Historians can’t seem to agree on the true purpose of Tambomachay, some believe it was an Inca shrine to water, whilst others think that it was a military outpost guarding the entrance to Cusco. Tambomachay has a complex system of channels which carry water through a set of terraces until the flow is divided and falls over two small cascades. The first part of its name “Tambo” (or Tampu in Quechua) is usually associated with Inca structures used for military or administrative purposes meaning place of rest, and the second part of its name “machay” means underground cavity. According to Peru’s Ministry of Culture the site was thought to have been built around 1500 A.D.
Where is Tambomachay
Tambomachay is located about 8km’s (5 Miles) from the centre of Cusco, and is situated on the road from Cusco to Pisac.
To enter Tambomachay you will need to buy the Cusco Tourist Ticket (Boleta Turistica General / BTG). You will need to either buy the full BTG ticket or a partial circuit 1 ticket to gain entrance. A single entrance ticket to Tambomachay is not available, but BTG tickets can be purchased at the entrance to Tambomachay.
Taking a taxi is by far the easiest way to get to Tambomachay. The journey time is about 20 minutes from Cusco’s main square – Plaza de Armas. Unless you plan on hiking back to Cusco you will need to ask the taxi to wait for you whilst you visit. A local taxi will charge S/. 35 – 50 (US$ 13 – 18) for a round trip. A private taxi arranged by your hotel (recommended) may charge more.
A local colectivo service offers a more economical way to get to Tambomachay. Leaving every 10 – 15 minutes during the day from Calle Puputi (5-7 mins from the centre of Cusco), take one of the many collective services heading to Pisac. Simply ask to be dropped off at Tambomachay. The price should be around S/. 5 – 6 (US$ 1.80 – 2.15) per person. Take note that you may find it difficult to return to Cusco afterwards. If you don’t want to walk, try waving down a passing colectivo or a taxi.