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The ancient Incas called the Inca Trail the "Qhapaq Ñan" which means the "Beautiful Road" in Quechua. This refers to the Inca Trail Road System which spanned over 4,000 miles (6,400 kilometers) and interconnected the various regions of the ancient Incan Empire.  The most famous part of the Inca Trail Road System is the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu.  Some might say that the ancient Inca Trail Road System has now become the "Gringo Trail" due to the great influx of foreign tourists who travels its road and visit its archaeological ruins.  The IncaTrails.org website covers some of the most famous and spectacular destinations on the Inca Trail, starting with Machu Picchu, the principle destination of the majority of visitors to Peru.  In addition, it provides information and the primary tourist destinations in and near Cusco and the Sacred Valley.  Other popular tourist destinations are featured such as the Nasca Lines, Lake Titicaca and the Puno area. Besides, common tourist destinations, IncaTrails.org provides information on some of the lesser known attractions that are off the main "Gringo Trail" such as the Huaca de la Luna (Pyramid of the Moon) and Chan Chan near Trujillo in Northern Peru.  Unfortunately, many visitors to Peru miss out on some of the more important and spectacular archaeological ruins in Peru due to ignorance, an example being Pachacámac which is located a short distance to the south of Miraflores within the confines of Metropolitan Lima.  IncaTrails.org presents information on some of these lesser known destinations and helps you get off the "Gringo Trail" and avoid "tourist traps."  Regrettably, some of the most popular destinations for visitors to Peru are just that, "tourist traps," completely devoid of any authentic archaeological or historic significance.  A prime example of a tourist trap that many naive tourists visit is the Gold Museum in Lima, whose displays were recently revealed to primarily contain counterfeit and forged artifacts.  IncaTrails.org recommends that visitors to Lima avoid expensive private tourist traps such as the Gold Museum (12 dollar entrance fee and 40 dollars for an independent guide) and visit lesser known public sites such Pachacámac whose entrance fee is only 2 dollars and 3 dollars for an official bilingual guide. 

In addition, IncaTrails.org has the great honor of being the first to publish on the Internet, the historic photographs of Machu Picchu taken by explorer and photographer, Chuck Clark.  Over 45 years ago, Clark lived in Peru and traveled to and photographed numerous historic and archaeological sites before they were popular.  At that time it was difficult to obtain information on Machu Picchu and other sites on the "Inca Trail."  In Clark's own words, "My photos were taken for a now defunct magazine without a lot of research.  I thought Machu Picchu was a bowl of spaghetti.  I was more interested in the ancestors of the 'Inca.' I still don't know what to call them.  I know Inca means leader.  I would love to do it over with the availability of the Internet for research." 

For more specific information on the hiking trails to Machu Picchu, please visit our sister website, Camino-Inca.info. This is an excellent resource for information on the Classic Inca Trail (four-day hike), Sacred Inca Trail (two-day hike), and Salkantay Trail (alternative trek).  In addition, there are maps of the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu and the Inca Trail forum, where you can post messages and get additional help planning your backpacking journey to Machu Picchu. To learn how you can help preserve the Amazon Rainforest, please visit FriendsoftheAmazon.org.
 

For more information, please contact info(at)incatrails.org
 
If you would like to publish your articles and photographs on IncaTrails.org, 
please email us at editor(at)incatrails.org
 
Dr. Dan James Pantone, Editor

 

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