La Horca Del Inca: Ruins Above Copacabana, Bolivia

The Incan ruins on Isla Del Sol draw many visitors to the Peru-Bolivia border. But you don’t have to leave the shores of Lake Titicaca to experience some of the ancient wonders of Bolivia’s altiplano. On a hilltop above Copacabana sits La Horca Del Inca. The Spanish who came across this structure many years ago thought the pillars were gallows used by the Inca. However, La Horca Del Inca was actually a site of astronomical studies for pre-Incan cultures.

While these ruins are not particularly spectacular, the structures are interesting to see if you have time in Copacabana and the views of Lake Titicaca from the hilltop are wonderful. We found this short hike to be a fun half-day activity before continuing on our way to Cusco.

Views of Copacabana and Lake Titicaca
Views of Copacabana and Lake Titicaca

Finding the Trail to La Horca Del Inca

La Horca Del Inca can be easily accessed on foot from Copacabana. From the east side of Basilica de Nuestra Señora de Copacabana, head directly south down Calle Murillo towards the edge of town. You will cross Calle Potosí and Ruta Nacional 2 (also known as Avenida Tejada). Soon after crossing Ruta Nacional 2, there will be a stairway on your left. There is a sign marking the way to the ruins. At this point, you will be at the base of the climb.

The stairway leading to the start of the trail to La Horca Del Inca
The stairway leading to the start of the trail to La Horca Del Inca

Near the beginning of the trail, there is a small round building where you must pay 10 Bolivianos for entry. Be aware that there may be other individuals that will try to charge you along the trail. This is a scam. Only pay the official at the trailhead.

The little hut where you pay the entrance to see La Horca Del Inca
The little hut where you pay the entrance to see the ruins

Hiking to La Horca Del Inca

From the building at the trailhead, the path leads up the hill. The climb is short, but somewhat steep. As you continue, the path becomes a little fainter. If you think you’ve lost the trail, don’t worry. Just keep heading upwards towards the rock field. There are some fun rocks to scramble on as you make your way up.

There are many stairs carved into the rock

The ruins sit below the crest of the hill. The structure isn’t very obvious from below, but among the rocks, you will see a couple stone pillars that have withstood time. There is no signage marking the structure or explaining its significance.

From here, we continued up a ways, climbing some rocks as we went. It was very windy that day, so we found a sheltered spot to admire the views before heading back.

Unique rock formations surround La Horca Del Inca
Unique rock formations surround La Horca Del Inca

The hike from the stairway off Calle Murillo to La Horca Del Inca is just over a quarter mile (0.4 kilometers). If you want to hike to the top of the hill, it is only about another 0.2 miles. In total, we hiked about a mile (1.6 kilometers). The hike is somewhat steep, but the pretty views and short distance make it a great leisurely activity.

Have you visited any pre-Incan ruins?

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