All about Huchuy Qosqo
- What is Huchuy Qosqo?
- What's the meaning of your name?
- Location and height
- Map to get to Huchuy Qosqo
- How to get?
- The archaeological site of Huchuy Qosqo
- Huchuy Qosqo hiking trail
- How to go? With tour or on my own?
- How much?
- When to go?
- What to bring
- Huchuy Qosqo in pictures
- More information
- Tips for your visit
What is Huchuy Qosqo?
Huchuy Qosqo refers to the Inca archaeological site built at the beginning of the 15th century to be the royal residence of the Inca Viracocha. It also refers to the 3-day and 2-night hiking route that crosses the Inca site and ends in the Inca city of Machu Picchu. Not many tourists dare to visit this site, which is one of the most important in the Sacred Valley of the Incas.
What's the meaning of your name?
The word Huchuy Qosqo or Huch'uy Qosqo comes from a compound word Quechua (the language of the Incas and many of the current Andean peoples) that means ' Little Cusco '. In Inca times, this citadel was known as 'Qaqyaqawana', which means 'place where you look at thunder'.
Location and height
Huchuy Qosqo is located 50 kilometers north of the city of Cusco (Peru), in the mountains of the town of Lamay, in the Sacred Valley of the Incas. It is located at 3,600 meters above sea level (11,811 feet of altitude).
Map to get to Huchuy Qosqo
How to get?
There are two ways to get to Huchuy Qosqo. The first and most common is through the trip from Cusco to the town of Lamay in the Sacred Valley of the Incas (45 kilometers away by road). Then you must make a short trip of a few minutes and a walk of approximately 3 hours to the archaeological site. The other way to go is on foot through a hiking route through sections of an ancient Inca trail. This route begins in Tambomachay, on the outskirts of the city of Cusco. It ends at the archaeological site of Huchuy Qosqo through the entrance through the mountains. The route takes approximately 8 hours. It is mostly traveled by tourists who make the 3-day trek to Machu Picchu.
Huchuy Qosqo is located in a place where small human groups settled before the Incas. In the late 14th century, the Incas annexed this part of the Sacred Valley to their expanding territory. Then, the Inca Viracocha (also called Wiracocha) decided to build an urban area that would serve as a palace for himself and his family. It was then that he ordered the construction of Huchuy Qosqo, using materials such as stone and adobe.
At the beginning of the 15th century, Wiracocha chose Inca Urco as his successor. This one was incapable of making a good government. Faced with the threat of the invasion of the Chancas (rivals of the Incas) to Cusco; Wiracocha and Inca Urco escape to Huchuy Qosqo. Then, the figure of Pachacutec, brother of Inca Urco, grows, who managed to defeat the Chancas and expand the empire. Due to this, Pachacutec is named Inca emperor, achieving a great expansion of the empire that came to include the current territories of Peru, Bolivia, Ecuador, Chile, Colombia and Argentina.
According to some chronicles, Wiracocha's body was mummified in Huchuy Qosqo. After the invasion of the Spanish in Cusco, at the beginning of the 16th century, they decided to burn the body and loot the place. It is believed that the ashes of the Inca were kept by his descendants. The walls and enclosures of the ancient city suffered severe damage over time. However, today it is possible to appreciate the foundations of the old palace of Wiracocha. Huchuy Qosqo is the name of the hiking route that leads to Machu Picchu, after 3 days and 2 nights.
The archaeological site of Huchuy Qosqo
The archaeological site of Huchuy Qosqo is made up of the remains of walls, enclosures, squares, temples and water sources. The passage of time has damaged many of its structures. However, today you can still see the terraces for agricultural purposes arranged as walls. It also highlights an enclosure with up to three floors (the first two made of stone and the last one made of adobe), whose function would have been to store food. It also highlights a kind of rectangular square 40 to 50 meters long, which would have been called 'Kallanka'and it would have served as a meeting place for important figures such as the Inca. The rest of the walls, aqueducts, platforms and enclosures are in poor condition. However, they provide an idea of the real importance of this place, ancient hacienda of the Inca Wiracocha.
Huchuy Qosqo hiking trail
The 'Huchuy Qosqo trek' hiking route lasts 3 days, 2 nights and only travels 18 kilometers, which is why it is considered one of the easiest treks to reach Machupicchu. It can be done in the company of children or older adults.
