Trek to Waqrapukara ruins over the Apurimac Canyon 1 Day

MAR 2022 - DEC 2023 Price from $ 180 USD pp $ 199 USD
Trip Type Walking & Trekking
Difficulty Level Challenging/Tough
Group Size 2-8 people
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Waqrapukara the archaeological site is located in the District of Acos, Province of Acomayo, Department of Cusco. It is strategically located joining the Apurimac valley and the Pomacanchi plateau, it is a cultural landscape with cognitive elements of wisdom and power, where two rocky protuberances rise, with an architecture camouflaged with carved stones.

Adapted to the monument, walled with walls of semicircular containment, with stairways, trapezoidal windows and niches, enclosures, accesses to small spaces, a central plaza facing east with trapezoidal constructions with one, double and triple jambs, including a stone for ceremonies or “Waka” and a “Machay” or cave; All these elements are found at the foot of the rocky protuberances, whose architectural characteristics make us infer that this space was ceremonial and sacred and probably had other functions for its time.

This archaeological complex called Waqrapukara. According to researcher Dr. Victor Angles Vargas, etymologically it comes from two words, waqra means horn and the word pukara means fortress or barracks. In short, this word waqrapukara means fortress in the form of a horn. It was a residence of the nobility of this place; with astronomical observatories and at the same time it was a protected religious center with watchtowers and underground paths.

INCLUDED IN THE TREK TO WAQRAPUKARA 1 DAY :

  • Boxed breakfast and lunch. Vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free options available
  • Private transport from Cusco to Waqrapukara round trip
  • English/Quechua/Spanish speaking professional guide, plus an assistant guide for groups over 8
  • First aid kit including emergency oxygen bottle
  • Entrance ticket to Waqrapukara ruins

NOT INCLUDED

  • Additional horses for your personal luggage or to ride
  • Trekking Poles
  • Tips for the travel staff
  • Travel Insurance
  • Hike through the varied landscapes of Acomayo Highlands, taking in views of massive canyon walls and sandstone cliffs as you go.
  • Learn about the culture and history of Waqrapukara Inca site during a guided tour, followed by a traditional homecooked, family-style Peruvian lunch.
  • Take a bird’s eye view and admire the winding gorges and desolate rock landscape of the Apurimac Canyon by the natural view point.
  • The trip involves a lot of walking through dusty roads, so be prepared with hiking shoes, a water bottle and day pack.
  • Lunches will be simple picnic style so perhaps bring some of your own snacks if you think you’ll get hungry between meals.
  • This trip has been carefully designed in a private vehicle with your group to give you the best experience of a region by reducing the number of stops,less time spent in a vehicle; more time to explore each destination. Please read the itinerary carefully for travel time estimates.
  • This trip visits places that are at high altitude, and as a result some people can suffer from altitude sickness, regardless of age or physical health. Please see the ‘Medical and health information’ section of the Essential Trip Information for more important details about altitude sickness.

Level Challenging/Tough
Max Elevation 4300 m
Hiking Distance 12 km
Approximate walking time 6 hrs

We begin our trek to Waqrapukara by car, leaving Cusco in our private transport at around 4:00 am. We are heading south valley of Cusco on a paved road, in the direction of district called Acomayo. Along the way, we will pass the impressive Pomacanchis lagoon and several picturesque villages until we reach the Huascar junction where the paved road ends, and adventure begins. We continue on a hardened dirt road until we reach Huayqui (also spelled Wayki or Wayqui), the trailhead for our Waqrapukara trek.

Before we begin the hike to Waqrapukara we’ll get to share breakfast with a local family. Then it’s time to set out! The first part of our walk takes us to Suythuwanca, which will take about an hour and a half. From here, we continue walking uphill for another 1h30 along a winding path, bordered by mountains. The views here are out of this world!. In addition to these breathtaking vistas, we will be treated to fascinating ancient rock paintings along the way. Some of these cave paintings are in a great state of preservation.

Finally, we will arrive at Waqrapukara (4300m / 14,107 ft). We’ll rest and enjoy a boxed lunch before starting our guided tour of this mysterious Inca fortress. In Quechua, Waqrapukara actually means “Horn Fortress,” from the words waqra (“horn”) and pukara (“fortress”), and it is a real sight to behold. It is the horn-like rock formations that likely give the Inca fortress its name.

Waqrapukara is an imposing archaeological feature perched on a mountain top, surrounded by gorgeous, lush scenery. We’ll have about an hour to explore this fascinating site. Signs direct us to the different areas of the site, which actually includes several structures.

