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Exploring the Mystical Qollcas de Pinkuylluna: A Hiker's Paradise

Written by:
Claire Dean

Published: 06-11-2023

Nestled in the heart of the Sacred Valley of The Incas in Peru, the Qollcas de Pinkuylluna is a hidden gem that promises an unforgettable adventure for those willing to make the journey. This archaeological site offers a unique combination of stunning vistas over The Sacred Valley of The Incas, ancient ruins, and a challenging hike that will leave you with lasting memories. In this comprehensive guide, we'll cover everything you need to know to plan your visit to Qollcas de Pinkuylluna, near Ollantaytambo, from why you should go to how to get there and what to expect along the way, while you are on your Peru Vacation Package.

Pinkuylluna is an archaeological site that can be seen on a Sacred Valley tour from Cusco, in the town of Ollantaytambo. The site consists of several Inca ruins, including agricultural terraces and storehouses. It is situated on the mountainside and overlooking the Ollantaytambo archaeological site.

Pinkuylluna Graneries

Why Visit Qollcas de Pinkuylluna?

Qollcas de Pinkuylluna, situated in the picturesque town of Ollantaytambo, is worth a visit for several compelling reasons:

Historical Significance

This site boasts well-preserved Inca ruins, showcasing the architectural mastery of the ancient Quechua civilization. The structures, once used for agricultural and ceremonial purposes, provide a glimpse into the region's rich history and the way of life during Inca times.

Spectacular Scenery

The hike up to Qollcas de Pinkuylluna offers breathtaking views of the surrounding valley, Ollantaytambo, and the snow-capped peaks of the Andes. The journey is a visual feast for nature lovers and photographers.

Off the Beaten Path

Unlike some of the more popular tourist destinations in Peru, Qollcas de Pinkuylluna remains relatively undiscovered, allowing visitors to experience a tranquil, uncrowded setting. The fact that you have to hike here, makes the site a much more tranquil and off-the-beaten-path experience away from the tour buses and crowds.

Physical Challenge 

For adventure seekers, the steep and challenging hike to the ruins provides a rewarding physical experience.

The structures you can see on a Cusco Peru tour at Pinkuylluna, were primarily used as storehouses by the Inca civilization. These storehouses, known as qollcas, were used to store food, such as maize and potatoes, as well as other goods like textiles and ceramics. The location offers natural ventilation that helped preserve the stored goods.

Granary Ruins

Why Is It Worth Visiting The Qollas de Pinkuylluna?

Visiting Qollcas de Pinkuylluna is worth every step for the unique combination of history, nature, and adventure it offers. It's an opportunity to connect with the ancient Inca civilization, witness stunning landscapes, and challenge yourself physically while you are on your Peru Adventure package.

Itinerary Options to Visit Qollcas de Pinkuylluna

You have three main itinerary options for visiting Qollcas de Pinkuylluna:

Half-Day Hike - Many visitors choose to tackle the hike as a half-day adventure. Start your journey early in the morning, explore the ruins, and return to Ollantaytambo in time for lunch.

Full-Day Exploration - For a more immersive experience, dedicate a full day to Qollcas de Pinkuylluna. You can take your time exploring the ruins, taking in the scenery, and even have a picnic with stunning views.

Adding the trek onto a Sacred Valley Tour - On a visit to Ollantaytambo, you can quite easily take in this hike, especially if you plan to overnight in Urubamba or Ollantaytambo. If you prefer nature, the outdoors, and a more tranquil experience of The Sacred Valley, then this is a great option!

The structures that you can see on a Cusco Peru tour at Pinkuylluna, were primarily used as storehouses by the Inca civilization. These storehouses, known as qollcas, were used to store food, such as maize and potatoes, as well as other goods like textiles and ceramics. The location offers natural ventilation that helped preserve the stored goods.

Pinkuylluna Archaeological Site

How Difficult Is It to Get To Qollas de Pinkuylluna?

Getting to Qollcas de Pinkuylluna can be moderately challenging, primarily due to the steep and uneven terrain of the hiking trail. The trek is physically demanding and requires a good level of fitness. Altitude can also pose challenges, so acclimatization is essential. You should take around 1.5 hours to climb to the Qollcas, hiking at a steady pace.

Trip Advisor Comments About Qollas de Pinkuylluna

The Trip Advisor community provides valuable insights into the Qollcas de Pinkuylluna experience. Many reviewers describe it as a hidden gem with awe-inspiring views. While some find the hike strenuous, the reward of the breathtaking scenery and cultural enrichment is universally appreciated. For example in this review: https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g294319-d1633548-Reviews-Pinkuylluna_Mountain_Granaries-Ollantaytambo_Sacred_Valley_Cusco_Region.html

Pinkuylluna granaries offer insight into how the Inca civilization adapted to and thrived in the challenging mountain environment of the Andes. When taking the train to Machu Picchu on Sacred Valley tours from Cusco, they are a magnificent sight as you approach the town of Ollantaytambo.

