Skip to content

10 best Inca Ruins & Archaeological Sites to Visit

The Inca civilization was one of the most significant and fascinating societies in human history. Their engineering skills, unique social organization, and artistic achievements continue to amaze and inspire people today. Also, the Inca left behind a wealth of ruins and archaeological sites that offer a glimpse into their fascinating culture. Here are ten of the best Inca ruins and archaeological sites that you should visit.

1. Machu Picchu

Machu Picchu is a 15th-century Inca citadel located in the Andes Mountains of Peru, overlooking the Urubamba River valley. It was built by the Inca emperor Pachacuti as a royal estate and religious sanctuary. Also, Machu Picchu remained hidden from the world until 1911 when it was rediscovered by American explorer Hiram Bingham. Today, it is one of the most popular tourist destinations in South America and a UNESCO World Heritage site. Additionally, the stunning architecture, impressive engineering, and breathtaking scenery make Machu Picchu a must-visit destination for anyone interested in history, culture, and nature.

Inca ruins

2. Sacsayhuaman

Sacsayhuaman is an impressive Inca fortress located on a hill overlooking the city of Cusco in Peru. It was built in the 15th century during the reign of the Inca emperor Pachacuti. Also, Sacsayhuaman is famous for its massive stone walls made of limestone blocks that fit together so perfectly that not even a blade of grass can fit between them. 

The purpose of Sacsayhuaman is still a mystery. However, it is believed to have served as a military fortress, a religious site, and a royal residence. Today, Sacsayhuaman is a popular tourist destination, attracting visitors from all over the world who come to marvel at its incredible architecture, and learn about the rich history of the Inca civilization.

Inca ruins

3. Ollantaytambo

Ollantaytambo is a small town in the Sacred Valley of the Incas. It is located about 60 kilometers northwest of Cusco in Peru. It was once an important administrative center for the Inca empire. Its impressive terraces, temples, and fortifications still stand today. Also, the town is famous for its well-preserved Inca architecture, including the massive stone terraces that served as agricultural fields. Additionally, the site is famous for the Temple of the Sun, which features intricate stonework and carvings. 

Ollantaytambo is also an important transportation hub. It is the starting point for many treks to Machu Picchu, including the famous Inca Trail. Today, the town is a popular tourist destination. It attracts visitors from around the world who come to explore its rich history and stunning natural beauty.

Inca ruins

4. Pisac

Pisac is a small town located in the Sacred Valley of the Incas in Peru, about 33 kilometers northeast of Cusco. The town is famous for its impressive Inca ruins. These ruins include a fortress, a temple complex, and a network of agricultural terraces. Additionally, the ruins are perched on a hill overlooking the town and offer stunning views of the surrounding valley.

In addition to the ruins, Pisac is also known for its vibrant artisan market, where visitors can find a variety of handmade crafts, textiles, and souvenirs. The market is held every day. However, it is especially lively on Sundays when local indigenous communities come to sell their wares. Pisac is a popular destination for tourists who come to explore its rich history, experience its vibrant culture, and enjoy the stunning natural scenery of the Sacred Valley.

Inca ruins

5. Moray

Moray is an archaeological site located near Cusco, Peru. It is known for its impressive terraces. These are arranged in concentric circles. Historians believe the Incas used the terraces to study the effects of different altitudes, soil types, and temperatures on crops. Additionally, the terraces are built into a natural depression in the ground, which provides protection from the wind and sun.

The site is also home to a complex system of irrigation channels that were used to water the crops. Moray is a popular destination for tourists who come to marvel at the impressive engineering and ingenuity of the Inca civilization. Morays is also a great place to enjoy the stunning natural scenery of the surrounding area.

Inca ruins

6. Choquequirao

Choquequirao is an Inca ruin located in the Vilcabamba mountain range of Peru, about 45 kilometers southwest of Machu Picchu. The site was built in the 15th century. It probably served as a royal estate and religious center for the Inca civilization. Choquequirao is known for its impressive terraces, temples, and residential buildings, many of which are still well-preserved today. 

The site is surrounded by beautiful mountain scenery and can only be reached by foot, making it a popular destination for adventurous hikers and nature enthusiasts. Choquequirao is often referred to as the “sister city” of Machu Picchu, as it is similar in size and architecture, but much less visited. Today, efforts are being made to promote Choquequirao as a tourist destination and to improve access to the site, while also preserving its natural and cultural heritage.

Inca ruins

7. Tipon

Tipon is an archaeological site located near Cusco, Peru. It is known for its impressive Inca terraces and water management system, which is still functional today. The terraces were used for agriculture and are built into the side of a steep hill, with a series of canals and aqueducts that bring water from a nearby spring. The water management system at Tipon is considered to be one of the most advanced in the Inca empire and is still admired by engineers and hydrologists today. 

The site also features numerous stone buildings. Tipon is a popular destination for tourists who come to marvel at the impressive engineering and ingenuity of the Inca civilization, as well as to enjoy the stunning natural scenery of the surrounding area.

Inca ruins

8. Raqchi

Raqchi is an archaeological site located in the highlands of Peru, about 118  kilometers southeast of Cusco. It was an important administrative and religious center for the Inca civilization, with impressive structures that still stand today. The site is best known for its massive temple complex, which measures over 90 meters in length and is considered to be one of the finest examples of Inca architecture in the region. 

The temple features a central courtyard surrounded by columns and rooms, which were used for ceremonial purposes. Raqchi also includes a number of residential buildings and storehouses, which offer insights into the daily life of the Inca people. Also, the site is surrounded by beautiful mountain scenery and is a popular destination for tourists who come to explore its rich history and culture.

Inca ruins

9. Qenqo

Qenqo is an archaeological site located near Cusco, Peru. It is known for its unique rock formations and intricate carvings, which are believed to have been used for ceremonial and religious purposes by the Inca civilization. The site features a large rock outcropping that has been carved into a series of underground passages and chambers, as well as several stone structures that are believed to have been used for sacrifices and offerings. 

One of the most impressive features of Qenqo is its large amphitheater, which was likely used for religious ceremonies and rituals. The site is surrounded by beautiful mountain scenery and is a popular destination for tourists who come to explore its rich history and culture. Qenqo is considered to be one of the most important archaeological sites in the region, and its intricate carvings and impressive architecture offer a unique glimpse into the beliefs and practices of the Inca civilization.

Inca ruins

10. Tambomachay

Tambomachay is an Inca archaeological site located just outside of Cusco, Peru. It is believed to have been used as a ceremonial site for the Inca elite, and its impressive aqueducts and fountains suggest that water played an important role in its rituals. 

The site is also known for its stunning location amidst the hills and valleys of the Andean landscape. Visitors to Tambomachay can explore the site’s various structures, including its water channels, stone walls, and intricate stonework. For those interested in Inca history and architecture, Tambomachay is a must-see destination in Peru.

Inca ruins

[booknow]