Walking Tour in Cuzco
The Magic of Inca Stones From Frommers
We loved walking around Cuzco and seeing the Inca walls with the Spanish colonial additions. This is a fun walk around town from Frommers:
"Dominating the ancient streets of Cusco are dramatic Inca walls, constructed of mammoth granite blocks so exquisitely carved that they fit together without mortar, like jigsaw-puzzle pieces. The Spaniards razed many Inca constructions but built others right on top of the original foundations. (Even hell-bent on destruction, they recognized the value of good engineering.) In many cases, colonial architecture has not stood up nearly as well as the Incas' bold structures, which were designed to withstand the immensity of seismic shifts common in this part of Peru.
Apart from the main attractions detailed in this guide, a brief walking tour will take you past some of the finest Inca constructions that remain in the city. East of the Plaza de Armas, Calle Loreto is one of the best-known Inca thoroughfares. The massive wall on the left side, composed of meticulously cut rectangular stones, was once part of the Accllahuasi, or the "House of the Chosen Maidens," the Inca emperor's Virgins of the Sun. This is the oldest surviving Inca wall in Cusco and one of the most distinguished. Northeast of the Plaza de Armas, off Calle Palacio, is Hatunrumiyoc, a cobblestone street lined with impressive walls of polygonal stones. Past the Archbishop's Palace on the right side is the famed 12-angled stone (now appropriated as the symbol of Cuzqueña beer), which is magnificently fitted into the wall. Originally, this wall belonged to the palace of the Inca Roca. This large stone is impressively cut; the Incas almost routinely fitted many-cornered stones (with as many as 32, as seen at Machu Picchu, or even 44 angles) into structures. From Hatunrumiyoc, make your first right down another pedestrian alleyway, Inca Roca; about halfway down on the right side is a series of stones said to form the shape of a puma, including the head, large paws, and tail. It's not all that obvious, so if you see someone else studying the wall, ask him to point out the figure. Siete Culebras (Seven Snakes), the alleyway connecting Plaza Nazarenas to Choquechaca, contains Inca stones that form the foundation of the chapel within the Hotel Monasterio. Other streets with notable Inca foundations are Herrajes, Pasaje Arequipa, and Santa Catalina Angosta. Only a couple genuine Inca portals remain. One is at Choquechaca 339 (the doorway to a recommended hostal, Rumi Punku), and another is at Romeritos 402, near Qoricancha.
"Not every impressive stone wall in Cusco is Incan in origin, however. Many are transitional period (post-Conquest) constructions, built by local masons in the service of Spanish bosses. Peter Frost's Exploring Cusco (available in local bookstores) has a good explanation of what to look for to distinguish an original from what amounts to a copy."
We had been asking at agencies for a guided one day hike (we definitely did not want an overnight). If they had any at all, their one-day hikes would be to Maras and the Moray Archeological Complex. Since we had already visited that area (and it was treeless pampa), we didn't want those tours.
A Hike Near CuzcoFinally someone said to to go to the Dircetur-Cusco Tourist Information Office, Portal Mantas 117-A, telf (51-84)222-032. They had a map of a "Circuito Cebolla Wayko". Dimitri asked around and the estimates of how long the hike would take varied from 3 hours to 5 hours. It woud end on Av. de la Cultura, in San Sebastian, we were told. We were also told that part of the route could be a bit dangerous. We went back and forth about doing that hike and then decided to take a taxi to Yuncaypata (S/.20) and we walked down the trail from there. There were actually some road police called Policia Transito parked where we got out of the taxi. Dimitri asked them about the path and if we would be in danger. They said no danger but sometimes the path was rough. It was fantastic.
It took us 2 hours to walk back to our apartment in Santa Moníca and it was even pretty. And it even had some trees on the path. And we even passed some Inca ruins at Rumi Wasi. We were walking in the countryside (campo) and it was partly cloudy. If the sun had been out all the time, we would have been fried. As it was, the temperature was perfect. We didn't need to spend money for a guide either! How perfect is that?