Discover Huchuy Qosqo: Where the thunders are observed
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Discover Huchuy Qosqo: Where the thunders are observed

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Discover Huchuy Qosqo: Where the thunders are observed

Huchuy Qosqo was a town located at more than 3,550 m.a.s.l on a small plateau at the top of a mountain. From here you can take beautiful views of the other side of the valley, it is possible to appreciate snow-capped mountains of exuberant beauty such as the snow-capped Pitusiray and at the bottom of this privileged view, the town of Calca. It is known by the chroniclers that it was the Inca Wiracocha who ordered the construction of the city of Huchuy Qosqo; it is said that in his old age, he felt tired and wished to leave the government and move away from the movement of the capital of the Tahuantinsuyo empire (Cusco) and seek peace and tranquility in this place; it is built on a territory occupied by several human settlements, over time, these would be dominated and incorporated into the empire of the Incas. One of these settlements must have been on Huchuy Qosqo.


Where is Huchuy Qosqo? 

Huchuy Qosqo is located in the peasant community of the same name, just under 5 km from the city of Calca in the department of Cusco, in the Sacred Valley of the Incas; exactly on a summit at 570 m. on the basin of the Urubamba river (Vilcanota). Huchuy Qosqo route is very beautiful; touring its trails will allow you to visit some Andean communities, archaeological centers and enjoy beautiful landscapes. Many people take advantage of visiting Huchuy Qosqo on their trip to Machu Picchu


Huchuy Qosqo Trek


What does Huchuy Qosqo mean? 

Huchuy Qosqo means "Little Cusco", but it also has other names; one would be Qaqyaxaqixawana and another Qaqyaqhawana, this means "from where the rays are observed"; and without a doubt it is a good name since being 800 meters above the Sacred Valley of the Incas, gives you the opportunity to see the dramatic spectacle of lights and sound, at the moment when lightning and thunder descend from the sky to crash into the floor. Others say that the site was probably known in Inca times as "Caquia Jaquijahuana".

Huchuy Qosqo Archaeological Complex (Qaqyaqawana) 

The enclosure located in Huchuy Qosqo, is called Qaqyaqawana; Quechua name that refers to the place where the thunder is looking. This archaeological site is located in the upper third of the mountain called Qaqya (thunder), and exhibits one of the most impressive works of topographic modification through the use of terraces, modulating the edges of precipices and vertical ravines over the Vilcanota Valley, culminating in platforms that were used as ceremonial esplanades, around which you can still find standing, several architectural structures made of stone and adobe. Materials used and worked with great criteria, achieving a fine finish. In addition, the structures of the enclosure are distributed in such a way that they resemble it architecturally to the city of Cusco; is for this reason that at the beginning of the 20th century it receives the name of Huchuy Qosqo (small Cusco). One of the most outstanding features of this archaeological site is the use of lithic material combined with adobe and mud. This demonstrates the knowledge and mastery of the different construction materials, used with high technology, especially the adobe; the walls constructed of this material, with centuries of antiquity, still defy the strong inclemencies climatic of the zone, seismic movements and of course the passage of time.


What to see in Huchuy Qosqo (Qaqyaqawana)? 

Here is a list of what you can see in Huchuy Qosqo; at the moment no ticket is needed, or pay to enter Huchuy Qosqo.

  • A structure of three levels (floors), the first two in the form of regular polyhedra, and the last floor made of adobe. The enclosure is of rectangular shape and of enormous architectural invoice. A long building of rectangular plant made of adobones on an eminent platform, this building counts on a great quantity of doors oriented towards the valley. 
  • You will find many other small enclosures scattered, most are in poor condition. Very close to these ruins, you will find an Inca road oriented to the Cusco Inca road oriented to Cusco. Also some small loose enclosures as outposts and surveillance located on the edge of the precipice, in order to have the greatest possible field of vision, of the valley.
  • From this point we will have a beautiful panoramic view to another side of the Sacred Valley of the Incas, from the top of this mountain we will appreciate the incomparable beauty of the snowy Chicon and Pitusiray, at the bottom of this panorama we can see the town of Calca.
  • Huchuy Qosqo shows perfect precincts, Inca buildings that make up the architectural monument entotal harmony with nature.

