SALKANTAY TREK

The magic of snowy Salkantay – CUSCO – PERU

The snowy Salkantay (Wild Mountain), is one of the highest mountains in the Cusco region, along with the snowy Ausangate in the Vilcanota mountain range which is located further south, this snowy has two types of peaks, which years ago they had some differences between them, but today after the collapse of the Serac to the WEST of the snowy mountain, it shows that both tops are really identical. SALKANTAY TREK INFORMATION

The summit to the WEST is slimmer
While the summit located to the EAST, it is slightly higher when it is crowned by a SERAC (large block of ice fragmented by important cracks in a glacier).
During the way towards the snowy Salkantay, you will be able to witness the excellent flora, among it you will find the famous Orchids that are very beautiful and colorful adorning the landscape.
Location:
The snowy Salkantay or Salkantay is a snowy mountain in Peru, located in the Vilcabamba Mountain Range, in the Santa Teresa district, La Convencion province, Cusco Department. This beautiful snow-capped mountain rises to 6264 m. n. m.

 

inca trail to machu picchu

TREKS TO MACHU PICCHU: SHORT INCA TRAIL

The Inca road – Qhapaq Ñan

The impressive Inca road network had an initial length of 60,000 km and linked territories of the current nations of Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Chile and Argentina. 39,000 kilometers survive to this day. The Inca trail to Machu Picchu is one of the best engineering works, made entirely by hand, unaware of the existence of the wheel or iron. Ironically, it may have also sped up the invasion process; The Spanish were able to reach all corners of the empire.

The Incas knew one or two things about water
Machu Picchu is the amazing Inca city of Machu Picchu that is visited by around 3,000 people per day, it is built in the middle of two mountains and is one of the most energetic places on the planet, but there is something that most people do not know; the wonder does not end with constructions such as the temple of the sun or the temple of the Condor, the wonder continues below. Machu Picchu was built on complex systems of channels, drainage and underground irrigation, preventing the intense rainforests of the Amazon rainforest from damaging its more than 150 structures, its agricultural terraces on the slopes of the mountain, or the network of roads that reached she.
The complex canal system and Inca road drainage
This same amazing way of draining water was used on the Inca trail and has allowed it to be maintained to this day. In almost all the Inca constructions you can see a true exhibition of the great dimension and compression that the Incas had of the water, and how they applied it when building their cities, roads and others. Every year, water destroys hundreds of modern roads. But the Inca road network has been maintained for hundreds of years, in most cases without any maintenance. INCA TRAIL

characteristics
The Inca trail, like Machu Picchu, was built taking into account the probability of the intense earthquakes that sporadically occur in this territory. This small detail has made engineers and architects obsess, when they study them seeking to benefit from that knowledge.

Sustainability is the key to success and the Incas knew this very well; They paid attention to every detail of local conditions, used local materials and avoided at all costs altering the natural landscape, “the amazing natural landscape” of the Inca trail to Machu Picchu.

Steps were built in the steepest places to dissipate the energy of the water and counteract erosion; At high altitudes, they paved the road with rocks to protect the surface from ice and snowfall. If the path was to have supporting walls, there were holes that allowed water to drain.

The Inca trail is part of nature
Sustainability is claimed to have been the key to success in making the journey last. Ramiro Matos is the chief curator of the exhibition, he is a native of the Quechua language and grew up traveling the Inca road network.

The Incas were concerned with preserving the environment by making the road part of nature. “This path is not just a physical route, it is a cosmological route and it is considered alive.” Ramiro Matos says.

The Kallawaya (itinerant healers) use the Inca path to recycle their energy; They say that “the Inca way has a spirit.”

The capital of the Inca empire was Cusco, all roads started from this city; the routes and sacred places were marked with Huacas. He finished Huaca or Waca gathers all the sacred places for the Incas; temples, shrines, tombs, and others of nature, extremely beautiful.

Unesco declared the Inca road network as a World Heritage Site in 2014 and many of its sections are still traveled by people from the many ethnic groups in the vast Andes region.

