Waqra Pukara, a trek off the beaten track
Peru is a great playground for outdoor enthusiasts. I wanted this new trip with my colleague Solène, in the Cusco region, to discover new landscapes and get off the classic tourist trails.
The discovery of the Waqar Pukara fortress, therefore, seemed ideal to use for this new 2-day expedition:
- breathtaking scenery away from the tourist crowds
- an accessible hike that does not require intense physical preparation
- a historical side that our trekking team will allow us to apprehend in complete safety .
3 good reasons to explore Waqra Pukara Fortress
1. Walk away from mass tourism
We leave early in the morning from Cusco, the former capital of the Inca Empire, and starting point for many tours to explore the region.
Onboard our small van, the local team of this trek is motivated for this hike that few tourists know and for which the demand is low.
After a short morning drive, during which the high plateaus of the Andes pass before our eyes, we arrive at the top of the village of Campi, which will be the starting point of our hike.
Accompanied by Henry, our Cuzquénian guide, and our trekking team, we begin the walk slightly uphill and that’s when we understand our luck: here we will be quiet! The path, well-marked, allows us to cross fields where some shepherds graze their cows or climb; and offers us a spectacular view below of the Acomayo Valley, crossed by the Apurimac River. Raising the view, we begin to see large rock formations with inspiring reliefs.
A small afternoon of walking on this path and we arrive at our campsite. Only 2 tents have been set up by other travelers, there won’t be more tonight.
From the camp, what seemed in the distance a large rectangular rock block is already becoming clearer and we understand that it is there: the Waqar Pukara fortress!
Built by the pre-Inca Qanchi ethnic group, between 1500 and 1000 BC, this construction offers a strategic point of view on the surrounding region and would have made it possible to train warriors to defend their territory, before being recovered at the Inca era.
2. Two days of hiking, zero blisters
Accustomed to the steep drops and uneven paths of the Andes, I had wondered what equipment to prepare and had even thought of bringing poles, it can help on the slightly difficult slopes! Surprise: add to the spectacular landscapes and the tranquility of the hike easy paths, steep at times but which present no technical difficulty!
After a night under the stars, without any light contamination, and waking up to a magical view, we take advantage of the morning to visit every corner of the archaeological site with our guide, imagining the history of this mysterious place.
In the middle of the morning, we begin the descent towards the village of Hayti. A nice walk during which the landscapes evolve as you go. The sun is out and we are happy to find the shade when we arrive at the endpoint of the hike.
3. A caring trekking team
If the trek went so well, it is mainly thanks to the team that surrounded us: Henry, our guide who informed us as much about the history of pre-Inca civilizations as about the observation of nature; our cook who guaranteed us hot and varied meals, and the team of porters who knew how to choose strategic places to set up camp and the kitchen tent.
In this context, all that remains is to walk and enjoy the view without worrying about logistics at a certain altitude!