This post contains affiliate links.

This weekend, Dan 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 ruins that were once the summer home of an important Incan 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? The Huchuy Qosqo hike is an easy day trip from Cusco that you can absolutely do on your own with this guide. It covers:

  • How to get from Cusco to Huchuy Qosqo
  • An easy step-by-step guide for the Huchuy Qosqo hike
  • What to see at the Huchuy Qosqo ruins
  • How to get from Huchuy Qosqo to Lamay + Back to Cusco
  • What to pack for the Huchuy Qosqo hike
  • How much does the Huchuy Qosqo trek cost?
  • And much more!

If you’re ready to check the off-the-beaten-path but totally memorable Huchuy Qosqo trek off your Cusco bucket list, keep reading to make it happen.

 

Huchuy Qosqo ruins

Inside the Huchuy Qosqo ruins

 

How To Get from Cusco to the Huchuy Qosqo Trail

I couldn’t find any information on the Huchuy Qosqo trek online and when we went to tour agencies in the city, they reluctantly offered a Huchuy Qosqo tour… for $170 per person.

Yikes.

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

There are three steps to get from Cusco to the Huchuy Qosqo trail head:

  • Taxi from Cusco city center to Eastacion Papitos
  • Colectivo (shared van) from Eastacion Papitos to Laguna Piuray
  • Taxi from Laguna Piuray to the Camino Inca Huchuy Qosqo 

 

1. Taxi from Cusco to Estacion Papitos

Starting from your hotel, take a taxi to “Estacion Papitos,” Cusco’s small bus station.

It’s not marked on Google Maps (that I can find at least) but your taxi driver should know where it is. This trip is pretty short and should only cost about 4 soles / 1.20 usd from the city center.

 

2. Colectivo from Estacion Papitos to Laguna Piuray

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 / 1.80 usd per person.

Remind the driver once or twice where you want to get off (just to make sure they know you have no clue when to stop them on your own) and they’ll make sure you end up in the right place.

 

3. Taxi from Laguna Piuray to the Huchuy Qosqo trailhead

You’ll get off at Laguna Piuray 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. From the colectivo stop to the Huchuy Qosqo trailhead the drive takes about 20 minutes and should cost around 10 soles / 3 usd.

Congrats you’ve made it to the start of the Huchuy Qosqo hike!

 

Important 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.

 

hiking to Huchuy Qosqo

All smiles at the start of the Huchuy Qosqo hike

 

Step-by-Step Guide for the Huchuy Qosqo 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?

 

start of the Huchuy Qosqo trek

Trail at the start of the trek beginning to go uphill but nothing too strenuous yet. 

 

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 Huchuy Qosqo trek with sweeping views of mountaintops and icy glaciers for miles. Continue on the path and you’ll soon begin your descent.

 

plateau on the trek to Huchuy Qosqo

Mountain views on the plateau before our descent to the ruins

 

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!

 

greenery on the descent to Huchuy Qosqo

All of a sudden, everything will begin turning green before your eyes

 

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 an awesome experience.

 

Incan stonework at the Huchuy Qosqo ruins

Happiness is ancient Incan stonework

 

What to See at 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.

 

Lamay, Peru

Don’t look down on the steep trek down to the town of Lamay

 

How to Hike from Huchuy Qosqo to 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 hike

Just little ol’ me and my sturdy Osprey pack on the Huchuy Qosqo trek

 

What to Pack on for the Huchuy Qosqo Trek

This isn’t an easy trek and you’ll be gone all day. So, I recommend bringing a small day pack with: 

  • Water 
  • Sunglasses
  • Sunscreen (Cusco is at high altitude and you will get burned even if it’s cold outside)
  • Lunch and snacks
  • Sturdy hiking boots (which are especially important for grip on the slippery return trail to Lamay)
  • Cash for the taxis/buses/colectivos
  • Extra layers to take on and off as the temperature changes

This is the hiking gear I can’t live without:

Prices and images pulled from the Amazon Product Advertising API on:

 

How much does the Huchuy Qosqo hike cost?

If you’re tackling the Huchuy Qosqo trek alone, your budget breakdown will look something like this:

  • Transport from Cusco to the trailhead: 20 soles / 6 usd
  • Huchuy Qosqo entrance fee: 22 soles / 6.50 usd
  • Colectico from Lamay to Cusco: ~5 soles / 1.50 usd (I honestly can’t remember)

In total, the Huchuy Qosqo trek without a guide will cost 47 soles / 14 usd. Add an additional 33 soles / 10 usd to the budget per person that joins you. 

 

Huchuy Qosqo ruins

Wanna see this? My guide will get ya there!

 

Trek Huchuy Qosqo With This Guide

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

Now, with this guide, you don’t need to drop big bucks on a Huchuy Qosqo tour – instead, follow this step-by-step guide and get off the beaten path to tackle it on your own!

