Hike from Cusco across the top of the Sacred Valley to Huchuy Qosqo, a surprising hidden gem perfect for those who want to hike while in Cusco, but don’t have a lot of time.
One of the easiest hikes in Cusco (though, watch your knees on the downhill switchbacks at the end!), it’s hard to believe this hidden gem is not more crowded with hikers. Despite being so close to Cusco, you will feel like you’ve left all of civilization behind as you stroll through pastoral landscapes and pass magical waterfalls, while the gorgeous Sacred Valley unfolds before you.
Huchuy Qosqo itself is a lovely Incan ruins which means “small Cusco” in Quechua. It was originally built as a royal estate overlooking the stunning Sacred Valley. Probably built by the 8th Inca Emperor Wiracocha in the early 1400s, it is believed to have already been abandoned by the time the Spanish arrived in Peru.
This trek starts with a stop at Tambomachay, one of the four great ruins that surround the city of Cusco, and ends in Lamay in the Sacred Valley, before returning by car to Cusco. Want to be extra adventurous? Lamay is famous for its roast guinea pig – a local delicacy! Ask your guide to stop and let you try some on the ride home. Time permitting, you also have a chance to stop in Pisac, famous for its market, or Awanacancha, where you can get up close and personal with the locals – alpacas, llamas and vicunas! – and learn a bit about the Andean textile tradition.
The 2-day Huchuy Qosqo hike ends in the Sacred Valley. If you want to take a short hike to Machu Picchu, check out our Huchuy Qosqo 3-day trek. Travel from Lamay to Aguas Calientes following the Huchuy Qosqo hike and enjoy a splendid day at Machu Picchu on Day 3, before returning to Cusco in the evening.
Interested? Read this review of the Huchuy Qosqo hike!
Spectacular views of the Sacred Valley, pastoral farmland, and waterfalls. An interesting and little known archaeological ruins at Huchuy Qosqo, and a unique perspective on the Cusco-Sacred Valley area. This is a quick escape into Andean wilderness for those who want a short Cusco hike.
Want to join a trek? Ready to confirm a departure date of your own, but interested in having others join you? Then Trekkers Wanted is for you! Our innovative Trekkers Wanted system matches people up who are interested in hiking the same trek, bringing costs down and multiplying the fun for everyone! Read more about Trekkers Wanted, post your trek or search for confirmed departures!
We leave Cusco early and take private transport towards Tambomachay. After seeing the ruins from a distance, we start to hike, climbing steeply upwards from where we will have spectacular views over the city. Over the course of the day, we will cross four gentle passes, the highest of which is 4000m (13,123 ft). Along the way, we will pass pretty alpine lakes and pastoral landscapes with grazing alpacas and potato fields. Towards the end of the day, we connect with an ancient Inca trail which will lead us down to a village filled with stone houses with thatched roofs. We will camp at the small hamlet of Pucamarca for the night.
Total Walking Distance – 12km
Total Walking Time – 7h
Minimum Altitude – 3800mt / 12,467ft / Maximum Altitude – 4000m / 13,123 ft.
Altitude of camp – 3800mt / 12,467ft
Approx. night temperature – 5°C
After breakfast, we continue our hike to Huchuy Qosqo, passing through a narrow but magical canyon and with wonderful views over the Sacred Valley on the other side. After about 1.5 more hours of walking we will arrive at the Huchuy Qosqo ruins, an infrequently visited ancient Inca site that translates as “Small Cusco”. We will have time to explore the ruins and ponder its role.
From here we have a 2.5h steep and slippery descent into the Sacred Valley. We will have a late lunch in the typical and untouristed village of Lamay. From here, our private car will pick us up and return us to Cusco. If we have time, we can stop in Pisac on the way back, or Awanacancha, where you can pet camelids like alpacas, llamas, and vicuñas and learn about the region’s weaving traditions. (Please organize this with your guide).
Total Walking Distance – 4km
Total Walking Time – 4h
Minimum Altitude – 3000mt / 9842ft / Maximum Altitude – 3800mt / 12,467ft.