Undoubtedly, waterfalls and waterfalls are another of nature's impressive creations, which are scattered around the world. There are all kinds of them, from those well known for their height or volume of water and others that don't even have a name, hidden in the shadow of the high mountains even in the Amazon jungles. Added to that long list of waterfalls is the Poc Poc waterfall, which is definitely one of the places that every fan of adventure travel should visit in Cusco.
We present this guide to get to the Poc Poc waterfall and get to know the Sacred Valley in a different way.
The Poc Poc waterfall is located 2 km north of the town of Chinchero, province of Urubamba – Cusco.
From the city of Cusco you can travel in collective combis to the town of Chinchero. These combis leave from a small terminal, located next to the Belenpampa health center, in Santiago – Cusco. For S/ 5 each passenger.
The other alternative is to hire a private car to Chinchero, you can hire these services in Pavitos street, one block from the Grau bridge. The cost is obviously higher than that of the groups. In either case, the average trip is 45 minutes to Chinchero.
The path to the Poc Poc waterfall starts from one side of the Chinchero market, but for those who have never had the opportunity to see the Chinchero park, in addition to its Monserrat temple, then this is a good opportunity to get to know it. All Cusqueños have free access to the park, prior identification and for those who are not from Cusco, the entrance to the park is included in the partial ticket of the Sacred Valley that has a cost of S/. 40 for Peruvian and S/. 70 for foreigners. After visiting the park, continue towards Poc Poc.
Passing the Chinchero market, the Inca trail begins, you enter through an Inca wall alley and much of this route is still well preserved. After a few minutes, on the right side you will see the terraces of the Chinchero park, laid out in a staggered manner. Awesome and beautiful!
The Inca trail crosses the slopes of the terraces and enters a narrow valley. Likewise, a stream flows parallel to this road, forming the first small waterfalls that later, when joined with other streams, form the Poc Poc waterfall on a precipice of more than 30 meters.
The path slopes down and runs through nature. If you undertake this trek in the summer months, you will initially be able to appreciate the potato, barley, broad bean crops, and the large fields of corn, as well as flowers and orchards below in the Urquillos Valley. In addition, during the walk you can see the various varieties of wild bushes such as Mut'uy, Markhu, tumbos and small trees with red bark such as the Qeuñas. Of course there will be the tall eucalyptus trees on the slopes of the mountain, and all kinds of medicinal herbs from the ground level. Finally there will be the well-known domestic animals and naturally some birds that wander from tree to tree.
Shortly before reaching the falls, on a section of the road that dominates the Urquillos valley, there is a viewpoint from where you can have a look at the snow-capped mountains that are on the other side of the Sacred Valley. In other words, it is a good resting place before the final arrival at the Poc poc waterfall.
After passing through the viewpoint, it is necessary to leave the Inca trail and follow the signs to the right below. In a little while longer you can see the control booth where you pay for the tickets, and when you cross the control you follow a narrow path with ups and downs where in less than 5 minutes the Poc Poc waterfall will appear as if by surprise. And that's it!
It is fascinating to see the waters falling down a rocky wall and to hear the roar of it. The vegetation becomes even more dense and the environment more temperate in that hidden gorge at the foot of the Antaykilka mountain. In addition, what is most striking are the trees that protrude into the abyss, it is as if they were hanging next to the waterfall. Something simply impressive to see!
At the moment there is already a bridge with a wooden railing over the small river that forms from the waterfall. The breezes from the waterfall blow away and bathe everything around it. The most intrepid travelers may be able to enter the waterfall, only that the base of it is not wide and can be slippery, so you have to be very careful. In any case, arriving here is an opportunity to enjoy the scenery and take a little time out of everyday life.
It is to return to Chinchero by the same way of going. If reaching the Poc Poc waterfall has required 1:30 hrs, returning to Chinchero would take 2 to 2:30 hrs because the walk is uphill for almost 2 KM and can be somewhat tiring.
In case you no longer want to return to Chinchero, then from the base of the waterfall, do not lose your way down. You pass by the side of an artisanal fish farm and from time to time you see some loggers working in that corner of the Urquillos valley. In fact, this is the complete route and there are 5 km more to go but along a stretched path until reaching the town of Urquillos where the walk ends.
Finally, before leaving Urquillos, you could stop by a chichería to try a strawberry or corn chicha from the valley, so there is that option and after all the time to return has come. You can get on the buses or motorcycle taxis to Huayllabamba and later to the town of Yucay and so on to the city of Cusco.
On this route there are several places where you can fix lunch.
A late lunch would take place in the town of Urquillos, below where the route ends.
Just after a few minutes down from the falls you will pass a fish farm where they also prepare lunch and it is possible to feed there too.
If you are heading back the same way to Chinchero then lunch is in Chinchero.
The ride is scheduled for the whole day. From 8 in the morning until 6 in the afternoon and if this schedule can vary, it will remain in that time range.
The Poc Poc waterfall reaches an impressive level of attraction in the rainy summer months, the same thing happens with the surrounding landscape, so the ideal is December - April. Although in the dry season from May to November you can enjoy more of the sun and the blue sky, and the snow-capped mountains of the sacred valley, but the waters of the waterfall have been reduced.
Due to the narrowness of the creek, internet connections and telephone signals disappear. It is also that there are no nearby mobile phone antennas.
The hike is considered to be in the easy range. It is that first there is a descent and beyond the waterfall the road is laid until you reach Urquillos in 3 hours
If you want to travel in a different and safe way to the Poc Poc waterfall then hire a travel agency. There is something more than that, like making your trip memorable in time, that at least a pinch of emotion is recorded from this trip and better still following an Inca trail to the sacred valley. At AB Expeditions we are here to help you if you want to experience this route.
Until now, none have had any problem piloting a drone camera due to restrictions, but the little visible satellite coverage must be taken into account for a correct maneuver.
As for a mass slide on the road due to continuous rain, yes, there is a risk. You never know, and you have to know that the path enters through a narrow valley, at least during the first hour of the walk.
For those who are terrified of snakes and lizards, they usually don't show up on the trail, but they might. Just let it go and stay calm.
Some essential items for the trek:
Many are the routes that take you to Machu Picchu, but none is like the Inca Trail Tours, the most famous pedestrian path in the Americas. After flying from the capital of Perú, Lima, you will arrive in Cusco to walk for four days along a path through forests and dense fog, millenary stone steps and discovering the ruins of ancient fortifications and Inca cities, and all the time enjoying majestic views.