When we’ve had our fill of Inca history and interesting ruins, we will return along the same path. As we walk another 2hrs to our starting point, we’ll have one last opportunity to take in the stunning beauty of the surrounding mountains.

Finally, we arrive at Paltacancha where our vehicle will be waiting to take us back to Cusco, arriving at about 7pm.

WHAT YOU SHOULD BRING TO  WAQRAPUKARA TREKKING

For this one-day activity, try to bring the most essential trekking implements, a good feather or nylon jacket that keeps you warm, excellent hiking shoes, gloves, sunglasses, a small backpack, and extra money in soles for your personal expenses. And most importantly, bring the best adventurous spirit, always drawing the best smile for the wonders that the majestic Apurimac canyon gives us.

TREK TO WAQRAPUKARA RUINS  1 DAY warm jackets
TREK TO WAQRAPUKARA RUINS  1 DAY Hydration bladder
TREK TO WAQRAPUKARA RUINS  1 DAY wool socks
TREK TO WAQRAPUKARA RUINS  1 DAY camera
TREK TO WAQRAPUKARA RUINS  1 DAY scarf
TREK TO WAQRAPUKARA RUINS  1 DAY first aid kit
TREK TO WAQRAPUKARA RUINS  1 DAY hiking shoes
TREK TO WAQRAPUKARA RUINS  1 DAY Dry bags
TREK TO WAQRAPUKARA RUINS  1 DAY Trekking Poles
TREK TO WAQRAPUKARA RUINS  1 DAY sun cream
TREK TO WAQRAPUKARA RUINS  1 DAY Snack
TREK TO WAQRAPUKARA RUINS  1 DAY sun hat
TREK TO WAQRAPUKARA RUINS  1 DAY bathing suite
TREK TO WAQRAPUKARA RUINS  1 DAY rain coat
TREK TO WAQRAPUKARA RUINS  1 DAY Sandals
TREK TO WAQRAPUKARA RUINS  1 DAY insect repellent
TREK TO WAQRAPUKARA RUINS  1 DAY Passport
TREK TO WAQRAPUKARA RUINS  1 DAY Down Jackets
TREK TO WAQRAPUKARA RUINS  1 DAY toilet paper
TREK TO WAQRAPUKARA RUINS  1 DAY daypack
TREK TO WAQRAPUKARA RUINS  1 DAY Wool cap
TREK TO WAQRAPUKARA RUINS  1 DAY head lamp
TREK TO WAQRAPUKARA RUINS  1 DAY gloves
TREK TO WAQRAPUKARA RUINS  1 DAY sun glasses
TREK TO WAQRAPUKARA RUINS  1 DAY cap
TREK TO WAQRAPUKARA RUINS  1 DAY extra cash
TREK TO WAQRAPUKARA RUINS  1 DAY Trekking pants

ALL THE INFORMATION ABOUT THE TREK TO WAQRAPUKARA

The trek to the ruins of Waqrapukara is one of the most spectacular, since only very few people have visited it, and it still maintains the beauty of its natural landscape, with wild flowers, and pure air, where you can breathe calm and magic of the Andes. In this list of questions, our adventurers club answered the most frequently asked questions about this archaeological attraction of Cusco. If you have any other questions, please, you can do it through the online chat, or by mail.

