Cusco region is a paradise for lovers of hiking. You can find here extremely many trails: some shorter, some longer as well as easier and more difficult. In this article you will find three best trekking trails near Cusco, that can be overcome in one day.
Cusco – Huchuy Qosqo – Lamay
Huchuy Qosqo (small Cusco) is a very interesting archaeological center, located in the sacred valley of the Incas. It is situated at an altitude of approx. 3600 m above sea level, just above the village of Lamay and Calca. The ruins of this Inca town with cultivated terraces are the perfect viewpoint on Sacred Valley and the beautiful peaks, such as Chicon, Pitusiray, Sawasiray, Waccaywilca and Veronica. This trail is very special, because almost entirely goes through original Inca road. Everyone who dreams of walking on the Inca paths, will be fully satisfied – both the beauty, precision, as well as their ideal maintenance. This is even more astonishing that since the creation of the Inca roads have passed at least 500 years.
Trekking to Huchuy Qosqo is either one full day or even two days. It all depends on our physical fitness and how we are acclimatized to the altitude. The highest points during the trek exceeds 4300 m above sea level. If you already stay for some days in the Andes, have a very good physical condition and if you like to walk even 8-9 hours a day, definitely you can attempt to start and end this trip on the same day.
If you are going to choose one-day trekking, expedition should start no later than 7:00 am. It is much better if you will reach the town called Lamay or Calca before 6pm. In general the route can be overcome in 7-8 hours, with stops – in about 9-11 hours. Of course, all assuming that we are trekkers, who got used to the altitude. Otherwise, the trip may take longer, it’s best to break it down for 2 days.
- 5:45 Wake up
- 6:00 Breakfast
- 6:30 Departs from the city of Cusco to the start point of trekking (public transport or taxi)
- 7:00 Beginning of the thike
- 18:00 End of trekking in the village of Lamay or Calca
The route is demanding and difficult only when you do it in one day. The first difficult section appears at the beginning, because you must climb at over 4,000 meters, to the pass. Overcoming this part takes over an hour and runs all the time uphill. Then most of the route is flat, or slightly down, except for a few small hills. This, what definitely makes the trail more difficult, the distance to be covered during the day and the last part running from the Huchuy Qosqo to Lamay. This final section clears up in just over an hour, but it can make some problems for your knees (it is really steep downhill). All descents make an extra effort for the knees, especially when the entire route clears up within a day. An alternative option is descent to the village of Calca. Descent is milder, but unfortunately a little longer, which after many hours of hiking also can be a bit problematic.
- You can shorten the route by starting it in another place.
- You can do this route on horseback.
Ollantaytambo – Inti Punku – Ollantaytambo
Inti Punku – the sun gate, is more than just a gate. In the Inca Empire stone gates on the tops of the hills were extremely important. Their ruins, often quite impressive, are located in different parts of Peru, including in the region of Cusco. To one of these beautiful gates you can reach from the charming town Ollantaytambo. There is nice trail leading to this place, during which you will have possibility to admire beauty of the Sacred Valley. You will also pass by some other ruins from the times of the Inca Empire, as well as you will see the place from which the Incas transported the stones to build their incredible fortresses in Ollantaytambo. In addition, on the way there is situated lovely swimming pool, where you can swim and admire the beauty of the agricultural terraces and snowy peak of Veronica. From the Inti Punku you will have amazing view for a total of 4 valleys. Perfect place to sit for a while and just relax, far away from daily life.
- 6:30 Wake up
- 6:45 Breakfast
- 7:30 Beginning of the hike
- 18:00 End of trekking in Ollantaytambo
It is quite easy hike, but because of the distance, certainly requires physical strength. The first part of the trail is a little more difficult, because for 4-5 hours will be uphill. It should be borne in mind that the degree of slope is not large, so it is not like climbing. For a change, it is very easy on the way back, because then there is only descent to the town.
- You can implement this route on horse.
Valley Patacancha – Lares
Patacancha Valley is a beautiful part of the region of Cusco. The picturesque landscapes, full of tradition and warm people make this place unique. It is worth coming here not only because of the beautiful scenery of the mountain range Cordillera Urubamba, but also because of the inhabitants of these areas. It is good to get to know their way of life and colorful handmade textiles. Patacancha Valley is very colorful. All through the gorgeous clothes, with the dominance of the red, which usually carries the local people.
- 4:50 Wake up
- 5:00 Breakfast
- 5:20 Departs from Ollantaytambo to Patacancha Valley, to the start point for trekking (taxi)
- 6:15 Beginning of the hike
- 18:00 End of trekking in Lares
It’s definitely the heaviest of the proposed one-day trekking in Cusco region, but it is very picturesque. You will have to overcome long parts of the trails through local villages and mountain pass at an altitude of over 4,300 meters above sea level. All of this make the trekking a little bit more difficult. I do not recommend this route during the first days of stay at the altitude. The trail can be defeated in about 11-12 hours. After a successful trek there will wait for you very warm hot springs, in Lares, which for sure will help you to relax after a day’s walking and recover for the next adventure days :-).
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