Cusco’s esoteric neighbor, Apurímac
Updated: May 22, 2021
Every year, thousands of tourists flock to Peru to experience Pre-Columbian ruins and culinary adventures. While Cusco, Machu Picchu and the Sacred Valley tend to be the focus of these excursions, we would like to tout the qualities of Apurímac, Cusco’s neighboring region. Apu Winery is located in the heart of Apurímac, only 2 hours from Cusco. With lush jungles, ruins and majestic mountains and rivers, there are plenty of things to see and do in Apurímac. Our favorites are listed below.
30 minutes away from Apu Winery and just above the town of Curahuasi lies Capitán Rumi, a 120 ton monolith with a human-like face. From the top of Capitán Rumi, you can see views of the Apurimac River Canyon, which borders Cusco and Apurimac. The view and the rock’s appearance, however, aren’t what make it so remarkable. Capitán Rumi seems to be balancing precariously on the cliff, on the verge of tumbling 1,000 meters to the river below. The site also consists of other massive stones that seem to be strategically placed in a formation all the way down to the outskirts of Curahuasi.
Another important monolith is found among the ruins of Sayhuite, a site of religious worship for the Incas. The stone is perhaps the most important feature of these ruins, as it served as a map and educational tool for the Incas. It has more than 200 carvings of animals and hydraulic models. Sayhuite is believed to have been an Incan religious center, where rituals and worshipping of water were conducted.
To access Choquequirao, you leave from Cachora, a small town near Curahuasi. This lesser known "lost city" is three times the size of Machu Picchu, but only 30% of it has been uncovered from the dense jungle that encompasses it. The trek begins in Apurímac, but ends in the Cusco region, where Choquequirao is located on the border of both regions. To get to these ruins, you must hike for 2 days, descending 1,500 meters down the Apurimac River Valley and then back up to 3,050 meters. Nobody knows why the Incas built Choquequirao, but the magnificent structures rival those of its smaller counterpart, Machu Picchu.
So now you know. Apurímac has so much more to offer than just craft, high-altitude Peruvian wine. We hope you have the opportunity to visit these hidden gems on your next trip to the Peruvian Andes.