HISTORY OF THE WAQRAPUKARA RUINS

Research indicates that Waqrapukara was initially built by the Canchis culture and not by the Incas. The Canchis inhabited the southern territories of Cusco (current province of Canchis) parallel to the Incas. Both cultures competed for territorial control.
However, after the Inca vs. Chancas (1440 AD), the Canchis allied themselves with the Incas and formed part of the Collasuyo region, in the nascent empire of Tahuantinsuyo.
The construction date of Waqrapukara is still a mystery. The canchis must have built the first roads and enclosures in a few centuries before the formation of the Inca empire in 1438. It is estimated that under the government of Emperor Túpac Yupanqui (1471 – 1493) the main temples and platforms were built.
Oral tradition brought to this day an Inca legend about Waqrapukara. This legend tells that this area lived the nobility of the Inca Qanchi. The legendary General T’ito Qosñipa, with the army of the Inca Wayna Qhapaq, won high awards as general of the conquering armies of the Tawantinsuyo Empire. In use of his vacations he came to his Qanchi tribe, stimulated by the magnificence of the Imperial Court considering distant and remote the possibility of occupying the Inca throne due to his commoner condition, it arose in his audacious mind, to overthrow the ruler of the Inca empire, with For this purpose, he ordered the construction of the Waqrapukara Fortress in secret, so that if his revolutionary adventure failed, he could take refuge and resist any attack by the imperial army.
T’ito Qosñipa proclaimed general of the Qanchis, organized an army, which then headed towards Cusco. The Ruler of the Tawantinsuyo Empire, informed by the subversive activities of T’ito Qosñipa, sent a part of his army to unveil the movement, commanded by General Anqoayllo. Both armies met on the slopes of the Phiñaypampa hill, near Corma. After a bloody and bloody battle, the hosts of T’itto Qosñipa were defeated.
As testimony to this fact, there are still human bone remains at the site of the battle. T’ito Qosñipa the Inca Qanchi, after the battle of Phiñaypampa, with the rest of his soldiers, returned to Waqrapukara. General Anqoayllo’s troops pursued the fugitives and surrounded the Waqrapukara fortress with violent attacks. When the soldiers of the aforementioned general went up to the fortress, they were thrown into the ravine as they went up, through the gates towards the abyss, today there are remains of these gates. After fifteen days of resistance to the imperial Inca army, they discovered the water channel that supplied the fortress, they cut off this water service to the Inca Qanchi’s army, for this reason he had to capitulate with General Anqoayllo.
T’ito Qosñipa was taken prisoner with a hundred of his Qanchi soldiers before the Inca ruler of the Empire. Wayna Qhapaq, knowing the reckless courage of the young warrior T’ito Qosñipa, seeing that he would be useful in his conquests, spared his life and made him marry a ñusta chosen by the Inca Qanchi in Cusco. His soldiers were also amnestied, they returned to their Qanchi tribe, with the promise of being loyal to the empire. But the ears of the hundred Qanchi soldiers were cut off. Since then they have been called mottoqanchis.
In the future, in the conquest of more Inca territories towards Ecuador by Wayna Qhapaq; This warrior T’ito Qosñipa fought with the brave Cañaris. For the triumph of the imperial Inca, two thousand Cañaris warriors of the imperial guard were brought, escorting the victorious Wayna Qhapaq. Some of these brave Cañaris warriors were also taken to the Qanchis tribe by T’ito Qosñipa; For this reason, the surname Cañari also exists today in Pomacanchi.
According to local stories, before their ears were cut off, the Qanchi soldiers of T’ito Qosñipa danced the dance of the Qanchis, by order of the imperial Inca. This dance called Qanchi Tusuy is currently practiced in Cusco, especially by the Qanchis of the 19th century. From that date they bore the nickname of Mot’oqanchis, the soldiers of the Inca Qanchi. But since colonial times, Mot’oqanchi has remained the surname, currently the offspring of such a brave warrior, we find Mottoccanchi in the ayllu of Qanchoqa, District of Pomacanchi.

HOW TO GET TO WAQRAPUKARA?

There are three routes to get to Waqrapukara from the city of Cusco:

  • Route through Sangarará: The trip by car starts from Cusco and ends in the town of Sangarará (2 hours 30 minutes trip). Then there is a 15-kilometer walk (between 2 to 3 hours) to Waqrapukara. The return path is the same.
  • Route through Huayqui: This route is preferred by tourists and tourism agencies to the peasant community of Huayqui (approximately 3-hour trip). From here begins a walk for approximately 7.5 kilometers. This route on foot takes 1 hour 30 minutes.
  • Route through Santa Lucía: This route also follows the route south of Cusco until arriving at the peasant community of Santa Lucía (approximately 3-hour trip). From there begins the 2-hour walk to Waqrapukara. Much of these routes follow Inca trails and ancient pre-Hispanic trails.

WHERE IS THE WAQRAPUKARA ARCHAEOLOGICAL SITE LOCATED

This archaeological complex is located in the district of Pomacanchi, province of Acomayo, department of Cusco. It rises over 4,300 meters above sea level, at the top of a huge ravine covered with forests that crown the abysses that lead to the canyon of the river. of Apurimac.

WHY IS IT NAMED WAQRAPUKARA?

The original name of Waqrapukara is “Llaqtapukara”; it seems that this name was being lost over time in colonial times and the name waqrapukara was given by a group of mestizo intellectuals who plan to recover the archaeological remains and clean up this place, they gave that name because the two natural towers had shape of the horn of a cattle, In the Pre Inca and Inca times there were no cattle, so it is impossible that they have given it the name Waqrapukara. Rather lately the careful observers have found the image of the llama, in truth we can find the image of the head with its respective neck; the two natural towers are the ears of the auquénido and not of a bovine, these characters who visualized the aforementioned image are Mr. Odilón Cruz and Mr. Lucio Delgado Figueroa.

