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This weekend, Daniel and I tackled the little known 11-mile hike to the Huchuy Qosqo ruins. The trek follows the Imperial Inca trail and leads to ancient Huchuy Qosqo ruins that were once the summer home of an important king… who’s name I can’t remember, and definitely can’t spell.

While they’re not on most tourist’s must-do list, they’re certainly worth the picturesque trek to reach the remote outpost.

The best part? This hike is an easy day trip from Cusco that you can absolutely do on your own.

How To Get from Cusco to the Huchuy Qosqo Trail

I couldn’t find any information on the Huchuy Qosqo trek online. When we went to tour operators in the city, they reluctantly offered it… for $170 per person!


Instead we got a hold of our friend Diego, a Peruvian tour guide, who took us on the trek. With his expert guidance I can now give you the exact directions to enjoy this hike on your own.

Starting from your hotel, take a taxi to the “Estacion Papitos”, Cusco’s small bus station. This should cost about 4 soles from the city center.

Once you arrive at the station you’ll be bombarded with men to help you, so just tell them you need to go to Laguna Piuray and they’ll point you to the right van. The drive to the lake is about 45 minutes and cost us 6 soles per person. Remind the driver once or twice where you want to get off, and they’ll make sure you end up in the right place.

You’ll get off on a dirt road in a small town. Here you can wave down a taxi (or any car really) and ask them to take you to the “Camino Inca Huchuy Qosqo.” Yep, just like the ancient royalty, you’re going to be doing the whole hike on the Imperial Inca Trail. This 20 minute drive to the trailhead should cost around 10 soles.

And just like that, you’ve made it to the start of the Huchuy Qosqo trail!

My Tip: Even if this seems complicated (I promise it’s not) whatever you do, DO NOT start your trek in Lamay. DO NOT book with any tour operator who wants you to start your trek in Lamay. Doing this will take something beautiful and enjoyable and totally destroy it. You’ll go from about an hour of uphill hiking to six or more. Trust me, the route from Lake Piuray is the only way to go.

Huchuy Qosqo

The climb is actually pretty easy for such a sweet reward!

The Hike

Once you’re on the Inca trail, the route will be obvious. Although it was destroyed by the Spanish conquistadores, a wide and clear path remains. Start early (we left Cusco at 6:30 am) and you won’t see another soul all day.

So, what can you expect on the Huchuy Qosqo trek?

It begins with a meandering uphill walk through sloping hills, where you can see the remains of Incan terraces and aqueducts. As you climb, you’ll start to see beautiful cliffs and even some lakes. Finally, a steep but short push will take you over the mountain pass and on top of the world.

You’ll be rewarded for your hard work two hours into the trek with sweeping views of mountaintops and icy glaciers for miles. Continue on the path and you’ll soon begin your descent.

As we climbed down into the valley where the Huchuy Qosqo ruins are, it was amazing to watch the climate change before our eyes. The landscape started out dry and arid, but soon the surroundings became green and lush from the heat trapped in the valley. It was easy to see why the warm mountainside was chosen as the royal escape from Cusco’s cold winters!

Continue down the trail for two more hours and you’ll come across the ruins. On your way, keep an eye out for condors, giant hummingbirds, and pumas who like the roam the nearby brush.

My tip: Take a few minutes to stop hiking and just listen – the absolute silence and stillness on the roof of the world is a stunning experience.

Huchuy Qosqo

Surrounded by mountains at the highest point on the Huchuy Qosqo trek

Visiting the Huchuy Qosqo Ruins

The cost to enter the Huchuy Qosqo ruins is 22 soles / 6.50 usd per person. They are so remote (over an hour walking from the nearest towns) and rarely visited, but somehow a man appeared just as we did to collect our money and issue our tickets. He disappeared again, and we were left alone to wander the ancient ruins.

For me, the best part was the remains of a giant pool in the middle. I can only imagine the infinity pool with an amazing mountain view was the center of all the wild parties thrown in the estate!

