The history rich Colca Valley is scattered with ancient ruins. One of these sites, Uyo Uyo, is an especially great place to explore the ancient cultures of the region and Peru. Reachable either on foot or horseback, a visit to Uyo Uyo ruins is the ideal way to acclimatize to the high altitude of the region, while absorbing some of its cultural significance.
Uyo Uyo Ruins
Sitting on the right bank above the Colca River is the archaeological site of Uyo Uyo. A pre-Inca village attributed to the Collagua culture of the region that was later occupied by the Incas, the town is thought to be the original capital of the Colca Valley. The building and structures of the site are a fascinating testament to the strong construction techniques and advanced architectural and agricultural strategies of the Collagua and Inca people. Visitors can explore the ruins, admiring some of the original houses, meeting places, and center of worship, that date back to the year 1200.
Highlights of the Journey to Uyo Uyo Ruins
A highlight of visiting Uyo Uyo is the journey to get there. Along the way, you can visit other interesting sites such as Sifon Bridge, Yanque, Cervantes Bridge, and local terraced farms. From Sifon Bridge, spot the Colca’s, or ancient food storage units, that give the valley and canyon its name. In the small town of Yanque, admire the colonial church, and learn about Spanish influence on indigenous Andean culture and religion. At Cervantes Bridge, see how the architecturally pleasing stone bridge compliments the natural landscapes and nearby natural hot springs. And as you pass through local terraced farms, note the production of crops like potatoes, corn, string beans, and Andean super foods like quinoa and kiwicha.
Contact us to arrange a luxury, tailormade trip to Colca!
How to Get to Uyo Uyo Ruins: The Many Routes
The route to Uyo Uyo ruins can be tailored depending on your fitness level, how long you have been at altitude, and your interests. We recommend including any of the following routes either on foot or on horseback as a part of a larger, tailormade trip to Peru with Aracari.
Route #1: Yanque – Sifon Bridge – Uyo Uyo – Colca Lodge
This classic route takes about 2 hours including stops for pictures and time to explore the ruins. Starting in the small village of Yanque (3,417m or 11,211ft), your vehicle will drop you and you will walk through the town and over a small ridge to reach Sifon Bridge. Here you can observe the ancient food storage units built in rock, or Colca’s, that give the region its name. After crossing the bridge, proceed on through farms and terraced land before reaching an uphill climb of around 15 minutes. It is steep, but there are plenty of benches along the way to rest and enjoy the views. Upon arrival at Uyo Uyo ruins you can explore the ancient village, taking note of the Inca influenced architecture. Then you will gradually descend to the ending point at Colca Lodge where you can walk to your room or your vehicle can pick you up to take you to your hotel. This can also be done in reverse.
Route #2: Colca Lodge – Uyo Uyo – Colca Lodge
Guests staying at Colca Lodge can reach the ruins without a vehicle, gradually ascending about 30 minutes to Uyo Uyo ruins, exploring the site, then descending the same route back to the lodge. For travelers who choose this route, we still recommend being accompanied by a guide on the 1+ hour excursion, for better understanding of the ruins and to avoid getting lost.
Route #3: Short Walk to Uyo Uyo
For travelers who want to shorten the walk, your vehicle can drop you just 600m from the ruins. From this point, you will make a steep 15 minute ascent, with plenty of places to stop and catch your breath along the way, to the ruins. You can explore the ancient site and then take the same path 600m to your vehicle. In total this option will take about 45 minutes depending on fitness level and including the time at the ruins.
Route #4: Yanque – Sifon Bridge – Uyo Uyo – Cervantes Bridge
Similar to route #1, you can opt to extend your walk past Colca Lodge to the historic Cervantes Bridge. This adds about 20 minutes making the walk about 2hrs 20mins total, and is a nice choice for guests at Belmond Las Casitas who need to cross the river to get to their hotel. After crossing the river via Cervantes Bridge, your vehicle will be waiting to take you to your hotel or next destination. This can also be done in reverse.
Interested in Hiking?
The Colca Canyon and Valley offer a range of stunning hikes for all fitness levels and all types of trekkers. From the gentle acclimatization walk to Uyo Uyo Ruins described above, to a gorgeous moderate hike through the Canocota Canyon, to a steep trek to Madrigal Chimpa Fortress and lookout point, no matter where your feet take you in the region you won’t be disappointed.
How to Pick A Route
Contact us to speak to an expert travel planner who will be happy to arrange your perfect route to Uyo Uyo Ruins or other sites as a part of a larger, tailormade trip to Peru.