The Incas are remembered for their special predilection for human sacrifice, including some children; And although we know that their environmentalist side does not take away certain negative characteristics, we have to recognize the genius of the Incas to carry out constructions such as the Inca road network.

 

inca trail

INCA TRAIL: CLASSIC ROUTE TO MACHU PICCHU

The ways of the Inca (Qhapac Ñan)

The Incas covered much of the South American continent. To maintain communication in such a vast territory, it was necessary to build a network of roads. Thus, the Inca ordered to build a network of roads called Qhapac Ñan (Inca Trail).

The Qhapac Ñan managed to cover up to 30 thousand kilometers from the current countries of Peru, Ecuador and part of Bolivia, Chile, Argentina and Colombia. The trekking route from the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu is only a small part of the extensive network of roads of the Qhapac Ñan.

The Inca Trail to Machu Picchu

The Inca Trail was revealed to the world in 1915 when it was being excavated in the Inca City. Three decades later, the route was traced by the Viking expedition in 1942. Today, thousands of visitors decide to travel the 43 kilometers to the ‘Puerta del Sol’ in Machu Picchu.

However, Machu Picchu is not the only archaeological site that you will see on the Inca Trail. On the tour you will also appreciate the ruins of Llactapata, the archaeological site of Runkurakay, Saycamarca, Phuyupatamarca and Wiñaywayna.

There are trains and buses that can take you directly to Machu Picchu. However, the experience of arriving as the Incas did for centuries is unmatched.

Versions of the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu

Not all people have the necessary days to travel the Inca Trail (4 days and 3 nights). That is why there are 2 versions depending on the time you have:

Classic Inca Trail: 4 days and 3 nights (43 kilometers of walking).

Short Inca Trail: 2 days and 1 night (12 kilometer walk).

How is the tour of the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu?

The Inca Trail shows rugged geographies with ascents and descents next to cliffs. The mountains reach great heights with rugged stretches. In the jungle areas you will see the variety of shades of green tropical forests.

Day 1: Cusco – Wayllabamba (13 kilometers)

The Inca Trail begins at kilometer 82 of the railway that leads to Machu Picchu (2 hours and 30 minutes by bus from the city of Cusco). Then the ascent to the Cusichaca valley will begin. The visitor will visit the ruins of Llactapata (2,840 masl) until reaching the town of Huayllabamba (3,057 masl).

Day 2: Wayllabamba – Pacaymayo (11 kilometers)

The second day is the most difficult due to physical demand. The tourist will ascend to the Warmiwañuska (‘Dead Woman’s Pass’). This is the highest point of the route (4,215 masl). From this point it is possible to see the Runkurakay archaeological site (3,760 masl).

Day 3: Pacaymayo – Wiñay Huayna (16 kilometers)

The third day the descent will be dizzying to the Pacaymayo river valley. The section goes down a steep slope of almost 1,600 meters to the Sayaqmarca compound (3,625 masl). Here the view is extraordinary.

Day 4: Wiñay Huayna – Machu Picchu (3 kilometers)

The last day hides some of the best Inca samples: Phuyupatamarka, Wiñaywayna. Upon leaving these ruins, a gradual descent will be undertaken which will become more complicated in the end. Finally, you will arrive at Intipunku or Puerta del Sol. From there you will walk for another 30 minutes to the Lost City of the Incas, Machu Picchu.

After visiting Machu Picchu, the visitor returns to Cusco through a train and bus service. The duration of the trip is approximately 3 hours. These services are included in the tours to the Inca Trail.

During the 4 days of the Inca Trail you will experience fatigue and very low temperatures (between the Andes Mountains and the Amazon forests).

 

tours en cusco

ONRE DAY TOURS: Q´ESWACHACA AND WAQRAPUKARA

WAQRAPUKARA 

Waqrapukara Tour, is the archaeological monument located in Acos, Acomayo province in Cuzco, which has been declared a National Cultural Heritage by the Vice Minister of Cultural Property. This Inca monument is located on the slopes of Mount Kenter, has a privileged view of the Apurímac River and has two groups of buildings.

