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Inkayni Peru Tours

WAQRAPUKARA REVEALED: THE DEFINITIVE GUIDE FOR AN INCREDIBLE ADVENTURE

Within an incredible and remote place in the Cusco region, is a hidden treasure called Waqrapukara. Welcome to our definitive guide to Waqrapukara Peru, where we will learn about everything about this majestic place.

Get ready to discover the fascinating history behind the Waqrapukara archaeological site and facts that every traveller must know. From the best access route to the essential needs during your trip, we will teach you every aspect that will make your experience an unforgettable vacation. Are you ready to explore and learn about Waqrapukara trek? Join us on this unique cultural journey!

BASIC INFORMATION ABOUT WAQRAPUKARA

WHAT IS WAQRAPUKARA?

Waqrapukara is a fascinating archaeological site located in southern Peru. It is renowned for its historical and architectural importance, as it contains stone structures dating back to pre-Inca times. The name “Waqrapukara” comes from Quechua, where “waqra” means “horn” and “pukara” means “fortress.” This name is due to the distinctive rock-shaped formations surrounding the complex, which resemble horns. The place is a testimony to the mastery of pre-Inca civilizations in building structures in mountainous terrain and their deep respect for nature.

Waqrapukara archaeological site from cusco peru

Waqrapukara is a non-famous destination worth visiting. I promise you will be dazzled by its beauty.

The Canchis culture built Waqrapukara, coexisted and allied with the Incas later in the 2nd century because they faced the Chancas in cooperation; afterwards, the Canchis culture joined the Incas in their expansion, who built temples and notable enclosures in Waqrapukara.

Waqrapukara is an impressive destination in Cusco that you cannot miss.

WHERE IS WAQRAPUKARA PERU?

Waqrapukara lies in the Acos district of the province of Acomayo in the region of Cusco, which is highly recognized for its history and cultural wealth. Its remote location makes this place special, offering scenic beauty along the route up to Waqrapukara.

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HOW HIGH IS WAQRAPUKARA TREK?

This enigmatic place lies at 4,300 m / 14,107 ft ASL. So, this high Andean altitude must be taken into consideration. How come? At higher altitudes, the scarcity of air increases, which means that you must acclimatize to avoid altitude sickness or soroche. We recommend that you acclimatize for at least one day in Cusco City, and you will see that altitude sickness will not be a concern.

HOW FAR IS WAQRAPUKARA HIKE FROM CUSCO?

The distance between Waqrapukara and Cusco is about 61.7 km (38.3 miles). Also, it depends on the route you take, which is described in the “How to get to Waqrapukara” section.

Distance does not represent an obstacle to enjoying the beauty of this place, because there are other destinations like Humantay Lake and Rainbow Mountain, which are located more or less at the same distance from Cusco. What does this mean? “These places stand in natural environments where the main attraction is nature without human interference.”

Where is waqrapukara?

Waqrapukara lies in southern Cusco

HOW FAR IS WAQRAPUKARA PERU FROM LIMA?

The Waqrapukara trek is around 619 km / 384 miles away from Lima, right? Therefore, we recommend arriving in Cusco to spend at least one day acclimatizing beforehand. This way, you will be closer to Waqrapukara.

Remember! Most travel agencies, like Inkayni Peru Tours, use Cusco city as their main operation point to visit Waqrapukara and others.»

From Lima to Waqrapukara

Bear in mind to arrive in the city of Cusco before taking the Waqrapukara Tour.

HOW TO GET TO WAQRAPUKARA?

Getting to Waqrapukara Peru shouldn’t be a challenge. Take it easy! We mentioned that to start this tour Waqrapukara you must be in Cusco City, where most travel agencies, such as Inkayni Peru Tours begin their tourist operations.

Below, I will show you some routes that tour operators take, and that you can use if you want to make this trip independent:

ROUTE 1 – CUSCO – ACOMAYO – HUAYQUI – WAQRAPUKARA

On this route, you reach Waqrapukara from Acomayo by taking the road from Huascar to Huayqui village. It is a 7.5-mile trail. After that, you have to walk for 3 hours to Waqrapukara.

ROUTE 2 – CUSCO – SANGARARA – WAQRAPUKARA

Take the transportation from Cusco and then head to Sangarara town. Afterwards, notice the detour to Waqrapukara, so just walk for 2.5 hours at the end.

ROUTE 3 – CUSCO – POMACANCHI – ST. LUCIA – WAQRAPUKARA

Driving from Cusco to the detour to Acomayo, take a bus to Sicuani. From there, take a taxi or bus to Pomacanchi and continue to Santa Lucía. Here, it is better to rent a car because there are few buses. It is the longest route, but you can see beautiful landscapes and learn about the livestock and customs of people.

