The Cachiccata Inca Quarry Trail in Ollantaytambo
If you want to learn more about the Inca Empire and its incredible engineering feats, then the Inca Quarry Trail in Ollantaytambo must be a must-see. This 30-kilometer trail takes you through Peru’s most breathtaking scenery. It allows you to gain insight into how the Incas built such impressive structures with the primitive tools available at the time and how they transported the enormous boulders.
The Inca Quarry Trail is located in the district of Ollantaytambo (Cusco-Peru) and is an excellent hike for those looking to experience some of the best views in the area. The Trailhead is just 20 minutes outside the town, near the Village of Pachar.
The Cachiccata trek is one of the newest hiking trails to Machu Picchu. The trail is named after the Inca quarry site of Cachiccata, located along a mountaintop in the Village of Cachiccata District of Ollantaytambo.
The Cachiccata Inca Quarry is a site where the Incas used to mine stone for their buildings and monuments. The quarry is 5 kilometers from Ollantaytambo on a mountainside and contains several large rocks that the Incas cut. It is also possible to find the original route (Inca Trail) used by the Inca to transport the giant boulders from one mountain to the hill where the fortress of Ollantaytambo is located.
One of the most exciting features of this trek is the large blocks of rocks that the Incas were transporting to Ollantaytambo, and suddenly, they abandoned all along the trail; these rocks are now called the Tired Stones.
The Cachiccata Trek is about 30 kilometers long, initially used by locals to trade with nearby villages; this trek will connect several towns, including Socma, Chancachuco, and Cachiccata. When child, I used to hike this trail with my father. Every year, around April, may, we would take maize from the Sacred valley up to the highlands and trade with organic potatoes and sheep.
Today Cachiccata trek is a popular tour; hundreds of travelers will hike to Machu Picchu every year.
What to expect
When hiking the Cachiccata Inca Quarry Trail, expect to be amazed by ancient Inca sites, beautiful waterfalls, and incredible views of the Sacred Valley. You will learn so much about the life of the Incas. The trail is moderate, with some parts being more challenging than others. However, the scenery and history make it well worth the effort.
Places we visit
During the Cachiccata trek, you can enjoy the local culture, visit historical places, and enjoy amazing views of the Sacred Valley.
The Ñaupa Iglesia is an ancient shrine located in the town of Pachar, district of Ollantaytambo, Peru. To get to Ñaupa Iglesia, you must travel by car from Cusco or Ollantaytambo to the village of Pachar. The Trailhead is located next to the railway and the river, just 10 minute’s drive from Pachar on the route to Huarocondo. You will need to climb for about 15 minutes the stairs until you arrive at the shrine.
Socma is located in the Sacred Valley of the Incas, about 2 hours from Cusco. It is a tiny village with a population of only about 300 people. The houses are made out of adobe and have thatched roofs. The primary source of income for the villagers is agriculture; they grow potatoes, corn, and other vegetables. They also raise chickens and guinea pigs (Cuy).
The Perolniyoq Waterfalls are located in the village of Socma at 3450 meters, just one drive from the Ollantaytambo district. The Waterfalls are two central falls about 80 meters high.
The best time to visit the Perolniyoq Waterfalls is during the rainy season, when the waterfalls are most spectacular. However, the falls are still impressive and worth visiting, even during the dry season.
Racaypata Inca Ruins
The Racaypata Inca Ruins are a series of ancient Inca ruins in Ollantaytambo, Peru. The ruins are situated on a hillside on top of the Perolniyoc Waterfalls.
The Cugmas, a small tribe, inhabited this fantastic site and later were conquered by the Incas, who built houses, temples, storehouses, and irrigation systems.
Perched high in the Andes, Chancachuco Lake is a serene body of water that has been a source of fresh water in the lower lands.
The Intipunku, or “Sun Gate,” is a mysterious gate that faces Veronica Mountain. Intipunku was an important ceremonial site for the Inca and was used for religious rituals and festivals. The site was also used as a checkpoint for travelers entering the city.
Choquetacarpo Inca site
The Choquetacarpo Inca site is located in the upper of the Inca Quarry and consists of several buildings, probably where important nobles or priests lived.