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! 

Ready to go? Use Skyscanner to find the cheapest flights to Cusco and then explore accommodation like unique stays on Airbnb or the top-rated hotels on Booking.com to plan the perfect night, weekend, or long-term stay in the city.

 

This article is part of the Cusco Hiking series. Read the rest below:

6 Different Ways to Get to Machu Picchu from Cusco

Everything You Need to Know About the Salktantay Trek to Machu Picchu

How to Visit Mount Vinicunca – Peru’s Rainbow Mountain

How to Visit Sacsayhuaman + the Surrounding Ruins

How to Visit Chacan Cave and the Temple of the Moon

How to Visit Tipon and Piquillacta on a Half-Day Trip from Cusco

Then, explore the complete Peru series for more tips on what to see, do, eat, drink, and discover in Cusco and beyond.

 

Like it? Pin it!

Huchuy Qosqo Pinterest pin

 

I’ve been traveling full-time for three years, these are the resources that make it happen:

➤ I exclusively use Airbnb for savings and security on long-term stays in furnished apartments.

➤ I use Booking.com for short-term stays in hostels and hotels on weekend trips.

Skyscanner and the Scott's Cheap Flights newsletter help me find and book cheap flights and mistake fares.

Upwork allowed me to take the leap to travel full-time because they make it so easy to find freelance clients in any field. 

➤ The Superstar Blogging Travel Writing Course launched my travel writing career and helped me become a contributor at sites like Cincinnati Refined and International Living, and even get published in the Boston Globe.

➤ Finally, I love hosting my travel blog on SiteGround because they have helpful and responsive customer service and I love MediaVine and CJ for helping me make a living doing what I love!

27 Comments

  1. 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!

    C!

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

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

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

      Reply
      • Thanks! Really appreciate it

        Reply
  3. 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

    Reply
    • 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.

      Reply
  4. 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!

    Reply
    • 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 🙂

      Reply
  5. 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

    Reply
  6. 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.

    Reply
    • 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 🙂

      Reply
  7. 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.

    Reply
    • 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 🙂

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

    Reply
    • 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.

      Reply
  9. Hi,
    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???

    Reply
    • 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.

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

      Reply
    • Hey! Thanks so much for your post! I was wondering is it possible to hike the two hours to get the views then turn around and go back the same way for a shorter hike?? Will we be able to find a taxi back home from the start of the trailhead if we do that? Also since that’s shorter is it possible to leave later around 8-830AM?

      Reply
      • For sure you could hike just up to the mountain pass, but you can’t see the Huchuy Qosqo ruins from there (it’s still a nice view though). I think it would be a little tricky getting back to Cusco but possible – you’d need to wave down a taxi or ride to where the collectivo van let you out on the main road near Laguna Piuray and then I would imagine from there you could get a collectivo back to the city. If you just keep asking for Cusco usually people can point you in the right direction!

        Reply
  10. Hi Did
    We are a couple 60 years old ,now in Cusco and considering to do this trail
    Is the trail well marked or obvious so that it is not possible to get lost
    As one of the guys in the blog had to go through?

    Reply
    • So, the trail isn’t really marked with signs that I remember but it did seem pretty obvious most of the way. Going up the mountain and down the other side toward the ruins it was clear, you just may need to be careful going over the top as it may not be the most obvious there. But I think you would be fine if you’re prepared for the trek (and high altitude) and careful and aware of your surroundings!

      Reply
  11. Thank you for this excellent guide!

    Here is what we did.

    We went to the station in cusco around 8 and got a car to the entrance of chinchero for 6 soles per person.
    Then a cab took us up for 15 soles but he went a bit too far (to his amigo or his house) so we had to go down a little bit.
    The beginning of the trail has a big sign that you cannot miss.
    During the climb it started to rain and it was really windy so be prepared for harsh conditions.
    After the highest point it was sunny but still the temperature was changing a lot depending on clouds and wind.
    At the ruins we paid 7 soles each, I’m not sure why but the guard came to us and we just said we were coming from the top.
    Then we went down (happy that we didn’t have to climb that part!) and took a collectivo for 5 soles each.
    Overall an awesome experience, close from cusco and all alone! Thanks a lot!
    How did you hear from this hike in the first place?

    One thing is that we didn’t put sunglasses for most of the time because it was cloudy but in the evening our eyes were burning a little so maybe be careful with that.

    Reply
    • Great tips, thanks for sharing! You’re the second person to mention only paying 7 soles per person recently so maybe the price has changed? I saw a sign for Huchuy Qosqo in a tour agency and asked about it – they told me it was $170 per person to do it with them so I figured out how to do it this way instead haha

      Reply

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *