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Qhapaq an & The Inca Trail

The myth states that in the beginning of the 13th century A.D. Manco Capac, the son of the Sun and the first Inca king, and his wife Mama Ocllo emerged from Lake Titicaca in Puno and walked towards Cusco. Their father, the Sun, told them to settle in the place where their golden staff disappeared after being pushed into the ground. When they arrived at the slope of Huanacaure Mountain in Cusco, they pushed the golden staff, and, when it sank into the ground, they knew they had to settle there. Thus began the Inca Empire, which lasted until 1534 A.D., when the Spaniard Francisco Pizarro founded the city of Cusco after defeating and assassinating Inca Atahualpa in Cajamarca (northern Peru).


Throughout this period of time the Incas developed the Tahuantisuyo (Four States) covering more than two million square kilometers, which included territories of Peru, Bolivia, Ecuador, Colombia, Chile, and Argentina. The Inca Empire reached its maximum extension during the reigns of Inca Pachacutec, Inca Tupac Yupanqui, and Inca Huayna Capac.


The Incas were able to control this vast territory because of the following reasons:

  • It had a well-linked Inca Trail system of about 30,000 kilometers (18,750 miles) known as the Qhapaq Ñan. This Andean Road System was added to the World Heritage List of the UNESCO in 2014.
  • Along this Inca Trail system, the Inca Empire built at least 273 Tambos or road stations, where travelers and the personnel of the Empire were able to rest, feed, and find weapons to protect the Inca Empire if necessary.
  • The Inca Empire had messengers or runners, known as Chasquis, who carried important messages from town to town throughout the Empire. A Chasqui would run six to nine kilometers (3.7 to 5.6 mi) until the message was delivered to the next Chasqui. In a day they were able to cover a total of 250 kilometers (160 mi.)
  • It had a well-designed social, religious, administrative, and political organization.

Cusco was the capital of the Empire and the most important city during the Inca Empire. All roads built by the Incas along the Tahuantinsuyo led to the city of Cusco, and many of these roads are still traveled by local Peruvians. These treks are all over Peru and hundreds of avid travelers trek across them every day with locals as guides or by themselves to enrich their experience in Peru.


Nowadays, the trek known as the Inca Trail is the most popular and better preserved portion of the Qhapaq Ñan or Andean Road System. In order to access the Inca Trail, it is necessary to obtain a permit (ticket) with the National Institute of Culture through an authorized Tour Operator. If permits are no longer available to enter the Inca Trail, Cusco has many other treks to offer such as the Salkantay or Lares Treks. 

California Seller of Travel 2100509-40

US Phone Number: 001 661-204-2791


Peru Contact Details:

Urb. San Doria Lote A-9, Dpto. C-1

Distrito de Cayma, Arequipa, CP 04017.

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001 661-204-2791