The ongoing trek to Pisaq (1) presents so far some attractions such as Inca shrines and a great view of the valley of Cusco. Furthermore, Ccorao has its own interesting places to visit too.

Ccorao or Corao is a town located 19 km away from Cusco and 12 km from Pisaq. It is the first town you cross while descending from the pass of the same name to the Sacred Valley. Tour guides often bring tourists to the Indian market, but fail to visit the quiet and pretty main square a few blocks off the route. You can also find a few basic restaurants and houses that sell chicha de jora (look for the red bag at the door).

main square of Ccorao

Locals mention an archaeological site nearby when I ask what to see here. One claims its name is Paucarpata, but most say Qolqaraqay. Remembering their directions, I walk along the base of the hill on the left; and, later, farmers point up ahead saying it is near. I only find that the path turns right following the contour of the mountain range after nearly one hour of walking and the idea of coming back crosses my mind.

A peasant who goes by may notice my frustration and asks me what I am doing over here. He just laughs when I tell him I am looking for a site and then he simply points up to the hill behind me saying that Qolqaraqay was a house of an Inca without telling me exactly who. Unless you know where the site is located, it is difficult to spot it because the mountain is full of trees.

qolqaraqay (1)

Qolqaraqay consists of two small rectangular buildings made of stones and adobe. There is also a small chapel that is destroyed and abandoned a few meters below the site on the same mountain which is surrounded by the river Qesermayo. The peasant suggests me to keep walking ahead because there is still much to discover and also tells me that every July 16th the main square in Pisaq is free of vendors and stands so it would be very interesting to see that, don’t you think?

qolqaraqay (2)
part of a wall in Qolqaraqay
qolqaraqay (3)
Qolqaraqay and the valley down
qolqaraqay (4)
a chapel a few meters below Qolqaraqay

(1) Read Hike to Pisaq I and Hike to Pisaq II

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