Essential sites along the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu.
Celebrate your journey along one of the worlds greatest Treks.
Six sites along the Inka trail to Machu Picchu.
Within a mile of the start of the classic Inca trail the site of Patallacta can viewed to the right. Patallacta can be translated as ‘town on high’ a befitting name for this site of over one hundred buildings high above the valley floor. Unoccupied in modern times the site was more vibrant in the times of Incan rule.
Patallacta has a central plaza and clearly some ritual ceremonies would have taken place here. The site produced a variety of agricultural goods to supply the citadel of Machu Picchu and its royal guests. In 1536 the site was burnt by Manco Inca Yupanquis troops as they retreated deep into the jungle to escape the Spaniards. This burning of the site is believed to have been a key factor in thwarting Spanish abilities to find Machu Picchu.
A most interesting little complex that shares its name with the mountain on whose side it is constructed. The most striking feature of this site is the relatively unusual circular shape reminiscent of the temple of the sun at Machu Picchu. Whilst the construction technique does not match the craftsmanship of the temple of the sun, it’s distinct shape and location gives it a ceremonial aspect.
The name Runkuraqay can be translated in a variety of different ways, Runku is best translated as meaning basket in English and raqay can be viewed as either collapsed or abandoned house. With clouds often forming around its base it could be viewed as sometimes floating in air a good reason to label it as abandoned. Runkuraqay was made of a mixture of slate and grey granite. It’s ceremonial setting, acting as a fine viewpoint of Sayaqmarca ruins was undoubtedly a motivation in the location of its construction.
Almost certainly a PreInca site occupied and lived in by the Qolla people, Sayaqmarca was expanded by the Incas and incorporated into their empire early in the Incan territorial expansion. Fountains, water ways and ceremonial baths have been ethched into steep mountain terrain in a truly impressive example of Andean ingenuity and skill. A true highlight of the Inca trail that was deeply appreciated by the royal visitors to the region in Incan times.
Sayaqmarca can be taken to mean dominating people or dominating town depending on which Quechua expert you believe. The steep steps leading to the site are as challenging as pretty much any within the Incan region, although the llama sector at Choquequirao seemed like the steepest sector I have ever climbed.
PHUYU PATA MARCA
Phuyupatamarca, meaning ‘the town amongst the clouds, lives up to its name as it is often seen from afar as if floating in the misty clouds that form in the region. Believed to have accommodated around a hundred inhabitants at the time of the Inca it has stood the test of time.
The site is probably the best preserved site on the Inca trail and boasts six ceremonial baths along with observation platforms for night time astronomy. Phuyupatamarca also affords views of Intipata and winaywayna in the distance. The site was designed with water channels flowing through the multiple levels creating both a visually appealing sight and a practical way of irrigating vegetable fields.
Winaywayna takes it name from an abundant orchid growing there, meaning ‘forever young’, the site is a sure sign that you are close to reaching your final destination of Machu Picchu. This is the last major location before you make your way up the steps leading to the sun gate entrance of Machu Picchu. Yet another incredible example of Andean terraces and fine buildings clinging to the side of steep mountain sides.
Winaywayna is a testimony to much of the architectural skills on display at Machu Picchu itself. It has fine examples of single and double door lintels and other Incan construction techniques. The site contains buildings designed for grain storage, administration purposes and Andean terraces above and below to supply Machu Picchu with the fresh goods demanded by the Incan royalty.
After a marathon journey of epic proportions through steep mountain trails the sungate is a fitting reward for the adventurous visitor to Mach Picchu. As you cross the portal an incredible first site of the Incan citadel awaits you. At 2745 meters above sea level the sungate looks down on Machu Picchu 300 meters below.
After 4 or 5 days of trekking this view is regarded by many as the most memorable aspect of the Inca trail itself. Known as Inti Punku in Quechua the sungate is the most spectacular way to view Machu Picchu for the first time.
Our Inca trail map has been designed to celebrate the achievement of making the marathon journey of 26 miles to Machu Picchu along this trail first popularized a hundred years ago by Hiram Bingham.
For information on this map feel free to contact us or click on this link to see purchasing options.