Duration: 5 to 7 hours
Start time: 6am
Just as Machu Picchu has it´s own Intipunku (which means “Sun Gate” in quechua), Ollantaytambo also has a grand Sun Gate (or “Puerta del Sol”). The Inti Punku in Ollantaytambo is a doorway of fine carved stone in the imperial inka style. It is located on the Vilcanota river, on the top of the mountain that faces Ollantaytambo, opposite bank of the Cachiccata quarries. The megalithic stones of pink granite with which the sun temple from Ollantaytambo´s archaeological sanctuary was built were taken from these quarries.
This route is suitable for people who like to practice hiking and have a moderate or advanced physical condition. It is a trekking route of 18 kilometres round trip, between the inka hanging bridge that crosses the Vilcanota river, at the entrance to Ollantaytambo and the Inti Punku Ollantatytambo Sun Gate.
We leave Las Qolqas Eco Lodge between 6 and 8 in the morning, depending if you wish to see the sunrise over the agricultural pyramid of Pacaritampu. The hiking starts at the hanging inka bridge that crosses the Urubamba river. Take de path down the river heading North. On clear days, you will be able to observe the first sun rays that illuminate the Temple of the Sun above the fortress of Ollantaytambo. This is especially impressive during the winter solstice on the 21st of June.
After about 1 hour hiking through the trail, you will reach the first Cachiccata Quarry. You may be able to see several chullpas, circular stone structures with a funerary purpose to commemorate the men that laboured and transported those megalithic stones. Also, along the path you will be able to see many “Piedras Cansadas” (chich means tired stones), megalithic stones scattered along the way. These are abandoned stones along the way from the quarry to the Temple of Ollantaytambo. They give credence to the theory that the construction of the temple had stopped suddenly.
While you continue walking, you will start the steepest part of the hike, arranging and inclination of 20 degrees. After 1 hour and a half, you will reach the second quarry, which is much bigger than the previous one. It is recommendable to explore it, so you can see that those giant stones were carved in a very specific shape before they received the final touches when being placed in their final location.
An additional hour of ascent on loose rocks will lead you to an inca settlement where the quarrymen may have lived. From there you can see the agricultural pyramid of Pacaritampu and after another 30 minutes’ walk, you will reach the final destiny: the Inti Punku Ollantaytambo doorway. This impressive sanctuary offers you the best views of mount Apu Verónica. The effort is well worth it, and you will be surrounded by this mistical place where you feel the energy of the mountains and delight in panoramic views.
The hiking is totally outdoor and you will be exposed to the sun and elementos continuously. The weather is prone to change suddenly, so we made a list with our recommendations to take to this inka treck:
This walk can be done alone, but we recommend you go with a local guide, because it is easy to miss the many details to be seen along the route. At Las Qolqas Eco Lodge you can book a local guide here.