Rupac: Discover the wonderful city of fire in Lima
Salkantay Trek Machu
Sustainable Tourism Operator
+51 914 939913

Rupac: Discover the wonderful city of fire in Lima

Home / Travel Blog / Rupac: Discover the wonderful city of fire in Lima
Rupac: Discover the wonderful city of fire in Lima

A few hours from Lima is an architectural jewel that you should not miss. Known as the "Machu Picchu of Lima", the archaeological complex of Rúpac is a great destination for those who seek to disconnect from the city without going far, live experiences in the middle of nature and learn more about what the pre-Inca culture of the Garments.


Located on a mountain 3,500 meters high, the citadel remains in perfect condition as if its builders still lived in this enigmatic and secluded place. To get there, in addition to the car trip, you have to walk about 3 hours from the town of Pampas, which is why many trekking lovers attend to enjoy the beautiful landscapes and sunsets that embellish the view of the valley.


Domain from Above

Known as one of the most warlike pre-Inca cultures in the province of Lima, the Atavillos occupied the tops of the mountains (between 3,500 and 3,800 meters above sea level) near the coast, in order to establish a defense system from the heights against eventual attacks. Their privileged ability for construction allowed them to build more than 50 buildings on the tops of high mountains in order to have a panoramic view of the area, monitor crops, and protect the population from contact with strangers and, therefore, from diseases such as warts and malaria.


In their settlement areas, we can find a large number of elevated towers up to 15 meters high called chullpas, used mainly as viewpoints, which are currently kept in perfect condition. Also, when visiting the area you can see stairs, warehouses, patios and chimneys with stone roofs that resist the passage of time.


How to get?

To visit this important pre-Inca citadel from Lima, you must travel by land to the city of Huaral, two hours from Lima. From there, you must take a bus towards the town of Las Pampas -it takes 3 hours and a half- with an average cost of 25 soles per person. It is here where the 6 km walk to Rúpac begins, which can take approximately 4 hours, depending on the person's physical condition.


The tour offers places to camp and spend the night for those who wish to enjoy the beautiful sunrise in the middle of a photographic landscape. We recommend that you take a tent, a sleeping bag, trekking shoes, warm and comfortable clothing, and a bottle of water with you. The best time to visit this archaeological site is during the summer months, when the sky is clearer and you can better appreciate the beautiful sunsets that the place offers.


Trek to Rúpac

From Pampas we start the walk to Rúpac, it could be said that it is quite demanding, so it is not recommended that you go with children. Depending on your physical condition, the almost 6 kilometers of travel could take about 3 hours. If you have a lot of luggage, in Pampas you can hire the donkey service, it costs approximately 50 soles per load, but a single load can carry the luggage of 5 or 6 people.


On the way you will be able to appreciate a beautiful mountainous landscape, bathe under the waters of a great waterfall and even take a small detour to visit the Marca Kullpi archaeological complex that seems to have been built among the clouds.


Camping in Rúpac (3520 masl)

Finally you will arrive at the impressive Rúpac Archaeological Complex, on its slopes you will find a large camping area. As soon as you arrive, don't waste time and set up your tent as soon as possible, because the rain could break out at any moment. On the busiest days such as weekends or holidays you will find many amenities: food stalls, rental of blankets, mats, firewood, etc., they have even recently set up portable toilets.


Cloud Mattress Season in Rúpac

One of the best-known attractions of this place is the spectacular mattress of clouds that gives you a fantastic feeling of being above the sky. This tends to form more in the months of January and February; however, as you will realize, there are many more reasons to visit Rúpac at any time of the year.


What to see on your trip to Rúpac?

During the tour you will be able to appreciate spectacular landscapes, especially if you reach the top at the time the sun goes down. Once there you can enjoy an unforgettable sunset with a panoramic view of the entire valley.

You can also explore inside the archaeological complex of the Atavillos, which is located in the same place. There you can see the chullpas or old funerary towers and take photos to remember.


