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Travel in Latin America

Inca Trail Ruins
By:Thom Sanders

The Inca trail trek is becoming an increasingly popular choice for an activity holiday, but many people still wonder what the trail has to offer in addition to the fantastic scenery and the legendary Machu Picchu site at the end. Well this article takes a look at just some of the many interesting sites along the trail to give you an idea of what you can experience on an Inca trail trek.

First on the list, and it's the first site you'll come across if you're on the traditional trek route, is Llaqtapata. Being an often overlooked site Llaqtapata, which translates to Town on the Hillside, is unremarkable at a distance. But up close the sites formed of a number of picturesque agricultural terraces, as the trail loops upwards you get another fantastic view of this site later on the trail too from looking down the hill into the valley now below you.

Next up are the twin ruins, Runkuraqay and Sayaqmarka. Runkuraqay is the first you'll come across, located in a small valley after the First Pass, and is a fantastic example of an Incan tambo, also known as a post house. Moving on up the trail from Runkuraqay you come across Sayaqmarka, which translates as Inaccessible Town, located just after the Second Pass. There are fantastic views from these ruins over as far as the Third pass and the ruins themselves are a beautiful sight, you need to be careful though as the stone work Sayaqmarka is formed of is more neutral in colour than Runkuraqay so it's another site that can be easily missed.

Finally we have three sites that are set at different altitudes in the Third Pass, which means not many people visit the lower sites. The highest of these is Phuyupatamarka, a site that's set on the same trail as Runkuraqay and Sayaqmarka. Phuyupatamarka translates as Cloud-Level Town and provides breath taking views over the River Urubamba and the other two sites below. You can access the other two sites from a branch off the main trail, but many people choose not to because of the steep decent. But if you do you'll be treated to the site of Intipata, the Sun Place, and WiƱawayna, which translates as Forever Young. WiƱawayna in particular is an incredible site with it's beautiful terraces and many surviving buildings.

Carrying on from Phuyupatamarka the final landmark before Machu Picchu is the fantastic Intipunku, the Sun Gate, which provides you with a beautiful view of Machu Picchu and the end of the Inca trail. With so many sites to visit along the trail and Inca trail trek makes for a truly magical experience.

The Adventure Company offers a range of Inca trail trek experiences as well as other fantastic Peru holidays http://www.adventurecompany.co.uk/americas/peru.

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