CUSCO | Trek to Waqrapukara, an incomparable trip

Waqrapukara is an archaeological pre-Inca complex, and later Inca, located at 4300 meters above sea level, in coordinates: -14.019879, -71.693850, its name comes from the Quechua words waqra meaning horn and pukara meaning strength, which means that the center archaeological is a “horn-shaped fortress”. It is located in the district of Acos, province of Acomayo, in the Cusco region; however, the question remains, what Waqrapukara is?, or, rather, what Waqrapukara in his time was? Waqrapukara was an Inca fortress; however, it started as a pre-Inca citadel that was called “Llaqta Pukara”, and was the residence of the leader of the Qanchi nation; nevertheless, it was also used as an astronomical observatory and sanctuary for the maximum deity “Tecsi Pachakamaq Wiracocha.

Vista de Waqrapukara desde la entrada

It is located on the top of a steep mountain, whose slope reaches the canyon of the Apurímac river. The entire area until reaching the archaeological group is drawn by an impressive geography of rocks and grass forests eroded by the thousands of years of the tectonic plates. The area would be a steppe if it were not for the lagoon and the water eyes (tiny lagoons) that accompany the traveler on his way to Wasqrapukara.

The radiation is quite strong due to the altitude in which the area is located and the low atmospheric pressure, which make the sun burn the skin of the traveler with force, and at the same time, that in the absence of this can become a few minutes in a frozen land; so it will be essential for the traveler to be prepared. It is a land that requires strength at the time of walking, with constant ups and downs as is typical in the peaks of the Andes. The vegetation is quite scarce; in fact, most of the way you can see only ichu (grass, fodder or straw that grows in really difficult areas, many know it as straw brave or straw from the Andes); only in the lower parts, and in the vicinity of Waqrapukara can you see more vegetation, flowers and plants, as well as wildlife, mainly birds, insects and very small reptiles.

The landscape of Waqrapukara is overwhelming and beautiful; only the human peripheral view can do justice to this show, since the pictures in small pictures do not show the true majesty of the entire area. A palace or fortress, flanked by high walls of rocks with abysses that in their time should serve as a hard defense to avoid invasions of human groups; and that it could only have been broken by the, even harder, attack of the Incas. From then on it became an Inca fortress and a shrine to the main deity, an omnipresent creator of the universe.

Waqrapukara is one of the hidden gems of this ancient legacy inherited by the Incas, a majestic fortress nestled in high mountains such as Machupicchu or Choquequirao that from its summits observe the landscape overwhelming the visitor and marveling at all for that fabulous civilization that always built in the more steep, as if mythological beings, half human and half birds, it was. There is no easy road to Waqrapukara, you have to walk many hours, but they are worth it; it reminds us of that phrase “walker there is no road, the road is made by walking”; so hiker takes your backpack and your equipment, go explore and visit Waqrapukara, I guarantee you will not regret it.


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