August 30, 2015
The ruins just outside of town, a short taxi ride from the Plaza de Armas, make for a great day trip. These ruins – Tambomachay, Pukapukara, Qenqo and Saksaywaman can easily be visited on your own or hire a guide for a more informative tour. Note, however, that not much is really known about the Inka culture and guides spout more conjecture than actual fact.
To reach the ruins take a taxi or to save more money take any bus heading up off of Recoleta. They all wind past the ruins to destinations north of Cusco. The first three sites are small and don’t take much time. Start at the furthest out, Tambomachay, and Pukapukara just across the road, then flag down any collectivo or bus heading back towards town and ask to be dropped off at Qenqo. We paid a sole each.
From Qenqo it’s about a 15 minute walk to the ruins of Saksaywaman, the largest and most impressive of the four. To reach the ruins take the road that passes along a row of shops and restaurants before turning left to the entrance. You can’t miss them as then are clearly visible across the field from Qenqo.
All four ruins are included on the general Cusco tourist ticket (Boleto Turístico del Cusco) which can be bought at any of the sites and is much better value than buying individual entrance tickets.
Hungry for fresh trout? Laguna Azul is a great place to stop for lunch with outside seating along their private fish pond.
Tambomachay – The small picturesque ruin has a pretty fountain.
Pukapukara – A fort set on the edge of a ravine with valley views.
Qenqo – a sacred site in a natural rock formation with a carved shrine.
Saksaywaman – Inka complex located just above the city of Cusco. Most impressive are the walls of gigantic carved stones that are meticulously fit together.