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Unveiling the Hidden Gems: Best Inca Sites to Explore in Machu Picchu


Machu Picchu, the crown jewel of the Inca civilization, needs no introduction. As one of the New Seven Wonders of the World, it continues to enthrall visitors from all corners of the globe. While the iconic citadel is undoubtedly the main attraction, the surrounding area boasts a wealth of lesser-known Inca sites that offer a deeper insight into the ancient civilization. In this blog post, we’ll uncover the hidden gems of Machu Picchu – lesser-visited Inca sites that are equally captivating and deserving of exploration.

  1. Intipata:

Located just a short distance from Machu Picchu, Intipata is an impressive Inca agricultural site that offers stunning terraces carved into the mountainside. The name “Intipata” translates to “Sun Terraces,” and it is believed that these terraces were used to grow crops and as an astronomical observatory. The site offers picturesque views of Machu Picchu and the surrounding valleys.

  1. Wiñay Wayna:

Meaning “Forever Young” in Quechua, Wiñay Wayna is a fascinating Inca site that lies along the Inca Trail. It features well-preserved agricultural terraces, religious structures, and residential areas. The site’s location on a steep slope, adorned with orchids and lush vegetation, adds to its charm and sense of discovery.

  1. Inti Punku (Sun Gate):

For trekkers completing the Inca Trail, the Inti Punku, or Sun Gate, is an exhilarating reward. As the final stop before entering Machu Picchu, this site provides a breathtaking panoramic view of the citadel below. It is believed that Inti Punku served as a ceremonial gateway and was used as an astronomical observatory.

  1. Putucusi:

If you’re seeking a challenging adventure away from the crowds, consider hiking up Putucusi Mountain. This lesser-known peak offers a unique perspective of Machu Picchu and the surrounding mountains. The trail is steep and can be physically demanding, but the views from the top are well worth the effort.

  1. Mandor Gardens and Waterfall:

Situated near Aguas Calientes, the Mandor Gardens offer a tranquil escape from the bustling crowds. A leisurely hike through lush vegetation leads you to the Mandor Waterfall, a serene oasis where you can relax and enjoy the natural beauty of the area.

  1. Temple of the Moon:

Within the Machu Picchu complex, the Temple of the Moon is a hidden gem waiting to be discovered. This sacred site features a cave adorned with intricate stone carvings and a stunning semicircular altar. Its secluded location adds to the sense of mystery and wonder.


While Machu Picchu remains the crowning glory of Inca architecture and history, the surrounding area holds a wealth of lesser-known Inca sites that offer a more intimate and authentic experience. Exploring these hidden gems, such as Intipata, Wiñay Wayna, and the Sun Gate, allows you to immerse yourself in the fascinating world of the Inca civilization. So, as you embark on your Machu Picchu adventure, venture beyond the beaten path and embrace the spirit of discovery that awaits you at these enchanting Inca sites. Happy exploration!

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