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 its 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 its day the fort may have been an impressive red color since the limestone contained iron. If you’ve ever been to Sedona, Arizona 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 4 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.