Huchuy Qosqo 2 days | 1 night
Huchuy Qosqo, previously known as Kakya Qawani, means “Little Cusco”. The site is located north of the city and rests at an elevation of 3600 meters (11,800 feet) above sea level, close to the town of Lamay (3000 MASL) and the Sacred Valley. The site was named in the 20th century. Pedro de Cieza de León, in his Second Chronicle of Peru, claimed that the palaces found in Huchuy Qosqo were built by Viracocha, the Eighth Inca. Amongst the many impressive buildings - some stone, some adobe - is a kallanka (great hall) that is 40 meters long.
Hucuy Qosqo is inaccessible by public road. There are two main access points: one from Lamay, 3 hours' walk up a steep set of switchbacks; or from Tauca, which also takes around 3 hours to ascend to a 4400 meter pass, then trek mostly downhill, and includes an opportunity to visit some other ruins. The 2 day route from Tauca to Lamay is described in Peter Frost’s “Exploring the Cusco”. Two-day hikes or horseback trips to Huchuy Qosqo are also available.
The Huchuy Qosqo trek is the shortest and easiest of alternative treks to Machu Picchu.
DAY ONE: Cusco – Tambomachay - Pumamarca
We begin in Cusco at 6:00 AM by driving 30 minutes to Tambomachay (3700 MASL). Our hike progresses along the ancient Inca Trail used by the Inca people to connect with the Sacred Valley, Pisac and probably also to Machu Picchu. Panoramas of Cusco are readily visible along the way. At this altitude, we observe alpacas and llamas grazing on the Andean grass named Ichu, small cacti and some bromeliad bushes known here as Puyas. At the left side of the path, we can also see ancient Inca terraces used by farmers in order to gain more arable land for potatoes.
We will walk down to the trail, then it curves sharply uphill to reach a pass of near 4180 MASL. When we reach the top of the pass Queullococha Lake comes into view, after which the trail takes us up over a second pass (4300 MASL) and into the high open country. From here we can see another lake - Lake Qoricocha (Golden Lake) and after another 30 minutes we will reach our lunch spot. After eating, we continue our journey for 3 hours until we come to the highest point at 4380 MASL. From this height, it is easy to see Chincheros, lake Piuray, and some snow-capped sacred mountains such as Salkantay and Veronica. It is a one and a half walk downhill to Pucamamarca, where we make our camp for the night.
DAY TWO: Pumamarca – Huchuyqosqo – Chinchero - Cusco
We wake up at 6:00 AM, and after having breakfast leave our campsite for the 1 hour walk towards Huchuy Qosqo. It is a gentle walk to the end of the valley, and we will walk through Leon Punku, a narrow canyon, along a recently restored trail with wooden bridges and some stairs. Here there is an abundance of native trees and bushes, and we enjoy panoramic views of Lamay Valley, Calca, and the sacred river of the Incas, Willcamayo. The Inca site of Huchuy Qosqo (3450 MASL), has been recently restored by archaeologists. From this point there is a clear view of many beautiful mountains such as Chicon, Pitusiray, Sawasiray, Waccaywilca and Veronica - ancient Apus (mountain spirits), respected and venerated by the locals most of whom are Quechuas (Inca descendents). We will have a two hour guided tour through this interesting Inca complex. Afterwards, we continue hiking for around 3 hours to our lunch spot, then continue on until we reach Lamay, where we board our private bus back to Cusco.
- Transportation: Cusco – Tambo Machay
- Tickets: entrance to Huchuy Qosqo
- Guide: professional English/Spanish speaking
- Horses: to carry tents and cooking equipment
- Horses: to carry personal equipment (max. 6 kilos per person)
- Cook: in charge of meal preparation
- Meals: 1 breakfast, 2 lunches, 2 dinners, snacks
- Equipment: tents (2 people x tent) dinner tent, biodegradable bathroom tent, kitchen tent, tables and chairs, table settings, first aid kit, oxygen bottle
- Transportation back to Cusco from Lamay
Breakfast on the first morning
Sleeping bag rated to -15C - you can rent one for $20 USD
Travel and health insurance
Tips for your staff
We recommend you to bring:
- A backpack with a change of clothes for the whole period of the trek
- Rain jacket or poncho (plastic ponchos can be purchased in Cusco)
- Sturdy footwear, ideally trekking or sport shoes
- Snacks: biscuits, energy bars, chocolate, fruits, muesli, etc
- Flashlight and batteries
- Toilet paper
- Camera, film and batteries (batteries drain more quickly under cold
- Hat suitable to protect against the sun, rain and cold
- Insect repellent, minimum recommended 20%