In Rúpac there is a camping area where you can set up your tent and sleeping bag to spend the night and get up early the next day to appreciate the famous cloud mattress.


Rúpac Archaeological Complex

The Rúpac Archaeological Complex was built by the Atavillos, one of the most important pre-Inca cultures in the province of Lima. Their purpose was to create a defense system from the heights, so they dominated the tops of the mountains that go from 3,500 to 3,800 meters above sea level.


To this day, the buildings remain intact over the centuries, which is why it has earned its title as the "Machu Picchu of Lima". You will be able to observe the kullpis (dwellings) and the chullpas (funeral towers) in their settlement areas. Not only that, but you will also be able to identify warehouses, fireplaces, patios and other environments that have been known to be maintained after so many years.


If you wonder why they call it "the city of fire", it is because it is said that its buildings would have been painted with such a bright red that, at sunset, the citadel seemed to catch fire. Small vestiges can still be found that would prove the origin of that name.


To finish, keep in mind some tips that will help you on your trip: leave early for Huaral, bring warm clothes and special tents or sleeping bags for mountains, take pills for soroche, bring an umbrella and try to have enough water for the journey.


What you will need:

  • Tent and sleeping bag.
  • A portable kitchen, pots, food and water for two days.
  • Sunscreen, hat, flashlight and first aid kit.
  • Good walking shoes or sneakers and a trekking pole.
  • Pills for altitude sickness.


Don't forget to buy water before leaving for Florida. There is no drinking water on the way.


Other tourist attractions near Huaral


Lomas de Lachay National Reserve

This nature reserve in the foothills of the Peruvian desert is located in the district of Huacho. Moisture from coastal mists has created a unique dwarf forest microenvironment called lomas. This hides a large number of small animals and birds. In this place, where magic and mystery come together, you will witness an amazing ecosystem.


The reserve has more than 5,000 hectares of unique microclimate and a unique group of flora and fauna. Such conditions are caused by clouds covering the region almost all the time. Mist feeds the ground and also covers the environment in a fluffy layer. Because of this, only small species inhabit the reserve. You can find mice, foxes, skunks and vizcachas. The bird family is represented by owls, kestrels and various hummingbirds. The 150 species of flora are mostly shrubs, dwarf trees or mountain flowers.


Collpa Baths

These beautiful hot springs are located 80 km from Huaral, in the rural community of Santa Catalina. The complex has an outdoor pool, as well as hydrotherapy pools with underground springs. Its waters are characterized by a greenish sulfuric odor and metallic taste. It has minerals such as lithium, sulfur, chloride, carbonate, etc.


The Collpa baths are considered among the best in the region. They have useful thermo-medicinal properties against stress, arthritis and depression. Bathing surrounded by the Andes is a unique pleasure. Don't let it go!


House Hacienda Huando

This traditional Huaral hacienda remains a very attractive site due to its history and its charming colonial-style chapel. In addition, it is famous for having produced the delicious Huando oranges in the 1960s, consumed both in Peru and abroad.

Today, the house welcomes visitors and offers tours of this magnificent residence. Likewise, you can buy delicious seedless tangerines at very good prices. They also offer exquisite wines and delicious chocotejas.


Best Tours in Peru

Many are the routes that take you to Machu Picchu, but none is like the Inca Trail Tours, the most famous pedestrian path in the Americas. After flying from the capital of Perú, Lima, you will arrive in Cusco to walk for four days along a path through forests and dense fog, millenary stone steps and discovering the ruins of ancient fortifications and Inca cities, and all the time enjoying majestic views.

Request information

Date of travel:

Number of people:
How did you hear about us:

Most Popular Trips

Peru Destinations

Activities & Travel Styles

Responsible Travel

Before You Go

Travel Blog

Contact us

Why Salkantay Trek Machu?


Write a review

Write a review in Tripadvisor

Salkantay Trek Machu Facebook
Salkantay Trek Machu Twitter