Archaeological sites visited on the Inca Trail

Llaqtapata. “Terrace Town”. This settlement was taken over from pre-Inca people and expanded by the Incas, almost certainly as a center of food production for supplying the Inca Trail sites and Machu Picchu itself. Though well planned and constructed, most of the architecture is utilitarian and repetitive in style.

Runkuracay. A small site about halfway up the climb to the second pass, it overlooks the Pacamayo valley with a superb view back to the first pass, Warmiwañusca. It was probably built as a lookout point for watching the highway, and perhaps also as a tambo a traveler's lodging and temporary storehouse.

Sayaqmarca. “Inaccessible Town” in Quechua -- and the site fits its name. Built on a narrow spur jutting westward below the second pass, it commands a sweeping vista of the Aobamba valley and the route ahead all the way to the third pass, while in clear weather the snow peaks of the Pumasillo massif fill the horizon to the west

Phuyupatamarca This “Cloud level Town” stands where the trail crosses from south to north of the long ridge leading to Machu Picchu. It is overlooked by flat-topped peaks whose Inca platforms were built for viewing a breathtaking panorama of snow peaks.

Intipata. “Sun Terraces”. This is a mainly agricultural complex with a small residential sector, probably built to supplement the food supply to Machu Picchu.

Wiñay Wayna. “Forever Young” -- the name of a perennially flowering orchid formerly abundant in this area. An imposing curved wall culminates in a temple whose doorway faces the snow peak of Wakay Willka (Verónica). With its chain of ceremonial baths, its intricate maze of houses, temples and workshops, its towering waterfall, and the serene sculpture of its terracing, nothing can compare with the intimate magic of this Inca settlement.