The first group is located at the top, in the middle of a rocky dam, where you can see two enclosures separated by a wide central space. The enclosures have halls, ornamental niches and doors with double jambs; its architecture seems to be similar to that of other ceremonial buildings.

The second enclosure is located at the bottom, and has 8 platforms 153 meters long and 1.80 meters high, which correspond to the topography of the terrain.

Some inhabitants of Acos also call it Llamapukara; and although its origins go back to pre-Inca times, its foundations were built by the Q’anchi, and the Inca construction was built during the sovereign period of the Tahuantinsuyo Wayna Qhapaq.

Waqrapukara: Hidden Trips to the Incas
However, the destination is gaining attention as a hidden gem for travelers seeking an alternative hiking and camping adventure.

Located in the Acomayo province, in the Pomacanchi district of Cusco, the name Waqrapukara means “horn-shaped fortress.”

Getting there involves a 2½-hour drive from Cusco to the town of Santa Lucía, and then a 2-hour walk.

Similar to Machu Picchu, the Inca ceremonial architecture at Waqrapukara combines the amazing stone masonry and spectacular natural formations.

Nestled sinuously along a rocky outcrop, built around two horn-shaped mountain peaks, the site features eight Inca terraces with retaining walls and stone staircases.

Qeswachaka Bridge Ritual

On the second Sunday of June, the Qeswachaka Bridge Reconstruction Festival is held in the town of Quehue.

Thanks to this tradition of Inca origin, the Qeswachaka suspension bridge has been maintained. This cooperative work is carried out by the communities of Huinchiri, Chaupibanda, Ccollana, Quehue and Pelcaro.

The renovation of the bridge is repeated year by year. The festival lasts 4 days and involves all the men and women of the towns involved.

First day

Qeswachaca Tour

informationAt dawn on the first day, the ‘Paqo’ (officiating the ceremony) celebrates the rite in favor of the te Apu tutelary Quinsallallawi ’. On the other hand, the ‘icchu’ (straw) was collected and stacked in advance by members of the 4 communities.The women of the communities who have the function of weaving the first soguilla or ‘qheswa’ actively participate in these activities.In the afternoon, the males divided into 2 groups gather over the sides of the bridges and spread the “queswas” in a straight line on the road.Finally the ropes are braided by the ‘Chakaruwac’ (Inca engineer) to assemble the ‘Qheswasca’ (major braid).Second dayOn the second day, the dismantling of the old ropes that support the bridge is carried out.Then we proceed to tie the new braids that will be thrown from one side of the bridge to the other for its assembly.In total 4 thick ropes are braided which serve as the base and railings for the bridge. The men who carry out this work have extensive experience and are respected by the rest of the community.Third dayThe third day continues with the assembly of the railings and the base of the bridge.Men must complete the work with great effort (and risk). According to Inca tradition, women should not cross or show themselves until the bridge has been installed. This due to the belief that women bring bad luck.After installing the Inca bridge of Qeswachaka, the inauguration proceeds with music, typical dances of the region, delicious typical dishes and alcoholic beverages.Fourth dayOn the fourth day (central day), the chakuruwacs finish weaving the bridge, securing the last fibers. Finally, a scream announces the end of the hard work.The last day there is a festival with typical dances of the region and sale of typical foods of Cusco.The bridge can already be used by tourists who come to the town to live the adventure of crossing the Qeswachaka bridge.

 

palcoyo mountain

Mountain of the Seven Colors of Palccoyo

Mountain of the Seven Colors of Palccoyo: weather, hours and tips
What is the weather like in the Mountain of the Seven Colors in Palccoyo?
Palccoyo Mountain has a cold climate due to its proximity to the snowy Ausangate. The temperature can drop below 0ºC. That is why, at some times of the year, the slopes are covered in snow.

What to see in the Palccoyo mountain?
In addition to being a natural attraction of incomparable beauty, the Mountain of the Seven Colors is the natural habitat of various types of animals such as llamas, alpacas, vizcachas, condors and more.

On the route that connects Cerro Colorado there is a forest of stones formed naturally millions of years ago. From there you can closely appreciate the beauty of the snowy Ausangate, the largest in Cusco.

