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Vilcabamba: Peru’s Last Inca City Revealed

Hidden amongst the Amazon Jungle in Cusco lies the ancient Inca city of Vilcabamba. Visited by very few people and a long way from the city, not many visitors get to see this incredible site, yet you really should.

It’s said to have been the last refuge of the Incas before the Spanish invasion. For centuries its location was a mystery and has only really been discovered in the last few decades. Want to know more about the last Inca post? Read on for everything you need to know.

What is Vilcabamba?

It is the name given to the Inca city that was built to house the last Inca governors when the Spanish invasion happened in 1529. The well-known explorer from the US, Hiram Bingham, actually thought that Machu Picchu was Vilcabamba when he first discovered it in 1911. It was known as the lost city of the Incas.

The final governors lived in Vilcamabma between the years 1536 to 1573. Luckily for them, the place was inaccessible to the Spaniards due to it being hidden in the jungle. Here the site stayed in the shadows until 1964 when it was discovered by another US explorer know as Gene Savoy.

Vilcabamba, Yuraq Rumi, Cusco
PHOTO BY: MUNICIPALIDAD DISTRITAL DE VILCABAMBA

What Are the Mysteries of Vilcabamba?

With the site being a more recent discovery, there are many things we still need to uncover and learn about the area. Here are a few interesting thoughts:

  • One of the more recent discoveries suggests that the site was actually occupied by the Wari culture up to 500 years before the Incas existed.
  • They believe that the Incas modified the constructions to their liking and style.
  • The walls at Vilcabamba aren’t of the same quality as other sites like Machu Picchu.
  • Other experts have suggested that Choquequirao may have been the actual last resting point of the Incas.
Vilcabamba, Vitkos, Cusco
PHOTO BY: MUNICIPALIDAD DISTRITAL DE VILCABAMBA

Is There Treasure at Vilcabamba?

The Spanish Invaders believed that a lot of gold and silver treasures were taken to Vilcabamba. However, searches since then have shown that there is no truth to this. They have recently, though, discovered the remains of a royal tomb from the pre-Incan Wari culture.

Amongst their findings, they pulled a silver mask, a silver ax, a gold chest piece, and other bits of gold and silver that total over 300 pieces.

How to Get There

The lost city of the Incas lies in the Vilcabamba district of the La Convencion district in the department of Cusco. To get there you will need to take a car from the city of Cusco to a place called Kiteni, on the Quillabamba route.

From that point, you will need to follow a different road in local transport to Azul Mayo. The final leg of the journey will need to be done on foot through some incredible landscapes. It’s said to take around 9 hours to get to the last Inca post.

How to get Vilcabamba, Espiritu Pampa, Cusco - Mincetur

What Will You See There?

Within the site itself, you’ll see some wonderful sites, including a temple with 24 doors and a sunken palace around 100 meters long. The houses were built on platforms, which is believed to have protected them from collapsing.

Vilcabamba, Vitkos, Cusco.
PHOTO BY: MUNICIPALIDAD DISTRITAL DE VILCABAMBA

Tips to Visit Vilcabamba

If you want to make it a part of your trip, here are a few tips to enjoy your time to the fullest:

  • You need to be well organized as this is not a common route for people to take. If you want to travel with a tour company, you will need to plan well in advance.
  • Vilcabamba is set in the tropical region of Cusco where rain is common. Make sure you are prepared for this as well as taking repellent for all the bugs in the jungle.
  • You could combine a visit to this site and Machu Picchu as they are in the same area.
Vilcabamba, Inkatambo, Cusco
PHOTO BY: MUNICIPALIDAD DISTRITAL DE VILCABAMBA

The Road Less Travelled

So, if you enjoy visiting places that haven’t been fully discovered and like to keep away from big crowds, Vilcabamba is an excellent choice. You’ll get to see a rare sight as well as learn more about the fascinating culture that is the Incas.

Written by: Liv Palmer

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