The Inca Trail offers a visit to different Inca archaeological sites such as Llactapata, Sayacmarca, Phuyupatamarca, Wiñayhuayna and, at the end of the route, Machu Picchu. One of the lesser known Inca sites is Qoriwayrachina, which is located on the edge of the Vilcanota River in the Urubamba Valley. Tourists will be able to appreciate this site from a distance during the first day of hiking. Learn more about this historic place.
Most tourists start the 4-day Inca Trail at kilometer 82 of the railway that connects Ollantaytambo with Aguas Calientes. A small group does it at kilometer 88 where the archaeological site of Qoriwayrachina can be seen. This Inca site was an urban and administrative control center that stands out for its fine walls and agricultural terraces. Due to its location in front of the Vilcanota river, the site runs the risk of being damaged. For this reason, maintenance and protection projects of the enclosure are carried out. What is sought is to maintain Qoriwayrachina in time.
Qoriwayrachina on the Inca Trail
Qoriwayrachina is an Inca archaeological site that forms the set of urban centers that the Incas built through the Urubamba valley and that the Qhapac ñan communicated until they reached Machu Picchu and other Inca citadels.
Its name, translated from the Quechua language (the language of the Incas) means “where the gold is vented”.
Investigations indicate that Qoriwayrachina functioned as an administrative center and checkpoint for walkers who crossed the Urubamba valley towards Machu Picchu and other Inca citadels. The emperor Pachacutec was the one who ordered its construction in the 15th century, almost the same time that Machu Picchu was built.
The site also features finely carved enclosures. This shows that the place was inhabited by the Inca nobility as chiefs or priests.
This archaeological site also had agricultural terraces where products such as corn, goose, quinoa and more were grown.
Likewise, Coriwayrachina had water channels, smaller enclosures for the common population and an Inca bridge that crossed the Vilcanota River. Unfortunately, as a result of the intense rains in 2010, a part of these structures collapsed.
Since then the authorities of the Ministry of Culture of Peru have been carrying out conservation work in the place. What is sought is to value Qoriwayrachina as an important tourist route.
Qoriwayrachina can be seen from the train ride from Ollantaytambo to Aguas Calientes. It is also the starting point for the Inca Trail route that starts at kilometer 88 of the railway.
Qoriwayrachina is located in the Urubamba valley, in the area that crosses the historic route of the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu.
It limits to the north with the Urubamba river. To the south with the forests and ravines of the jungle of Cusco. To the east with the archaeological site of Sayacmarca. To the northeast is the Inca city of Machu Picchu.
Qoriwayrachina is located at kilometer 88 of the railway that connects the towns of Ollantaytambo with Aguas Calientes. Its altitude reaches 2,480 meters above sea level (8,136 feet).
Qoriwayrachina belongs to the district of Machu Picchu (Aguas Calientes), Urubamba province and Cusco department.
How to get there?
Qoriwayrachina can be seen from the train ride from Ollantaytambo to Aguas Calientes, at kilometer 88 of the railway.
It is also visited through the 4-day Inca Trail hiking route to Machu Picchu. One of the starting points of the route is right in front of this archaeological site. However, the vast majority of visitors start this route at kilometer 82.
Importance and conservation
Qoriwayrachina has a fine architecture where characters of the nobility possibly lived. It has roads that connect with other Inca sites. In Inca times there was a bridge that crossed the Vilcanota River.
It has sectors of andenerías, retaining walls, abutment walls of bridges and more. Its circular enclosures where religious ceremonies were held are striking.
As a result of the growth of the Vilcanota river in 2010, Qoriwayrachina was damaged. However, the Ministry of Culture carried out conservation work on the archaeological site. What is sought is to put it in value for the tourist visit.
Tips and more information
From Qoriwayrachina you must walk along real Inca roads (the qhapac ñan) for approximately 35 kilometers until arriving at Machu Picchu through the so-called door of the sun (the Intipunku), just as the Incas themselves did.
Unlike most Inca citadels that were built in the high mountains, Qoriwayrachina was built on the banks of the Vilcanota River. To protect it from the flooding of the river in the rainy season, retaining walls were built that protect the place to this day.
The only way to get to know Qoriwayrachina and other Inca sites that connected the Inca trails, is to buy the 4-day Inca Trail tour. This tour must be purchased online with a tourism agency. The purchase must be made online 6 or 7 months in advance. Otherwise no availability will be achieved.
By Inca Trail Machu Picchu - Last updated, 04-01-2022
Interested in the Inca Trail? Know more about Archaeological sites!
- The most important sacred temples of Machu Picchu
- Huamanmarca or Wamanmarca archaeological site
- Runkurakay archaeological site
- Sayacmarca archaeological site
- Phuyupatamarca archaeological site
- Archaeological site of Wiñayhuayna