Inkilltambo, one of Cusco’s lesser known archaeological treasures. On this tour, we will explore its mysterious Inca trails, majestic temples, and the rich history that lies within its stones. Inkilltambo, located within the venerable Sacsayhuaman archaeological park, emerges as a religious sanctuary built by the illustrious Inca Wiracocha and embellished by Emperor Pachacutec.
The name Inkilltambo, derived from the Quechua meaning ‘flowery garden or flowery inn’, reveals its nature as an Inca ‘huaca’ dedicated to the cult of water. This magical corner of the Sacsayhuaman archaeological park houses enclosures, terraces, water channels, stone stairways and temples, all witnesses of its importance in the Inca ‘ceques’ system.
Inkilltambo is located in the district of San Sebastian, just 7.3 kilometers from the center of Cusco. Nestled in the Kallachaca ravine, at 3,548 meters above sea level, this site arouses the curiosity of those seeking to explore the less traveled wonders of the region.
How to get there
For the adventurous, there are several routes to reach Inkilltambo from the heart of Cusco. From a comfortable private car ride along Collasuyo Avenue to scenic hikes from the city center, each option offers a unique experience to discover this archaeological treasure.
Exploring the History of Inkilltambo
The chronicles of the Spanish colonizers relate that Inkilltambo was erected during the reign of Wiracocha as an agricultural center and religious cult. Its links to the ‘ceques‘ system suggest a deep spiritual relevance. Under the reign of Pachacutec, the site underwent significant improvements, including the construction of temples and the expansion of the platform system.
Over the centuries, Inkilltambo’s structures lost their former grandeur. However, in a monumental effort in 2015 and 2016, the Government of Peru undertook restoration work that brought the roads, terraces, water channels and stone enclosures back to life. Today, admission to Inkilltambo is free, allowing visitors from far and wide to marvel at its restored splendor.
Fascinating Architecture and Details
Rustic Design to Imperial Elegance
Initially built in a rustic style, Pachacutec’s ancestry introduced a refined architecture in harmony with the surrounding stones and water sources. Inkilltambo functioned as a ‘huaca’ of water worship, with enclosures adorned with niches and water channels that supplied the terraces supported by imposing stone walls.
Witnesses of Time
Although only the bases of the main structures and stone paths remain, the meticulousness of the terraces and water channels stands out, reminding us of the grandeur that once characterized this place. The finely carved main temple and the plazas where the villagers congregated reveal a vibrant past.
Planning your visit to Inkilltambo
Tours and Access
Despite its magnificence, tours to Inkilltambo are scarce. Some agencies offer bicycle tours that traverse this unique enclave. However, self-access is an option, with free admission as an added attraction.
The jewel of Inkilltambo is free of charge for all visitors, both nationals and foreigners. The only optional outlay is for transportation, with public transportation bus options that easily connect to the Temple of the Moon or the southern area of Sacsayhuaman.
Discover More Nearby Treasures
During your visit to Inkilltambo, don’t miss the opportunity to explore other nearby treasures in Cusco.
The Temple of the Moon
Just 2 kilometers from Inkilltambo, this collection of stones houses a mysterious cavern symbolizing fertility. Access is free, offering a natural extension of your Inkilltambo experience.
Approximately 5 kilometers away, this circular pyramid-shaped Inca construction was the scene of religious ceremonies. Its Inca trails, terraces and picturesque landscapes are a unique addition to your itinerary.
At 5 kilometers from Inkilltambo, Qenqo presents mysterious constructions, tunnels, an amphitheater and a small Intihuatana. The Cusco Tourist Ticket includes entrance to this site.
A 5 kilometer walk from Inkilltambo, the famous archaeological site of Sacsayhuaman stands out for its enormous walls. Its history includes its role as a religious center and fortress during the Inca and Spanish wars.
Tips for your visit
At the top of Inkilltambo, you will find food stalls and handicrafts. The best time to visit is from April to October, when the rains are less frequent. Don’t forget to bring comfortable shoes, a poncho, snacks, rehydrating drinks, a hat and appropriate clothing.
Inkilltambo, with its rich history and restored splendor, awaits to be discovered by those looking beyond conventional tourist destinations. On this unique excursion, we invite you to immerse yourself in the magic of Inkilltambo, a hidden treasure waiting to be explored.