Sunbathing on top of Pukara de Quitor ruins
One of the days I spent in San Pedro de Atacama, being a huge fan of all the archaeological sites and ruins, I decided to visit Pukara de Quitor. We went there walking with a friend of mine.
It was boiling hot, just midday. After less than an hour of walking from San Pedro, we got to the entrance where we paid entrance fee of 1,500 pesos (student one). Then we started to climb up the ruins.
We stopped once in a while to take some photos. Behind the ruins, the view of San Pedro river was just stunning, and down the ruins there were the Andes on the horizon.
We got a minute to relax in the middle as well.
Pukara de Quitor is a national monument since 1982 located just 3 km Northeast from San Pedro de Atacama. It is situated at the slope of Cordillera de la Sal overlooking San Pedro river.
Pukara is from Quechua and means fortness. The name comes from a pre-Hispanic agricultural group Ayllu de Quitor whose fields start at the base of Pucara.
It is a pre-Inca construction made on a hill from the hill, i.e. from the stones of the hill. The rocks are connected to the other ones by using mud.
Quitor was first used around 145 A.C. to 900 A.C. by an Atacameña community (a community from Atacama). The approx. 200 structures we can see there nowadays date back to the 12th century. In this place the Inca empire expanded through the Atacama Desert which caused some conflicts that even became bigger once the Spaniards came to the area.
Pukara de Quitor ruins look like a fort with defensive walls. It did have defensive and strategic purposes but it was also inhabited as parts of bedrooms and kitchens were found.
Pucara de Quitor was invaded by the Spaniards in 1540 which was an easy task as the natives had never seen horses and metal helmets the Spaniards used.
Once we found out all this about the ruins, and got to cumbre – the peak, we sat down there, I wrote my diary and then sunbathe. What a great place to sunbathe!
At 2 pm it was the time to go down the ruins and visit its museum.
Then we started walking back to San Pedro as at 4 pm I had a tour to the Moon Valley. On the way back we saw a lot of llamas crossing the river just 2 metres from us. What an experience!