4 similar Peruvian attractions to Machupicchu
Have you already known Machu Picchu? The Inca Citadel is the first tourist destination in Peru. This is mainly due to the history that its buildings hide and the beauty of its landscape. However, the Inca site is not the only popular archaeological complex in Peru. What other archaeological sites are similar to the World’s wonder?
Pisac, Inca’s sacred valley viewpoint
Just like Machu Picchu, one of the most important Inca citadels in Cusco is Pisac. In addition, like the Inca City, it is located on the top of a mountain from where you can appreciate all the beauty of the Incas’ Sacred Valley. Pisac has platforms, towers, neighborhoods, palaces and many other buildings such as its famous Temple of the Sun or its Intihuatana. Due to its impressive structures, Pisac is also known as the ‘City of Towers’.
Currently, Pisac is one of the most important tourist attractions of Cusco along with Ollantaytambo and Machu Picchu. As well as the latter, its Inca structures have a good state of conservation despite the years.
Where is it located? – Pisac is only 30 kilometers away from Cusco city (1 hour by car), in the Sacred Valley of the Incas.
How to visit it? – The best way to visit Pisac is by buying the Tourist Ticket from Cusco. Another way is to hire a tour to the Sacred Valley of the Incas by internet or in the city.
Ollantaytambo, the Inca Living City
Ollantaytambo was an Inca site built by the Inca Emperor Pachacutec and his family. Due to the immensity of its walls it was also called ‘Fortaleza’ (Fortress). Despite the years, many of its structures have survived to date. For this reason it is called the ‘Living Inca City’.
Similar to Machu Picchu, Ollantaytambo has platforms, deposits, enclosures and temples. They emphasize its famous Temple of the Sun, the Real House of the Sun and the Bath of the Ñusta. Like all important Inca cities, it was built on top of a mountain. At the foot of the archaeological site the Ollantaytambo village is located, the only village in Peru that preserves its original Inca urban design. Nowadays, it is a tourist attraction as splendid as Machu Picchu itself.
Where is it located? – Ollantaytambo is located in the Sacred Valley of the Incas. It is 72 kilometers away from Cusco city and 32 kilometers away from Machu Picchu.
How to visit it? – You can go by train or bus, since they are the cheapest and easiest options. In order to visit the archaeological site, you must purchase the Tourist Ticket of Cusco or buy a tour of the Sacred Valley.
Choquequirao, the Sacred Sister of Machu Picchu
Choquequirao is perhaps the archaeological complex that bears more resemblance to Machu Picchu. Although many researchers and residents already knew of its existence (including Hiram Bingham himself) it was only in 1979 when the first excavations were made. Although only 30% of the archaeological complex has been unearthed by now, Choquequirao already shows impressive Inca constructions such as: platforms, colcas, houses, kallankas (buildings), a main square and even an Inca cemetery. Similarly to Machu Picchu, Choquequirao was built on a mountain with difficult access. Around it you can see a beautiful landscape of tropical jungle. For that reason it was called ‘The Sacred Sister of Machu Picchu’ although it is also known as «The last Inca refuge».
Where is it located? – Choquequirao is approximately 180 kilometers from the city of Cusco. Due to its geography of difficult access, it is only possible to visit it trekking 10 to 12 hours from the town of Cachora (in the Apurímac region).
How to visit it? – From Cusco, you can get to Choquequirao on your own by following the route (car and hike). However, the safest way to get there is by hiring a tour to Choquequirao for 3 or 4 days.
Kuelap, Northern Peru “Machu Picchu”
Kuelap is the only archaeological site similar to Machu Picchu that is not Inca nor is it located in Cusco. This urban complex was built in the north of Peru (department of Amazonas) by the Chachapoyas pre-Inca culture in the 6th century. Despite the distance difference (950 kilometers from Machu Picchu) and time (built 900 years ago); Kuelap has many similarities to the Inca City: Both are surrounded by tropical jungles and were made in a high mountain difficult to access.
The fortified citadel of Kuelap has houses, temples, terraces and walls up to 20 meters high. The Chachapoyas (meaning ‘warriors of the clouds’) built this place at 3,000 meters above sea level, in a place surrounded by haze and difficult access.
Where is it located? – Kuelap is located in northern Peru, in the department of Amazonas. You can get to the Chachapoyas city by bus (74 kilometers) and from there by cable car to the archaeological site (9 kilometers).
How to visit it? – You can hire a tour to Kuelap from the main cities of northern Peru: Tarapoto, Chiclayo, Lima, Cajamarca or Chachapoyas. You can also go on your own by paying for the ticket and the cable car ticket.
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