A couple of weeks ago I had a great time making a hike I’ve been putting off for a long time. We took the old Inca route from Chinchero down through the canyon to the village of Urquillos in the Sacred Valley.
I usually don’t go with tour groups, but every once in awhile I go with the school groups sponsored by Mundo Antiguo (which is Cusco’s best Spanish school, by the way!) The guide was my friend Dorian who was a teacher at the school but now is working as a commercial artist in Cusco. He grew up in the area and knows it well. He’s shown me some really interesting places and I’ve learned a lot from him.
As usual, our group was a veritable United Nations gathering with hikers from The Netherlands (Tessa and Stijn), Germany (Julian and Peter), Peru (Dorian), and the US (myself). One of the highlight of my hikes is interacting and making friends with people from all over the world!
We all hopped on colectivos at the usual spot near Calle Belen. Since I was the “local” guy, I let the others fill up one car to have a little more space while I got on a different one with other Peruvians. I always like riding with local people and making friends on the short 45-minute ride to Chinchero.
Once there, we walked to Plaza where everyone took one last break and got a little breakfast of choclo con queso (corn with gigantic kernels and cheese), then headed off to the trailhead behind the market area.
The hike begins by passing below the terraces of the Chinchero ruins which were probably built by the inca Tupac Yupanqui. The ruins are pretty impressive, but the best part soon came as we made our way past the ruins as the trail continued into the canyon.
We turned off on a smaller trail to the right and hiked along the steep side of the canyon for several hundred meters before coming upon a really beautiful waterfall. Of course, this time of the year there wasn’t much water coming down as it’s the dry season.
We spent a little time there while everyone took selfies then headed back down the trail and joined up with the main trail. Frankly, the trail the rest of the way down is rather boring until we finally reached Urquillos at the bottom of the canyon. The trail is often hard to follow, though you can’t get lost by continually moving downhill.
The views were nice looking into the valley below, but most of the time there wasn’t much to see except eucalyptus trees which, of course, block much of the view of the canyon.
This probably isn’t a surprise for those who know me, but the hikes better be breathtaking for me to be impressed. (Fortunately, almost every hike in the region fits that description!)
While beautiful, I enjoyed getting down to Urquillos and walking through the village. Urquillos has a small population, but it is a very large place due to the fact that it is thin and stretches all the way to the highway that runs between Urubamba and Pisac.
Unfortunately, we didn’t see many people. I wondered if many were simply working in the fields on Saturday morning. I always like chatting with people as we walk by.
While a nice morning walk, I doubt I’ll make this hike again except to see the waterfall when it is flowing more.
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