Day 1 - The walk begins at the archaeological site of Tambomachay, which is reached by a short drive from the city of Cusco. Then there is a 10-kilometer hike to camp in the vicinity of Huchuy Qosqo.
Day 2 - The next day the visit to the archaeological site of Huchuy Qosqo takes place. Then the downhill hike of approximately 8 kilometers begins to the town of Lamay, in the Sacred Valley of the Incas. There, a minivan will wait for the tourists to take them to the town of Ollantaytambo where they must board the train to the town of Aguas Calientes. It is in this famous town where you will spend the night in a local lodge.
Day 3 - The last day is destined to visit the Inca city of Machu Picchu. After knowing each attraction of the wonder of the world, the return trip will be undertaken by bus and train to the city of Cusco.
Besides Huchuy Qosqo, the other most popular and visited archaeological sites of the Sacred Valley of the Incas are: Pisac, Chinchero and Ollantaytambo. This area of mountains and rivers was sacred to the Incas for its natural beauty and fertile areas. These towns are a few kilometers from the city of Cusco.
How to go? With tour or on my own?
The Huchuy Qosqo tour can be done with an all-inclusive tour or on your own. The best and safest option is to do it with a tourist package, as it includes everything you need for the trek: tourist guide, camping equipment, porters equipment, cooks and even tickets to Machu Picchu. Going on your own is also a good option, as long as it is done in the company of a tour guide who knows the route.
The Huchuy Qosqo tour of 3 days and 2 nights has an approximate cost of 300 US dollars. The price varies according to the quality of the service offered by the chosen tourism agency. All tours include: transportation to Tambomachay, hiking equipment, tour guide, camping equipment, horsemen, cooks (complete meals), train travel, bus travel, lodging in Aguas Calientes as well as tickets to Huchuy Qosqo and Macchu Picchu.
The climate in Huchuy Qosqo is cold temperate. The maximum temperature during the day can reach 22ºC. (71.6ºF). At night, the cold can drop to 0ºC. (32ºF). The rainiest season is during January, February and March. In contrast, the months with the driest weather are May, June, July and August.
When to go?
According to tour guides who are experts in this type of trekking, the best time of year to visit Huchuy Qosqo is during the dry season months: from May to October. On those days it is unlikely that it will rain, which makes the route easier and with better views.
What to bring
- Poncho for the rain.
- Hiking shoes.
- Light clothing during the day and warm at night.
- Hat or cap.
- Snacks and rehydrating drinks.
- Photo camera.
- Mosquito repellent.
- Passport or identity document.
Huchuy Qosqo in pictures
Like most Inca citadels, Huchuy Qosqo was built on top of a mountain from where you not only have a privileged view in case of an invasion, but also of the snowy Pitusiray, which for the Incas was a god. The archaeological sites of Pisac, Ollantaytambo, and even Machu Picchu, were built on top of a mountain.
There is a little known route to visit Huchuy Qosqo. It is a path from the town of Chinchero (located just 40 minutes from the city of Cusco), which lasts approximately 6 hours. This route is not widely used by tourists but it offers natural landscapes and an alternative way to get to the Inca archaeological site.
The entrance to the archaeological site of Huchuy Qosqo is free. Even so, few visitors visit this place every day. This is mainly due to how difficult it is to reach this high mountain point. It is recommended to visit this archaeological site together with a tour guide.
The entrance door to Huchuy Qosqo for tourists who come from the town of Lamay is different from the entrance for visitors who enter the Inca trail. This last access point is called 'León Punku' (Lion's Gate). The Inca roads connected the Inca cities and temples with the great city of Cusco, capital of the empire.
Tips for your visit
The 'Huchuy Qosqo trek' is an excellent option if you are traveling with children and are looking for a little adventure during the visit to Machu Picchu. This route is considered the easiest of the walks that lead to the Inca city. It can be done by children, youth and adults. Older adults should check with their doctor.
There are other routes of only 2 days to Huchuy Qosqo. These walks follow the same route, only the first night is in the town of Aguas Calientes. The second day is destined to visit Machu Picchu.
During the visit to Huchuy Qosqo it is natural that some tourists feel the symptoms of altitude sickness 'soroche' (nausea, fatigue, rapid breathing). These discomforts usually disappear a few days after the body adapts to the climate of the city of Cusco. Therefore, it is recommended to spend a day or two in Cuzco, before visiting the archaeological site of Huchuy Qosqo.