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Chinchero

Chinchero
Chinchero

The current town of Chinchero, like Ollantaytambo, is built on ancient pre-Hispanic settlements. Chinchero was located on the direct road that led straight to Machu Picchu during Inca times and was an important urban center that we can still appreciate around its church and plaza.

History of Chinchero

Chinchero was built on the ruins of a town belonging to the pre-Inca Ayamarca culture, who opposed the Inca culture's takeover of their lands.

Eventually, the Inca culture took over the place and incorporated it into Tahuantinsuyo. It was Inca Tupac Yupanqui who ordered the construction of various buildings to be used by him and the royal family. With the arrival of the Spanish invaders, Inca towns were looted and destroyed, and Chinchero was no exception.

However, it was Manco Inca who destroyed this place by setting it on fire in an attempt to buy time for the Inca people to escape the Spanish invaders into the jungle, where they settled for quite some time.

When the Spanish colony was established, the town of Chinchero was inhabited by Spanish nobles, who built their estates on the ruins of the Inca city. One of the main constructions is the Church of Chinchero, which was built on the palace of the Inca. This colonial church has a Baroque style and contains a collection of paintings by the Cusco artist Diego Quispe Tito.

Location

Chinchero is located 30 kilometers from the city of Cusco, about a 40-minute drive from the city. It is situated at an altitude of 3,762 meters.

Attractions

Chinchero was a significant urban center whose main area was located where the church stands today. Surrounding it are formidable walls of polyhedral stones forming retaining walls that shape the terraces. We can also see large rooms with windows, niches, doors, and entrances.

Archaeological Site of Chinchero

The archaeological site of Chinchero covers up to 43 hectares, including terraces, paths, water channels, and temples. Also in the area are the remains of three shrines called Titiqaqa, Pumaqaqa, and Chincana; these are enormous limestone rock outcrops carefully carved by the ancient Peruvians.

Palace of Tupac Yupanqui

In Chinchero's main square, the extraordinary fusion between Inca and colonial architecture is immediately evident. In front of the church stands an Inca wall with 10 trapezoidal niches that are preserved to this day, which were part of what was the Palace of Tupac Yupanqui.

Colonial Church of Chinchero

The colonial church is another attraction found in Chinchero. It was built on the remains of Tupac Yupanqui's Palace in 1572 by order of the Viceroy Toledo. This church is decorated solely with Cusco religious art, with original works by renowned artists such as Diego Quispe Tito and Francisco Chihuantito.

Sunday Fair

Every Sunday in the town of Chinchero, a fair is held where people from the entire region bring their products to sell or trade, following the ancient Inca barter system. At this fair, you will find a great variety of textiles unique to the area, where you can still observe Inca weaving techniques.

Weaver of Chinchero
Weaver of Chinchero

Poc Poc Waterfall

This natural attraction is located approximately 45 minutes to 1 hour walking from Chinchero. The route to this waterfall starts from the Chinchero archaeological site, where you can observe the agricultural terraces, its colonial church, and a great panorama.

From the archaeological complex, there are signs that can guide you to the Poc Poc waterfall for better orientation. The walk to this natural attraction offers scenic beauty, as you can observe panoramic views of the valley, the local flora and fauna. Moreover, the journey is not very strenuous since most of the route is downhill, making it accessible for most people.

To return, you have two options: you can go back the same way, but it will be more exhausting since it will be uphill; the second option is to continue the path from the waterfall to the nearest place, Urquillos, where you can find transport to take you to Cusco or Urubamba.

The best season to visit the Poc Poc waterfall is from May to October, as the climate is dry and perfect for a better hike.

General Information about Chinchero

Visiting Hours

Monday to Sunday from 08:00 am to 17:30 pm.

Entrance

Entrance to Chinchero is included in the Tourist Ticket.

  • Cusco Tourist Ticket for Foreign Tourists: S/. 130.00 (approximately USD 36) allows entry to 16 tourist sites, valid for 10 days.
  • Cusco Tourist Ticket for National Tourists: S/. 70.00 (approximately USD 20) allows entry to 16 tourist sites, valid for 10 days.

Climate

The climate in Chinchero is semi-dry and temperate, so the best time to visit is in the morning when the sun is not too strong. However, in the afternoons, it can get very windy, making the visit uncomfortable.