11 months ago



The Perolniyoc Waterfall, or Catarata Perolniyoc (in Spanish) is serene hidden jewel, tucked away in the bushy hills of the Sacred Valley in Cusco Peru. Your short hour hike to the waterfall takes you through indigenous villages. Giving you the perfect opportunity to immerse yourself in these rural communities and their farmlands. Get a great view of their agricultural terraces blanketing the hillsides and learn about their day to day lives. Along the way is a lush canyon filled with native flora and fauna for an absolutely breathtaking hike.

Once you come upon the waterfall, witness 45 meters of crystal-clear waters cascading down the mountain side and feel the energy that radiates from them. This waterfall was used by the Incas as a ceremonial fountain and just above it is the Perolniyoc Ruins (also called Raqaypata). These ruins sit at an astounding 3 350ft/12 000ft above sea level, giving you gorgeous panoramic views of the valley and waterfall below.

Later, you move on to the fascinating archeological center of Ñaupa Iglesia. This Inca site is home to outstanding stonemasonry and impeccably constructed altars. This an ancient ceremonial temple dedicated to the moon. Find two story houses previously used as warehouses, lodging rooms and a ceremonial center typical in Inca Architecture.

This is a perfect full-day hike, anytime of the year. It has a bit if everything, cultural immersion in the rural villages, history and architecture in Raqaypata and Ñaupa Iglesia. Finally, the beautiful waterfalls of Perolniyoc. This hike will take your breath away, the hike is not strenuous and is the perfect addition to any tour of the Sacred Valley. Its off the beaten trek, with little to no other trekkers around. Its easy to book and we recommend  the following tour operators: Sam Travel, Orange Nation and Spider Travel Peru.

This map only shows the the trail from Soqma to Raqaypata; however it’s quite easy to walk from Pacha

Important | We highly recommend that you to do this tour a profesional tour company like SAM Travel, Orange Nation or Spider Travel Peru with many years of experience organizing trekking and hiking tours through the Cusco region.

This map is solely a planning tool. Always hike responsibly and respect the mountains by leaving minimum to no footprints, avoid hiking alone, and don’t stray from the visible trail. The best option is to book a reputable tour operator.

Perolniyoc Waterfall Hike Facts

  • Out & Back Trail
    • The small village of Soqma is the official trailhead
  • Difficulty: Moderate, the ascent to the ruins are steep
  • Soqma Trailhead – Raqaypata (One-Way Distance): 4.25 miles
  • Village of Pachar – Raqaypata (Total One-Way Distance): just under 7.5 miles
  • Ascent: Almost 3,350 ft
  • Excursion Duration:Full-Day hike
    • Book this trek in addition to other trekking adventures in and around the Sacred Valley
  • Book a reputable tour operator for the most comprehensive experience
  • You can complete this hike anytime of the year
    • During rainy season the trails can be muddy and slippery, but its still relatively safe
  • Day Hiking Essentials
    • First-Aid Kit
    • Good Hiking shoes with ankle support
    • Water Filter
    • Off-line Map
    • Snacks & Picnic
    • Trekking Poles to help with the ascent & muddy trail

Perolniyoc Hike Tips

  • Book your trek with a reputable tour operator
  • Wear good hiking shoes with ample ankle support
  • Bring extra drinking water, the sacred valley can get very hot
  • Bring things for sun protection like a sunhat and sun screen
  • Add other tours to this amazing trek like : The Sacred Valley Tour, Pachamancha Tour, Chinchero Weaving tour, Rainbow Mountain or Humantay Lake.
  • Get acclimated to the altitude in Cusco or the Sacred Valley for a day or two. The accent reaches a staggering 3 350ft/12 000ft above sea level
  • Bring some remedies to help with altititude sickness. Drink plenty of water and coca tea, chew coca leaves, pace yourself and if necessary use a company that has an oxygen tank available incase of emergency.

Important | We highly recommend that you do this tour with a licensed company like: SAM Travel, Orange Nation or Spider Travel Peru

Best time to do the Perolniyoc hike

You can do The Perolniyoc Waterfall hike anytime of the year. Remember, that Peru has two very distinct seasons, rainy (Nov – April ) and dry (May – October). During the rainy season, the paths can be muddy and slick. During the dry season, the hike has less drain. But the heat can be scotching and you need a healthy supply of water. The views are magnificent with very little, to no cloud cover.

Don’t miss out on the Ñaupa Iglesia Ruins

Any tour worth its salt will take you to the fascinating site of Ñaupa Iglesia, or Choquequilla, which is built seamlessly into a large cave. There are a few small ruins that are left behind, but what’s most interesting is the almost “out of place” alter at the entrance. This black stone is engraved with some seriously advanced stone work.


Soqma Trailhead – Ñaupa Iglesia Ruins – Raqaypata-Perolniyoc Waterfall

We will pick you up from Veronica View hotel or any hotel in Ollantaytambo, any hotel in Cusco ot the Sacred Valley at 7am. First we drive in our private van through the Sacred Valley of the Incas on our the way to Ñaupa Iglesia, an incredible Inca site carved directly into the bedrock. We will explore this amazing archeological site for an hour. Next we make our way to the small town of Socma, which is only a short 25 minutes drive. We then begin the trek to the Perolniyoc archeological center of Racaypata (3,550 m / 11,646 ft). On the way, we will learn about the daily lives of the inhabitants of the area, their crops, and their traditional way of life. Our guide will explain the role this archeological center filled in ancient times. Its construction is carefully engineered with both stones and adobe.

After the visit, we begin the descent through Andean landscapes, towards the spectacular waterfall of Perolniyoc (3,460 m / 11,351 ft). This waterfall is approximately 100 meters high, and the force of the water always creates a beautiful mist and crisp fresh air. The Sacred Valley is much warmer than Cusco, being at a lower altitude. You will welcome the cool mist blowing over you. If you want to brave the chilly waters, then take a little dip in its crystalline waters. At the same time, you will enjoy the expansive landscape and the beautiful views from the waterfall, where you will also be able to observe some endemic birds of the Sacred Valley. Afterwards, we will return to the Veronica View Hotel or Ollantaytambo.

Itinerary provided by: Veronica View Hotel