During your tours of Cusco, when you get to Sacsayhuaman, be sure to visit the Rodadero, where the children of the Inca, and their descendants, have played for hundreds of years.
It is a glistening diorite rock outcrop, located directly across from the Cyclopean zigzag walls in the northeastern Suchuna sector of the archaeological park.
It’s a hoot.
You would be hard pressed to find references in the early Chronicles to this natural hillside playground, which looks like giant sparkling greenish white oyster shell, where local children and foreign visitors scamper up the sides to slide down the glass-smooth ruts.
Jesuit Barnabé Cobo, writing in the 1650s, was more interested in the steps and seats on the rock outcrop. He paid particular attention to “a well-carved seat where the Inca sat,” a throne overlooking the esplanade.
“On account of this seat, the whole fortress [of Saqsaywamán] was worshiped,” Cobo wrote.
The Rodadero was documented by some of the pioneering archaeologists of the 19th century.
E. George Squier, the American diplomat turned South American explorer, offered this description in his 1877 classic, Peru, Incidents of Travel and Exploration in the Land of the Incas:
“It is said that the Inca youth amused themselves in coursing through these polished grooves on festival days — a custom which the youth of Cuzco have not allowed to fall into disuse.”
Mariano Edward Rivero and John James von Tschudi also took note of Rodadero in their 1851 book, Peruvian Antiquities:
“A short distance from the fortress is a large piece of amphibolic rock known by the name of the smooth rolling stone, which served and still serves for diversion to the inhabitants, by rolling like a garden roller, having a sort of hollow formed in the middle through friction.”
So, be sure to wear long pants… and enjoy the smooth stone slide of the Inca.