Inca Sites and Inca Ruins

If you’re looking to explore Inca sites and Inca ruins and want to find the best places to view Inca history then you can explore our interactive map above or navigate further by using the links below.

There’s a great selection of Inca sites and Inca ruins and you can plan some fantastic things to see on your trips. Once you’ve explored the list of Incan sites and selected those you wish to visit you can use our itinerary planner tool to plan your trip and then print off a free pocket guidebook. This indispensible holiday guide will help you make the most of your time exploring Incan sites and will help you plan your tour of these fascinating ruins.

Our database of Incan historic sites is growing all the time, but we may not cover them all. Remember, if you know of other Inca sites, remains or ruins, you can always add them to Trip Historic now by visiting our upload page.

Inca: Site Index

Photo by Miradas.com.br (cc)

Choquequirao

One of the lesser known Inca ruins, Choquequirao is a little known Incan city in the south of Peru which is similar to the far more famous Machu Picchu.

DID YOU KNOW?

Choquequirao is a little known Incan city in the south of Peru which may well have served as the final stronghold of the Incan civilisation.

Similar in design and architechture to the far better known Machu Picchu, Choquequirao is almost devoid of tourist due to its isolated position.

Built in the late 15th century and expanded over the next century Choquequirao is believed to have served as an administrative hub for the region, as well as providing a local military centre.

In the 16th century, as the Incan Empire was gripped by civil war and then rocked by the arrival of the Conquistadors, Choquequirao - in the Vilcabamaba region - was used as a refuge by Inca forces fleeing the siege of Cuzco.

After the eventual defeat of the last of the Incan forces in 1572 the city was lost from record until European explorers came across Choquequirao in the 18th and 19th centuries.

Today, the ruins of Choquequirao still contain impressive sites but its isolated position means it is a difficult spot to access. A two-day hike from the nearest village has ensured that only the most committed of travellers explore these remains.

However, for better or worse, facilities in the area are improving and the Peruvian government are considering ways to improve access to the site. Choquequirao features as one of our Top 10 Tourist Attractions of Peru.

Photo by geoced (cc)

Inca Trail

The Inca Trail is a famous hiking route which winds through Inca sites in Peru including Machu Picchu.

DID YOU KNOW?

The Inca Trail is a famous route in Peru which allows hikers to follow in the footsteps of the Inca people. The main site along the Inca Trail is Machu Picchu, the magnificent ruins of an Inca city dating back to the fifteenth century and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

However, the Inca Trail includes many other great Inca sites along its typically four day route, including Patallacta, which was a religious site as well as the home of Inca soldiers, Runkuracay, the “inaccessible town” of Sayacmarca with its maze of houses and water channels, Phuyupatamarca and Sun Gate.

Also along the trail is Wiñaywayna, another beautiful Inca site close to Machu Picchu. The Inca Trail also includes a breathtaking tour of the natural wonders of Peru, but it involves quite difficult treks and hikers need to be in good, if not peak, physical condition, particularly for the longer trails.

The Inca Trail is featured as one of our Top 10 Vistor Attractions in Peru.

Llactapata

Often confused with the ruins of Patallacta, Llactapata contains the remains of a small Inca complex near Machu Picchu.

DID YOU KNOW?

The site of Llactapata contains the remains of a small Inca complex near Machu Picchu.

Often confused with the larger ruins of Patallacta, which is frequently called Llactapata, this site was first discovered by archaeologist Hiram Bingham in 1912 and explored in detail by an Anglo-American team in 2003.

Though little evidence remains as to its history, it is believed that Llactapata was an observatory and temple complex, used to take astronomical readings. The walled remains of several structures can be explored, along with a 150-ft sunken corridor.

Photo by szeke (cc)

Machu Picchu

Probably the best known of all Inca sites, Machu Picchu is one of the world’s best preserved Incan sites, located in Peru and protected by UNESCO.

DID YOU KNOW?

Machu Picchu is an extraordinary ancient stone city along the Inca Trail in Peru and forms one of the most famous historical sites in the world.

Believed to have been constructed by the Inca Yupanqui people sometime during the mid-fifteenth century, the ruins of Machu Picchu sit high atop a granite mountain. The high standard of engineering and construction employed by the Incas, such as the fact that each stone on the site fits together seamlessly, accounts for Machu Picchu’s incredible state of preservation.

Machu Picchu was actually only discovered in 1911 by an American historian and much of its history remains a mystery. Past speculation has included theories such as that Machu Picchu was a mostly female city and that it was built as a last attempt by the Incas to preserve their culture. The former of these theories was due to the fact that, of the hundred skeletons found in Machu Picchu’s fifty burial sites, 80% were initially believed to be female, although this has since been disproven.

Machu Picchu is thought to have had a population of at least five hundred thousand people and, with its incredibly ornate stonework and architecture, is widely considered to have been an important ceremonial site. Some of Machu Picchu’s most impressive structures include the semi-circular Temple of the Sun, the Temple of the Three Windows, the mausoleum and the upper cemetery.

