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Waqrapukara travel guide

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If your ideal is to be able to see new places and hiking to discover new places is on your list, go for Waqrapukara. This place, which has rock formations in the shape of antlers, is ready to welcome you. Here we tell you a little more about this magical place:

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Waqrapukara, short explanation

Waqrapukara is an archaeological site located in the province of Acomayo in the city of Cusco - Peru. Travelers recently discovered it because the hike isn't too intense, yet it offers views of the surrounding canyons. Its historical and architectural importance is due to the fact that it contains formations and geological structure of stones that, according to historians, date back to times even before the Incas.
Its name, as we mentioned before, comes from Quechua words: "waqra" means "horn" and "pukara" means "fortress." You may wonder, why the hell? Well, the main rock formation resembles a pair of horns. This place can make us notice that the Incas had deep respect for nature.

History of Waqrapukara

This archaeological site experienced some changes and stages of development and population during its history. History lovers believe that it played an important role during the time of the Incas, as they suggest it served as both an administrative and religious center. The historian Luis Barreda Murillo says that the first community or ethnic group to be able to occupy this place was probably the Qanchis around the year 2500 BC. In this period, Waqrapukara was a center of worship in honor of the god Teqsi Pachacamac Viracocha. Years later, this place came into the possession of the Incas.

Waqrapukara was also considered an administrative center, due to its strategic location. During the Inca period, there was a confrontation between the Qanchis (ancient settlers of the area) against Wayna Qapaq (Inca representative) since the Qanchis considered that the collection of tributes was too much, they paid in the form of fabrics. The leader of this rebellion, called Ttito Qosñipa, fought and finally, after offering resistance for several months, took refuge in Waqrapukara. Scholars believe that while taking refuge and hiding in the area, he began to build the two stone towers serving as surveillance centers. They then established Waqrapukara as an official sanctuary for worshiping the Sun god. The place gained recognition as a Cultural Heritage of the Nation on July 17, 2017, highlighting its historical and cultural significance.

Where is Waqrapukara?

Waqrapukara is located in the Acos district of the Acomayo province in the department of Cusco. This region has always been recognized for its history and cultural wealth. Being on the top of a small hill makes it an even more important place as it offers one of the best views of the valley.

What is the height of Waqrapukara?

Waqrapukara is located at approximately an altitude of 4,300 meters above sea level / 14,107 feet. This altitude is considered since it is higher than that of Cusco. If you are thinking about doing this one-day trek, we recommend that you acclimatize a couple of days before starting this tour.

From Cusco - how far is it?

Waqrapukara is located approximately 61.7 km / 38.3 miles from the city of Cusco. Being far from Cusco, almost 3 and a half hours away, gives it a greater and special touch since you will not have the inconvenience of walking among large groups of people or bumping into many travelers.

The route to Waqrapukara

This hike is actually considered easy-moderate. Although it is true that it is located at a considerable altitude, it is an easy walk. You will walk through this archaeological center for approximately 2 and a half hours. The route is flat, without many steep climbs but offers a magnificent view of the valley canyons, adjacent lagoons and the green mountains that surround them. The perfect place to take photos while you walk, don't forget to charge your cell phone, bring a good camera and let the photos begin!

What can we see while we walk?

Lagoons

You will be able to see the surrounding lagoons, which are natural places with bright colors. You can take the opportunity to take some photographs or appreciate the birds that live in that ecosystem.

Paintings

In part of this path you can see cave paintings in the form of llamas or camelids that date back thousands and thousands of years.

Landscape beauty

Without a doubt, one of the best parts of the hike is the beauty that the area offers. It is located in a beautiful valley that shows the best of the Andean scene.

Flora and fauna

Without a doubt, the added bonus to the landscape beauty are the plants and flowers in the area. Some representative animals are the huallatas and the Andean seagulls and there you can see the enigmatic condor and the largest hummingbird the “Huascar Quente”.

In this area, the ichu is the most representative plant since, being high, it is the only plant that can be seen in the area.

Climate and Temperature in Waqrapukara

This place, which is located at the height, includes the characteristic climate of the Cusco region. It has the two classic seasons between May and October, which are in the dry period, and between the months of November and April, in the rainy period. There are many winds, so it is recommended that you be very warm at least at night.

Finally, temperatures can have a maximum of 19 degrees Celsius and a minimum of -6 degrees on the coldest and harshest nights.

Other activities you can do

Waqrapukara Festival

This is a festival that is carried out as a cultural activity that was promoted by the regional government of the area. This festival promotes folklore encounters and revalues ​​the culture of the area. During this festival the legend between the Qanchis and the Incas is staged. This festival is celebrated in August.

Mountain biking

The area lends itself to cycling and you can take advantage of riding a bicycle towards your visit to the archaeological center of Waqrapukara.

Kayak

In the lagoons near the area, you can Kayak. These waters are calm and it is not an activity considered risky.

Tour a Waqrapukara

If you are looking for a quiet but enjoyable trek, this is the one for you!
We'll start your day bright and early around 6:00 am, picking you up from your accommodation ready for some adventure. Our first stop is Cusipata where we'll have our breakfast at a local restaurant, enjoying the best of the andean cuisine.

Filled with this amazing meal, we can continue with our day. Next stop will be Acomayo, a charming village perfect to stop and buy some snacks, sunblock or items that maybe we forget to pack. From here, we will continue for another 30 minutes to the starting point of our trek, denominated as: Rinconada. It is located at 3800 meters above sea level.

Ready for the adventure, we will enjoy the nature and stunning views of the mountains, placed into the Apurimac Canyon. Hearing some singing birds and feeling the pure breeze, we will continue walking through the rock formations which indicates that our goal is near!

As we continue, we can see Waqrapucara!
This site, during the Inca times, held significant religious and likely defensive importance. Its strategic location includes a steep cliff which suggests it might have served defensive purposes.
After exploring the beauty of Waqrapucara, we'll start our steps back. For lunch time, we will stop near this area to have a picnic and enjoy our dishes.

After this delightful meal, it's time to head back to Cusco, wrapping up our day full of incredible sights and a memorable trek through this breathtaking landscape.

WHAT TO PACK?

  • Original passport
  • Small Backpack
  • Sun block
  • Sun glasses
  • Water bottle
  • Snacks
  • Rain poncho (rainy season)
  • Extra money
  • Camera
  • Power bank

WHAT SHOULD I WEAR?

  • Trekking pants
  • Fleece
  • Insulated jacket
  • Sneakers
  • Shirt
  • Sun hat

After visiting this beautiful archaeological center, we are sure that you will want to extend your stay in Cusco, right?

 

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