Waqrapukara: A Weekend of Team Building in the Wilderness

Apus Peru > Apus Peru: On the Trail > Waqrapukara: A Weekend of Team Building in the Wilderness

At Apus Peru, part of our commitment to being a responsible travel company in Peru includes annual training courses and team building exercises for our entire staff. For instance, our chefs undergo training to ensure their skills are top-notch, and to learn more delicious recipes to prepare on the trail (honestly, it’s amazing what these guys can do!!)

Apus Food (2 of 5) REDUCED
Happy Apus Peru trekkers tuck into their meals. Photo by Isaiah Brookshire.

We also regularly offer a first aid and field rescue courses for guides, among other things.

>> Read more about what we do to treat our staff right.

The Apus Peru team receives certificates after a wilderness first aid training course

Apus Peru Team Building: Scouting a new route

Spending time together as a team is such an important part of our ethos. It’s how we build trust, and ensure that our trek operations run super smoothly. But team building is so much more than that. Apus Peru has always been a company that cares – about the Andes, about the environment, about local communities, and of course, about our team. Focusing on team building just makes sense to us. It’s how we build bonds as an Apus Peru family.

Guides at Waqra Pukara
Apus Peru guides having fun while posing for a group photo

And what better way to build up our team than via an adventurous hike? This year, one of our team building activities was a recce to visit Waqra Pukara, a fascinating “new” archaeological site. Waqra Pukara is still relatively unknown on the Cusco tourist circuit – making it a perfect hike to add to our roster of off-the-beaten-path treks and tours.

Waqra Pukara site
The Waqra Pukara archaeological site

In late January, nearly the entire Apus Peru team – office staff, guides, and their families – set out to discover the route to Waqra Pukara. It was a fun-and-rain-filled weekend adventure as nearly 40 of us got to explore a jaw-dropping new place, and also solidify our bonds as a team.

Apus Peru Team Building: So, what did you do this weekend?

It was an early start as we headed out of Cusco at 6 o’clock in the morning. Travelling south on the road to Puno, we stopped at a restaurant just outside Urcos for breakfast. On the menu was typical Peruvian breakfast fare, of course: caldo de gallina, estofado de pollo, and pepian de cuy…chicken soup, chicken stew and guinea pig. Naturally.

Hike to Waqra Pukara
The hike to Waqra Pukara is filled with spectacular scenery

After first taking a wrong turn (part of the adventure!), we finally found the right turn-off which, after an hour on a gravel road, led us to the small hamlet of Campi. Campi consists of literally two houses and a store, but it was the perfect place for us to organize all our gear.

Team Building Through Adventure

40 people = a lot of gear. Luckily, we hired mules from the local community to help us transport all our supplies up to our campsite.

Mules at Waqra Pukara
Luckily we hired mules to help us with our gear!

Once people + mules were loaded up, we began the trek to Waqra Pukara. We hiked about three and a quarter hours and reached the campsite around 4pm.

There is more than one path that leads to Waqra Pukara, but the one we chose from Campi was a gradual uphill over gently undulating terrain. The trail is nothing short of spectacular. Stunning lush, green landscapes (it was rainy season, after all) and incredible vistas dazzled us – including some death-defying drop-offs!

The hike to Waqra Pukara
Spectacular scenery on the way to Waqra Pukara

The weather as we hiked to Waqra Pukara was typical “Andean random”: we had sun, we had rain, we had heat, we had cold. The lesson? Come prepared for anything! Luckily, our team aren’t novices and we stayed alternatively cool or warm and dry as the situation called for.

Lush vegetation on the way to Waqra Pukara
Lush vegetation marked our path as we hiked.

>>When is the best time to hike in Peru? Find out here!

Waqrapukara: A sight to behold

Waqrapukara is a well-researched site managed by the Ministry of Culture and protected by a friendly and helpful guardian from the local area. From the Quechua words “waqra” (horn) and “pukara” (fortress), its name of “horn fortress” likely refers to the horned appearance of its central structure.

The horns of Waqra Pukara
Waqra Pukara is likely named for these horn-like rock formations.

We visited Waqrapukara in the morning, after breakfast. Just a 20 minute walk away from where we camped, we spent about an hour exploring this fascinating site. Signs directed us to the different areas of the site, which actually includes several structures. Supposedly, Waqrapukara was a refuge for the Ccanchis people – for whom this Cusco province, Canchis, is named – when they were resisting take-over by the Incas.

Waqra Pukara signposts
Signs mark major areas of the site

Family Team Building: Trekking in Peru with Kids

Apus Peru believes strongly in supporting team members with family, providing flexible work schedules that take into account child care needs or school schedules. It is no different when it comes to team building, and of course, everyone was encouraged to bring their kids on our hike to Waqra Pukara.

Kids hiking in Peru
The Apus Peru team brought their kids along on our team building outing

Our crew included about 10 kids, ranging in age from 2 to 15. The kids were total champs! They absolutely loved the hike: running up the hillsides, playing games, looking at the wildflowers, and generally having a good time.

Kids collect flowers
Kids enjoyed the hike to Waqra Pukara as much as the adults!

Day 1 was definitely easier for them, as adrenaline and excitement helped to fuel the 12km hike to the campsite. Coming down was a little longer, since visiting Waqra Pukara itself added another 2km of distance travelled. They were definitely tuckered out on the hike down, and required some extra encouragement and coaxing (…okay, bribing) to help them finish.

Kids play games during down time
The kids played some games during downtime

Be Part of Our Team: Hike with us!

Another post about Waqra Pukara is in the works, which will go into more depth about the trek and the archaeological site itself, so keep checking our blog!

Beautiful vistas at Waqra Pukara
More to come about hiking to Waqra Pukara!

And now that we’ve worked out the kinks, we look forward to taking YOU to visit this marvellous place with us! We’re developing a new 2-day Waqra Pukara hike itinerary, so stay tuned!

Apus Peru team building
Join us on our next journey!

Or, better yet, sign up to our mailing list to be the first to know when we launch our new adventure!

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