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The Inca Bridge
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The Inca Bridge in Machu Picchu

The Inca Bridge is one of the best examples of the ingenious Inca architecture in Machu Picchu. It is located to the west of the Inca city, which is reached after an easy walk of approximately 20 minutes. The Incas used this wooden bridge as one of the limits of the citadel. Today it is one of the least known tourist attractions by visitors. However, visiting and appreciating this building is worth it.



Inca Bridge of Machu Picchu
Inca Bridge of Machu Picchu

The Inca bridge of Machu Picchu

  • The Inca Bridge of Machu Picchu is made of thick wooden logs supported by two stone walls on the edge of a steep mountain.
  • If these timbers or logs were removed, the passage would be inaccessible because the geography does not allow it. For this reason, it is believed that in addition to serving as a means of communication, the bridge functioned as a defense tool. By removing the bridge, the Incas prevented the advance of any possible enemy.
  • The path that leads from Machu Picchu to the bridge follows an original Inca pavement.
  • To visit this bridge, you must walk for almost 1 kilometer from the La Casa del Guardián sector (about 20 minutes on the road). During the walk you will cross different trails, some very narrow.
  • When entering the Inca Bridge sector it is necessary to register the entry and exit of visitors. This for security reasons. It should be noted that the roads are stuck to fearsome cliffs. Still no one has slipped or fallen. The path is safe.
  • The Inca Bridge demarcated one of the limits of Machu Picchu. Because it is located at one end of the citadel, it is not very visited.

Map to get to the Inca bridge

Map bridge inca
Map to get to the Inca bridge

Characteristics

  • Log bridges were the simplest of all the bridges built by the Incas. They were designed resting on rocks. First they spread the logs horizontally. Then they crossed them with other sticks that were tied with straw or leather wool ropes. Branches were placed on top and it was ready for use.
  • The bridge is made of logs approximately 5 meters long. Below there is a cliff of 20 meters. Currently, due to the deterioration of the construction, it is prohibited to cross the bridge.
  • The construction of bridges in the mountains was very necessary due to the geography of the place. The Inca Bridge of Machu Picchu was built in a strategic place adapting it to the topography of the place.

The Incas and the bridges

  • The Inca bridges were part of the Qhapac ñan, an immense road network that communicated the most important points of the Tahuantinsuyo empire.
  • According to engineering professor Alberto Regal, the bridges were of various types and could be classified into: log and stick bridges, stone bridges, huaros, oroyas or tarabitas bridges, floating bridges and hanging bridges.
  • The Inca Bridge of Machu Picchu is part of the constructions of logs and sticks. These were the most common in the Andes Mountains.
  • Currently most of the Inca bridges are destroyed. However, it is still possible to appreciate some. For example, in Cusco they survive: the Checacupe bridge, the Machu Picchu bridge, the Yunkapunku bridge (near Piquillacta) and the Queswachaka bridge.
  • The latter is made of ropes. It is the most famous and best preserved today.
  • It should be mentioned that today, in various regions of Peru and South America, Inca technology such as suspension bridges, floating bridges, logs and more are still used.

The visit to the Inca bridge of Machu Picchu

  • The Inca Bridge can be visited every day of the year, from 6 in the morning until 2 in the afternoon. Access is with any entrance to Machu Picchu. At the time of entering it is mandatory to show the identity document (or passport) and register. The same in the case of the output.
Puente inca de Machu Picchu
Hike to the Inca bridge of Machu Picchu

More information

  • The Inca Bridge of Machu Picchu offers a short hiking route of approximately 30 minutes. The other adventurous option is to follow the route through the Intipunku (Puerta del Sol). The walk there takes 2 hours (round trip). The entrance to both sites is with any entrance to Machu Picchu.
  • The route through the Inca Bridge is safe. It is still advisable to take the necessary precautions: do not walk near the cliffs or risk taking close photos of the cliffs.
  • The most famous Inca bridge in Cusco is the Queswachaka. It is located about 156 kilometers by road from the city of Cusco. This suspension bridge has been preserved thanks to the renovation ceremony organized by the neighboring communities. These ceremonies have their origins in Inca times.

 

By Ticket Machu Picchu – Last updated, September 8, 2021