Huchuy Qosqo Trek

Often disregarded in favor of the more renowned ruins of the Sacred Valley, Huchuy Qosqo is an Incan archaeological site situated north of Cusco in close proximity to the town of Lamay, which remains relatively unexplored by most tourists. Access to the ruins can be obtained through two potential hiking routes: a strenuous 3-mile round trip hike from Lamay with an elevation gain of 2,200 feet, or a 9.5-mile one-way trek from Chinchero to Lamay with an elevation gain of 1,900 feet, known as the Huchuy Qosqo Trek.


Hiking to Huchuyqosqo


This article will concentrate on the second option, the classic Huchuy Qosqo Trek. The Huchuy Qosqo Trek commences near the small town of Chinchero and covers almost 10 miles one-way to Lamay, passing by the Huchuy Qosqo ruins in route.


How difficult is the Huchuy Qosqo Trek?

The difficulty of the Huchuy Qosqo Trek in Peru can vary depending on several factors, including your level of fitness, altitude acclimatization, and the weather conditions during your hike. Here are some key points to consider:


  • Altitude: One of the main challenges of the Huchuy Qosqo Trek is the high altitude. The trek starts at a relatively low elevation in the Sacred Valley, but it reaches altitudes of over 4,000 meters (13,000 feet) when crossing the pass. Altitude sickness can be a concern for some hikers, so it's essential to acclimatize properly before starting the trek by spending a few days in Cusco or other high-altitude locations.
  • Distance: The trek typically covers a distance of around 17-18 kilometers (10-11 miles) over two days. While this distance is manageable for many hikers, the steep ascents and descents, combined with the high altitude, can make it more challenging than it might seem on paper.
  • Terrain: The trail can be rough and uneven in places, with steep sections and loose gravel. Proper hiking footwear is essential to navigate the terrain safely.
  • Weather: The weather in the high Andes can be unpredictable. It's essential to be prepared for cold temperatures, especially at night, and to have suitable clothing and gear to protect against rain or snow.
  • Fitness Level: Your fitness level plays a significant role in determining the difficulty of the trek. If you are physically fit and accustomed to hiking at high altitudes, you may find it more manageable. However, if you are not in good shape or have not acclimatized properly, it can be quite challenging.
  • Pack Weight: If you are carrying your own gear and supplies, the weight of your backpack can also impact the difficulty. Traveling with a guided tour that provides mules to carry your gear can make the trek less physically demanding.
  • Overall, the Huchuy Qosqo Trek is considered moderately challenging, but it's essential to be well-prepared, physically fit, and properly acclimatized to make the experience more enjoyable and less strenuous. If you have concerns about your ability to complete the trek, you can also opt for guided tours that provide support and assistance along the way.
  • Huchuy Qosqo was a small town built by the Inca Wiracocha government. Huchuy Qosqo is located in the peasant community of the same name in the Sacred Valley of the Incas.

Huchuy Qosqo Peru

When is the best time of year to hike?

The optimal period for embarking on a hike to Huchuy Qosqo is during the autumn, winter, and spring seasons, spanning from April to November. The summer months, from December to March, are characterized by Peru's rainy season, and it is therefore advisable to refrain from visiting during this time to ensure favorable weather conditions.


Our personal experience of hiking during the fall season was enhanced by the breathtaking sight of the wildflowers in full bloom. We can only envision the vibrant hues that adorn the trail during the spring season.


Useful Info:

  • Signaling: no. 
  • Location: Cusco. 
  • Access: from Chinchero (halfway between Cusco and the Sacred Valley) there is a route that passes next to the Piuray lagoon and arrives, after four hours of walking, to the archaeological site. Another way to get there is from Lamay, a small town located in the Sacred Valley. The longest and following an Inca trail is from Tambomachay, in Cusco. 
  • Height: 3,600 meters above sea level. 
  • Recommended time: two days. 
  • Accommodation: no. 
  • Food: no. 
  • Guided: no (it is necessary to hire an agency in Cusco or in the Sacred Valley). 
  • Income: free. 
  • Schedule: free. 
  • Best time to visit: from April to December. 
  • What to bring?: Clothing and comfortable shoes. Sunscreen. Warm clothing. Camping equipment Water and food
  • The visit to Huchuy Qosqo can be done in a single day, but it is recommended to do it in two to live the sunrise in the Andean mountain range. 
  • If you enter through Chinchero it is recommended to leave by Lamay or if you start at Lamay then leave through Chinchero to have the complete experience and not repeat the entry route. 
  • Operators also offer Huchuy Qosqo usually to do sports and leisure activities next to the Huaypo lagoon, an excellent natural destination where many species of high Andean birds can be observed.

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