Was it a fortress? A sanctuary? An astronomic observatory? Theories abound about the purpose of Waqra Pukara, a massive, horn-shaped Inca site standing above the Apurimac Canyon, located three hours south of Cusco. Discover its enigmatic ruins for yourself on this unique day hike, which will take you far out of the city and off the beaten path! Please be aware this trek may not be suitable for travelers with vertigo.
Category: Adventure, culture, ecology, and trekking
Duration: 1 day
Difficulty: Moderate (day-long trek with terrain which gently rises and falls)
Languages: English, Spanish
Tour Start Time: Between 3:00 and 3:30 am
Tour End Time: Approximately 6:00 pm
Minimum Group Size: 6 people
Seasonal Availability: Year-round, April-November recommended
Maximum Altitude: 4,500 meters (14,763 ft)
Weather: Cold in the morning; hot and sunny at midday; chilly wind towards evening. Layered clothing adaptable to different conditions is highly recommended.
Cusco – Marcaconga– Pitumarca / Waqra Pukara Inca Site and return to Cusco
In the morning, we will pick you up from your accommodation at approximately 3:00 – 3:30 am. If your hotel or hostel is not located in the city center, we will pick you up from the doorway of our office building. We will begin the two and a half hour drive towards Marcaconga village, then continue into the district of Pitumarca, where we will eat breakfast.
After breakfast, we will return to the car for thirty more minutes of driving along a zig-zagging, unpaved road, until we reach Punta Carretera. Here, we will have ten minutes to stretch, organize our things, and make any final preparations for our trek. We will walk across gently rolling terrain for about two hours, observing gorgeous landscapes studded with small glacial lakes along the way.
Once we arrive at the Waqra Pukara Overlook, we will pause briefly to take our first photos of this incredible fortress perched on the edge of a canyon. We will then descend for about forty minutes along a steep, cliffside path into the site itself, while the Apurimac River runs swiftly below.
We will explore the ruins for approximately an hour and a half, climbing through the remains of the temple, taking photos against the incredible canyon scenery, and resting on clifftops in the shadows of the stone walls. When the group is ready, we will begin the ascent back the way we came. We will reach the car after about three hours of trekking, and return to Cusco at approximately 6:00 pm.
US$140 per person
- Pick-up from your accommodation and drop-off near the main square
- Round trip transportation between Cusco and Waqra Pukara
- English/Spanish-speaking professional guide
- Breakfast and lunch box (vegetarian option available)
- Entrance fee to Wakra Pukara
- First aid equipment
- Tips for your tour guide and driver
What to Bring:
- Hiking boots
- Small daypack or backpack (approximately 20L)
- Comfortable, lightweight trekking clothes or activewear (layers recommended)
- Waterproof, sturdy hiking boots with good ankle support and traction
- Waterproof jacket or rain poncho
- Warm coat
- Hat and gloves
- Hand sanitizer
- Sun hat or cap
- Insect repellent
- Water (at least 1L)
- Personal medications
- Muscle relaxers
- Painkillers or anti inflammatories
- Bandaids (especially those designed for blisters)
- Toilet paper
- Cash (in small denominations of Peruvian nuevo soles)
Health and Safety: All of our participants are required to inform us of any illness or injury which could affect them or the group during the tour. Although our guides carry first aid kits, we strongly recommended that you bring any personal medications you may need. We also suggest that you consult your doctor before reserving this tour.
Where to Store Your Things: Anything you do not want to bring with you on the tour can be safely left in your accommodation. Most hotels and hostels have safes to protect your belongings. However, if you do not feel comfortable leaving your things there, you may also bring them to our office for safekeeping during the tour.
Where is Wakra Pukara located?
Wakra Pukara is located about three hours south of Cusco by car, in Apurimac Canyon.
Are all activities on the tour mandatory? How flexible are itineraries?
We are committed to providing your ideal experience in Peru. Therefore, if there are any adjustments you would like to make to reflect your fitness level, lifestyle, or personal interests, we are happy to help! Our itineraries are reasonably flexible and activities can be removed or substituted as necessary.
Should I bring extra water?
Water is provided at meals. However, you should also carry a refillable water bottle with you to prevent dehydration.
How far in advance should I book my tour?
We recommend that you book your trek approximately one to two weeks in advance. This allows us to arrange for you to have the best possible transportation, guides, and meals during your tour.
How much time will I need to acclimate to the altitude before my tour?
We recommend at least two days in Cusco to sufficiently acclimate before the tour begins.
What meals are included? Are there vegetarian options?
Breakfast and lunch on the trek are included. Vegetarian options are available; however, vegan options are not.
Should I tip the guides? How much is appropriate?
A tip is customary, but the amount is at your discretion. Whatever you feel is appropriate based on the service you have received is fine; please remember to always be courteous and respectful with our guides.
Do I need to speak Spanish?
All of our guides are bilingual and speak both Spanish and English.
What is the highest point on this hike?
The highest elevation on this hike is 4,500 meters above sea level.