If you’re a huge history buff, this place will be heaven. Not only will you have a complete run of the entirely empty ruins, but you can also set up camp and spend the night in them for no extra cost. Although we opted not to, I’m sure the view of the stars and milky way from the sacred Incan spot is breathtaking.

Huchuy Qosqo

Our first view of the Huchuy Qosqo ruins while descending into the valley

Hiking from the Ruins to the Town of Lamay

This is my least favorite part of the hike and the reason why I rate this trek as moderate instead of easy.

We left the ruins around 1 pm by passing through them and turning right on the path at the bottom. Soon, you’ll spot the colorful little lego town of Lamay and quickly realize just how high you are.

Yeah… the decent is over an hour and a half of switchbacks down a sheer cliff face. It’s extra fun because the path is extremely dusty and rocky so you’ll be slipping and sliding right up to the edge for extra fear! Really, it’s not so bad… as long as you don’t look down.

Once you reach the bottom, turn right to get to the bridge, and once you cross it you’ll come to a bus stop where you can wait and catch the next van back to Cusco. An hour later and you’ll be home!

Huchuy Qosqo

Looking down at the tiny town of Lamay during our descent to it!

What to Pack on for the Huchuy Qosqo Trek

As you can see this definitely isn’t an easy trek and you’ll be gone all day. So, that means you should be sure to bring…

  • A small backpack (I use the day pack that came with my Osprey Farpoint bag)
  • At least one full water bottle (I love the Vibrant thermos)
  • Sunglasses
  • Sunscreen! Cusco is at high altitude and you will get burned even if it’s cold outside
  • Lunch and snacks
  • Comfortable hiking shoes, which are especially important for grip on the slippery return trail to Lamay (I can’t recommend my Timberland boots enough)
  • Cash for all the taxis/buses/collectivos
  • Extra layers to take on and off as the temperature changes

Prices accurate as of:

All in all, the hike to Huchuy Qosqo is totally exhausting but DEFINITELY worth it.

I spent eight weeks in Cusco and this was one of my all-time favorite experiences (and I’m happy to see that so many people in the comments below agree!). If you find yourself with some extra time in the city, the Huchuy Qosqo trek is an unforgettable day trip from Cusco and shouldn’t be missed!

PS Looking for more hikes around Cusco? Use this guide to hike at Kinsa Cocha and see Pisac’s three lakes or try this easy hike from Cusco’s city center!


  1. Charles

    Hello there! I just want to tell you that I’m in Peru for two weeks now and still have 10 days left. I followed a couple of your steps and never have I been disappointed. I love what you did here and helped me a lot through my trip.

    Thanks again!


    • Slight North by Dianne Minardi

      Thank you so much! This really means a lot to hear 🙂 I hope you enjoy the rest of your trip in Peru!

  2. John Farris

    Thanks so much for tour guide! Out of curiosity, what time did you return to to Cusco?

    • Di Michelle

      You’re welcome! I can’t remember the exact time but it was probably around 3 or 4

      • John Farris

        Thanks! Really appreciate it

  3. Jackie

    Do you have a map of this route? The start location is pretty confusing. I have a trail description that starts in Patabamba. Do the routes connect

    • Di Michelle

      Sorry, I don’t have a map and can’t tell you whether or not the routes connect. The steps above were just what I did to start the trek.

  4. Aaron

    Thanks for this! I did a multi-day version of this walk with no guide, starting from Lamay – the section from Lamay to Huchuy Qosqo was beautiful and enchanting, so I do recommend it if walkers have the time. We camped at Huchuy Qosqo, then turned south and walked across the high plane, descending into Cusco on the third day. This was one of the favorite walks I’ve done in my lifetime – so close to the Sacred Valley, yet a world apart. Highly highly recommend doing any portion of this time allows!

    • Di Michelle

      Sounds nice! I’m jealous you camped there… looking back I wish that I had too. Btw this guide does include the section between Huchuy Qosqo and Lamay, we just do it backwards so it’s downhill 🙂

  5. John young

    Thanks so much for this guide. I’m going to Cusco in March and want to go to Huchuuy Qosqo but didn’t know how to get there, until now! thanks

  6. Danielle

    My partner and I did this in August last year. It was absolutely stunning and my fave part of the Peru visit.

