Trek: 1 day hike to Inca Raccay via Soccma
This is a very enjoyable one day hike and an amazing trip, especially considering how close and easy the access is from Ollantaytambo. Highlights of this trek include visiting two impressive yet rarely visited Incan sites, plus a very high waterfall, outstanding mountain views along the way, and more !
This trek makes an ideal excursion for those with a little less time in their schedule who are wishing to get out on the trail and see some Inca sites. Another reason we like this trip is that the area sees very little tourism – we do not often see other groups on this trek.
The beginning of the trek is less than a 40 minute drive from Ollantaytambo. But before we get there, we will have the added bonus of a few more Inca sites to visit along the way. Before the turnoff to Soccma (the small Andean mountain community where we will begin hiking) we will pass by a site known as Naupa Iglesia. (“old church”, in Quechua). This is one of our favorite Incan archaeological sites in Peru, partly because it is very rarely visited by other tourists.
Interestingly enough, this site may have been one of the most important in the Sacred Valley to the Incas. It has some of the finest quality stonework we have seen anywhere. It is a cave (some say that it was shaped to resemble a bat’s wings, as there are many bats inside the cave, and from the road it does appear so). Although we believe that most Incan sites did not have the religious/worship function that they are frequently said to have, it is clear this site is an exception. It likely served as a place of religious offerings, ceremonies, and perhaps even a burial site. Again, the stonework quality is very high.
After our visit to Naupa Igesia, we will drive another half hour to the Andean mountain community of Soccma, where we will begin our hike. The first hour or so is a gentle uphill climb, after which the climb gets ever-steeper until finally reaching the Incan site of Inca Raccay which means literally “place of the Inca” in Quechua. We will likely have the place to ourselves as we explore the different buildings of this ridgetop site and the excellent views in all directions. Only in recent years have some of the buildings been cleaned and restored, and like nearly all Incan sites (including even Machu Picchu!) it has not yet been fully uncovered.
We will take our time before hiking back down to Soccma and then the road from Huarocondo, where we will catch trasnport back to Ollantaytambo. This trip takes between 4 to 7 hours depending on hiking pace, picture taking etc. We call it a full day, and the average is about 6 hours. Between November and May it will likely be a bit rainy, from May to October it is almost always sunny. A wide brimmed hat is the cure for both !
Includes: Private transport from Ollantaytambo to trailhead at Soccma; private or public transport on the return; guide (may not speak English, please advise us if that will be an issue)