Phuyupatamarca: Beyond the Clouds at Machu Picchu

High in the majestic mountains of the Urubamba Valley is Phuyupatamarca, an Inca archaeological treasure whose name in Quechua means ‘city above the clouds’. This site offers a unique experience with agricultural terraces, stone staircases and water fountains. These transport you to the grandeur of the Inca civilization. In this article, we will explore in depth the history, location and experience of visiting Phuyupatamarca.

Discovering Phuyupatamarca

Phuyupatamarca in Machu Pichu


Phuyupatamarca is located in the Historic Sanctuary of Machu Picchu, 3,580 meters above sea level. Its strategic location on a high cloudy mountain provides panoramic views of the Urubamba Valley, honoring its name which means ‘Place in the clouds’. From Phuyupatamarca, a 13-kilometer hike through the qhapac ñan, the Inca trails, will take you to the mystical Machu Picchu.

History of Phuyupatamarca

Ordered by Emperor Pachacutec in the 15th century, Phuyupatamarca was a vital Inca citadel for agriculture and religion. Carefully built, it was abandoned during the Vilcabamba Wars and covered by dense vegetation. At the beginning of the 20th century, restoration work began, and today Phuyupatamarca is in an excellent state of preservation.

Architecture and Characteristics

Phuyupatamarca has stone enclosures for housing, a temple dedicated to the sun, plazas for social events and a network of water channels. Its fifteen constructions include agricultural terraces and ceremonial fountains. The viewpoint, overlooking the Urubamba valley, is a favorite place to capture the essence of this unique site.

Exploring the Inca Trail

4-Day Route

To discover Phuyupatamarca, immerse yourself in the 4-day Inca Trail adventure. This 39-kilometer trek takes you through the fascinating network of Inca trails, revealing the grandeur of this archaeological site. Experience the grandeur of Llactapata, Runkurakay, Sayacmarca and Wiñayhuayna on the way to this archaeological treasure. Only through this tourist route, under the guidance of a tourism agency, you will be able to be dazzled by the majesty of Phuyupatamarca.

Flora and Fauna

The surrounding geography is adorned with a rich vegetation that includes eucalyptus, molles, carnations and orchids. If you are lucky, you may spot birds such as the red-crested curassow, the giant hummingbird, and mammals such as the Andean deer and the spectacled bear during your journey, adding a natural touch to your trip. Nature enriches the experience of this trip.

Frequently Asked Questions

How to visit Phuyupatamarca?

  • Only through the 4-day Classic Inca Trail, organized by authorized travel agencies. It is not possible to visit it independently.

What to see in Phuyupatamarca?

  • From stone enclosures to ceremonial fountains, Phuyu patamarca dazzles with its fifteen constructions, agricultural terraces and its impressive viewpoint.

How much does the entrance fee cost?

  • Included in the 4-day Inca Trail tour. Costs vary between 500 to 700 USD depending on the selected tour agency.

Is it possible to camp in Phuyupatamarca?

  • Yes, camping is available for the third night, offering a unique experience under the stars.

What to bring on the visit?

  • Comfortable clothes, hiking shoes, sun block, insect repellent, rain poncho, backpack with personal items and, of course, the willingness to explore.

In conclusion, Phuyupatamarca is more than a city above the clouds. It is a window to the past, a connection to nature and an unparalleled experience. Embark on the Inca Trail and let yourself be enveloped by the grandeur of this Inca treasure, we are waiting for you in the heights!

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