Puca Pucara means in Quechua “red fortress”, and it took this name because of the colour of the stones (especially at dusk). This was mainly a military fortress; you can notice the military purpose of Puca Pucara because of the stones used for its construction, much rougher than those used for religious purposes. Also the very strategic location of the ruins, as a watch-point and also only one kilometre away from Tambomachay, gives more reason to think that this was a military place. Some people also believe that Puca Pucara was an administrative place and it was used as a sort of toll for people who wanted to pass to Cusco. Within the ruins you will notice that there are some “rooms” that would fall into the category of being religious, because of the shape of the stones. There are a couple possible explanations: either they were used for the Inca himself when he passed by, or they could have been used for the priests that could have stayed there overnight. Another interesting fact about this place, is that according to some people, when the Inca would go to Tambomacay, part of the warriors would stay in Puca Pucara (to keep guard), and since the two places are not that far apart they would communicate through mirrors reflecting light (they could also have used pieces of gold?).
We only got to see Puka Pukara from a distance on the way to the other sites but whilst we stretched our legs, bought goods from the locals and admired the views it was explained to us that it used to be an old guard post and travellers stop. Great views surround the site.
Puka Pukara is a historical Peruvian site that is found 4-5 miles away from Cusco on the road to Pisac. At first the site seems like a bunch of serpentine stucco walls encircling an overgrown garden of grass. However, you understand the significance of the site when a guide or a book you read explains the history.
Puka Pukara had many functions in it’s time. It used to contain fountains, canals, baths, various rooms and towers. Due to this, it was though that Puka Pukara
was used as a sort of hunting lodge or resting place for travelers. Here, weary travelers could stop off to rest, eat or drink.
Another function of Puka Pukara is that it may have been used as a fortress. In fact, the name Puka Pukara comes from two Quecha words meaning red fort. In it’s day the fort may have been an impressive red color since the limestone contained iron. If you’ve ever been to Sedona, AZ imagine the red rocks there used to construct a large fort. That’s what the fort may have looked like here back in the day. The location of the fort is strategic it overlooks the Cusco valley and it looks down at Tambo Machay. Tambo Machay was a very important site in Incan times. A bonus of the strategic location on an overhang in the mountains is that you are treated to some impressive views from here.
As you enter and when you leave the site Peruvian people have set up tables to sell their wares or ask to take picture with them for a few sols.
You can take a four hour tour to visit this site and others from Cusco for around $10. You can get here on your own by cab or bus as well. Use your $20 tourist ticket to get into this site as well as 15 other historical sites.
From far away you can see the red stones that make Puca Pucara. We didnt spend really any time here as it is said to be some sort of storage facility or guard post. We were running short on time and we had to go to Tambomachay.
This small fortress (also called the red fort because of its color) is just off the main road between Cusxco and Pisac. It is believed that it was most likely a guard post for Cusco. Not overly impressive but has great views.
There is another tour you can do by bus watching some of the most interestins ruins around Cusco.
1-. Take the bus to PISAQ in Puputi street. There are 18 kilometers and it costs 2,5 soles (0,75€; Year 2007).
2-. Once in PISAQ take a taxi to the hight part of the ruins. Don't pay more than 5 soles per person. (1,25€: year 2007).
3-. Here you can contract a guide or just walk by yourself. It will take you about 2 hours arrive to PISAQ city again.
4-. Take the same bus you took to came to PISAQ but this time in the opossite direction. Get off the bus in TAMBOMACHAY. 2,20 soles (0,6€ in 2007) .
PUKAPUKARA is 5 minutes walking from TAMBOMACHAY, so you can see them together.
5-. Take the same bus once again from TAMBOMACHAY to SACSAYSUAMAN. 0,5 soles.
6-. A taxi from SACSAYSUAMAN to CUSCO costs about 5 soles. But there are 20 minutes walking to Plaza de Armas, so it's up to you!!
Built along a road in a stratigic location to protect Cuzco from Tribes attacking from the Jungles this little fort lacks the grandure of Saqsaywamam but is perhaps better preserved. An impressive engeneering feet in its own right.