What is the entry time?
Due to the cold weather, visits to the Seven Colors Mountain in Palccoyo are only in the morning and part of the afternoon. Hours of operation are 8 a.m. at 3 p.m.

When is the best time to visit the mountain?
The best time to visit the Mountain of the Seven Colors in Palccoyo is during the dry season (April to October). In those months, rains occur much less frequently, making the excursion easy.

Tips for traveling to the Mountain of the Seven Colors of Palccoyo
It is recommended to acclimatize to the climate of Cusco before visiting the Palccoyo Mountain. Otherwise, the visitor may suffer from the so-called altitude sickness.
This mountain is a tourist attraction that receives few visitors every day. It is recommended to follow the indicated route and avoid looking for a different path.
It is advisable to find out how the weather is in Palccoyo before booking a tour to the Mountain of the 7 Colors. The cold can cause the entire venue to be covered in snow and ruin the tour.
The trekking route up to this mountain is not as challenging as Vinicunca. That is why the Palccoyo is a great option for people who do not feel capable of doing the difficult trek to the 7 Colors Mountain.
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ONE DAY TOURS CUSCO – RAINBOW MOUNTAIN AND HUMANTAY LAKE

Trek to the Rainbow Mountain

7 Colors Mountain Tour – This picturesque summit used to be an attractive 4 day trek to the snowy Ausangate. Over the years, this mountain gained popularity on its own. Today, the most widespread way to visit this summit is through a tour. There are 1-day and 2-day services. Most include transportation, food, entrance fees and professional guide. In the city of Cuzco there are many tourism agencies offering these services.

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Traveling on your own? – It is also possible to visit the ‘Cerro Colorado’ on your own. For this, the visitor must take a bus to Sicuani from the city of Cuzco (2 hours and 40 minutes away). Once there, a bus is taken to the town of Quesiuno. Then a walk begins (you can also hire a horse ride) to the Mountain of the 7 Colors. The price of the entrance ticket is 10 soles.

Difficulty of the mountain – The 3 or 4 hour walk (depending on the tourist’s physical condition) is not dangerous and requires moderate-high physical effort. There are considerable sections of slopes up and down. However, one of the biggest difficulties is cold weather and icy wind. The altitude of the area can cause altitude sickness or soroche. A previous acclimatization of 1 or 2 days in the city of Cusco is recommended.

Recommendations – Spend a day or two acclimatizing in the city of Cusco. Take warm clothes to do the walk. If you do not consider yourself in good physical condition for the trek, rent a horse to one of the locals. On that day, don’t forget a hat or cap, sunscreen, jacket, pants, ideal shoes for trekking and a rain poncho. MORE INFORMATION OF RAINBOW MOUNTAIN

The Trek to the Humantay lagoon

Can I go to the lagoon on my own?

– Yes. To go to the lagoon on your own you must take public transportation from the city of Cusco to the town of Soraypampa. The buses leave from the ‘Arcopata’ terminal and cost approximately 15 Peruvian soles (5 USD).

Once in Soraypampa you must get a collective taxi service to the Soraypampa community. There are times when you will not find this transport so you must get a taxi. This service could cost 50 Peruvian soles (15 USD).

Finally, in Soraypampa you must make the walk to the Humantay lagoon. Due to the complexity of the trip by public transport, it is recommended to choose a tourist package with transport included. It can be cheaper and safer than going on your own.

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How much does the entrance to the lagoon cost?
– In the town of Mollepata you must pay to enter the Soraypampa camp where the lagoon is. The cost for foreign tourists is 10 Peruvian soles (3 USD). The cost for Peruvian tourists is 5 Peruvian soles (2 USD). Some tour packages include this entry while others do not.

How long does the walk last?
– The final section of the trip is the walk from Soraypampa to the Humantay lagoon. This section is approximately 2 kilometers long and can take from 1 to 2 hours, depending on the physical condition of the visitor. Tourists who are not used to this type of hiking can rent a horse as transportation to the lagoon. It is common for tourists to feel the symptoms of altitude sickness, whether in Cusco, Machu Picchu or Humantay.

