Cusco Day Hike
What many visitors to Cusco do not know is that this city is surrounded by historic and intricate Inca ruins. This half-day hike of 7 km or 4 miles is ideal for those who want to get out of the city for a few hours and see some of the lesser-known, but equally amazing, Inca ruins. We will follow an old Inca Trail and visit ruins and carvings above Cusco that not a lot of visitors take the time to see or that they even know exist! We will also get to enjoy a spectacular view of the city as we hike from site to site.
We will meet you at your hotel at 8:00 am, and from there we will walk through narrow cobble-stone streets up to the Plaza San Blas, located in an important artisan neighborhood in Cusco. From there, we will hike for about 45 minutes to our first site, and will continue climbing up the mountain, passing by local houses, and then will begin to follow a route that used to be an Inca Trail that ultimately led to the Amazon. As we ascend, we will be provided a stunning view of the city below, and will be able to see important plazas, churches, and other points of interest. We will then leave the city and continue hiking through a wooded path until we reach our first site called C’usilluchayoc, which is also known as the Monkey Temple. Here we will see many different Inca carvings of altars, animals including monkeys, as well as an astronomical water mirror. We will walk for about 10 more minutes until we reach the Temple of the Moon, which features a cave that we can enter to see carved altars. Two times every year during the equinox, the moon passes over this cave and lights up the main altar through a small hole in the cave roof, which is why it is called the Temple of the Moon. After touring this temple, we will then take a moment to stop by a small stream to have some snacks before hiking for about 1 hour to our next destination called Inkilltambo, or Inca Carcel which means Inca Jail. On the way we will ascend for a little while before following a relatively flat route, and then hiking down through eucalyptus trees until we reach the ruins. Surrounding these ruins are farming terraces, and the site used to be a religious center and has important connections to astronomy. These ruins feature narrow cave-like crevasses that you can enter, and part of the site used to be two levels high. You will have time to explore this site on your own before we continue to our last archaeological site of the hike. We will walk for about 1 hour, and on the way we will be able to see Inca graves in small circular caves on the the other side of the valley. We will ascend for about 10 minutes before reaching Ushnu de Machu Choquequirao, and at the top of these ruins we will have an incredible view of southern Cusco and great photo opportunities. Machu Choquequirao is an Inca site with circular terraces that start small at the top and get bigger at the bottom like a round pyramid. Our guide will teach us about this sacred altar and the valley below while we rest for a bit, and then we will start our gradual hike down to the bottom of the valley, passing by terraces and colonial kilns used to make roof tiles. We will cross a bridge and head up a gentle trail on the other side of the valley for about 15 minutes before arriving to the city again. From there, we will take a local taxi with our guide back to your hotel where we will drop you off.
- Tour guide fluent in English, Spanish and Quechua
- Local taxi that will drop you off at your hotel after the hike
- Snacks and 1 bottle of water
- Tip for your guide
What to Bring
- Good sneakers or light hiking boots
- A small day backpack to carry your personal belongings
- Comfortable walking clothes
- Rain jacket or plastic poncho
- Cap for the sun
How to Book
To make your reservation for the tour, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with the following information for each traveler: complete name, nationality, and gender. Please let us know the date you are looking to tour with us, how many people are in your group, and we will send you back the availability. To reserve your spot on this tour with us, there is no need to make a deposit or pay in advance. We will meet you at your hotel in Cusco at 8:00 am and will collect the payment in cash (either in US dollars or Peruvian soles) before starting the hike.