Machu Picchu’s agricultural section, with its terraces and granaries, is also an important aspect of the site demonstrating the advanced agricultural methods employed by the Inca people. The main Machu Picchu city is surrounded by other sites forming the Inca Trail and some of which take some serious hiking, but are well worth it. It’s also a good idea to stop at the Museo de Sitio Manuel Chávez Ballón at the base of the mountain. This site features as one of our Top 10 Tourist Attractions in Peru.

Museum Manuel Chavez Ballón

Museum Manuel Chavez Ballón is the museum of the famous Machu Picchu site.

DID YOU KNOW?

Museum Manuel Chavez Ballón is a museum at the foot of the mountain which houses the world famous Inca city of Machu Picchu.

Museum Manuel Chavez Ballón is dedicated to exploring the Inca civilisation and houses an expansive collection of artefacts found at Machu Picchu including household items, artwork and religious objects.

Some of the most interesting objects at the Museum Manuel Chavez Ballón are the construction materials and tools, which form one of seven of the museum’s sections.

Museum Manuel Chavez Ballón is a good place to stop off before or after a tour of Machu Picchu.

Photo by mckaysavage (cc)

Ollantaytambo Ruins

Ollantaytambo boasts the remains of an ancient Inca fortress and temple complex.

DID YOU KNOW?

Ollantaytambo is an ancient Inca fortress and modern village located approximately 60 miles north of the city of Cuzco, which now contains a series of impressive Inca ruins.

The fortress was originally built to bring local tribes under Inca control, however the Inca were soon facing a new threat in the form of the Conquistadors, who attacked the fortress in 1536 but were repulsed. However, the Inca abandoned the site shortly after in favour of the more defensible Vilcabamba.

Today, the ruins of this ancient fortification sit 2,800m above sea-level atop a high hill and still boast the original stepped walls as well as the remains of a royal chamber, Temple of the Sun and a structure known as the “Princess' Baths”.

Today the Ollantaytambo ruins are a popular stop on the Inca trail and a visit to the village and ruins is often included in organised guided treks of the route.

This site features as one of our Top Tourist Attractions of Peru.

Photo by Claire Taylor (cc)

Patallacta

A large Inca site near Machu Picchu, Patallacta contains the hillside remains of dozens of walled houses and other buildings.

DID YOU KNOW?

Patallacta is a large Inca site near Machu Picchu, built atop stepped agricultural terraces surrounding a rising hillside.

The site sits along what is now known as the Inca Trail, which runs to the far more famous Machu Picchu and it is believed the settlement was also used by the Inca as a stopping point for those on their way to the ancient city. Sometimes referred to as Llactapata, there remains significant confusion as to the naming conventions for a number of Inca sites in this region.

Burned by the Inca as they retreated from the Conquistadors, today the remains of Patallacta, include dozens of walled houses and other buildings which can still be explored. Many tours of the Inca trail will stop at Patallacta and that is probably the easiest way to explore the site.

Photo by Claire Taylor (cc)

Phuyupatamarca

One of the most picturesque stops on the Inca Trail, Phuyupatamarca is a well preserved Inca ruin which sits over 11,000 feet above sea level.

DID YOU KNOW?

The ruins of Phuyupatamarca, located along the Inca Trail, rank among the best preserved and most scenic Inca ruins in existence.

Known as the ‘Town above the Clouds’, Phuyupatamarca is over 11,000 feet above sea level and often surrounded by thick clouds which weave their way through the valleys below - producing a picturesque viewpoint which is not to be missed.

The site itself contains some excellent Inca ruins, including agricultural terraces built into the hillside and a settlement above them which includes ritual baths, a temple and an impressive irrigation system. A number of observation platforms offer excellent views.

Most people visit Phuyupatamarca on one of the many organised hiking tours of the Inca trail and several tours camp here overnight.

Photo by Ivan Mlinaric (cc)

Pisac Ruins

The ruins are Pisac are the remains of an impressive Inca settlement which was abandoned in the 1530s.

DID YOU KNOW?

The Pisac ruins, located next to the modern town of the same name, are the remains of an impressive ancient Inca settlement.

Though little is known as to the history of the site before the Spanish conquest, Pisac was probably used as a ceremonial and military centre. The site was abandoned and fell to ruin after the conquest in the 1530s.

Today the ruins of Pisac sit above a looming hilltop above the modern town and contain some of the best examples of Inca ruins in existence. Alongside the vast and impressive agricultural terraces surrounding the hillside, the platform built at the top contains the remains of a fortress and temple complex. Among the structures which can be seen here are the ruins of the Temple of the Sun, ceremonial baths, altars and fortified walls.

Photo by fortes (cc)

Winaywayna

One of several Inca sites in the area, Winaywayna is an Inca site in Peru near Machu Picchu.

DID YOU KNOW?

Winaywayna or Winay Wayna, literally translated as “forever young”, is an Inca site along the Inca Trail close to the famous ruins of Machu Picchu. Winaywayna is yet another great example of Inca civillisation and is made up of two levels containing a network of houses, fountains and agricultural terraces.

Whilst it forms part of the Inca Trail, tourists can also see Winaywayna as part of a standalone trip to Machu Picchu, the hike usually takes around three and half hours.