Pinkuylluna Mountain from Ollantaytambo

Can You Visit the Qollas de Pinkuylluna on Your Own?

Yes, you can visit Qollcas de Pinkuylluna independently. There are no entrance fees, and the trailhead is easily accessible from Ollantaytambo. However, hiring a local guide is recommended to enhance your experience, gain historical context, and ensure your safety.

When to Visit the Qollas de Pinkuylluna?

The best time to visit Qollcas de Pinkuylluna is during the dry season from May to September. The weather is more predictable, and the trails are in better condition. We recommend that you start your hike early in the day to avoid afternoon winds and a possible shower.

The Pinkuylluna granaries are constructed of stone and are built into the mountainside, blending seamlessly with the natural environment. See the site on Peru luxury tours as you pass by on The Hiram Bingham luxury train.

Misty Pinkuylluna 

How to Get To Qollas de Pinkuylluna from the Nearest Town/City

To reach Ollantaytambo, most travelers take transport from Cusco on a tour or a bus heading to Ollantaytambo (1.5 hours). From Ollantaytambo, it's a short walk to the trailhead of Qollcas de Pinkuylluna.

Packing Tips for The Qollas de Pinkuylluna

Pack the following essentials for your visit:

  • Water and snacks
  • Rain jacket or poncho
  • Sunscreen and sunglasses
  • Insect repellent
  • A small backpack
  • Camera for capturing the stunning scenery
  • Hiking sticks for added stability

How to Prepare For a Trip to Qollas de Pinkuylluna

Before you set out on your adventure, prepare by acclimatizing to the altitude, staying hydrated, and ensuring you have all the necessary gear and clothing. Research local guides or hiking tours in Ollantaytambo if you prefer a guided experience.

Tips About Altitude

Altitude sickness can affect visitors to Ollantaytambo, so take it slow and stay well-hydrated. Coca tea, commonly available, can help alleviate symptoms. If you experience severe altitude sickness, descend to a lower elevation.

The site is accessible via a hiking trail that starts in Ollantaytambo. The trail is relatively steep and challenging in parts, but the views from the top are well worth the effort. This is a lesser-visited hike on Peru adventure tours in The Sacred valley.

Pinkuylluna built into The Mountainside

Pro Tips About a Visit to Qollas de Pinkuylluna

  • Plan your visit during the dry season for the best weather.
  • Start your hike early in the day to avoid afternoon rain.
  • Respect the ruins and follow Leave No Trace principles.
  • Engage with local guides to gain a deeper understanding of the site.
  •  Ollantaytambo is situated at 9,160 feet (2,792 meters), so acclimatization is crucial. Spend a day or two in the region to adjust to the high altitude.
  • The hike is challenging and steep, so ensure you are in good physical shape.
  •  Wear sturdy hiking shoes, layered clothing, and a hat for sun protection.
Discover Pinkuylluna, an ancient Inca site overlooking Ollantaytambo ruins. Make sure you take altitude precautions. This ensures a safe and enjoyable visit to this stunning archaeological site on your Cusco day trips.

High Elevation Pinkuylluna

How Much Does It Cost to Get to Qollas de Pinkuylluna?

The hike to Qollcas de Pinkuylluna is free of charge. However, if you choose to hire a local guide, their fees may vary. Budget for transportation, food, and any optional tours or services you may require.

FAQs About the Qollas de Pinkuylluna

Is there an entrance fee for Qollcas de Pinkuylluna?
No, there is no entrance fee.

Is it safe to hike alone to Qollcas de Pinkuylluna?
While it's possible to hike alone, it's safer to have a guide for added security and insight into the site's history.

Can I camp at Qollcas de Pinkuylluna?
Camping is not allowed at the ruins. It's best to return to Ollantaytambo for accommodation.

Are there restroom facilities along the trail?
There are no Restroom facilities along the trail, so be prepared to use the outdoors responsibly.

Pinkuylluna is less visited than some of the other archaeological sites in the Sacred Valley, making it a quieter and more peaceful place to explore. Ask us about tailor-made Peru private tours to visit Pinkuylluna.

Old Granary 

In conclusion, a visit to Qollcas de Pinkuylluna is a remarkable journey for history buffs, adventure seekers, and nature enthusiasts during their holidays in Peru. It offers a unique blend of culture, stunning scenery, and a physical challenge that will leave you with a profound appreciation for the beauty of the Andes and the history of the Inca civilization. Prepare, stay safe, and make the most of this incredible experience. Find out more information here!

Simply follow the signs to Pinkuylluna on your Peru vacation packages. The views over the Sacred Valley are just awe-inspiring! A must - do when you visit Peru!

Pinkuylluna Signpost