The Cachiccata Quarries or Las Cantera (“The Quarries”) were the source for the large granite stones used in the construction of Ollantaytambo. Piedras cansadas (tired stones) are stones that never arrived at their final destination and many can be seen on route to the quarry. This trail offers great views of Ollantaytambo and the surrounding peaks, especially from Inti Punku, which is situated on a ridge overlooking the glacier on Nevado Veronica.
You cannot lose the chance of meeting such a significant place: from here the Incas took the material to build everything that today we all admire.
To begin, leave the Plaza de Armas and take a right after crossing the Inca Bridge. After 15 – 20 minutes, take a left uphill at the fork where a boulder is painted with “Las Canteras”. Continue to stay left and remain on the most trodden path. In 20 minutes agricultural terraces and old building foundations will come into view. Follow the trail straight past the foundations and ignore other paths that intersect this trail. Just after the foundations, the trail will merge with a larger path. Continue traversing the mountainside on this main path until the lowe quarry, which is indicated by small stone foundations atop boulders on the down-hill side of the trail. (Minutes before reaching the quarry, the trail passes over an irrigation canal- the last opportunity for water).
The first quarry should be reached within 2 – 2.5 hours after leaving the Plaza de Armas. Just after passing through this quarry, continue on a smaller path to the left, which leads uphill from the large trail. Follow a series of swithbacks up the hillside for 45 minutes to an hour. As the trail becomes grassy and more level, look to the left for a rounded stone in the shape of a primitive wheel. Shortly thereafter, the second much larger quarry will be visible on the left. The small fields to the right are a great place to camp. A large boulder in the middle of the quarry is painted with “Instituto Nacional de Cultura”.