Series 5: Seldom Visited Sites Andenes Zurite


Lyle Walker

Just west of Cusco you can explore the largest continuous terrace in the region, if not in all of Peru.

The previous 4 articles covered sites in the Sacred and Southern Valleys, now we will move to the West of Cusco where you will find the Anta Province. Aside from those that are traveling through on the way to the Sacred Valley, Machu Picchu, Lima or other locations, as well as those staying with us at GringoWasi, the Anta Province, in general, does not see many tourists.

The Andenes Zurite are located a little more than 42 km to the West of Cusco and are the largest continuous terraces in the Cusco Region if not in all of Peru, with the larger terraces being about 1 km in length, 30 meters deep and 3 meters in height. The word Andenes translates to terraces or steps and Zurite is the name of the nearby town.

(Photo: Lyle Walker)

Before being taken control of by the Peruvian government, the terraces were farmed and home to the Paliza family, their old colonial home is still on one of the upper terraces and is one of many buildings the Ministry of Agriculture now occupies. The Ministry of Agriculture now manages the archaeological site and operates it as a large laboratory. Here they test different growing methods and through cross-pollination, try to develop new varieties of crops. For instance, they introduced a new variety of quinoa back in 2012.

Aside from the terraces and colonial home, there are also ruins on the hill above the terraces that we have been told are referred to as Qenq. While the ruins above are accessible, it would be a difficult hike and according to some of the workers at the site, one would need a machete to blaze a path, as there is no established trail to get you there.

(Photo: Lyle Walker)

If considering a trip to the Andenes Zurite and you like pork, I would recommend stopping in our town of Huarocondo for lunch. Huarocondo is regionally known as the '