ENQUIRE YOUR QESWACHAKA TOUR

If you want to enquire about one of the less crowded tours near Cusco, this is your opportunity. Weswachaka is a fascinating adventure that gives many opportunities to learn from culture, nature and the outskirts of Cusco.

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WEATHER CONDITIONS AND PROPER TREKKING EQUIPMENT

WHAT IS THE WEATHER LIKE AROUND WAQRAPUKARA?

WET SEASON (NOVEMBER TO MARCH)

Waqrapukara in November:

  • Pros: The dry season has begun. Rain is still scarce and nice to explore yet.
  • Cons: Some rain may persist. Daytime temperatures range between 18°C ​​and 22°C, while nights may be cool, around 8°C to 12°C.

Waqrapukara in December:

  • Pros: Month with pleasant temperatures for outdoor activities.
  • Cons: There are more chances of sporadic rain. Daytime temperatures usually vary between 18°C ​​and 24°C, with cool nights around 10°C to 14°C.

Waqrapukara in January:

  • Pros: The dry season continues to worsen, conducive to hiking and exploration.
  • Cons: Cool nights due to the altitude. Daytime temperatures are around 20°C to 26°C, while nights can drop to 10°C to 15°C.

Waqrapukara in February:

  • Pros: The worst month for trekking.
  • Cons: Variability in temperature. Daytime ranges between 20°C and 28°C, with cool nights around 12°C to 16°C.

Waqrapukara in March:

  • Pros: End of the wet season with lush and green mountains.
  • Cons: Possible decrease in rain towards the end of the month. Daytime temperatures between 20°C and 26°C, and cool nights around 12°C to 15°C.
Waqrapukara Peru

The rainy season may not be advisable, but it can add a different air to your trip that you can use to your advantage.

DRY SEASON (MAY TO SEPTEMBER)

Waqrapukara in May:

  • Pros: Start of the dry season, therefore less rain.
  • Cons: Some rain may persist. Daytime temperatures are around 16°C to 20°C, while nights can be cool, around 6°C to 10°C.

Waqrapukara in June:

  • Pros: Dry period with pleasant temperatures.
  • Cons: Possible presence of sporadic rains. Daytime temperatures usually vary between 16°C and 22°C, with cool nights around 8°C to 12°C.

Waqrapukara in July:

  • Pros: The dry season continues, favourable for outdoor activities.
  • Cons: There is a possibility of sporadic rain. Daytime temperatures are between 18°C ​​and 24°C, with cool nights around 10°C to 14°C.

Waqrapukara in August:

  • Pros: Maintains the dry climate.
  • Cons: Variability in temperature. Daytime ranges between 18°C ​​and 26°C, with cool nights around 12°C to 16°C.

Waqrapukara in September:

  • Pros: End of the dry season.
  • Cons: Possible increase in rain towards the end of the month. Daytime temperatures between 18°C ​​and 24°C, and cool nights around 10°C to 15°C.
Waqrapuakara Photos

The dry season is the most convenient time to travel. You will see that the reward is unrivalled.

SHOULDER SEASON (APRIL AND OCTOBER)

Waqrapukara in April

The rainy season continues with minimums of 11°C and utmost around 19°C.

  • Pros: Transition into the dry season, with landscapes still green and lush. Fewer tourists than in the high season.
  • Cons: Although rainfall decreases, there can still be occasional cloudbursts. Waterproof clothing and light layers are recommended.

Waqrapukara in October

Temperatures continue rising, with minimums around 11°C and maximums of 22°C.

  • Pros: End of the dry season, lovely landscapes and fewer tourists than from May to September.
  • Cons: The rainy season has begun, and some downpours may occur. It is necessary to wear waterproof clothing and be prepared for changing weather conditions.

WHAT TO BRING TO WAQRAPUKARA?

Since Waqrapukara is located in a privileged location that can only be reached by trekking, you must prepare and bring what you need. However, remember to carry only the essentials to dissipate the weight in your backpack. Our main intention is for you to enjoy your trip without worrying about the weight of your backpack.

Here are some items you can consider packing for this trip:

  • Water Bottle: It is necessary to stay hydrated, so we recommend bringing a water bottle instead of disposable bottles.
  • Appropriate clothing: Wear comfortable and breathable clothing to make your hike easier.
  • Trekking shoes or sneakers: Trekking shoes are better because they’re waterproof and proper to walk for hours on uneven terrain.
  • Medium or small backpack: Make sure your backpack is not excessively large, since it is a one-day walk, and you will only need to carry the essentials.
  • Sunscreen and a hat: The weather in Cusco is variable, and it is important to protect yourself, especially on hot days.
  • Snacks: You will not find grocery stores, so bringing small snacks from Cusco will help you avoid hunger.
  • Camera: The scenic beauty during the hike will leave you in awe, so be sure to bring your camera to capture incredible pictures.
  • Cash: Throughout the trip, before and after trekking, you may find places offering things of interest.
  • Trekking Poles: It is not mandatory to carry them, but if you feel more comfortable with them, you could consider using them.

