Hiram Bingham rediscovered the Llactapata ruins in 1912, above Huaquina, but it was not until much later that they were properly studied and it was concluded that these buildings were a resting point on the old road to Machu Picchu. The Llactapata ruins is made up of the ceremonial center of Pulpituyoq, the urban sector, the agricultural area and the cemetery. There you can also admire an immense and complex system of platforms or cultivation terraces, dedicated since ancestral times to the cultivation of food at more than 2,800 meters of altitude.
When archaeologists explored Llactapata ruins, they discovered a solar temple and houses on a surface of several square kilometers in the same alignment with the June solstice sunrise as Machu Picchu. It is not only the way these ruins are decorated or their astrological alignment, which suggests a Machu Picchu connection, or the fact that they are only about four kilometers from the main headquarters, Llactapata ruins are also linked to the route by a system of shared drainage. It is thought that the site’s agricultural terraces have helped to meet the needs of the people who lived in Machu Picchu.
All of the buildings included triangular walls but only some remain, as destruction from roots and tree growth has caused significant damage. Two structures in particular contain badly crumbled internal dividing walls. Some doorways are partly filled in and a clumsily made field stone wall extends out from building 2. These may have been added later by local herders using the site as an enclosure.
A double door entranceway between the first and second buildings indicates high status. These are found in the most important structures at regional Inca sites such as the Coricancha in Cusco, Vitcos, Ollantaytambo and Choquequirao (Gasparini Margolies 1980).
A unique feature is a 145 feet long corridor with six feet high walls that aligns with Machu Picchu. The alignment of 65 degrees also points to the sunrise over Machu Picchu during the June Solstice. Many mysterys remain as this large site has remained mostly unstudied in recent years, due to it’s relative inaccessablity, except by hikers on the Inca Trail.
Llactapata Inca Trail
The Inkas made hundreds of trails in South America and Llactapata is one of the newest of these trails that was restored by our Peruvian government. A mid-2003 study of the site conducted by Thomson and Ziegler concluded that the location of Llaqtapata along the Inca trail suggested that it was an important rest stop and roadside shrine on the journey to Machu Picchu. This and subsequent investigations have revealed an extensive complex of structures and features related to and connected with Machu Picchu by a continuation of the Inca Trail leading onward into the Vilcabamba. Llaqtapata may have been a member of the network of interrelated administrative and ceremonial sites which supported the regional center at Machu Picchu. It probably played an important astronomical function during the ‘Solstices’ and ‘Equinoxes’.
A new Inca road – Llactapata Inca Trail has been designed, a program that can take you to Machu Picchu and that satisfies the needs of tourists with little time in Cusco, and will help many more people enjoy a hiking tour and visit classic of Machu Picchu. The tour lasts 3 days, with moderate difficulty.
Llactapata Machu Picchu
The archaeological complex of Llactapata is located above, and immediately below a long orogenic ridge that descends from the Salkantay Snow, the peak highest in the region, to the Urubamba Canyon in a northerly direction. The complex looks towards Machu Picchu and towards the two hills on both sides of that set, the Machu hill Picchu and the Huayna Picchu hill. This parallel ridge in which is the set of Machu Picchu, is located about 5 kilometers to the east and separated from the ridge of Llactapata through the deep valley of Aobamba, whose river transports waters produced by melting of the glaciers of the Nevado Salkantay.
The Inca Trail, which starts in The beloved bridge over the western edge of Machu Picchu, provided a Ritual entrance to Llactapata carefully elaborated. This would have perhaps allowed the Inca and his entourage will visit Actapata on special occasions, to observe and celebrate the sa lida del sol at the solstice of June and the heliacal exit of the Pleiades about twelve to fifteen days before the solstice.
Climb to heaven and enjoy majestic views that few human beings have had the privilege to witness. Despite being within the Machu Picchu visualization field, the lost city of Llactapata has been on the tourist route for only a decade, since it was discovered in 2003 by archaeologists using infrared aerial photography.
From Llactapata, you can see both Machu Picchu and Huayna Picchu, which means that from here, you have views that few get to see both sacred mountains of the Incas.
Salkantay Trek Llactapata
The Salkantay Llactapata Trail is a trip that offers a perfect blend of hiking, culture and nature for an arrival at the citadel of Machu Picchu. This excursion is also known as the new Inca Trail, it is one of the oldest trails that in its journey is one of the highest mountains in Peru, the snowy Salkantay, adored and respected by the Incas.
This impressive trek passes under the magnificent Salkantay mountain (6.71 / 20569ft), one of the highest and most impressive of the Peruvian Andes. Normally, the tour lasts 5 days. Its first two days will be dominated by the impressive “Apus” of Salkantay and Huamantay, while touring the high landscape of the Puna. The fourth day will descend to the warm misty forest to reach Aguas Calientes on the fifth day. The impressive Inca sacred city of Machu Picchu is visited during the last day of the program. This tour is an interesting alternative for those who have not found space in the trek of the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu.