We’re going to give you a bit of information about a couple of the most fascinating!
One of the most complete and impressive Inca towns you’ll have the chance to explore is Phuyupatamarca. This is located just a short distance from Dead Woman’s Pass - the highest point on the trek to Machu Picchu - and is well worth taking the time to discover.
The agricultural terraces that are cut into the side of the mountain are in good repair, but it is the ceremonial baths and water system that are the most impressive things to see here. The series of ritual pools are filled by a complex hydraulic process that remarkably still works today and it’s amazing to see the irrigation channels flowing as they would have done when the Incas ruled this region.
As with many Inca towns, there are several levels to it and on the uppermost one is the Temple of the Sun. From this vantage point you’ll have outstanding views across the remains of the town, as well as of the surrounding mountains, which includes the imposing Salkantay peak.
The town of Sayaqmarca is a wonderful place to visit partly due to the reasonable condition of the ruins and partly due to its location - it’s built on a promontory that sticks out over a steep drop and there’s only one path leading in and out of the settlement.
You’ll have to wander along a precarious-looking staircase to get into the ruins, but it’s worth it. You can explore the various buildings that remain - look out for the small bridge that channels a river into the town.
The Winay Wayna ruins are some of the last you’ll come to before you reach Machu Picchu. Although you’re close to your end goal at this point, don’t rush - it’s worth taking a bit of time to wander around in Winay Wayna before making your final push to Machu Picchu.
For a start, the views of a nearby waterfall and of the Urubamba River in the valley below are spectacular from this town, while what’s left of its houses are relatively complete, giving you a clear picture of what these buildings would have looked like when they were being used.
Below the houses you’ll see a series of agricultural terraces, once again cut into the mountain’s slopes. You can gain access to every part of the site by following the stone staircases that link the various levels - these would have been how the Incas moved between the various parts of the town too.
(Photos via [ThinkStock - iStockphoto])