Huchuy Qosqo Trek: an option from Cusco to Machu Picchu

One ​​of the most spectacular tours is the Huchuy Qosqo Trek. Entering the Sacred Valley through the mountains that surround it is a unique event. That’s not all, since following this path you can reach one of the seven wonders. Machu Picchu will be the end point of an extraordinary adventure through Tambomachay and Huchuy Qosqo, the latter being the third most important destination after Pisac and Ollantaytambo, due to the good condition of its buildings.

Huchuy Qosqo Trek
Huchuy Qosqo Trek

1. From the Sacred Valley to Machu Picchu

There are different alternatives for this tour that takes you through the Sacred Valley to Machu Picchu, from the most adventurous to the most relaxing. This time we will talk about a new route that is understood as an intermediate one. It starts from the high areas of the valley to end in the Cusco jungle. Although it has little popularity, it is an important destination for Cusco history and archeology due to the remains found in Huchuy Qosqo.

This tour includes a not very long hiking trail, just 17 kilometers long. It makes it essential for those who don’t have much time or want to enjoy good views from the heights of the valley. It is also an option for traveling with children and the elderly.

The landscapes that can be seen are different, depending on the route, but all of them are spectacular. We can find panoramic views just by taking a look in the distance, since you can see the Andes Mountains and some other nearby snow-covered peaks. These natural attractions are like the icing on the cake due to their majesty.

In case, you decide to follow this tour, you have to keep in mind that what is mentioned is not all that you will be able to see. During the Huchuy Qosqo Trek, you can see mountain peaks, such as Pitusiray, Sawasiray, La Verónica and Chicón, archaeological remains and a great variety of animals and plants. Until, finally, flowing into the Cusco jungle and then ascending to Machu Picchu.

Enjoy this adventure, managing to reach the Sanctuary of Machu Picchu as very few do. Visit places of history, culture and beautiful landscapes as there are only in the Sacred Valley. Let’s learn a little about the history of Huchuy Qosqo and see the itineraries of each day to recognize the different activities that make up this trek.

During another visit you can visit the Lamay district, from that point you can access different trekking activities, experiential tourism, private guides among other activities.


2. Huchuy Qosqo, what will we see?

This trek has its name thanks to the fact that one of the main destinations is Huchuy Qosqo. Some of the attractions that we will see in this enclosure are difficult to find in other places. Let’s take a closer look at its particularities.

This site is located at an altitude of 3,550 meters above sea level, exactly on a plateau, in the highlands of Lamay in the province of Calca.

According to some chroniclers, this complex was built so that the Inca Wiracocha, in his old age, would have a place to rest and be able to get away from political problems or from the city itself, which he surely already It was formed in the capital of the ancient Inca empire. These constructions date from 1420 AD

What does Huchuy Qosqo mean? In a Spanish translation, it can be understood as “small Cusco”. Another name it may have is due to the height at which it is located, exactly 800 meters above the Sacred Valley, for this reason, some call it Qaqyaqhawana. Which can be understood as “Lightning point” or “Place where you can see the rays”.

Now we would have to ask ourselves What is the archaeological complex of Huchuy Qosqo like? Inside this complex you can appreciate the wonderful construction they did, modifying the earth , with its platforms, taking advantage of the edges and natural precipices. All this to shape the ceremonial esplanades. An important point is a structure with three levels and many loose enclosures and located as viewpoints of the Sacred Valley.

The distribution of the buildings is quite similar to those found in the city of Cusco. Hence, the first name we mention. Most of these constructions still resist the inclement weather and telluric movements. All this makes this destination a must.

