Cusco Sites: An Overview (Part 1)

I thought I would do a series on the local archeological sites and to start things off I figured an overview would be good. So the following are brief descriptions of many of the archeological sites in the Cusco region, some regularly visited and some that are seldom visited. In this overview you will find the sites listed in alphabetical order and each listing will include a brief description original name and translation if known, and location and altitude as well as a few other items when available or known.

For reference on how to best group some of the different sites by location, you can check out my blog on site grouping. Additionally as I produce blogs for each of the individual sites I will add links to this page to make researching easier for my readers.

As this list is quite long (20 locations) I will be separating it into 3 consecutive posts, with this being the first, I hope you find it interesting.

Andenes Zurite

Andenes Zurite

Andenes Zurite
GPS – Latitude: -13.44245213 Longitude -72.24130601
Altitude: 3420 m
Name translation: Originally Zuruc-Ritti “thawing snow”
Approximate Date: Unknown
Attributed Inka: Unknown
Description: The Andenes Zurite is a group of terraces located between the towns of Zurite and Huarocondo, these terraces were used for agricultural purposes and was once the home of the Paliza family. The Hacienda Andeneria still exists on one of the upper terraces and along with the terraces, is currently being used by the Ministry of Agriculture (INIA) for testing and experimentation.

Chinchero

Chinchero

Chinchero Ruins
GPS – Latitude: -13.38947869 Longitude: -72.04659373
Altitude: 3740 m
Name translation: Original name unknown, but tradition knows the area as the “land of the rainbow”
Approximate Date: 1480
Attributed Inka: Túpac Inca Yupanqui
Description: While many tours only visit the Church in Chinchero, there is also a large complex of terraces here as well and the large area just below the church (to the left if facing the front of the church) is an area that is used for drying potatoes from about June to August, depending on the weather. This is also one of the sites where you can see and even hike on an original Inca Trail, which starts at the bottom of the site and runs down into the Sacred Valley.

Choquequirao

Choquequirao

Choquequirao
GPS – Latitude: -13.39162353 Longitude: -72.87444413
Altitude: 3070 m
Name translation: Original name Chuqik’iraw or Chuqi K’iraw “metal/gold, crib/cot”
Approximate Date: 1471 – 1493
Attributed Inka: Túpac Inca Yupanqui
Description: Located to the west of Cusco this site is currently accessible only by foot and requires a 4 day trek at the minimum. Longer treks are available including treks that average about 8 to 9 days and end at Machu Picchu. The site is similar in construction to Machu Picchu and occupies a larger area than Machu Picchu, but at the time of this posting only about 30 – 40% of the site has been excavated. While there does not appear to have been much progress since we moved here, rumor has it there are plans to construct a cable car system to transport visitors to the site.

Huchuy Qosqo

Huchuy Qosqo

Huchuy Qosqo
GPS – Latitude: -13.36654183 Longitude: -71.94410652
Altitude: 3650 m
Name translation: Small Cusco
Approximate Date: 1410 – 1438
Attributed Inka: Viracocha Inca
Description: This site sits above the city of Lamay in the Sacred Valley and can only be reached on foot. There are several routes that one can take to get to Huchuy Qosqo and I am familiar with four of them. The first two are both from the Sacred Valley with one starting in the town of Lamay and the other starting close to the town of Calca, the third route starts at Tambomachay and follows sections of original Inca Trail, and the forth trail starts from the small town of Taucca which is close to Chinchero.

Killarumiyoq

Killarumiyoq

Killarumiyoq
GPS – Latitude: -13.44594258 Longitude: -72.3106572
Altitude: 3620 m
Name translation: Original Name Killarumiyuq “the one with a moon stone”
Approximate Date: Unknown
Attributed Inka: Unknown
Description: Killarumiyoq is a seldom visited site about 1 hour to the West of Cusco; this site has a small set of terraces along with a small area of building foundations and a small cave with some carvings in it. One of the more interesting things at this site is the large rock that has a half moon like stepped cut out in it and is generally referred to as the moon stone. During August the site is also where the Killarumiyoq Raymi is held, this festival is the counterpart to the Inti Raymi as it is held in celebration of the Moon.

Machu Picchu

Machu Picchu

Machu Picchu
GPS – Latitude: -13.1643661 Longitude: -72.54447609
Altitude: 2430 m
Name translation: Original name Machu Pikchu “old peak”
Approximate Date: 1438–1472
Attributed Inka: Pachacuti (Pachacútec)
Description: The site everybody knows, one of the new 7 wonders and the main reason most people come to Cusco. This site is the lowest one on the list and is located roughly West by North West from Cusco, Machu Picchu is nestled on the side of a mountain in the cloud forest and is one of the more controlled sites that you can visit with a total of just under 5,000 people allowed per day. This site can be accessed by either a multi-day trek, a one day hike, by train or by a combination of car/bus and either train or 2 hour hike.

Please continue to Part two for the next segment of the list.

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About Lyle

I love travel and currently own and operate a Bed and Breakfast called GringoWasi with my beautiful Peruvian wife, the property is located in the small town of Huarocondo, and about 30 minutes West of Cusco Peru.
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2 Responses to Cusco Sites: An Overview (Part 1)

  1. Wonderful post…will be so helpful to us when we are there this November!

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