QUESHUACHACA, q’iswa = maguey rope or braided dry ichhu and chaka = bridge. It is a bridge made of ropes made of grass and that crosses the Apurímac river near Huinchiri, in the district of Quehue, province of Canas – Cusco. It is the last remaining Inca rope bridge.
The Qeswachaka Bridge is 28.67 meters long and suspended 30 meters above the Apurímac River. It was part of the huge network of Inca roads (qhapac ñan) that led to the Inca city of Machu Picchu. Every year the local population renovates the bridge just as the Incas did hundreds of years ago.
Inca Trails Network
This road network included different types of bridges, such as: log bridges, stone bridges, floating bridges, oroyas (sliders) and suspension bridges. Suspension bridges were the most used in the Incas, as they easily resisted earthquakes. They were built with ropes made of ichu (wild grass from the Andes) and could reach lengths of 60 meters.
By Inca order, suspension bridges were renovated once a year through the work of ‘minka’ (community work for the benefit of the entire population. After the Inca Empire, suspension bridges continued to be used due to their resistance to earthquakes. The best known example is the ‘Puente Qeswachaka’ in the city of Quehue (Cusco).
A route that pass through the Qapac Ñan is the inca trail to machu picchu.
Q’eswachaka Bridge Festival
Although there is a modern bridge nearby, residents of the region keep the ancient tradition and skills alive by renovating the bridge annually on the second Sunday in June. Thanks to this tradition of Inca origin, it has been possible to maintain the Qeswachaka suspension bridge. This cooperative work is carried out by the communities of Huinchiri, Chaupibanda, Ccollana, Quehue and Pelcaro. The party lasts 4 days and involves all the men and women of the towns involved.
At dawn on the first day, the ‘Paqo’ (officiant of the ceremony) celebrates the rite in favor of the ‘Apu tutelar Quinsallallawi’. The ‘icchu’ (straw) was collected and stacked in advance by members of the 4 communities. The women of the communities that have the function of weaving the first rope or ‘qheswa’ participate actively. In the afternoon the men divided into 2 groups gather on the sides of the bridges and spread the ‘queswas’ in a straight line on the road, the ropes are braided by the ‘Chakaruwac’ (Inca engineer) to build the ‘Qheswasca’ ( big braid). On the fourth day, the Chakuruwacs finish weaving the bridge that secures the last fibers and give a shout announcing the end of the hard work; It is a festival with typical dances of the region and sale of typical foods of Cusco.
The bridge can now be used by tourists who come to the village to experience the adventure of crossing the Qeswachaka Bridge.
- Minimum altitude: 3600 masl / 11 811 feet
- Maximum altitude: 3700 masl / 12139 feet
Places to visit:
- Pomacanchi Lagoon.
- Asnaqocha Lagoon.
- Pampamarca Lagoon.
- Inca Bridge of Q’eswachaka.
DAY 01: CUSCO – Q’ESWACHAKA – CUSCO
We will start our Tour to Q’eswachaka Rope Bridge from 4:30 AM. With the pick up of our passengers from their corresponding hotels and once the whole group is concentrated at 5:00 am, we will begin our tour in our tourist transport through some districts of Cusco. Our first stop will be in Combapata, where we will stop to use the toilets and enjoy the local breakfast.
Then we will go to the viewpoint of Combapata continuing with the tour we will pass through the district of Yanaoca is one of the eight districts of the province of Canas in Cusco. Then we will continue our tour for one more hour and we will arrive at the Q’ewe district where the famous Inca bridge of “Q’eswachaka” is located, which is built with vegetable fiber and has a length of 28.67 meters. The surprising thing is that it is rebuilt once a year in June by four local communities, in this place we will have time to explore Q’eswachaka and the surrounding area, while your guide will tell you the history of this Inca engineering work .
We will continue our trip for an hour more and we will appreciate the Lagoons of: Pampamarca, Asnacqocha, Acopía and Pomacanchi; where we will stop to make our lunch observing a large amount of regional flora and fauna experiencing an enriched Andean culture ending our lunch returning to Cusco we will make a stop at the Rumipunku Portal to finally reach Cusco in our tourist transport for an average of 2 hours, arriving at approximately 4:30 pm. End of the Tour to Q’eswachaka Rope Bridge
- Pick up from the Hotel in Cusco.
- Round trip transportation.
- Bilingual guide
- Entrance fees to the Inca Bridge of Qeswachaka
- Walking sticks.
- First aid kit, oxygen
What you need to bring:
- We recommend that you bring only what is necessary to enjoy your Tour to Q’eswachaka Rope Bridge and leave the rest of your things at our Lodge.
- A small 20-liter backpack that allows you to put all the things you will take with you.
- Suitable clothing for walking, waterproof and comfortable shoes for hiking to the mountains, shorts, long pants, sports shirts, rain jacket or rain poncho.
- A bottle / canteen with water we recommend at least one liter of water.
- Toilet paper, hand sanitizer gel.
- Personal medications. Within this list it also includes muscle relaxants, tablets for pain and blessed for scratches, blisters on the feet (since it can be generated after several hours of walking).
- Items to protect yourself from the sun (sunglasses, hat or hats for the sun).
- Extra cash, for your personal spending.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Can I cross the Q’eswachaka Bridge?
Yes! You can, but it is not recommended for people who suffer from vertigo.
How long is the Q’eswachaka Bridge?
The bridge is 28.5 meters long, 1.20 meters wide.
How long does it take to get to the Inca Bridge of Q’eswachaka?
It is located 4 hours from Cusco.
What time do the Tour to Q’eswachaka Rope Bridge start and end?
The Q’eswachaka Inca Bridge tour begins at 7:00 a.m.
The tour ends at 6:00 p.m.
What is the maximum height of the Tour to Q’eswachaka Rope Bridge?
The maximum altitude that we will reach in the Inca bridge of Q’eswachaka will be 3,800 m.s.n.m.
Reconstruction and Annual Maintenance of the Bridge
The «Queswachaca» bridge requires annual maintenance in the month of June by four local communities, because the straw (Ichu) used for its construction begins to decompose, the reconstruction is carried out 3 days before the second Sunday of June and the 4th day concludes with a folk festival, where you can share the traditions and customs that this community inherited from the Incas.