Top 3 day hikes in Cusco


‘Been there done that’ with Machu Picchu, or simply want to try something new? Take a look at these hikes that can be done in just one day.If you are making a return trip to Cusco, or maybe have some extra time to spend while visiting, you’re surely looking for something different to do while here. If you like the outdoors and hiking, then here are three good options to choose from.

*1. Rainbow Mountain*

_(Photo: Lyle Walker)_

Tour agencies have just recently started offering the Rainbow Mountain hike as an option, which is actually best since working with an agency will make the logistics much easier. This hike is the longest of the day hikes, as agencies generally pick hikers up in Cusco around 3:00 a.m., and return to Cusco around 7:00 p.m. The hike starts at an altitude of about 4,330 meters and continues up the valley to reach the summit at 5,000 meters where you will then see the Rainbow Mountain For reference, the view of the rainbow mountain could be a bit of a disappointment as many of the pictures currently circulating tend to show brilliant colors; the actual colors, however, are much lighter. The hike itself is wonderful, offering many beautiful views of the surrounding countryside, including some amazing views of Ausangate Mountain.

Round trip: 21 km
Hiking time: 7 hours (average)
Total elevation gain: 670 meters

*2. Huchuy Qosqo*

This hike will take you to a site overlooking the Sacred Valley and can easily be accessed without a tour agency. You can hire a car to take you to the starting point, then take a bus back to Cusco when finished. There are numerous trails to choose from, however the trail that I have used starts in the town of Taucca, near Lake Puray. From the starting point in Taucca the trail climbs to a pass that is about 4,390 meters in elevation. From the top you will then start your descent of 790 meters over the next 9 km, arriving at the site of Huchuy Qosqo. At this point you will have hiked for approximately five hours. Huchuy Qosqo is a medium sized Inca site that is nice to visit for two main reasons: first, the site is generally empty; second, it is the only site that I have actually seen a two-story, stone Inca building. After spending time at the site you can then start your descent into the Sacred Valley to the town of Lamay.

Round trip: 21 km
Hiking time: 10 hours (average)
Total elevation gain: 540 meters

p=. What Peruvian hotel was chosen among the best in the world?

*3. Wata*

_(Photo: Lyle Walker)_

This site is located high above a valley that runs between the town of Huarocondo and the town of Pachar (near Ollantaytambo). Like the Huchuy Qosqo hike above, this hike can also be easily done on your own as you can take colectivos between Cusco and Huarocondo. This is a good ½ or ¾ day hike with the trail head being about a 10 minute drive from Huarocondo. The hike up to the site takes about 3 hours from the road, and the return takes about 1-1/2 hours. The site itself is small and information on it is limited, but I have read that it may have been a burial site as the main wall contains niches that may have held mummies in the past.

Round trip: 12 km
Hiking time: 4 ½ hours (average)
Total elevation gain: 600 meters

_Lyle Walker was born in California, served in the Marines and has spent much of his career working as an industrial engineer. In 2006 he met and married his Peruvian wife, Lily, and in 2012 they moved to the Cusco region to open and run_ _GringoWasi bed and breakfast_ _where they not only host guests, but also help them with their planning. Lyle can be contacted by e-mail at peruvianmongo466@hotmail.com_

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