A Guide to Visiting Sacsayhuaman Ruins in Cusco, Peru
If you’re planning a trip to Peru, a visit to the ancient ruins of Sacsayhuaman is a must. This impressive Incan fortress is located just outside of Cusco and offers stunning views of the surrounding mountains and the city of Cusco. But before you go, make sure you have all the essential information you need to make the most of your visit. This travel guide will cover everything from how to get there to what to see and do while you’re there.
Sacsayhuaman is an impressive Inca fortress located on a hilltop overlooking the city of Cusco, in Peru. It is a popular tourist destination because of its historical and cultural importance, as well as its architectural significance.
Sacsayhuaman is located approximately 2 kilometers north of the city of Cusco, Peru. It is situated at an altitude of approximately 3,750 meters (12,140 feet) above sea level.
Sacsayhuaman is believed to have been constructed during the reign of Inca Pachacuti in the 15th century, and it played a significant role in Inca history and culture. However, recent research suggests that the construction is much older than that of the Incas, which would mean that Sacsayhuaman would have been built long before the arrival of the Incas.
The name “Sacsayhuaman” is derived from the Quechua words “saqsay” and “waman”, which mean “satisfied falcon”. According to Inca legend, the fortress was constructed to represent the head of a falcon, with Cusco as its body. Although it could also refer to the head of a Puma since it is believed that the ancient city of Cusco had originally the shape of the body of a puma.The construction of Sacsayhuaman involved the use of enormous blocks of stone, some of which weigh up to 200 tons. These blocks were quarried from a long distance and transported to the site using a system of ramps and ropes. The blocks were then fitted together perfectly without the use of mortar, creating an impressive and highly durable structure.
Sacsayhuaman was not only a fortress, but also an important religious temple for the Inca.
During the Spanish conquest of Peru in the 16th century, Sacsayhuaman played an impotant role in the Inca resistance. The fortress was the site of a major battle in 1536, in which Inca forces led by Manco Inca successfully repelled a Spanish invasion.
How to Get to Sacsayhuaman
Getting to Sacsayhuaman from Cusco is quite easy, and there are several options available.
One popular option is to take a taxi or private car from the city of Cusco. Many taxi drivers will be familiar with the route to Sacsayhuamanso, so it is not very complicated to explain to the cab drivers to take you to Sacsayhuaman. The drive takes approximately 10-15 minutes, depending on traffic, and the cost is typically around 10-20 Peruvian soles (about $3-7 USD).
Another option is to take a local bus or colectivo from the center of Cusco. Buses to sacsayhuaman usually pass by the urban sector of the city of Cusco. This involves walking a few blocks to reach the bus stop. The ride takes around 20-30 minutes, and the cost is usually 2-3 Peruvian soles (about $1 USD).
For those who prefer a more active option, it is also possible to walk up to Sacsayhuaman from the city center. The route takes you through the narrow streets and colorful neighborhoods of Cusco, and it takes approximately 45 minutes to an hour to reach Sacsayhuaman. It is highly recommeneded to wear comfortable shoes and bring water, as the altitude can make the walk more challenging.
Best Time to Visit Sacsayhuaman
The best time to visit Sacsayhuaman is without any doubt during the dry season, which runs from May to September in the Cusco region. During this time, the weather is generally sunny and dry, making it easier to explore the fortress and the surrounding area.
However, visiting Sacsayhuaman during the dry season also means large crowds, which can be avoided depending on when you visit the ruins of Sacsayhuaman.
We recommend visiting Sacsayhuaman as early as possible, perhaps at 7:00 am or between 12 noon and 1 pm. This way you will avoid the large crowds that generally start in the afternoon on the city tour.
What to See in Sacsayhuaman
Exploring the area of Sacsayhuaman is one of the most enjoyable activities that can be done here. The complex occupies a large area and its size is much larger than it appears at first glance. Visitors are strongly encouraged to wander freely around the fortress. Sacsayhuaman is a historic site located in Cusco, Peru, and is a popular destination for tourists from all over the world. With its impressive stone walls, stunning views, and rich history, there’s plenty to see and do in Sacsayhuaman.
Whether you’re interested in exploring the ancient ruins or simply taking in the breathtaking scenery, here we will share with you the best things to see at Sacsayhuaman.
1) Chincanas or Inca Tunnels
Sacsayhuaman boasts of underground caves and tunnels called Chincanas, which are popular among locals. There are two of these tunnels, the smallest of which is short in length and a favorite spot for visitors to explore. The larger tunnel is situated further north, beneath a massive limestone rock so is not easily accessible. These fascinating tunnels are believed to have formed due to the erosion of rocks by groundwater millions of years ago. If you visit Sacsayhuaman on your own be sure to visit the tunnels or Chincanas in Quechua language.
2) The Walls
The most striking feature of Sacsayhuaman is its walls, they are massive stone walls weighing over 200 tons each, The blocks of stones are fitted together so tightly that not even a blade of grass can fit between them. The walls are a must see not to be missed.
3) Rodaderos (Slides)
A massive rock formation stands opposite the impressive ruins of Sacsayhuaman, featuring various man-made elements such as steps, benches, altars, and other elements intricately carved by the Incas.
4) The Inca’s Throne
The Inca’s throne consists of stones that have been intricately carved into the form of benches.
Entrance Fee and Opening Hours
The Sacsayhuaman ruins are accessible to visitors from 7:00 am to 5:00 pm every day of the week. However, entry is only allowed with the purchase of a Cusco Tourist Ticket, (Boleto Turistico). Which provides access to various attractions in and around Cusco, Perú.
Need a guide to visit Sacsayhuaman?
If you wish to hire a local guide you can contact us at email@example.com Our local guides know the place like the back of their hands and will make your experience exploring this place even more special.
The cost of the guided tour of Sacsayhuaman is 50 US dollars for a group of 2 people. The tour lasts approximately 2 hours.