta) that, in parallel, was disputing to the neighboring district of Santa Teresa the jurisdictional possession of the Archaeological Complex of Choquequirao.

On October 15, the Anta Court notified a resolution about the precautionary process opened by Mayor of Anta against ProInversión and Apurímac Regional Government.

On October 19, 2014, with two weeks to close the bidding, in compliance with the order of the First Mixed Court of Anta of the Superior Court of Justice of Cusco, the concession of the Choquequirao Cable car project was suspended, staying judicially paralyzed until further notice.

choquequirao cable car

…to be continued

CHOQUEQUIRAO CABLE CAR, WHAT‘S TRUE. “A politically complicated development”

To understand the reasons of the cable car construction delay, it’s important explain the conflictive backstage of Choquequirao.

The Inca citadel is located in Peru, in the Department of Cusco, Province of La Convención, District of Santa Teresa, but exist others three Districts in the same ​​influence área of Choquequirao.

Being the inca citadel located at the boundary of two departments (Cusco and Apurímac), it happen that two of these Districts belong jurisdictionally to another department, as is the case of Huanipaca and Cachora villages, belonging to the department of Apurímac and main gateways to the archaeological site of Choquequirao.

Cusco people, famous for their strong regionalism, never accepted with serenity the possibility of reaching Choquequirao (according to them, of their property) traveling through Apurímac.

Despite the tourist growth of the monument and of the incresing flow of visitors via Huanipaca and Cachora, never the Cusco tourist businessmen wanted to invest in the Apurímac area, which was in need of more development and better tourist services.

In contrast, Cusco Districts of Santa Teresa and Mollepata (the fourth District upon Choquequirao influence área) began opening roads to be able to approach Choquequirao: the road from Santa Teresa, which currently ends in Yanama (31 kms of trekking from Choquequirao) and the road from Mollepata, at the moment no operative, which presumably will end at 25 kms of trekking from Choquequirao.

As an extreme consequence of the self interests and of a neo-inca desire to conquer, they began fighting, triggering a scandalous dispute in which the district of Mollepata and its province (Anta) claim to the neighboring district of Santa Teresa and its province (La Convención) the jurisdiction of part of its territory, also covering Choquequirao.

It should be noted that also among the Districts apurimeños of Huanipaca and Cachora do not run optimal relations, always for reasons of commercial selfishness about Choquequirao.

Faced with such nonsense, it is easy to understand why the mutual “Master Plan” of the “Archaeological Park of Choquequirao” (a supposed political unit created in 2003, that covers part of the territory of the regions of Cusco and Apurimac, with its Provinces and Districts involved in the Choquequirao issue) was never draw up.

Also, it is easy to understand the difficulties of the Peruvian government to build a cable car in Choquequirao.

 

…to be continued

 

Choquequirao cable car, what’s true.

Currently, as we all know, Choquequirao can only be reached on foot, through one of the most demanding trekking in the Cusco region.

Getting in vía Huanipaca, or vía Cachora, a long walk awaits the travelers.

Not everyone can access the archaeological monument; that is why Choquequirao receives only about 6000 tourists a year, mostly concentrated in the months of May to November, a season where there is no rain.

Some people think this is the best you can wish for: a wonderful adventure and an Inca citadel (Choquequirao) that is your own Machu Picchu, which is totally crowded and almost for being declared “heritage in danger” by UNESCO.

Those who do not enjoy trekking, older, less athletic or, perhaps, with young children, are waiting to visit Choquequirao when a cable car system will work there, as Peruvian government promised.

Really, peruvian government is dragging the Choquequirao cable car project for years and there are people who believe that the project will never run and others that believe that it will.

But…what about the real state of the Choquequirao cable car project?

…to be continued in the next post

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