Advice for visiting Inca ruins: Bring a good map on your hike to Pumamarca

Sometimes we can sense problems appearing on the horizon. So it went with our hike to the Pumamarca ruins, but don’t worry, there’s a happy ending.

We’d read that the hike to Pumamarca and back to Ollantaytambo offered splendid views as well as a chance to see some Inca ruins. The directions seemed a little sketchy to us. We agreed with our cousins to take a taxi up to a point on the road close to the ruins, allowing us time to explore before starting the long scenic hike back downhill.

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At 10am the taxi climbed up the mountain on the narrow road and then came to a halt. Roadwork. We passengers climbed out to increase ground clearance, and the taxi just made it through, only to come to another point where we had to climb out again.

Our wonderful driver actually managed to finally get us to the drop off point. He got out of the car and waved his arm in the direction we should walk. Gracias! Off and up we headed. After a steep climb, a long stonewall appeared. Structures were inside with a closed gate. The property seemed well maintained so we continued our search for the Inca ruins. How were we to know this was Pumamarca or that we should just open the closed gate?

We had bushwacked for some time around the perimeter, and, when we saw what must be Pumamarca, we entered from the rear of the ruins only to be met by a llama (who must have seen all of this happen before).

We had bushwacked for some time around the perimeter, and, when we saw what must be Pumamarca, we entered from the rear of the ruins only to be met by a llama (who must have seen all of this happen before).

Pumamarca’s purpose, overlooking valleys and with an amazing view of the surrounding mountains, was probably a defensive stronghold for the Inca site at Ollantaytambo.

Pumamarca’s purpose, overlooking valleys and with an amazing view of the surrounding mountains, was probably a defensive stronghold for the Inca site at Ollantaytambo.

The design and architecture clearly are Inca, but we couldn’t tell how much had been done to the buildings in the years since.

The design and architecture clearly are Inca, but we couldn’t tell how much had been done to the buildings in the years since.

When it was time to start back, we studied the trail map on map.me, our first time using the app.  We were puzzled. We started off in the right direction but were going through tall weeds, then farmer’s empty fields. Clearly we needed a little experience using this app! After 45 frustrating minutes (which seemed a lot longer) we figured out, and the map confirmed, we WERE on the right trail.

Now we could enjoy the views, the flowers, even the thorns, which was now no statement on how the hike was going.

Now we could enjoy the views, the flowers, even the thorns, which was now no statement on how the hike was going.

We periodically checked the map when we wanted to be sure we were still going in the right direction. Did the path continue for some way down a creek bed? Map.me showed it did.

After a few hours walking, we came upon one of the highest Inca terraces we’d yet seen.

After a few hours walking, we came upon one of the highest Inca terraces we’d yet seen.

By 4pm we arrived back in Ollantaytambo, happy for the beautiful hike and the chance to see the ruins (but maybe a little wiser about having a good map on hand that we knew how to use).

 

July 2016

About simpletravelourway

Beth and Joe enjoy simple travel.
This entry was posted in Peru, South America - 2016 and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Advice for visiting Inca ruins: Bring a good map on your hike to Pumamarca

  1. Pingback: If we were to do it again – what changes would we make? | simpletravelourway

  2. Getting lost is one of my favorite things, but I must confess that I like to have potties close by and someone to ask if things get seriously astray! I guess the fun – besides the gorgeous walk – is that you were never lost at all.

  3. plaidcamper says:

    What a great day out! Not sure how much I’d trust a mapping app…
    Love the llama photo and comment!

  4. Merrill says:

    I’m enjoying your Peru posts especially since it may be on our itinerary next year.
    There sure are some great apps – learning how to use them is the hard part. Trial and error is one way!

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