WHAT IS THE WEATHER LIKE ON THE ROAD TO WAQRAPUKARA?

The climate is varied according to the zone, in the part of the Interandean Valley a warm temperate climate is felt that reaches 22° and in the Mountain part a cold and dry climate is felt that reaches 20° and the minimum of -4 ° in the frosty season.

HOW IS THE WAQRAPUKARA ARCHAEOLOGICAL COMPLEX DESIGNED?

Archaeologist Miguel Colque Enríquez, in 2008, began his research work in Waqrapukara and divided it into sectors as follows:
SECTOR I:
Main square, also called main terrace, is “the highest part of the complex, it extends to the foot of the natural towers, where the beautiful walls are adapted to the topography of the land, thus achieving 06 varied wide embankments of 9 m, average. In the upper part there are rectangular open spaces, which are arranged according to squares, and each space is interconnected by means of passages. It is important to note that these structures are associated with and appropriate to the existing rock outcrop.

  • LA PLAZA.- It is a singular attraction due to the views that it has. Intipunku, a magnificent cover, made of beautiful Inca ashlars. Dimensions of 2 meters high, 1 meter wide.
  •  VIEWPOINT.- It is a small observation window. It is a reason worthy of admiration.
  •  NORTH-EAST BUILDINGS.- It has trapezoidal niches, with a double jamb, on the right two niches with a single jamb.
  • SACRED ENCLOSURE OF THE GOD WIRAQOCHA.- The priestly hall is found, three niches; Next to the room that has been described, facing East, there is an almost square plaza, in whose area there is a very interesting altar, both for its shape and for its magnitudes.
  • GREAT ALTAR.- In the middle of a wide wall there is a niche with three jambs, its shape is trapezoidal. It has all the characteristics of a sacred place and the niche reveals that it was to worship some symbol that the faith of the believers maintained, perhaps for hundreds of years.
  • TOWER.- At the South and North-East ends of the fortress esplanade stand two natural towers, modeled by the action of the temple, they have a circular shape and are very high, in relation to the main terrace. It does not have access anywhere, because the abysmal sensation overwhelms and dwarfs the human spirit; but it is possible to suppose that the ancient lookouts perched on these strategic observation sites, for the same reason that they were so skilled tightrope walkers, they went up and down with great alacrity, to watch over the fortress and guard against a possible assault.

SECTOR II:
It is located in the middle part of the rock formation immediately below Sector I. It is the sector with the greatest architectural evidence, formed by retaining walls, and its artificial platforms, adapted in a sinuous way following the capricious formations of the geomorphology.

SECTOR III:
Located to the SE of sectors I and II, lower part, it corresponds to a small rectangular platform oriented from E. to W, in which the main entrance to the archaeological complex is evidenced.

The best time to visit Peru is during the dry season, between May and November, when the weather is dry and bright, with more frequent rainfall occurring between November and April.

JANUARY Warm - Heavy Rain
FEBUARY Warm - Heavy Rain
MARCH Warm - Heavy Rain
APRIL Warm - Light Rain
MAY Hot
JUNE Hot
JULY Hot
AUGUST Hot
SEPTEMBER Hot - Warm
OCTOBER Hot - Warm
NOVEMBER Warm - Light Rain
DECEMBER Warm - Heavy Rain

PRICE & AVAILABILITY

MAR 2022 - DEC 2023 Price from
$ 180 USD Per Person $ 199 USD
Note

To book this tour, a minimum of $ 180 USD per person is required, the remaining balance will be paid upon arrival in Peru, at the Cusco office.

Any other additional information, please coordinate with your travel agent.

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What our clients say about us

  • "Everything was perfect, from the office to the super Guide, Juve he was very careful with us ! Thank you! Raccomandatet!"

    Gino Di Tullio
    TREK TO WAQRAPUKARA RUINS  1 DAY
  • " A agência tem preço competitivo e cumpriu exatamente com tudo que foi combinado. O guia da trilha foi excelente. Muito conhecimento sobre a cultura Inca, muito divertido, ótimo fotógrafo!
    I made the short Inca trail 2D / 1N and Vinicunca (Rainbow Mountain) with them. The price is competitive and the agency has exactly matched everything that was agreed. The guide of the trail was excellent, he has a lot of knowledge about Inca culture, he is a lot of fun and a great photographer! "