    I just wanted to say thank you for sharing the trip on your blog – it gave us the courage to have a go.
    By the way, loved the local bus ride back to Lima – so cheap and such a nice local experience.

    • Di Minardi

      Comments like this mean so much to me – thanks for letting me know! I’m really glad you enjoyed your hike, it’s one of my favorite experiences from Cusco as well 🙂

  7. Jackson

    My dad and I were staying in Ollanta when I read about Huchuy Qosqo online. We had to be back in Cusco by 8 PM the next day, and we wanted to see Huchuy. So, we woke up early in Ollanta, took vans and the public bus with locals to Lamay, and began the hike by 8 AM. We started up the trail but saw no tourists, only a couple locals heading down. It took us two hours to reach Huchuy from Lamay, a strenuous hike that’s supposed to take 3. We were the only tourists at Huchuy and it was amazing having an entire site to ourselves. After that, we decided to try to hike all the way to Cusco, something people do in two days, the opposite direction, and with a guide. We started up the trail and eventually reached The Valley, after hours of uphill hiking, with the large lake. The trail took us around The Valley and at this point we were completely lost. We followed a road that went along the lake, eventually dropping us off at a pass that exited The Valley. It was about 5 PM at this point (we had been hiking at a good pace almost the whole time) with the sun setting. We were hungry, tired, and out of water. At the pass we finally got cell reception and could see a village and highway far below us. We hiked down the hill and entered the village where wild dogs approached us barking. To make matters worse, we had to hike along the road, which went right next to an unchained bull. Proceeding further, we saw a group of kids flocking some sheep, but as I tried to speak Spanish to see where we were, it was apparent they did not completely understand as they must’ve spoken Quechua. Finally, we reached a road where we hitchiked back to the main highway where we snagged a cab back to Cusco. To make matters even worse, the cab driver dropped us off on the opposite side of Cusco as he said he couldn’t take us any further. We were in the non tourist area with very few Cabs and it took us a solid 20 minutes to find one. Finally, we got back to Our hostel, and ate the biggest chicken dinner ever.

    So if you want an adventure and you have good cardio, go from Lamay. It’s something I’ll never forget and it was one of the best days of my life. I probably enjoyed that adventure more than Macchu Picchu. It was a 15 mile hike in total, so it’s doable, just bring a map (we did not have one) and extra food/water. We had semi heavy packs as we had all of our clothes from the sacred Valley days so try to have a lighter pack.

    • Di Minardi

      Omg! That’s such a crazy story – so glad you were able to make it back to Cusco in the end! Hiking from Lamay is definitely the more difficult route but I’m glad you enjoyed your adventure 🙂

  8. Irina

    i’m thinking to take this trail, but i will travel along, do you think its safe enough?

    • Di Minardi

      It seemed pretty safe to me. It was pretty much deserted, so as long as you don’t mind being alone I think it would be ok. I was in a group of 3 people though, so I can’t say for sure.

  9. Kelley

    Thanks for sharing this information. I am very excited about my trip and your article has enhanced those feelings!
    My friend and I will be hiking Tambomachay to Machu Picchu, three days, going through Huchuy Qosqo. Based on your experience, how much hiking time should we expect to be in our mid hiking boots versus our approach shoes? Any comments or recommendations regarding Altitude Sickness???

    • Di Minardi

      Oh wow, that sounds like a really interesting route. I didn’t even know about it! I did pretty much all my hikes in Peru in boots rather than shoes so I’m not really sure I can help you on that one, but as for altitude sickness, I would just suggest spending at least one night in Cusco before going out to help acclimate, maybe two. And definitely bring coca leaves to chew on! They’re incredibly helpful in fighting stomachaches and dizziness at high altitude.

    • Di Minardi

      Yes it looks similar, it looks like there are a few versions of it on Wikilocs


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