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Inca trail Tours

The 10 best Rated Inca ruins that you MUST visit in Cusco

Written by: Incatrailhikeperu August 14, 2023

A detailed look at the best archeological sites and Inca ruins in the Cusco, Peru

For most tourists the mystic Inca ruins in Peru are the main reason to visit them. You are probably thinking of insanely high mountains, dense foliage only reluctantly yielding the crumbling sites below, and the famous explorer Hiram Bingham a picture not all that far away from the truth! See bellow the The 10 Best Inca Ruins you Must Visit in Peru.

1. Machu Picchu Inca City

Machu Picchu
Machu Picchu

Machu Picchu, often hailed as the “Lost City of the Incas,” is an extraordinary archaeological gem nestled high in the Andes Mountains of Peru. This awe inspiring citadel, built in the 15th century by the Inca emperor Pachacuti, showcases a harmonious blend of stunning natural surroundings and masterful stone architecture. Its intricate network of terraces, plazas, temples, and residential areas speaks to the Inca’s remarkable engineering prowess and cultural significance. Set against a backdrop of lush greenery and dramatic peaks, Machu Picchu’s enigmatic aura continues to captivate and inspire travelers, offering a mesmerizing glimpse into the ancient civilization’s achievements and spiritual connection with the land.

2. Pisac Inca ruins in the Sacred Valley

Pisac ruins
Pisac ruins

The Ruins of Pisac, situated in the Sacred Valley of Peru, stand as a testament to the Inca’s ingenuity and reverence for both nature and spirituality. This archaeological site boasts an intricate tapestry of terraces, plazas, and stone structures that cascade down the mountainside in perfect harmony with the surrounding landscape. Thought to have been a center for agricultural experimentation and religious rituals, the Ruins of Pisac offer a captivating glimpse into the Inca way of life. As visitors wander through its stone pathways and explore its sacred spaces, they are transported back in time, connecting with the past and gaining a deeper appreciation for the profound cultural and architectural legacy left behind by this ancient civilization.

3. Ollantaytambo Inca ruins in the Sacred Valley

Ollantaytambo ruins
Ollantaytambo ruins

Nestled within the captivating embrace of the Sacred Valley, the Ollantaytambo Ruins are a living testament to the advanced architectural mastery and strategic vision of the Inca civilization. Majestic stone terraces, ingeniously designed temples, and meticulously crafted structures showcase the Incas’ exceptional ability to blend nature and construction seamlessly. As a vital hub for both ceremonial and agricultural activities, Ollantaytambo offers an intriguing glimpse into the daily life and societal dynamics of this ancient culture. Perched upon the steep mountainside, these ruins exude an air of grandeur while providing breathtaking vistas of the surrounding landscape. A visit to Ollantaytambo is a journey through time, inviting travelers to walk in the footsteps of history and immerse themselves in the legacy of the Inca civilization.

4. Tipon

Tipon Archaeological Park - The 10 Best Inca Ruins you Must Visit in Peru
Tipon Archaeological Park

Nestled amidst the breathtaking beauty of the Peruvian Andes, Tipón stands as a remarkable testament to the hydraulic ingenuity of the ancient Inca civilization. This archaeological site enchants visitors with its intricate system of water channels and terraced gardens, showcasing the Incas’ remarkable ability to manage and control water with astonishing precision. Beyond its impressive engineering, Tipón is surrounded by lush natural surroundings, creating an immersive and magical experience for those who explore this historic sanctuary. Murmuring waterfalls and the tranquility of the terraced gardens combine to offer a unique glimpse into the daily life and technical prowess of the Inca civilization, making Tipón a must-visit destination for history and nature enthusiasts alike.

5. Sacsayhuaman Ruins above Cusco city

Sacsayhuaman ruins
Sacsayhuaman ruins

High above the city of Cusco, the monumental Sacsayhuamán complex stands as a testament to the Inca’s exceptional engineering prowess and cultural significance. Enormous limestone blocks, expertly carved and precisely interlocked, form massive walls that once served as both a fortress and a ceremonial center. The intricacy of construction, including zigzagging walls and colossal terraces, hints at the Incas’ advanced architectural knowledge. Beyond its architectural marvels, Sacsayhuamán’s role in Inca rituals and celebrations adds another layer of intrigue, making it a place where history, spirituality, and architectural genius converge. As visitors explore this ancient site, they are transported back in time, connecting with the vibrant heritage of the Inca civilization and marvelling at the enduring legacy of Sacsayhuamán.