HOW TO ACCLIMATE TO THE ALTITUDE IN CUSCO

If you are planning to come to Cusco and hike the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, you must do some research in advance. One thing you need to consider is that once in Cusco and Machu Picchu, you can be at risk of getting altitude sickness.

FIGURE IT OUT HERE!

WHAT TO WEAR WHEN HIKING WAQRAPUKARA TREK?

When hiking the Waqrapukara trek, you should only bring essential items to move around comfortably. You do not need to carry extensive equipment as you must on the Inca Trail, which extends over long distances. There are fewer routes on Waqrapukara, so you will bring specific clothing and items for the moment.

Below, I’ll show you some options to consider when dressing appropriately:

  • Comfortable and breathable clothing: Your clothing will be so important to be comfortable. Remember that your comfort is important!
  • Trekking shoes: Bear in mind to wear trekking footwear to protect your feet, since you will be walking on uneven terrain.
  • Change of clothes: The weather in Cusco is sometimes quite unpredictable; therefore, it wouldn’t hurt to bring a change of clothes. This way, you will be ready for any weather conditions.
  • Hat or cap: The sun’s rays are stronger at higher elevations, so you must protect yourself to avoid skin burns or skin cancer.
What to wear for Waqrapukara

Dress appropriately for comfort and enjoy an unparalleled trip.

Remember! People travel to enjoy abroad. We do not have to worry about the heavy weight of a poorly packed backpack. Additionally, it is vital to dress appropriately. We know selfies are influential, but consider our comfort, ease of walking, and adventuring.

LOGISTICS AND TRANSPORTATION

WHAT TIME TO TAKE OFF FORWARD WAQRAPUKARA PERU?

Departures for this tour to Waqrapukara are normally from 4 am to 5 am. Almost all of them begin in Cusco City, especially downtown. Keep in mind to check with your travel agency for departure times, as this may vary from one agency to another and also from the route that the travel agency would take.

Why early? Because Waqrapukara is far off at a significant distance, companies depart early to enjoy this wonderful place with all the possible comforts.

Downtown Cusco

Downtown Cusco

HOW TO GET TO WAQRAPUKARA FROM CUSCO

To get to Waqrapukara from Cusco, we recommend hiring Inkayni Peru Tours‘ services, who will organize everything you need to get and explore this site.

CAN I GO TO WAQRAPUKARA WITHOUT A TRAVEL AGENCY?

Yes, you could do it, but considering you won’t have the logistics of travel agencies to handle the trip.

Many travelers reconsider tips from social network videos but keep in mind that you must corroborate this information before venturing out.

Let us be your companion. With Inkayni Peru Tours, you will have all the necessary logistics to make your trip a success, with zero worries about details that should not be relevant.

HOW IS THE WAQRAPUKARA HIKE? 

Hiking to Waqrapukara is moderate. It lies over 4,000 m / 13,123 ft ASL, which means that it’s moderate due to lack of air pressure and easy because the entire trail is flat, provided you take the route through Sangarará, which offers a perfect panoramic view accompanied by lagoons and nature beauty.

Don’t forget to bring your camera! When approaching Waqrapukara, the horns that are part of that place will gradually appear, and you will see that it is a worth-visiting place on Earth.

ENQUIRE YOUR QESWACHAKA TOUR

If you want to enquire about one of the less crowded tours near Cusco, this is your opportunity. Weswachaka is a fascinating adventure that gives many opportunities to learn from culture, nature and the outskirts of Cusco.

SEND US A MESSAGE

EXPERIENCE AND RECOMMENDATIONS

CAN I SWIM IN WAQRAPUKARA?

Waqrapukara Peru doesn’t have any places to swim. However, in the “What to see in Waqrapucara” section below, you will see some interesting places along the route, adding more to your experience. However, you can not swim in these places either since it’s forbidden because great biodiversity dwells in natural habitats like lakes and rivers.

WHEN IS THE BEST TIME TO VISIT WAQRAPUKARA?

The best season to visit this wonderful place is during the dry season, which runs from May to September. This season will help you a lot to be able to enjoy your visits to places like this with no worries that rains may cause, but not everything is there because if you plan to travel from October to April even if there is rain, it can give a special contrast to your trip, a unique touch that only you will be able to experience.

Now, I will show you the seasons in this region to take into account before travelling:

WET SEASON:

This season covers November to March. Also, rains are common and could occur at any time of the day. So be cautious!