How to rent a horse? How much?
– The residents of the Soraypampa community offer horse rental at the starting point of the trek to the Humantay lagoon. The service is only for the upstream section and has an approximate cost of 90 Peruvian soles negotiable (30 USD).

What kind of clothes to wear?
– Due to the cold climate of the Humantay lagoon, it is recommended to wear a warm jacket as well as gloves and chullo. Of course, during the walk wear light clothing since the visitor will inevitably perspire. A rain poncho is also important since it can rain at any time.

With which tourism agency to travel?
– In Cusco there are several tourism agencies that offer the 1-day tour to the Humantay lagoon. All services must include: full transportation, breakfast, lunch and tour guide service. Choose the tourism agency that meets your expectations. Remember that you can also contract the service through the website of the tourist agency.

Can I get a tour once in Cusco?
– Yes. Unlike the Inca Trail tours or the entrances to Machu Picchu, there is always availability for the tour to the Humantay lagoon. Therefore, you can get a tour to the lagoon once in Cusco, without any problem. MORE INFORMATION OF HUMANTAY LAKE

 

WAQRAPUKARA TOUR

Waqrapukara is declared a National Cultural Heritage

Waqrapukara is a new tourist attraction that remains almost unknown until today. The tour is suitable for those seeking a spirituality that is drowned in the sea of ​​commercial tours. Waqrapukara is a pre-Inca archaeological complex located in the Acomayo province within the Cusco region, near the Apurímac River. The main construction is located on platforms, squares and a so-called «Bosque de Piedras». From its height of 4,140 meters above sea level, it offers spectacular views of the Apurímac River and the Andes.

WAQRAPUKARA TOUR ITINERARY

Its name comes from Quechua, “waqra” means horn, while “pukara” means fortress. Therefore, the meaning of the name translates as a “horned fortress” given by its typical form. However, the locals also called it “Llamapukara”, as they claim that the shape does not represent horns, but ears of a lama.

It was built by the pre-Inca Qanchis culture in the period called “Auqaruna” (1,500 BC – 1,000 BC). During this period, the complex was a city called “Llaqta Pukara” and home to a leader of the Yankees. It also served as an astronomical observatory and sanctuary for the god “Teqci Pachakamaq Wiraqocha” (a creator of all created things). Subsequently, it was conquered by the Incas, who have molded the buildings to geography during the reign of Wayna Qhapaq. Then it became a first-class Inca sanctuary that symbolizes an immense political and religious power that has not yet been confused. In 2017, the complex was declared Cultural Heritage of the Nation by the Ministry of Culture of Peru.

Waqrapukara Archaeological Complex. Cultural Heritage of the Nation of 2017.

It was built by the Qinchas and later conquered by the Incas. The building is located on platforms, squares and a stone forest, it would be an Inca sanctuary. Waqrapukara has a privileged view of the Apurímac River.

Waqrapucara details

  1. Maximum Altitude: 4,140 meters / 13,580 feet
  2. Minimum Altitude: 3,096 meters / 10,157 feet
  3. Duration of the walk: 6 hours
  4. Trekking distance: 15 km / 9.3 miles
  5. Difficulty: Moderate
  6. Weather: Cold

Waqrapukara is the archaeological monument located in Acos, Acomayo province in Cuzco, which has been declared a National Cultural Heritage by the Vice Minister of Cultural Property. This Inca monument is located on the slopes of Mount Kenter, has a privileged view of the Apurímac River and has two groups of buildings.

The first group is located at the top, in the middle of a rocky dam, where you can see two enclosures separated by a wide central space. The enclosures have halls, ornamental niches and doors with double jambs; its architecture seems to be similar to that of other ceremonial buildings.

The second enclosure is located at the bottom, and has 8 platforms 153 meters long and 1.80 meters high, which correspond to the topography of the terrain.

Some inhabitants of Acos also call it Llamapukara; and although its origins go back to pre-Inca times, its foundations were built by the Q’anchi, and the Inca construction was built during the sovereign period of the Tahuantinsuyo Wayna Qhapaq. MORE CUSCO TOURS.