The Sacred Valley View
Nestled in the heart of the Andes Mountains, the Sacred Valley offers sweeping vistas of mountains, valleys, and rivers. From Intipunku or the “Sun Gate,” visitors can see the entire valley before them.
The High Mountain Passes
During the Quarry Trail trek, you can conquer 2 high mountain passes over 4500 meters. The first is the Charcahuaylla pass, and the second is the Buena Negra Pass before descending into the Sacred Valley.
The Inca Quarry of Cachiccata
The Inca quarry of Cachiccata is located just outside Ollantaytambo’s town in the Sacred Valley of the Incas. The quarry is a large, open-air site that the Incas used to extract stone for their construction projects. The quarry is situated on a steep hillside and features a series of trails, terraces, burial sites, and farming terraces built by the Incas.
The quarry was likely chosen for its proximity to Ollantaytambo, an important center of power for the Incas. The stone extracted from Cachiccata was used to build many of the buildings and monuments in Ollantaytambo, including the Temple of the Sun. The Inca quarry at Cachiccata is an excellent example of how the Incas used their natural resources to construct their empire.
The route of the stone
We call the route of the stone to the ancient trail built by the Incas to transport the rock from one mountain to another mountain. It is possible to see and hike along the route down the hill, where the Incas transported the boulder carefully down the mountain, crossed the Urubamba River, and took up the hill until the Ollantaytambo fortress.
The tired stones in Ollantaytambo
Ollantaytambo was under construction when the Spanish arrived to conquer the Inca Empire. Some of the boulders of about 50 tons were on the way to Ollantaytambo, but there were suddenly abandoned due to the invasion, and now we can see these enormous rocks all along the way, and we call them the tired stones.
The Pakaritampu Piramide
Ollantaytambo’s farming terraces have a pyramid from when looking down from the Quarry of Cachiccata. According to the Inca legend, the first Incas were born from the window of the Pakaritampu Pyramid.
Ollantaytambo is a small town in the Sacred Valley of the Incas, located about an hour and a half from Cusco by car or 2 hours by train. The city is best known for its well-preserved Inca ruins, which include an impressive fortified hilltop complex and an extensive network of aqueducts.
Machu Picchu is an ancient Incan site in Peru that is now one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world. The site is located in the Andes Mountains and consists of a series of stone buildings built by the Incans. Machu Picchu was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1983 and is now one of the World’s Seven Wonders.
How to Prepare for the Cachiccata trek
Below is a basic outline of how to prepare for the Inca Quarry Trail:
- Start by gradually increasing your mileage and pace on your hike. If you’re currently running 3 miles, aim to add an extra mile each week until you’re up to 6 miles. 2. Incorporate some hill training into your runs. This will help build strength and endurance for the hilly sections of the trail. 3. Make sure to add cross-training activities like biking, swimming, or elliptical workouts. This will help improve your overall fitness level and prevent injuries. 4. As your training progresses, start incorporating some speed work and tempo runs into your schedule. This will help you build up leg turnover and stamina for the long days on the trail. 5. Finally, make sure to taper off your mileage and intensity a week or two before the hike so that you’re well-rested and don’t run the risk of overtraining.
Tips for Hiking the Inca Quarry Trail
The Inca Quarry Trail is one of Ollantaytambo’s most popular hiking trails. The trail takes you through an ancient Inca quarry, which was used to extract stone for constructing the nearby city of Ollantaytambo. The course is pretty challenging, with a few steep sections, but the views are well worth it. Here are a few tips to help you make the most of your hike:
- Arrive early. Arrive in Cusco two days before the trip departure to hike the Cachiccata trek.
- Take plenty of water and snacks, so you will need to bring your water for the first day.
- Wear appropriate footwear. The trail can be slippery, so ensure you have good hiking boots or shoes with good traction.
- Watch your step. Some loose rocks are on the trail, so take care when walking around them.
- Enjoy the views! The Inca Quarry Trail offers some stunning views of Ollantaytambo and the surrounding area. Make sure you take breaks to enjoy nature.