Please note that during this season there may be road blockages due to landslides, which could disrupt your travel itinerary.

DRY SEASON:

The dry season runs from May to September. Rains are not present in the Cusco region unless you are in the Amazon, where rain is always present, depending on its intensity in the season you are in. Make the most of this period.

SHOULDER SEASON:

The transitional season includes only April and October. During these two months, rainfall is minimal but present. Don’t worry! They won’t hit your itinerary, but be cautious by bringing what you need against the changing weather.

Best season to visit waqrapukara

The best season to travel is in the dry season when weather conditions greatly favour making your trip a unique experience.

WHAT TO SEE IN WAQRAPUKARA?

  • Lakes: If you take the route through Sangarará, you will appreciate several Andean lakes nestled above plateau terrain along the way to Waqrapukara. They are natural places which add more feeling for hiking while everyone can spot flora and fauna.
  • Cave paintings: If you take the route through Santa Lucia, at some point in the way, you will come across unique cave paintings of llamas or camelids that represent the Andean world.
  • Beautiful landscape: Being located far away from big cities, the natural surroundings come into their own with beautiful sunrises and sunsets that accompany this place forever.
  • Flora and fauna: They also make their presence during the route as the birds found in the lakes such as the Huallatas and the Andean Gulls and there you can see the enigmatic Andean Condor and the largest hummingbird “Huascar Quente” or Giant Hummingbird.

Regarding the flora, the Ichu is extremely common growing at those heights.

WHICH HIKE IS MORE DIFFICULT, WAQRAPUKARA OR RAINBOW MOUNTAIN?

Before comparing those, it is important to think that both hikes are done in just one day and moderate.

What is the difference between them? The main difference lies in the distance, altitude and time required to complete each route. To trek to Waqrapukara, you will need approximately 3 hours, whereas to Rainbow Mountain will take around 2 hours, as long as you walk at a constant and calm pace.

Waqrapukara vs Rainbow Mountain

Waqrapukara or Rainbow Mountain

FREQUENT ASKED QUESTIONS

HOW COLD IS WAQRAPUKARA?

The cold makes its presence known in Waqrapukara, being located at a high altitude. You may feel cold winds when hiking, but since you will go with the appropriate clothing items that we will teach you in the “What to wear to visit Waqrapukara” section, the issue of cold will not have much relevance.

Do you want to know more? If you plan to camp near the site or on part of the route, during the night temperatures drop considerably, and you may encounter temperatures that can reach close to freezing point.

WHAT TO EXPECT FROM THE WAQRAPUKARA TOUR?

The tour Waqrapukara takes you to explore an impressive Inca fortress on top of a mountain overlooking the Apurimac Canyon. The moderate hike reveals Incan constructions and offers an experience off the conventional tourist routes.

IF I HAVE ANY PHYSICAL LIMITATIONS, CAN I DO THE WAQRAPUKARA

TOUR?

The tour Waqrapukara is not suitable for people with physical limitations, respiratory, cardiac problems or other conditions that make hiking on uneven terrain and at high altitudes difficult. Good physical condition is required.

ENQUIRE YOUR QESWACHAKA TOUR

If you want to enquire about one of the less crowded tours near Cusco, this is your opportunity. Weswachaka is a fascinating adventure that gives many opportunities to learn from culture, nature and the outskirts of Cusco.

SEND US A MESSAGE

HOW FAR IN ADVANCE SHOULD I BOOK THE WAQRAPUKARA TOUR?

It is advisable to book the tour Waqrapukara at least 4 days in advance to ensure availability. During high season (May to September), it is advisable to reserve at least two weeks in advance.

WHY IS IT NECESSARY TO PAY A DEPOSIT TO BOOK THE WAQRAPUKARA TOUR?

The initial deposit of 50% of the price to Waqrapukara guarantees the availability of services, such as entrance fees to the fortress, staff such as guides and exclusive transportation for the group. This payment avoids last-minute problems and ensures a smooth experience.

Please remember that the 50% deposit is non-refundable and non-transferable.

And so we conclude our exciting journey through the definitive guide to Waqrapukara! We hope this blog has awakened your curiosity and fueled your desire to travel. 

Remember, beyond words and pictures, the true magic of Waqrapukara can only be experienced by being there. So, what are you waiting for?

Don’t forget to share your own experiences. The travel community is eager to hear your story! Together, Inkayni Peru Tours and you, we can tell something unique and unforgettable.

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  • Gonzalo Rodrigo Tapia Condori

    Gonzalo Tapia was born in the rainforest of Peru, Madre de Dios, and he's been living in Cusco since 2008. He has been exploring Peru due to his main hobby as a birdwatcher. Also, he has a lot of experience in outdoor activities and wilderness.

    View all posts

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