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by Orient-Express

South-East of Cuzco

There are many interesting villages and ruins on this road, including the Tipon ruins.

Oropesa church contains a fine, ornately carved pulpit. Huacarpay, the well-preserved ruins of the Inca town of Kañaracy, are nearby, reached from a path behind the Albergue Urpicañcha which is on the shore of Lago Muina.

At Lucre, three kilometres from Huacarpay, there is an interesting textile mill and many unexplored ruins.

At Huambutío, north of Huacarpay, the road divides, north-west to Pisac and north to Paucartambo on the eastern slope of the Andes. This remote town has become a popular tourist destination. The Fiesta del Carmen is a major attraction, where on 16th July you can see masked dancers, but it's worth checking the dates in Cuzco (Cusco).

From Paucartambo, in the dry season, you can travel 44 kilometres to Tres Cruces, along the Pilcopata road, turning left after 25 kilometres. From Paucartambo you can walk to the chullpas of Machu Picchu in about an hour or to the chullpas of Picchu, however, we recommend to take a guide. The journey lasts between 3 to 4 hours.

   Cusco Outskirts

Further on from Huacarpay are the Huari (pre-Inca) adobe wall ruins of Piquillacta, the monkey temple and the wall of Rumicolca. Piquillacta is quite large with some reconstruction in progress.

A bus will drop you at the entrance on the north side of the complex, though this is not the official entrance. Walk through to the official entrance and continue to Rumicolca on the other side of the road. Open daily: 7.00am to 5.30pm.

is a village located 32 kms south-east from Cuzco, with an early 17th century church, with amazing frescoes, a splendid doorway and a gilded main altar. Taxis will take you there, as does the Oropesa bus (from Avenida de la Culture) via Tipón, Piquillacta and Rumicolca.

Beyond Andahuaylillas is Urcos. A spectacular road from Urcos crosses the eastern Cordillera to Puerto Maldonado in the jungle. 47 kilometres after the snow-line Hualla-Hualla pass, at 4,820 metres above sea level, the super-hot thermal baths of Marcapata, 173 kilometres from Urcos, provide a relaxing break.

82 kilometres from Urcos, at the base of Nevado Ausangate (6,384 metres above sea level), is the town of Ocongate, which has two hotels on the Plaza de Armas. Beyond Ocongate is Tinqui, the starting point for hikes around Ausangate. On the flanks of the Nevado Ausangate is Q'Olloriti, where a church has been built close to the snout of the glacier. This place has become a place of pilgrimage.

Hiking around Ausangate: arrieros and mules can be hired in Tinqui. The hike around the mountain of Ausangate takes about five to six days and is spectacular but quite hard.

South-east from Urcos, Huaro has a church whose interior is entirely covered with a colourful mural. Cusipata, with an Inca gate and wall, is where the ornate bands for the decoration of ponchos are woven. Close by is the Huari hilltop ruin of Llallanmarca. Between Cusipata and Checacupe, a road branches west to Acomayo, a pretty village which has a chapel with murals of the 14 Incas. Accommodation is available in Pensión Aguirre.


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