SUSPENSION BRIDGE OF QESWACHAKA
Full Day Tour of Qeswachaka Inca Bridge
The Q’eswachaka bridge in Peru is rebuilt every year using traditional inca engineering techniques by the local communities on either side of the canyon. This bridge has been continually rebuilt in this same location since the time of the Inca.
The entire bridge is built in only three days. To construct the bridge, grass called q’oya is harvested and then prepared to be woven into large cables beginning with small cord which is twisted together from the local grass. These cords are then twisted to form a larger rope and the ropes are then braided to create the main cable.
Up on the highway, the community works together to pull these ropes to stretch them out. These ropes are woven and twisted. Each rope is made from 30 of the small cords and then three of these ropes are braided to form the cables that will support the bridge.
After more stretching, the cables are then carried down to where the bridge will be installed. The old bridge is used to run the first cable across for what will become the new bridge. And then the old bridge is cut down and it falls into the water and is washed away by the river.
All day long, the community pulls on the new cables to prepare them for the bridge. These supporting cables are anchored to the stone abutments on either side of the canyon.
Victoriano Arizapana is the architect of the bridge. He uses traditional methods which have been handed down in his family for centuries. “The work my father gave me to do, I started doing when I was 12 years old. I love that bridge Q’eswachaka very much. In other words, I love it like a son.”
The structure of the bridge is made with four cables for the floor and two handrails. The bridge weaving begins in the morning with Victoriano weaving from one side and another worker weaving from the other side until they meet in the center of the bridge.
When the bridge is finally finished the communities come together to celebrate. The structure is remarkably safe. It has been built for centuries in this way and can hold dozens of people at any one time.
The tour begins with the pick-up from your accommodation between 4:30 and 4:45 am. If your hotel or hostel is not located in the city center, we will pick you up from the doorway of our office building. Once the whole group is gathered, around 5:00 am, we will start our journey in our private transportation.
We will then have a two hours hour van journey to the town of Combapata, where we will have our local breakfast (made of local cereals like quinoa, quiwicha, maca). After this will continue drive for 15 minutes until we will get the Combapata viewpoint, from which we will enjoy the beautiful landscapes and see where the Salcca River meets the Vilcanota, the Sacred River of the Incas.
Then, we will continue our journey to Yanaoca, one of the eight districts in the Canas province of Cusco. From Yanaoca, we will drive thirty minutes more to the Q’ewe district. From there, you will have your first glimpse of the ancient bridge suspended between the steep rock cliffs, as we drive down the Apurimac canyon.
We will then leave the car and descend a steep path to a viewpoint to take photos, before carefully crossing the bridge together! Get ready for the adrenaline rush of a lifetime as you make your way across the swaying bridge, and try not to look too closely at the river several meters below! On the other side, the bridge attendant will greet us and give a brief demonstration of the bridge’s history and construction.
After visiting the bridge, we will drive to the regions where the four famous lakes are: Pampamarca, Asnacqoccha, Acopia, and Pomacanchi. Set like jewels among the gold-green hills, they shine in the warm, afternoon sun as native flamingos and other birds fly and feed around their edges. We will stop in one of the lakeshores to set our picnic blanket and enjoy our picnic.
Finally, we will explore Rumi Punku before returning to Cusco at about 4:30 pm.
- Pick-up from your accommodation and drop-off near the main square.
- Professional, bilingual tour guide.
- Transportation, we use private buses and minivans, which are very comfortable and come with all necessary safety features. Our driver has several years of experience and is an expert at navigating the narrow mountain roads.
- Breakfast and lunch box (vegetarian options available).
- First aid kit (includes emergency oxygen tank).
- Tips for your tour guide and driver.
- Breakfast or dinner.
Frequently asked questions
- Can I cross the bridge? Yes! All visitors are welcome and encouraged to cross the bridge. However, it is not recommended for visitors with vertigo.
- What is the length of the Q’eswachaka Bridge? The bridge is approximately 28 meters (99 feet) long and 1.2 meters (4 feet) wide.
- Where is Q’eswachaka? Q’eswachaka is located four hours from Cusco by car, on the edge of Apurimac canyon, in the Quehue district of Canas province.
- When does the tour start and finish? Since the location is four hours away, we will have an early start at 4:30 am. The tour finishes at 4:00 pm.
- What does the tour consist of? Is this a walking tour? This is mostly a bus tour, with various stops at points of interest before and after the visit to the Q’eswachaka Inca Bridge.
- Are lunch and breakfast included? Yes, we will have a local breakfast in the town of Combapata and you will receive a boxed lunch later.
- Is there a toilet on the bus? No, however we can stop for toilet breaks. We although recommend that you bring paper toilet and a little bit of money for the toilet stops.
- What is the maximum altitude? The maximum altitude we will reach is 3,800m/12,468ft.
- What will I do if I suffer from altitude sickness? We will treat you accordingly. We carry oxygen cylinders and altitude tablets.
- Should I tip the guides? How much is appropriate? A tip is voluntary, but the amount is at your discretion. Whatever you feel is appropriate based on the service you have received is fine; please remember to always be courteous and respectful with our guides.
What to Bring:
We suggest only bringing the essential to enjoy the tour and leaving the rest in your hotel.
- Small daypack.
- Light, comfortable clothing.
- Warm jacket.
- Water (we recommend at least 1 liter).
- Rain Gear.
- Cash (in small denominations of Peruvian nuevo soles).
- Personal medications.
- Toilet Paper.
- Snacks (granola bars, dried fruits, chocolate, etc.).