6. Maras Salt mines (Salinas de Maras)

Maras Salt mines
Maras Salt mines

Nestled within the picturesque Sacred Valley of Peru, the Maras Salt Mines offer a captivating fusion of natural beauty and Inca innovation. The striking terraced pools, carved into the mountainside, have been cultivated for centuries, providing a testament to the Inca’s meticulous craftsmanship and resourceful engineering. These unique salt pans, fed by a subterranean saline spring, create an otherworldly landscape of glistening white against the rugged terrain. Beyond their practical value as a vital salt source, the Maras Salt Mines also hold cultural significance, as they were an integral part of the Inca economy and society. Exploring this historical marvel allows visitors to witness the harmonious balance between human intervention and nature’s abundant offerings, underscoring the enduring connection between the Incas and their environment.

7. Moray located in the Sacred Valley

Moray - The 10 Best Inca Ruins you Must Visit in Peru

Nestled within the Sacred Valley’s enchanting embrace, Moray unveils an awe-inspiring testament to the Inca civilization’s ingenious agricultural practices. This archaeological site, resembling an otherworldly amphitheater with its concentric terraces, served as a unique experimental laboratory where the Incas harnessed varying microclimates to cultivate diverse crops. The precision in constructing these terraces and the depth of each depression showcases the Incas’ astute understanding of agriculture and their ability to adapt to their environment. As visitors traverse the terraced rings, they embark on a journey through time, marveling at the Inca’s profound connection with the land and their mastery of sustainable food production. Moray stands as a living legacy of the Incas’ innovative spirit and continues to inspire those who seek to unravel the secrets of ancient agricultural wisdom.

8. Choquequirao Inca Ruins

Choquequirao - The 10 Best Inca Ruins you Must Visit in Peru

Tucked away within the rugged embrace of the Peruvian Andes, Choquequirao emerges as a hidden gem that whispers tales of Inca grandeur and resilience. Often referred to as the “Sister of Machu Picchu,” this archaeological wonder exudes an air of mystery and intrigue, accessible only by a challenging hike. As one navigates through the sprawling terraces, plazas, and ceremonial sites, the sheer scale and architectural complexity of Choquequirao become evident, showcasing the Incas’ ability to transform inhospitable terrain into a thriving urban center. With its dramatic mountain backdrop and panoramic vistas, Choquequirao rewards intrepid adventurers with a profound connection to history, offering a chance to stand in awe of the timeless echoes of an ancient civilization that once thrived in this secluded sanctuary.

9. Wiñay Wayna Inca Citya long the Inca Trail

Wiñay Wayna
Wiñay Wayna

Nestled amidst the lush greenery of the Andes Mountains, Winay Wayna stands as a testament to the Inca’s architectural finesse and their deep connection to the land. The terraced structures, intricate stone carvings, and well-preserved ceremonial spaces showcase the Incas’ ability to harmoniously blend construction with nature. Translating to “Forever Young” in Quechua, Winay Wayna whispers stories of an ancient civilization’s rituals and aspirations. As visitors ascend the steep stone stairways, each step is a journey through time, offering glimpses into the Incas’ rich cultural tapestry and their reverence for the natural world. From its strategic location along the Inca Trail, Winay Wayna offers panoramic views that stir the soul, igniting a sense of wonder and evoking the enigmatic allure of this timeless archaeological treasure.

10. Qoricancha (Temple of the Sun on Cusco)

Qoricancha - The 10 Best Inca Ruins you Must Visit in Peru

In the heart of Cusco, Peru, the Coricancha temple complex stands as a living testament to the Inca civilization’s deep spiritual connection with the cosmos. Once adorned with gold and precious stones, this revered site, also known as the “Temple of the Sun,” was the epicenter of Inca religious life and cosmological beliefs. Its meticulously crafted stone walls, precise alignments, and intricately designed chambers reflect the Incas’ sophisticated understanding of astronomy and architecture. As a sacred space where offerings were made to deities and ceremonies were held, Coricancha encapsulates the profound reverence the Incas held for the natural world. Despite the Spanish conquest and subsequent construction, the essence of Coricancha’s spiritual significance continues to resonate, inviting visitors to step into a realm where history, spirituality, and architectural brilliance harmonize in a breathtaking display of cultural heritage.

The 10 Best Inca Ruins you Must Visit in Peru has been updated on August 2023.

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