Inca Trail ruins
Inca Trail to Machu Picchu Ruins
These are some of the ruins and remarkable sites that can be found along the Inca Trail:
The next destination on your route will be the archaeological site of Llactapata, which is located at an altitude of 2800 meters above sea level. It is believed that Llactapata was mainly used for agriculture. The name “Llactapata” comes from two Quechua words: “llacta”, which means village, and “pata”, which means height. Therefore, there are several sites with the name Llactapata due to its meaning. Not all travelers take the time to explore these ruins, as they are located at a considerable distance from the main trail.
Dead Woman’s Pass
The “Paso de la Mujer Muerta” or “Warmiwañusca” in Quechua, despite not being an archaeological site, is one of the most iconic points on the Inca Trail. Its name is due to its shape that resembles a reclining woman. This pass, located at 4200 meters above sea level, is the highest point on the trail, offering spectacular views of the Salkantay and Veronika mountains. Most tour companies camp about 600 meters lower on the second day, near the Pacaymayu pass.
After crossing the third pass on the third day of your trek, you will arrive at the ruins of Runkurakay. These ruins consist of two concentric walls surrounding chambers and a courtyard. The walls are inclined, suggesting earthquake resistance. Due to the construction of numerous dormitories and stables for pack animals, Runkaurakay is believed to have been a “tambo”, a resting place for messengers traveling to Machu Picchu, according to archaeologists.
Known as the “Inaccessible City” in Quechua, it seems extremely difficult to reach due to the steep drops on three of its sides that descend into the jungle. Accessing these ruins involves ascending 98 vertical stone steps along the edge of a mountain, at an altitude of 3,600 meters above sea level. This feat is not suitable for people with little physical resistance, as it represents a considerable challenge.
Whose name means “the cloudy place” in Quechua, is found descending a long series of stairs. This amazing site includes six springs surrounded by Andean terraces and a couple of plazas with several buildings. Archaeological experts suggest that Phuyupatamarka may have been home to a large number of people at one time, due to its layout and size.
It is one of the most impressive Inca ruins on the Inca Trail. It features well-preserved terraces and agricultural structures. The name “Wiñay Wayna” means “Forever Young” in Quechua.
Another beautiful set of ruins along the Inca Trail, Intipata is perched on a hillside and offers stunning views of the surrounding mountains and valleys.
The final destination of the Inca Trail is the world famous Machu Picchu, the “Lost City of the Incas”. This ancient citadel is one of the most iconic archaeological sites in the world and is famous for its impressive architecture, terraces and panoramic views.
These are the many ruins and sites that can be visited along the Inca Trail. The trip usually lasts several days and offers an incredible opportunity to immerse yourself in the history, culture and natural beauty of the Andes and the Inca civilization.
It is important to note that permits are required to hike the Inca Trail, and it is recommended to book the tour well in advance due to limited availability.