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5 Attractions to Visit on the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu

The Inca Trail has an extraordinary history. There have been many fascinating theories about the purpose of the connection of the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, which was built at the height of the Inca Empire.

The classic trail is the most popular route to Machu Picchu, hiking this route can take between three and five days and the trek covers 42 kilometres. During the 15th and 16th centuries, the trail was used as a key trade and transformation route.

However, parts of it were also used for ceremonial purposes and as a pilgrimage route. Hiking the Inca Trail is a life-changing experience that will challenge your entire being and soul. It will stir up feelings of excitement, fear, and serenity.

Below are some gorgeous Incan ruins, cloud forests and majestic views that will remind you of the greatness the world has to offer if you just let it take you away on a journey.

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1. Ollantaytambo

In its olden glory days, Ollantaytambo was a strategic military, religious and agricultural centre. It still dazzles you with stonework platforms and its imposing buildings, which are four metres high. This archaeological zone preserves its houses, streets, and canals from the Tahuantinsuyo era.

The place is surrounded by magic and mystery, and it is believed to have been a place of refuge for Inca royalty and nobility. Indeed, the Incas exhibited masterful engineering work and wisdom in building their fortress.

Moving to the modern day, Ollantaytambo is a small town that is close to Cusco and it serves as an archaeological site for tourists. This trip includes a train station where you can go on to see the Agua Calientes. The place truly is a site of beauty and rich history. To get more information on the trail, visit their website.

Ollantaytambo is the main attraction to visit on the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu.

2. Dead Woman’s Pass ‘Warmiwañusca’

The most talked about view along the hike is Dead Woman’s Pass also known as ‘Warmiwañusca’ in the Quechua language. The reason this naturally occurring feature was named Dead Woman’s Pass is because when seen from the valley below, its crest resembles the form of a woman’s supine body.

Another detail that makes Dead Woman’s Pass so famous is its altitude. Standing at 4, 215 metres high, it’s the Inca Trail’s highest and most dreaded point. This trail usually takes hikers two days to reach. However, the view is one of the reasons trekkers undertake this hike. Despite feeling physically unusual and emotionally strenuous, Dead Woman’s Pass is one of the most rewarding hikes ever.

Trekkers sometimes celebrate their momentous victory by taking pictures and taking the moment to admire how breathtaking the view is. Dead Woman’s Pass is one of those huge achievements for hikers. It gives them a sense of pride when they arrive at the top, knowing that they beat all odds just to get there. The hike embodies a sense of spiritual growth and tranquillity. If peace is on your to-do list, visit their website and add this attraction to your hike.

3. Pakaymayu

If water or the site of water is what you need to achieve that sense of zen and serenity, then this attraction is a must-add to your hike. Pakaymayu is one of the camps along the Inca Trail, standing at 3500 meters high.

The Pakaymayu is a river located in the Machu Picchu district, it is also a left tributary of the Willkanatu River. This spectacular place originates in the Willkapampa mountain range which is Northeast of Sallqantay and North of P’allqay near the Warmi Wañusaqa pass.

The river is near the archaeological site Runkuraqay, which serves as the perfect relaxation spot for most trekkers. There is not much said about this attraction along the Inca Trail, besides how tranquil it is and the view of the village around it.

The site can only be appreciated by taking the hike and taking in everything surrounding it as well. For more information about this amazing place, visit their website to understand why it is so peaceful.

4. Phuyupatamarka/ ‘The Place in the Clouds’

The reason why this place is dubbed ‘the place in the clouds’ is the fact that when the mist of the high jungle rises, it creates the illusion that one is floating above the clouds. Surely, this is one of the most unique and unforgettable experiences for any traveller.

Phuyupatamarka is a beautiful landscape that dominates the entire hike. Most hikers that have completed this 3-day hike feel like they are in the clouds. This place is believed to be a clear example of the Inca culture because of its architecture, history and characteristic beauty.

The Phuyupatamarka is one of the places that still has its structure intact, making it a dream destination to visit and one of the most spectacular viewpoints. It is also believed that Phuyupatamarka was an administrative centre for the Incas.

The trail truly is one to remember, creating an everlasting feeling of pure joy and a sense of holistic well-being. The attraction is sought out and serves as the ultimate reward for hikers. Visit their website for more information and to understand why most hikers keep coming back for more.

A sign at a checkpoint near Willkaraqay showing the location of Inti Punku.
A sign at a checkpoint near Willkaraqay showing the location of Inti Punku.

5. Intipunku ‘Sun Gate at Machu Picchu’

Inti Punku, which is also known as the ‘Sun Gate at Machu Picchu’ is an Incan ruin that is in the Cusco Region of Peru. The name Inti Punku in Quechua means ‘sun gate’, which is the language of the Incans.

The Incans built several pieces of architecture that still stand today. Inti Punku served as an entrance to Machu Picchu, which is now one of the 7 wonders of the world.

It was believed that the steps were a control gate for those who entered and exited the sanctuary and still leaves most hikers feeling that way. It is one of the most important archaeological constructions ever built and remains that way today. Tourists can see the sunrise over the whole mountains of Machu Picchu and enjoy the glory nature has to offer.

First view of Machu Picchu before sunrise from Inti Punku.
First view of Machu Picchu before sunrise from Inti Punku.

The Inca Trail truly is a work of art and radiates a glimmer of magic and light. The place is deeply rooted in spectacular archaeological ruins, rich history, and tradition. The hike lets you connect with yourself, and nature and gives you a sense of tranquillity. This trail is a must-add to your travel list.

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