Huchuy Qosqo Archaeological Site
Huchuy Qosqo Archaeological Site

3. Huchuy Qosqo Trek 3 days

First day

  • The tour begins with the departure from Cusco in the direction of Tambomachay, where the hiking trail begins.
  • The walk begins along a fairly rugged route because you can already understand the landscape of the Puna with a large amount of ichu or straw. Likewise, you can see some quinoa plantations.
  • Continue along the Queulloca route (4,185 masl), where you can see a lake with the same name. From this point you can already see the snow-capped peaks of Veronica, Sawasiray, Chicón and Pitusiray.
  • The walk continues and ascends a large part of the Challu Challu mountain (4,220 masl). After a few minutes of walking we came to appreciate the Cordillera del Vilcanota. This will be the lunch point.
  • You will cross a stone quarry that was used to build Huchuy Cusco. Finally, we descend to the community of Pucamarca, where we spend the night.
The snowy Verónica had many names. The original would be “Waynawilca” (Sacred Young Woman). After the defeat of Manco Inca after his attempted resistance. The inhabitants began to call the snow-capped mountain “Wakaywilca” (Sacred Tear). The Spanish, upon learning of this name and coinciding with the Spanish myth of “Llorona Verónica”, began to call her that way.

Second day

  • The second day begins descending the route from Pucamarca to the Barranco de León Punku. Here are remains of the Qhapac Ñan or “Inca Trails” and of an Inca bridge.
  • After this destination, you reach the midpoint of this Trek, you arrive at Huchuy Cusco. Here a guided tour is carried out, through all the attractions of the place.
  • After lunch we begin the walk to Lamay. Once in Lamay, continue to Ollantaytambo, where you take the train to Aguas Calientes. Here you can enjoy the local thermal baths and some walks through the town.
  • In Aguas Calientes you will spend the night.

Third day

  • The third day of this tour begins after breakfast and heading to Machu Picchu. Let’s remember that optionally you can take a bus (12 US dollars).
  • The ascent route to Machu Picchu on foot lasts approximately 2 hours. While by bus the time is approximately half an hour.
  • A guided tour of all its sanctuaries is offered at the Inca citadel.
  • If you have a reservation to go to the mountain of Huayna Picchu, you can visit it without any problem.
  • Finally we return to Aguas Calientes, then to Ollantaytambo to return to the imperial city of Cusco.

4. What items are needed?

  • Identity document or passport.
  • Comfortable clothing for hiking.
  • A jacket
  • Raincoat.
  • Swimwear.
  • Towels
  • Toiletries.
  • Sunscreen
  • Mosquito repellent.
  • Comfortable shoes.
Huchuy Qosqo Trek Trail
Huchuy Qosqo Trek Trail

5. Frequently asked questions

  • a) How high is Huchuy Qosqo?

    Huchuy Qosqo, this is at an approximate height of 3,550 masl.

  • b) What is the weather like in Huchuy Qosqo?

    The weather in Huchuy Qosqo during the morning is temperate and cold. It reaches temperatures 22°C or 71.6 °F. While at night it drops, even reaching 0°C. or 32°F.

  • c) Huchuy Qosqo, without a tour?

    The Huchuy Qosqo Trek to Machupicchu can be done without a tour guide, taking into account the forecasts of the case. However, it is recommended to access a tourist package, for security reasons.

  • d) What does the Huchuy Qosqo Trek include?

    The Huchuy Qosqo Trek includes private transportation in specific places, tour guide, hiking equipment, camping equipment, muleteers to load luggage, food, and entrance fees to archaeological sites.

  • e) How much does it cost to do the Huchuy Qosqo Trek?

    The Huchuy Qosqo tour 3 days and two nights, costs approximately 450 US dollars per person. The price varies according to the services they offer.

  • f) When to go to Huchuy Qosqo?

    The Huchuy Qosqo trek is recommended to be done during the months of April to October, due to the low probability of rain.

  • g) Can you take the Huchuy Qosqo tour with children?

    The Huchuy Qosqo Trek is one of the simplest. Children can access this tour without any problem. While older adults should consult a doctor.

  • h) Is it necessary to acclimatize to go to Huchuy Qosqo?

    Yes, to avoid general discomfort or dizziness during the journey. It is recommended at least one day before starting the trek in Cusco.

  • i) What other places are close to Huchuy Qosqo?

    Near Huchuy Qosqo, is Pisac and Ollantaytambo.

  • j) Do you require training prior to the Huchuy Qosqo Trek?

    Huchuy Qosqo Trek, does not require specialized training, it will be enough to do previous training a week before.

  • k) Are there private tours for the Huchuy Qosqo Trek?

    Yes, you just have to contact your trusted tourism agency.

 

By Imachupicchu – Last updated, November 30, 2022


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