Puca Pucara is a large fortress located about 8 km´s (5 miles) from Cusco. Its name means red fortress and is taken from the red granite that was used in its construction. During Inca times, Puca Pucara was located on the road that lead to the Antisuyo province of the Inca Empire. Historians believe that it was used as a guard post that protected access to Cusco from the marauding tribes of the Amazonian east.
Unlike many other Inca structures nearby, Puca Pucara is built from irregular shaped stones which fit together poorly, suggesting that the site was constructed in a hurry from an imminent threat. An interesting aspect of the architecture is the concentric arrangement of the three walls that crown the highest part of the complex. A single entrance leads to chambers that could have been used to store provisions for those garrisoned at the site.
In comparison to the splendour of other nearby Inca archaeological sites, Puca Pucara is a fairly simple site with not a great deal to see. This combined with its poor state of maintenance Puca Pucara sadly has limited appeal for most passing tourists. In general the site is considered to be lesser important attraction in the Cusco region, but certainly worth combining with visit to Tambomachay.
To enter Puca Pucara you will need a Partial Cusco Tourist Ticket (BTCPI) or a full Cusco Tourist Ticket (BTCI).
Visiting Puca Pucara
You can walk to Puca Pucara on foot. From Cusco you need to follow the road that leads to Pisac. The journey takes approximately 2 hours. To make the journey worthwhile, combine your visit to Puca Pucara with a visit to Tambomachay and even Saqsayhuman.
From Cusco a taxi will take approximately 20 minutes to reach Puca Pucara. The price will vary, but expect to pay between S/. 20 – 30 / US$ 7 – 11 (2014 estimate) in each direction. Unless you are planning on walking back to Cusco you will want to ask your taxi to wait. To make the journey worthwhile, combine your visit to Puca Pucara with a visit to Tambomachay and even Saqsayhuman.