Some of the ruins captured below weren’t built by the Incas originally, but they ended up belonging to them after they started taking over other cultures territories.
For sure there are many more located in Ecuador and Peru, as well as in Bolivia and Chile, where the Incas took possession of the territories. This is a collection of pics of my favorite Inca sites I’ve visited.
The most remarkable trips to the ruins were done with my good friends Jana (CZ), Kathi (GER), Heloise (FRA), Mathilde (FRA), Andreea (ROM), and Veronica (ECU). Unforgettable moments in the Andes, Amazon and Coast of Ecuador and Peru.
Ingapirca Ruins (Cañar, Ecuador)
This is the most important Inca site in Ecuador. Although less impressive than those built in Peru, it’s worth the visit. It was created in the 15th century during the Inca expansion into Ecuador.
I’ve hiked several times the Inca Trail (40 km approx.) that starts in the village of Achupallas and end up at Ingapirca complex. You can do it in two, three or four days. It’s an amazing experience!
Machu Picchu (Cuzco, Peru)
I hiked and visited this awesome Inca complex with Jana (CZ). We got to Machu Picchu very early in the morning, at sunrise. It was still foggy so we didn’t really know where we were heading to.
We started climbing up some hill that we found out it was Cerro Machu Picchu by the time that the weather cleared up. We summited and could see the whole complex and neighborhood below.
We also visited the Inca neighborhood and climbed up to Cerro Huayna Picchu by noon. One of the best Inca sites I’ve ever seen in my life.!
Sacred Valley Ruins (Cuzco, Peru)
Jana (CZ) and I rode the Valle Sagrado loop on a Honda Tornado 200 dirt bike. We started our tour in Cuzco and stopped for a while in Saqsaywaman Ruins, also known as “sexy woman” ruins by foreigner travelers :), but it actually means “Satisfied Falcon”.
The Inca Pachacutec built Cuzco in the shape of a puma, being Saqsaywaman the head of the puma shaped city. This Inca site is famous for the 1536 battle where the Spaniards defeated Manco Capac’s warriors. Their dead bodies lied all over the site attracting swarms of carrion-eating condors from the Andean highlands.
We continued our ride and stopped at Pukapukara and Tambomachay Ruins, where we had great views of the surroundings, Cuzco and Saqsaywaman Ruins. We walked for a while through the ruins and then kept riding by the main road.
Our next stopping point was Pisac. We got there right in time for the village’s parties. Jana and I took hundreds of pictures of the festivities and of the villagers. We really had fun during the time spent in Pisac. We rode the dirt bike uphill shortly after, towards the mountains where we visited the Inca terraces and part of the ruins.
Our dirt bike trip ended up at night in Cuzco. Riding the dirt bike through all those amazing sites was awesome and fun!
Chavin de Huantar (Chavin, Peru)
This site was built 3000 years ago by the Chavin culture, which is one of America’s oldest civilizations. It features old stone structures with many chambers, ducts and extraordinary underground tunnels.
Heloise (FRA), Mathilde and I took a walk through these stunning ruins. We also took a short tour through the underground tunnels, kind of caving :).
It was a nice experience as well as the Pachamanca (a traditional Peruvian dish based on the baking of a lamb with the aid of hot stones placed inside an earthen oven called huatia), it was delicious!
Ventanillas de Otuzco Ruins (Cajamarca, Peru)
This site has been interpreted as a funerary complex because bone remains found in different areas of the compound. Burials containing individuals in flexed position are characteristic of the Cajamarca epoch and even before. The ceramic vessels associated to those burials indicate that the site was occupied since the Formative Period about 1130 B.C. until 1240 A.D. during the period of Regional States.
A total of 337 niches or ventanillas have been documented. Most of them are represented by simple quadrangular or unfinished spaces. (Info taken from Instituto Nacional de Cultura del Peru).
Heloise (FRA), Mathilde (FRA) and I visited this Inca site during our trip through Cajamarca and surroundings. Coming from the Peruvian Amazon back to the highlands and visiting these beautiful places was a treat!
Wilcahuain Ruins (Huaraz, Peru)
Heloise (FRA), Mathilde (FRA) and I also visited Ruinas de Wilcahuain, which were built by the pre-Inca Wari culture around 1000 A.D. The Temple has small windows and doorways and some inner rooms.
We stopped in this place for a while. It was being remodeled so we continued north of Huaraz to Monterrey swimming pools.
Chan Chan Ruins (Trujillo, Peru)
This site once formed the largest pre Columbian city in the Americas and the largest adobe city in the world. It is the one of the greatest marks left by the Moche and Chimu cultures near the Trujillo area in Peru.
Although the Incas conquered the Chimu around 1460, the city kept its almost 10,000 mud structures, such as the royal palaces lined with precious metals. It still contained a vast area of crumbling mud wall as well as huge burial mounds that can be seen in a single day’s visit.
Heloise (FRA), Mathilde (FRA) and I visited this site and a few others such as Huaca del Arco Iris (Rainbow Temple) also known as Huaca del Dragon a which was famous for being used for fertility rituals and infant sacrifices by the Chimu culture.
We all have a nice time while in the Trujillo area, despite suffering from a robbery in downtown Trujillo in a crowded restaurant and bakery. Chan Chan Ruins was one of the highlights of our visit to this area as well Playa de Huanchaco, located northwest of Trujillo and famous for its totora boats called caballitos (little horses).
Revash Ruins (Leymebamba, Peru)
I caught up with Heloise (FRA) and Mathilde in Chachapoyas, Peru and together we visited a few Inca Ruins of the Peruvian province of Amazonas.
One of them was Kuelap, a huge site almost the same size of Machu Picchu ruins and perched in the mountains near Chachapoyas, considered one of the most significant pre-Columbian ruins in South America.
Personally, despite the description given above, the most impressive ruins in the area were the Revash Ruins. We traveled south from Chachapoyas and spent the night in the town of Leymebamba. We hiked up to the ruins the following day.
Revash Ruins are burial structures located in the cliffs of the mountains of La Leche valley. They were made of mud mortar and vegetal fiber cord, painted in cream and red colors. These structures were built by the Lambayeque culture at the beginning of the tenth century, being conquered by the Chimu culture 300 years later and by the Incas soon after.
Nazca Lines / Ruins (Ica, Peru)
Maria Reiche a German mathematician made some studies of the lines She got to the conclusion that these landscape drawings were made some 2000 years ago by the Paracas and Nazca.
The creation of the lines have been interpreted in various ways, such as astronomical calendars, ritual walkways, extraterrestrial landing sites or representations of Shaman’s dreams while on drugs. Actually, nobody knows the purpose of its creation.
Jana (CZ) and I overflew by these awesome ancient lines on a Cessna aircraft for about 30 minutes. It was an amazing and unforgettable experience.
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