Waqrapukara, the other Cusco Wonder

Published on: 20 de June de 2018 -

At the top of a mountain in Cusco, Peru, there is an enigmatic Inca fortress. The place has an overwhelming landscape, where gigantic stone formations stand out, and its beauty is one of the most spectacular in the Andean world.

Waqrapukara hike

Fortress, sanctuary, astronomical observatory?

This enigmatic fortress does build on top of the Waqrapukara mountain. It offers a landscape of mountain ranges lost in the horizon and gigantic rock formations that give the Apurimac river valley depth. We will travel the ecological floors are Quechua, Suni, and Puna, observing its characteristic flora and fauna.

When arriving, the first thing is astonishment. The landscape surrounding Waqrapukara is breathtaking, whose beauty is one of the most spectacular in the Andean world. The altiplano páramo is interrupted by the edges of an immense canyon. Explosive bursts of wind ascending the abysses forming inconsistent figures on the heights of the gully. The Inca architects tried to dominate the landscape without transforming its spectacularity.

The curves in the carved stone terraces seem to hold the Waqra (horn), which resembles a double-crowned crown or those waris caps, but only two ends. In the middle of it, there is a natural cave with Inca intervention and a small window that gives to the abyss, allowing a magnificent vision of the night sky, populated with constellations, planets, and stars of enormous value in the Inca cosmovisión.

This enigmatic fortress is located 4,300 meters above sea level, at the top of a colossal ravine covered with forests that crown the abysses that overlook the canyon of the Apurimac River. The archaeological monument does surround by impressive platforms, squares, and a forest of stones that resemble thrones with mythological giants contemplating the mountainous landscape.

“Waqrapukara has nothing to envy to the best destinations for cultural, adventure, and high mountain tourism,” says explorer James Posso of the ÑánPerú group. “As an archaeological monument is a marvel, but you must add the scenic impact of its surroundings and the spectacular rock formations.”

“I was surprised to find three-jamb niches,” says Miguel Cornejo. “I’ve only seen them in Pachacamac and Maukallaqta.” He adds that in the four sectors identified by Miguel Colque, “there is evidence that defines Waqrapukara as a sanctuary with political and religious power.”

Inca Shrine

The architecture of power: the experienced archaeologist Miguel Cornejo Guerrero, who investigated the area in 2010, was organized by the Municipality of Acos and the NGO Project 1409.

“Waqrapukara is an Inca sanctuary of the first order, which denotes immense political and religious power that has not yet implied deciphered,” says Cornejo.

“Four ancient roads reach the site, but before Waqrapukara, a living space formed by river and wind erosion does reach. The whole natural environment warns from afar that a particular, unusual site of An incomparable beauty. In this spectacular vision of natural formations, the Incas mold or insert an incredible ceremonial architecture, merging and making all the natural creation with the best of its artistic architecture, “adds the archaeologist of the PUCP.

Before Cornejo, between 2005 and 2008, the archaeologist from Cusco Miguel Colque Enríquez performed an impeccable restoration work after research to determine the depth of foundations, construction techniques and prevent structures from collapsing.

Both Posso and Cornejo agree that the area is home to other archaeological sites that could form a tourist circuit of the first level in the south of Cusco. These are Tambopukara, Yactapukara, and Ayapukara, barely known by locals.

Waqrapukara can be the epicenter of new experiential tourism circuits, for walks and even for mountain bikes.

And the best thing is that it allows the traveler to camp in the surroundings of the monument, without the massive presence of visitors, without schedules, and with the possibility of enjoying that delicious sensation of discovering a new wonder following that old network of roads that persists in Acomayo.


  • The Ministry of Culture of Cusco has implemented an area for camps near the archaeological monument. It is necessary good equipment for walks and to withstand the nocturnal cold.
  • How to get to Wakrapukara?

This archaeological site does locate at the bottom of Percca, Acos district, Acomayo province in the Cusco region, at about 4160 masl.


It is best to leave Cusco and take the highway to Puno. At the kilometer 91 is the bridge Chuquicahuana, on the Vilcanota River, where the road that leads through Sangarará begins – the epicenter of a battle during the rebellion of José Gabriel Condorcanqui- follows by Acomayo and ends in Acos, at the foot of the Imposing canyon of the Apurimac River.

A Waqrapukara can imply reached from Acomayo following the branch of Huáscar that goes to the peasant community of Huayqui. It is a horseshoe road of approximately 7.5 kilometers.

The second access to Waqrapukara is made from Sangarará, following towards the southwest through a horseshoe road of almost 15 kilometers in length.

The third route passes through the peasant community of Huáscar through a horseshoe path. Finally, the site can continue accessed from the peasant community of Chosecani, following the trail of a pre-Hispanic road.

  • The Incas occupied the site of Waqrapukara (Stronghold of the Horn, in a clear allusion to its rocky formation) after conquering the ethnic group of the Kanas. This Quechua word comes from the name of the southern province of Cusco, where this magnificent archeological site does locate.
  • This archaeological site did link to astrological observation. Also, we will observe niches of three jambs, detail only kept in the architecture of Mauka Llacta, in the mythical Paqarektampu.

waqra pukara camping

waqrapukara hiking

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