5 free short walks in Cusco highly recommended
The Incas were a Quechua ethnic group that inhabited the territory of Cusco and later expanded their territory to various regions of South America including areas of Peru, Bolivia, Ecuador, Colombia and Argentina. The city of Cusco was its capital. Today, it is the most touristic city in Peru and one of the most visited in South America. There you can do many activities, including a visit to the world famous Machu Picchu. Get to know 5 short walks that you can do in Cusco. 100% recommended!
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Hike to the Inkilltambo Archaeological Site
Inkilltambo was an Inca temple dedicated to the cult of water. Its name comes from two Quechua words that mean: Garden, inn or flowery place. This is explained by the abundant amount of water and, therefore, the vegetation of the site. It is located only 8 kilometers from the city of Cusco approximately. There you can see paths, stairways, terraces, platforms, enclosures and even temples of Inca origin.
The hike to the Inkilltambo archaeological site is free for everyone. You just need to get to the starting point, located in the Ayuda Mutua sector (the Inka Express line buses go there). The walk is easy. On the way you can appreciate beautiful Andean landscapes and other constructions of Inca origin. The route takes approximately 30 minutes. It is recommended for everyone: adults and children.
- Location: 8 kilometers from the city of Cusco, in the Sacsayhuaman sector of Ayuda Mutua.
- Walking distance: approximately 2 kilometers.
Hike to the Temple of the Moon
The Temple of the Moon, also called the Temple of Fertility, is a rock formation with clear indications of Inca carvings, even inside narrow caverns. It is located only 5 kilometers in the upper part of the city of Cusco. There, in addition to the Inca stone carvings, there is an altar inside a cave. Many tourists come there to perform mystical ceremonies with coca leaves.
The walk to the Temple of the Moon is easy and free. Although it can be reached by taxi or public transport, many tourists prefer to walk. The starting point can be the center of the city of Cusco (difficult walk) or from the Qenqo sector (easy walk of only 2 kilometers). To do this route you must take a public transport bus to the upper part of Sacsayhuaman. The route is recommended for everyone.
- Location: In the upper part of the city of Cusco (just 5 kilometers from the city center).
- Walking distance: 2 kilometers.
Hike to the Poc Poc waterfall
The Poc Poc waterfall is located in the Chinchero sector, in the Sacred Valley of the Incas. As its name indicates, it is a waterfall of approximately 30 meters. It is surrounded by high mountains, so many tourists like to walk there to get great photos. The hiking trail there takes just 45 minutes and is free for everyone.
The trek to the Poc Poc waterfall is through original Inca trails, the famous qhapac ñan. To do the walk you must first reach the town of Chinchero (only 40 minutes from Cusco by road). The route is easy and pleasant. If you continue beyond the waterfall you will reach the town of Urquillos. The outbound section is downhill while the return uphill. Recommended!
- Location: In the Chinchero sector that leads to Urquillos, in the Sacred Valley of the Incas.
- Walking distance: approximately 3 kilometers.
Hike to Machupicchu town by Hydroelectric
Machupicchu town is the famous town that is located just 10 kilometers from the archaeological site of Machu Picchu. It is also called Aguas Calientes for its thermal baths. It offers a wide range of tourist services: cafes, restaurants, hotels and more. Although most tourists reach the town by train, it is also possible to do so by walking from the Hydroelectric station. This route is free.
To get to Hidroeléctrica you must take a tourist transport that will take you there from the city of Cusco in 6 hours. Then begins the walk that is parallel to the Vilcanota River. The landscapes are beautiful. The route, easy (only 10 kilometers on flat roads). Once in Aguas Calientes, after a restful night, you can continue walking 8 kilometers to reach the entrance gate of Machu Picchu. It’s also free!
- Location: The town of Aguas Calientes is approximately 100 kilometers from Cusco. The starting point of Hidroeléctrica is 6 hours by tourist transport from Cusco.
• Walking distance: The walk is approximately 10 kilometers
Hike to Sacsayhuaman
Sacsayhuaman is one of the main tourist destinations in Cusco. It was an Inca administrative and religious center located just 2 kilometers from the city center. It is famous for its immense stone walls carved with great perfection. These rocks weigh up to 120 tons. Even today, many researchers wonder how the Incas managed to carve and move such huge stones.
The trek to Sacsayhuaman from the city of Cusco is the option chosen by young and adventurous tourists. The route is simple. From the Plaza de Armas of Cusco, take Resbalosa street that leads to Don Bosco avenue, which leads to Sacsayhuaman. The walk is uphill. It takes approximately 45 minutes. At the entrance door you can buy the entrance to Sacsayhuaman. You dare?
- Location: In the upper part of the city (by Don Bosco avenue or Circunvalación avenue).
- Walking distance: approximately 2 kilometers uphill.