    Cris G
    TREK TO WAQRAPUKARA RUINS  1 DAY
  • " We had Elmer as our guide and his knowledge about the culture, the ancient traditions and the trail itself is wide and deep at the same time. He was a pleasant and fun company throughout. His team of porters and Chef. Chino were amazingly hospitable in-spite of the strenuous trek. Always smiling and eager to serve. Our camping sites had the perfect view every single evening. We had rented the sleeping bags and trekking poles from them and all were in good condition. Tents were nice and warm as well. The food was something we did not expect at all. "

    Meena
    TREK TO WAQRAPUKARA RUINS  1 DAY
  • " Great coordination from Miriam starting with orientation meeting and individualized attention via whatsapp. The hike to MP from km 104 was tough but lovely and Javier was a great guide with humor and knowledgeable. After 11km hiking we arrived to the Sun gate around 2pm and went down for the 1st visit to MP. Dinner in Aguas Calientes and early wake up to enter MP at 6am which was still very peaceful. It cannot get much better. great vale for money! "

    David D
    TREK TO WAQRAPUKARA RUINS  1 DAY
  • " Amazing trek to Machu Picchu, with very knowledgeable guide and amazing Porter team! Beautiful views, great food, and good times!"

    Jeremy C
    TREK TO WAQRAPUKARA RUINS  1 DAY
  • " We made the 2d/1n trip to Machu Picchu this was very worth. Our Guide Osman was very friendly and kind. During the trek he explained us the landscape, flowers and the history of the ruins very interesting. We can really recomand this trip for the people who don't like to do the long trek. Many thanks to Osman for the wonderful hike! "

    Melanie U
    TREK TO WAQRAPUKARA RUINS  1 DAY
  • " We feel the genuine and warmth welcome of the city and the people in it, as if they treat us like family (especially our porters and our guide Alex). We are deeply grateful for all the help and patience they've extended to reach out to us. And forever grateful for the life's lessons learned and the experience. This adventure for sure will made an imprint in our hearts and in our life's journey, that we are very much willing to share it with our own family, friends and love ones. "

    Czarina 23
    TREK TO WAQRAPUKARA RUINS  1 DAY
  • " To be honest, at the very end I would have gone thru the whole experience a million times without changing anything at all. Also, returning to Cusco wasn't hard, train was booked and transfer bus was there to pick us up on time. The overall experience, amazing. "

    Dacil A
    TREK TO WAQRAPUKARA RUINS  1 DAY

Why travel with Andean Great Treks

TREK TO WAQRAPUKARA RUINS  1 DAY
LOCALLY INSPIRED, DELICIOUS FLAVOURS
There is something magical about artisanal farming in the Andes. The rich soils and unique climate give products an otherwise unattainable flavor. Our chefs serve local and international food. With unparalleled views of the fabulous Andean Mountains, amid the highland forests from your table, you’ll enjoy delicious gourmet food and new spins on classic Peruvian favorites. We use only local produce and fresh ingredients.
TREK TO WAQRAPUKARA RUINS  1 DAY
OUR PASSIONATE TOUR GUIDES
Unlock the secrets of Peru’s most iconic adventure destination. Our team is passionate about making sure your experiences are unique —some thrilling, some relaxing, all awe-inspiring. Our private guides will let you explore the Andes and rainforest at your own pace, stopping for a snack if you’re hungry, or racing to the top of a hill if you’re up to it.
TREK TO WAQRAPUKARA RUINS  1 DAY
YOUR SAFETY OUR PRIORITY
We work with certified guides, the latest high-tech equipment and satellite communication, to guarantee your safety every step on the trail. Each year we do the course of rescue and first aid with all our hiking team (guides, cooks, horsemen, drivers). The course is comprehensive and practical, including all of the essential principles and skills required to assess and manage medical problems in isolated and extreme environments.
TREK TO WAQRAPUKARA RUINS  1 DAY
ENVIRONMENTAL SENSITIVITY
We have deep love and respect for our Mother Earth or Pachamama since we are a 100% Cusco company. We know the importance of our Andean culture, and like good children of the earth, we do everything possible to avoid contamination.
TREK TO WAQRAPUKARA RUINS  1 DAY
CAMPING EQUIPMENT
It’s essential to have the best equipment when you’re walking in the mountains. Due to the constant climate changes in the region, we use tents suitable for all four seasons.
TREK TO WAQRAPUKARA RUINS  1 DAY
SMALL GROUPS & BIG ADVENTURES
With a maximum group size is 8 on most tours, it feels more like traveling with friends than being on an organized tour. You'll meet like-minded people where everyone is guaranteed to share a passion for travel.

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