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Phuyupatamarca archaeological site
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Phuyupatamarca archaeological site in Machu Picchu

Phuyupatamarca is an Inca archaeological site whose name, translated from Quechua, means ‘city above the clouds’ It is located in the mountains of the Urubamba Valley, on the Vilcanota River. It is characterized by its agricultural terraces, stone steps, stone enclosures and beautiful water fountains. From there to Machu Picchu is 11 kilometers on foot. To visit it it is necessary to perform the 4-day Inca Trail tour with a tour agency.



Phuyupatamarca
Phuyupatamarca, the city above the clouds

The 4-day Inca Trail to Machu Picchu is the only way to visit Phuyupatamarca. This hiking route traverses 39 kilometers of the qhapac ñan (network of Inca roads). The hike includes 3 nights of all-inclusive camping (food, guide, tickets, porters gear, etc.). During the adventure you will visit other Inca sites such as Llactapata, Runkurakay, Sayacmarca and Wiñayhuayna.


What is Phuyupatamarca?

  • Phuyupatamarca is an Inca archaeological site famous for forming part of the 4-day Inca Trail route to Machu Picchu.
  • It was a small Inca citadel that served as an urban center and religious site where they also cultivated agricultural products such as corn. For this, dozens of agricultural terraces were built.
  • Phuyupatamarca was communicated with Machu Picchu through the network of Inca roads, the ‘qhapac ñan’. In this way both citadels were self-sustaining thanks to agricultural production.
  • Its name means ‘Place in the Clouds’. The reason? It is located on a high mountain where the mists rise.
  • Because it is protected by the Peruvian State, the archaeological site of Phuyupatamarca is in a poor state of conservation.

Location

  • The Inca archaeological site of Phuyupatamarca is located in the Historical Sanctuary of Machu Picchu.
  • It is part of the Inca trail network, the qhapac ñan. It is located at an altitude of 3,580 meters above sea level.
  • Politically it is located in the district of Aguas Calientes, province of Urubamba and department of Cusco in Peru.
  • From Phuyupatamarca to Machu Picchu there are 13 kilometers on foot.

The Inca citadel above the clouds

  • Phuyupatamarca is located on a high cloudy mountain. The Incas decided to build there because of the privileged views of the entire Urubamba valley.
  • Phuyupatamarca is made up of stone enclosures for housing, a temple in the upper part that would have served to worship the sun, three small squares for social events, two main entrances to the enclosure, and a network of water channels.
  • Phuyupatamarca is made up of fifteen buildings. Also noteworthy are its water channels with ceremonial fountains. There were also ceremonies for the purification of the soul.
  • It also highlights its beautiful viewpoint with views of the entire Urubamba valley. That is where tourists prefer to get the best photographs of the place.
Phuyupatamarca
Landscape around Phuyupatamarca

History of Phuyupatamarca

  • Phuyupatamarca was built by orders of Emperor Pachacutec in the mid-15th century.
  • At that time the Incas built other important architectural works such as the network of roads of qhapac ngwana and the Inca citadel of Machu Picchu.
  • For the construction of Phuyupatamarca, hundreds of men and women from other geographies gathered under the ‘mitimaes’ system.
  • Like the other Inca citadels in the jungle part of Cusco, Phuyupatamarca was abandoned during the Vilcabamba Wars (from 1536 to 1572).
  • Then Phuyupatamarca and part of its buildings were covered by thick vegetation.
  • At the beginning of the 20th century, work began to enhance the value of Phuyupatamarca and the nearby Inca buildings.
  • Today it is in good condition.

Phuyupatamarca on the route to the Inca Trail

  • Phuyupatamarca is located on the 4-day route known as the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu.
  • The Inca Trail route to Machu Picchu is approximately 39 kilometers. Phuyupatamarca is located at kilometer 32 of the ‘qhapac ña’ on foot.
  • Due to the laws of the Peruvian State, it is only allowed to visit this archaeological site through this tourist route. It is not possible to visit Phuyupatamarca on your own.
  • The 4-day Inca Trail tour must be contracted with an official tourism agency that guarantees: permits, tour guide, camp, food, entrance fees and more.
Phuyupatamarca
Camp on the route to the Inca Trail

More information about Phuyupatamarca

  • The geography surrounding Phuyupatamarca is characterized by thick vegetation where species of trees and flowers such as: eucalyptus, molles, carnations and orchids stand out.
  • In addition, on the route, with a bit of luck, you can spot: the royal churrete, the giant hummingbird, the eared turtle dove, the Andean high-pitched azulito, the Andean deer, the spectacled bear, llamas, vizcachas and butterflies of different colors

Questions and answers

  • 1. What was the function of Phuyupatamarca?

    Phuyupatamarca was an Inca citadel that fulfilled urban, agricultural and religious functions.

  • 2. Where is it located?

    Phuyupatamarca is located in the Urubamba Valley. It belongs to the Machu Picchu Historic Sanctuary, an area of ​​32,592 hectares. It is located in the Cusco jungle, at about 3,580 msnm.

  • 3. How far is Phuyupatamarca from Machu Picchu?

    From Phuyupatamarca to Machu Picchu is reached through a 13-kilometer walk route along Inca roads (qhapac ñan).

  • 4. How to visit Phuyupatamarca?

    The only way to visit Phuyupatamarca is by hiring a ‘4-day Classic Inca Trail’ tour. This tour can only be organized by an authorized tourism agency. It is not possible to visit it on your own.

  • 5. Who built Phuyupatamarca?

    Phuyupatamarca was an Inca citadel commissioned to be built by Emperor Pachacutec in the mid-15th century.

  • 6. What to see in Phuyupatamarca?

    Phuyupatamarca is made up of fifteen buildings. It stands out for its stone enclosures, stairways, agricultural terraces, water channels, water fountains, small squares and its wide viewpoint.

  • 7. What is the flora and fauna like in Phuyupatamarca?

    In the surroundings of the Inca site you can see varieties of flowers and trees such as: eucalyptus, molles, carnations and orchids. In addition, there are varieties of birds such as: the royal churrete, the giant hummingbird, the eared turtledove, the Andean high azulito. Among the mammal species, it is worth noting: the Andean deer, the spectacled bear, the llamas, the vizcachas and more.

  • 8. How much does it cost to get to Phuyupatamarca?

    The visit to Phuyupatamarca is included in the 4-day Inca Trail to Machu Picchu. The cost of the tour varies depending on the tourism agency you choose. The all-inclusive tour can cost between 500 and 700 USD per tourist.

  • 9. Can I camp in Phuyupatamarca?

    Yes, the camp of Phuyupatamarca is available to tourists for the third night. However, the option that most visitors prefer is the Wiñayhuayna camp.

  • 10. What to take with me on my visit to Phuyupatamarca?

    If you do the Inca Trail and visit Phuyupatamarca, do not forget to take with you: comfortable sports clothing, trekking shoes, hat, sunscreen, mosquito repellent, raincoat, backpack with personal utensils, sleeping bag, trekking stick, documents and extra cash.

 

By Ticket Machu Picchu – Last updated, November 15, 2022