In the Quechua language, Llaqta means place (village, town, city, country, nation), pata means elevated place/ above, bank (of a river), shore, pronounced 'yakta-pahta', is an archaeological site about 5km (3.1 mi) west of Machu Picchu.
The complex is located in the Cusco Region Santa Teresa District, high on a ridge between the Ahobamba and Santa Teresa drainages. It appears to be the site originally reported by Hiram Bingham with the same name. Although the site was little explored by Bingham, it was more extensively explored and mapped by the Thomson and Ziegler expedition of 2003.
Bingham first discovered Llaqtapata in 1912. "We found evidence that some Inca chieftain had built his home here and had included in the plan about ten or twelve buildings." Bingham locates the site "on top of a ridge between the valleys of the Aobamba and the Salkantay, about 5,000 feet above the estate of Huaquina." "Here we discovered a number of ruins and two or three modern huts. The Indians said that the place was called Llacta Pata." Bingham did not investigate the ruins thoroughly, however, and they were not studied again for another 70 years. A mid-2003 study of the site conducted by Thomson and Ziegler concluded that the location of Llaqtapata along the Inca trail suggested that it was an important rest stop and roadside shrine on the journey to Machu Picchu. This and subsequent investigations have revealed an extensive complex of structures and features related to and connected with Machu Picchu by a continuation of the Inca Trail leading onward into the Vilcabamba. Llaqtapata may have been a member of the network of interrelated administrative and ceremonial sites which supported the regional center at Machu Picchu. It probably played an important astronomical function during the 'Solstices' and 'Equinoxes'.
All of the buildings included triangular walls but only some remain, as destruction from roots and tree growth has caused significant damage. Two structures in particular contain badly crumbled internal dividing walls. Some doorways are partly filled in and a clumsily made field stone wall extends out from building 2. These may have been added later by local herders using the site as an enclosure.
A double door entranceway between the first and second buildings indicates high status. These are found in the most important structures at regional Inca sites such as the Coricancha in Cusco, Vitcos, Ollantaytambo and Choquequirao (Gasparini Margolies 1980).
A unique feature is a 145 feet long corridor with six feet high walls that aligns with Machu Picchu. The alignment of 65 degrees also points to the sunrise over Machu Picchu during the June Solstice. Many mysterys remain as this large site has remained mostly unstudied in recent years, due to it's relative inaccessablity, except by hikers on the Inca Trail.
The archaeological complex of Llactapata is located above, and immediately below a long orogenic ridge that descends from the Salkantay Snow, the peak highest in the region, to the Urubamba Canyon in a northerly direction. The complex looks towards Machu Picchu and towards the two hills on both sides of that set, the Machu hill Picchu and the Huayna Picchu hill. This parallel ridge in which is the set of Machu Picchu, is located about 5 kilometers to the east and separated from the ridge of Llactapata through the deep valley of Aobamba, whose river transports waters produced by melting of the glaciers of the Nevado Salkantay.
The Inca Trail, which starts in The beloved bridge over the western edge of Machu Picchu, provided a Ritual entrance to Llactapata carefully elaborated. This would have perhaps allowed the Inca and his entourage will visit Actapata on special occasions, to observe and celebrate the sa lida del sol at the solstice of June and the heliacal exit of the Pleiades about twelve to fifteen days before the solstice.
Climb to heaven and enjoy majestic views that few human beings have had the privilege to witness. Despite being within the Machu Picchu visualization field, the lost city of Llactapata has been on the tourist route for only a decade, since it was discovered in 2003 by archaeologists using infrared aerial photography.
From Llactapata, you can see both Machu Picchu and Huayna Picchu, which means that from here, you have views that few get to see both sacred mountains of the Incas.
When archaeologists explored Llactapata, they discovered a solar temple and houses on a surface of several square kilometers in the same alignment with the June solstice sunrise as Machu Picchu.
The Inkas made hundreds of trails in South America and Llactapata is one of the newest of these trails that was restored by our Peruvian government. A new Inca road - Llactapata to Machu Picchu has been designed, a program that can take you to Machu Picchu and that satisfies the needs of tourists with little time in Cusco, and will help many more people enjoy a hiking tour and visit classic of Machu Picchu. The tour lasts 2 days, with moderate difficulty. Llactapata Inca Trek
The Salkantay Llactapata Trail is a trip that offers a perfect blend of hiking, culture and nature for an arrival at the citadel of Machu Picchu. This excursion is also known as the new Inca Trail, it is one of the oldest trails that in its journey is one of the highest mountains in Peru, the snowy Salkantay, adored and respected by the Incas.
This impressive trek passes under the magnificent Salkantay mountain (6.71 / 20569ft), one of the highest and most impressive of the Peruvian Andes. Normally, the tour lasts 5 days. Its first two days will be dominated by the impressive "Apus" of Salkantay and Huamantay, while touring the high landscape of the Puna. The fourth day will descend to the warm misty forest to reach Aguas Calientes on the fifth day. The impressive Inca sacred city of Machu Picchu is visited during the last day of the program. This tour is an interesting alternative for those who have not found space in the trek of the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu.