If you have read many of my blogs you probably know that I am a proponent of traveling on your own as well as off the beaten path. With a few exceptions, whenever Lily and I travel we do not use tour agencies and we like to visit out of the way and off the beaten path locations, as we find this to be the most rewarding way to travel. This is of course one of the main reasons that we chose our small town of Huarocondo for the location for GringoWasi bed and breakfast, being off the beaten path makes GringoWasi a quiet, unique and interesting place to visit.
With the wealth of information available on-line these days, it is not that difficult to research and plan your own trips, this does of course require a bit of time and effort, but we really don’t mind doing the work. Recently I have come across a website that is helping make things easier on travelers like us, people that want to see places at their own pace and save a few dollars as well. GPSmyCity is a site where you can find a variety of walking tours, all in app form with maps, pictures and descriptions that are all designed to be installed on your phone or device, and once at the location, function without the need for 3G or WI-fi.
To help introduce my readers to GPSmyCity I have gotten together with them and will be giving away codes for free City Walk Apps to 19 of my readers, and details for this giveaway can be found at the bottom of this blog. For more information about GPSmyCity click on this link to their website. In the spirit of getting off the beaten path and doing things on your own, here are 5 of my favorite “off the beaten path” sites here in the Cusco region (in no specific order).
Tipon: This is probably the most visited of the sites that will be on this list as a fair number of people do get here, but in comparison to most of the other popular sites in the region, is sees very few visitors. The Archaeological site of Tipon sits on a hill above the town of Tipon itself and is believed to have been an Inca water worship site based on the construction, number of water features that the site originally had, and the fact that there were not very many buildings at the site. The site can be reached from Cusco by either taking a taxi, which is the easiest way, or by taking a bus from Cusco to the city of Tipon, once in Tipon you will find many taxis that will take you up to the site and then return you to the main road. It is also possible to walk up from the main road, as we have seen many people that have done this, although I have not yet made this hike and have no idea as to how long it would take.
Pikillacta: It really surprises me that more people don’t visit this site, it is only about 15 minutes past Tipon and is probably my favorite of the sites on this list for two reasons. First is that this is a very easy site to access from Cusco, like Tipon you can take a taxi or a local bus to the turn, and the site sits close enough to the road to be an easy walk if you were to take a local bus to visit it. The second reason that this is one of my favorite sites is that is is pre-Inka, which makes it different than almost all of the other sites in the region, which after visiting many Inka sites can make for a nice change. Pikillacta is a Wari site that was occupied approximately between 550 and 1100 AD and is believed to not have been finished when it was abandoned.
Quillarumiyoc: Quillarumiyoc is a site located to the West of Cusco just above the town of Ancahuasi, and only about 20 minutes from us here at GringoWasi. The site is believed to have been a place where the Moon would have been celebrated and is also a place, according to some locals, where local women still go to give birth. Quillarumiyoc is also where the Quillarumiyoc Raymi is held each year during August, this festival is dedicated to the moon and is the counter part to the very large Inti Raymi festival held in Cusco on June 24th, and is far less touristy than the Inti Raymi. The main points of interest here are the carvings inside of a small cave and the large stone with a half moon like cutout called the moon stone.
Huchuy Qosqo: This is probably the site that is off the beaten path the farthest, it is located above the town of Lamay in the Sacred Valley, and would basically be a full day trip to visit. There are several trails leading to Huchuy Qosqo with at least two that go up from the Sacred Valley, one from Calca and one from Lamay. There are also at least two other trails, one starts from Taucca which is a small town close to Chinchero, and the other trail starts near Tambomachay above Cusco. The trail that we took was the one from Taucca and by this route it took us 5 hours to reach the site, We really took our time and I am sure this time could be shortened to at least 4 hours. When we visited Huchuy Qosqo we were the only ones there and really enjoyed having this spacious archaeological site all to ourselves. One of the notable things about Huchuy Qosqo is the size of some of the buildings, this is the first Inka site that I have visited that actually has a 2 story stone building, and archaeologist believe the building may have been as tall as three stories.
Urco: This is a small but very easily accessible site in the Sacred Valley and lies just to the West of the town of Calca. Many people actually see a portion of the site as they pass by on their way through the Sacred Valley on tours, but few people actually stop here. The site has two main sections, a section of large terraces that sit just behind the town of Urco, which is what can be seen from the road. The second section is located just behind the small hill and contains several structures and the remains of a fountain (possibly ceremonial) that appears to have been carved in the shape of a frog. This is a site that there is little to no information available on and some information I have been given is a bit contradictory, for example I have been told by some locals and workers that the site is Inka, and by others that it is pre-Inka, either way this is one of the few places that I have seen a round building and in my opinion it is worth a quick stop if you have the time to spare and are passing through the Sacred Valley.
Well those are my pics for off the beaten path sites here in the Cusco region, and now for the giveaway information.
The original run for this ended on December 31 of 2015 and the first two commenters below have already received apps from that run. Due to the fact that all of the available free apps were not awarded, combined with the fact that GPS my city has now added Android apps to the giveaway, I am able to extend this giveaway until Feb 29, 2016. So please follow the instructions below to participate and good luck to everyone.
To participate in the contest you must do 3 simple things. 1) Pick a city from those listed on the apropriate list for your device, Apple or Android. 2) leave a comment below indicating your City Walk App city choice and the platform (Apple or Androud). 3) Like our Facebook page. Note: if you have previously liked our FB page then leave a note along with your comment that you “have previously liked our FB page”.
Contest is open to anyone, but only one entry per person please.
To be eligible for the giveaway, comments and FB likes must be made between the posting date of this blog and midnight (Peru time) February 29, 2016.
17 Winners will be chosen by random from the new list of eligible contestants.
Winners will be announced on March 7, 2016 by a blog comment, and e-mails with the codes will be sent to the winners.
Once the codes are issued they are good for 25 days after which time they will expire, City walks once downloaded do not expire, so your trip does not have to be within the 25 days.