Hike to the Temple of the Moon and Temple of the Monkeys in Cusco
After our trip to Machu Picchu, we spent a couple of days in Cusco. Perched above Cusco, Sachsayhuaman is the main Inca site in the area, filled with lots of people. However, if you are looking for something off the beaten path, consider hiking to the Temple of the Moon (Templo de la Luna) and the Temple of the Monkeys (Templo de los Monos). Both are free, and there is a good chance you will have the entire site to youself.
You can walk from the city center, but it will take at least 30 minutes, all uphill, and if you have never been before you won’t know where to go. So to ensure you get there, I suggest taking a taxi to Q’enqo (cost should be 10 soles – about €3 or $3 ).
If you are already at Sachsayhuaman, it’s about a 20 minute walk to Q’enqo (click for maps).
Once in the Q’enqo parking lot, head uphill away from the Q’enqo ruins (you will be coming from the right of the picture below where the car is).
Temple of the Moon (Templo de la Luna)
Just to make sure I knew where I was going, I walked to the sign, but you can just cut across (walk directly from the car on the right to where the blue tarp is on the left in this picture)
From Q’enqo, it’s only about a 15 or 20 minute walk to the Temple of the Moon.
Wander around back and look around. There are other cool things to find.
Temple of the Monkeys (Templo de los Monos)
Continue past the Temple of the Moon in the direction you had been walking from Q’enqo. Look to your right “down” the hill and look for a clump of trees. To the left you can see some stones that are part of the Temple of the Monkeys.
After briefly continuing along the same path you took to get to the Temple of the Moon, you will soon come to a very nice grass path. Is it an old Incan Road? It appears to be, but I’m no expert. Turn right and follow it down toward the group of trees on the right.
There is not much left, but you can find some interesting oddities if you look around.
Returning to Civilization
You can backtrack the way you came and look for a taxi in the Q’enqo parking lot. Or, if you are adventurous, take a right when you leave the Temple of the Monkeys and continue along the grass path.
I didn’t know where I was going, but I figured I need to keep going DOWN. I eventually saw Sachsayhuaman way off to my right and when I got a little lower I could see the Cathedral in Plaza de Armas and kept heading in that general direction. I didn’t know where I was going, but I made it back, so you can too.
Temple of the Moon and Temple of the Monkeys are great little ruins if you want to go on an adventure and get away from the crowds.