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Q'enqo (Qenko)
Q'enqo (Qenko)

Q'enqo (Qenko)

Villa San Blas, Cusco, Peru

The Basics

Comprised of four different parts, Q’enqo Grande—a large limestone outcrop used as an astronomical observatory and holy site—is the most visited. Here, the Inca carved a crooked canal leading to caves, altars, and secret chambers. Archeologists believe the canal was used to carry a liquid, though there’s no consensus for what kind: some say water or chica (a fermented corn beverage), while others say llama blood. They do agree, however, that Q’enqo is a temple for death rituals including mummification, and the small amphitheater was used for sacrifices.

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Sacsayhuaman Inca´s Temple, Tambomachay, Puca Pucara & Q`enqo Half-Day Tour
Sacsayhuaman Inca´s Temple, Tambomachay, Puca Pucara & Q`enqo Half-Day Tour
star-4.5
$55.00 per adult
Traveler Favorite
Great experience
Very good experience! Driver picked me up on time at my hotel. The tour guide was very patient and explained besides.
Tommy_k, Feb 2020

Things to Know Before You Go

  • Q’enqo is an ideal spot for history and archaeology buffs, in particular those fascinated by the mysteries of the Inca and the macabre.
  • A quick drive above Cusco, pair a visit with a Cusco’s UNESCO World Heritage-listed historic center, or a full-day excursion to nearby Inca ruins Puka Pukara and Tambomachay.
  • Multi-day adventures go even farther afield to Machu Picchu.
  • Because of the high altitude, stay hydrated and take it slow.
  • Go behind Q’enqo Grande to climb carved stairs that lead to top of the rock where animal shapes have been carved.
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How to Get There

Q’enqo is located about 4.3 miles (7 kilometers) north of Cusco. If going to the site independently take a taxi from the center of Cusco and expect about 20 minutes on the road. Hikers may want to take the paved road for about an hour’s time.

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When to Get There

Q’enqo is open year-round, daily from the morning until about sunset. Visit the ruins in the early morning to catch the best light for photos. As one of the lesser known sites near Cusco, crowds are at a minimum, though expect fellow travelers during high season, from June through August.

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Wildcard

From Inca Mummies to Inca Baths Only 3 miles (5 kilometers) away is another set of ruins. At Tambomachay, also known as “the Baths of the Inca,” spring water was masterfully diverted into a complex series of terraced aqueducts, pools, and stone-carved waterways. Due to the sacred nature of water in the Inca cosmology, historians believe this meditative site was reserved for royalty.

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