Cachicata trail better known as Inca Quarry Trail is one of the ancient quarries used by pre-Inca and Inca civilizations to build the vast settlement of Ollantaytambo! But, did you know its real importance to the ancient Tahuantinsuyo? Know more about this incredible and unique Inca Quarry in Peru!
The Inca Quarry was the principal source of large quantities of pink granite, the main element of the Inca buildings such as Ollantaytambo, and Sacsayhuaman, among many others. Inca Trails relics of stonemasons are located 12kms from Ollantaytambo. The view of Ollantaytambo from the quarries is just spectacular and during the trek, you can see many large stones that never made the long journey down to the village. It was also a trade route for the Incas. Cachicata is a tin and remote village that can impress you in is the simplest but imposing way.
The Cachicata Trek is a great alternative to the famed Inca Trail hike. The Inca Quarry Trail was built by the Incas and used for hundreds of years to access local communities and transport things. This trail is not as well known as the Classic Inca Trail, so expect far fewer crowds and a more serene Peru trekking experience. This hiking adventure not only visits Peru's cultural past but also explores modern Incan communities and customs. The trail takes us through secluded waterfalls, ancient terraces, and exotic wildlife, all the while delivering fantastic views of the Sacred Valley and Peru's commanding snow-capped mountains. Visit local families and explore the active quarry. Every step brings a new look into Inca culture.
The first thing is to go from the city of Cusco in a car or bus to Ollantaytambo (approximately 2 hours), once in the plaza of Ollantaytambo, you will start the walk: from the Main Square of Ollantaytambo take the Main Street towards Cusco street, until you reach to the track, there instead of turning to the left where the stone street ends, continue straight ahead along the path until you reach the Inca bridge. Cross it and walk to the right. After a 15 - 20 minute hike, take a slope to the left at the fork, signposted by a rock painted with "Las Canteras" and yeah!! you are at The Inca Quarry way!! In 20 minutes, agricultural platforms and foundations of old buildings will come into view. Follow the right trail and ignore other roads that cross. The trail will merge with a larger path. Continue through the side of the mountain on this main road to the Lowe quarry, indicated by small stone foundations on top of boulders. (Minutes before arriving at the quarry, the path passes through an irrigation canal, the last opportunity to cool off). The first quarry is located 2 hours after leaving the Main Square. Just after passing this quarry, continue on a smaller path on the left. Follow a series of zigzags to the hillside for 45 minutes or an hour. Soon after, the second much larger quarry will be visible to the left. The small fields to the right are a great place to camp. As a reference, a rock in the middle of the quarry was painted with "National Institute of Culture".
The safest and most recommendable option would be this because they take care of the transfer to this archaeological zone in a better way and resolve any inconvenience that may exist, they are responsible for transport, guide, refreshments, etc.
If you want to beat most of the crowds (not that the Quarry Trail ever gets busy), pick a shoulder season. May or October are good months. Peak time is the same as the Inca Trail, June, July, and August. The weather here will be great, but you will be fighting for photo space at Machu Picchu. The difference is, that you will have had the Andes to yourself for the last few days.