5 Best Inca Ruins

The Inca civilization emerged from the highlands of Peru in the early 13th century. Starting in 1438, they began to conquer the lands that surround the Inca heart of Cuzco, creating the largest empire in pre-Columbian America. The arrival of the Spanish conquerors in 1532 marked the end of the short-lived Inca Empire. What remains of their civilization is limited as the conquerors looted what they could. But visitors can still appreciate how advanced the Incas were in the amazing Inca ruins found in the highlands of South America.

Although the spectacular nature of Machu Picchu is undeniable, its extreme popularity has left other Inca ruins that enjoy irresistible beauty in the shade. Whether you want to spend less money or avoid fighting side by side with thousands of tourists for a photo, here we leave you the 10 best Inca ruins that you must visit.

If you want to know one of the Best Inca Ruins, check our vacation packages to Perú and Machu Picchu and start your adventure.

Inca civilization, the largest empire in pre-Columbian America

According to research, the Inca civilization was born in the highlands of Peru in the 13th century. In 1438 the largest empire in pre-Columbian America was created with the conquest of the lands around Cuzco, the Inca heartland.

The arrival of the Spanish conquerors in 1532, marked the end of the Inca Empire, however, this advanced civilization was able to leave impressive ruins.

Architecture of Inca civilization

The type of architecture developed by the Incas was characterized by its solidity and simplicity of forms.

Stone was the material most used by Inca architects. In the simplest constructions these stones were placed without carving, while in the more complex buildings they were previously carved. The best carvers were collas that came from the highlands and were brought to Cuzco expressly to carry out this task.

The builders managed to build large walls in which the stones used fit perfectly. The most outstanding examples of Inca architecture are found in the Cuzco area, although their constructions in Machu Picchu, Sacsayhuamán, Incallajta or Pisac also stood out.

5 Best Inca Ruins you must visit

1. Macchu Picchu

The most beautiful and impressive Inca ruins in the world, Machu Picchu was rediscovered in 1911 by the Hawaiian historian Hiram after having remained hidden for centuries above the Urubamba Valley. The “Lost City of the Incas” is invisible from below and completely autonomous, surrounded by agricultural terraces and watered by natural springs. Although known locally, it was largely unknown to the outside world before being rediscovered in 1911. Since then, Machu Picchu has become Peru’s most important tourist attraction. “

2. Choquequirao

Located on the border of Cuzco and Apurímac, Choquequirao (which means Cradle of Gold), stands at 3085 meters (10,120 feet) above sea level. The Inca ruins contain a staircase configuration, made up of 180 terraces. Built in a completely different style from Machu Picchu, Choquequirao is much larger in area. One can only travel to Choquequirao on foot or on horseback, and as such, it is visited much less than in Machu Picchu. Without benefit of wheels, the trek to Choquequirao from Cachora can take up to four days.

3. Ollantaytambo

During the Inca Empire, Ollantaytambo was the royal property of Emperor Pachacuti, who conquered the region, built the city and a ceremonial center. At the time of the Spanish conquest of Peru it served as a bastion for the Inca resistance. Today the Inca ruins of Ollantaytambo are a major tourist attraction and one of the most common starting points for treks known as the Inca Trail.

4. Moray

Moray is an Inca agricultural laboratory that was probably used to cultivate resistant and abundant varieties of plants in the high Andes. The site contains several circular terraces, which could be used to study the effects of different climatic conditions on crops, since the lower terraces have lower temperatures. The deepest crater is about 150 meters (492 feet) deep with a temperature difference of up to 15 ° C between the upper and lower levels.

5. Coricancha

The Coricancha in Cuzco, originally called Inti Kancha (‘Temple of the Sun’) was the most important temple of the Inca Empire. The walls and floors were covered in sheets of solid gold, and the courtyard was filled with gilded statues. Like so many other Inca monuments, it was severely devastated by the conquerors, who built a Christian church, Santo Domingo, on the ruins. Great earthquakes have severely damaged the church, but the Inca stone walls, built with huge interlocking stone blocks, still remain thanks to the sophisticated stone masonry of the Incas.

Other Inca Ruins you must visit

Sun`s Island

Isla del Sol is a rocky and mountainous island located in the southern part of Lake Titicaca. According to the Inca religion, it was the first land to appear after the waters of a great flood began to recede and the Sun left the island to illuminate the sky once more. As the birthplace of the Sun God, the Incas built several sacred sites on the island. Among these Inca ruins are the Sacred Rock and a labyrinthine building called Chicana.


Pisac, a word of Quechua origin, means “partridge”. Inca tradition dictated the construction of cities in the shape of birds and animals, and as such, Pisac is shaped like a partridge. The Inca ruins included a military citadel, religious temples, and individual dwellings, overlooking the Sacred Valley, among the Salkantay Mountains. Pisac is believed to have defended the southern entrance to the Sacred Valley and controlled a route that connected the Inca Empire to the border of the rainforest.

Wiñay Wayna

The Inca site of Winay Wayna is built on a hillside overlooking the Urubamba River. It is located on the Inca Trail and, like today, it may have served as a rest stop for weary travelers on their way to the famous Machu Picchu. The Inca ruins of Winay Wayna consist of upper and lower house complexes connected by a staircase and fountain structures. Next to the houses there is an area of ??agricultural terraces.


Located 2,840 meters (9,318 feet) above sea level along the Inca Trail, Llactapata means “High Town” in Quechua. It was probably used for the production and storage of crops. Llactapata was burned by Manco Inca Yupanqui, during his retirement to discourage the Spanish persecution. Partly because of these efforts, the Spanish never discovered the Inca Trail or any of its Inca settlements.


Sacsayhuaman Fortress is an Inca walled complex at the top of the city of Cusco. The imperial city of Cusco was drawn in the shape of a puma, the animal that symbolized the Inca dynasty. The belly of the puma was the main square, the Tullumayo river formed its spine, and the hill of Sacsayhuamán its head. There are three parallel walls built on different levels with enormous limestone. It is suggested that the zigzag walls represent the teeth of the puma’s head. The Inca wall is built in such a way that a single sheet of paper does not fit between many of the stones.

Open chat
Need Help?
Can we help You?