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Vilcabamba: know the lost city of the Incas in Cusco

Home / Travel Blog / Vilcabamba: know the lost city of the Incas in Cusco
Vilcabamba: know the lost city of the Incas in Cusco

Peru is a country full of new and mystical tourist attractions. Proof of this is Vilcabamba, also known as "the lost city of the Incas." It is said that the last Incas lived here before being defeated by the Spanish. Today, in redBus we tell you everything about this magical city and why you should visit it.

 

Discover Vilcabamba, the lost city of the Incas

In the district of Vilcabamba, in the province of La Convencion, there is a city full of mysteries not yet revealed and which is known as "the lost city of the Incas." It is the city of Vilcabamba, a place where time has stopped at an altitude of 2,650 meters above sea level to make the last part of the history of the Incas known to the world.

 

The history of the discovery of Vilcabamba begins with the arrival of Hiram Bingham to Cusco in 1911. The American was looking for the “lost city of the Incas” and, in fact, he arrived in Vilcabamba during this journey.

 

It should be noted that, at this time, Vilcabamba was known as Espiritu Pampa. However, Hiram did not get much attention and he put more consideration to Machu Picchu. In this first meeting, Bingham proposed that Machu Picchu was the true lost city and left Vilcabamba aside.

 

Years later, in the 1970s, an American explorer named Gene Savoy arrived in Peru. On his excursion through the jungle, he discovered Vilcabamba again and confirmed that it was Espiritu Pampa, that is, that this was the city where the last Incas had taken refuge. It is from this discovery that new archaeological investigations begin to find out more about what actually happened in Vilcabamba.

 

Vilcabamba, a city full of mystery

 

The famous lost city is an area of around 12 hectares where archaeologists have found temples, canals, platforms, buildings and terraces. Vilcabamba was connected to other places through roads.

 

Some of these constructions are made with granite stone, although there is a great difference with the walls worked in Coricancha or in Machu Picchu. Due to the technique used here, some researchers conclude that Vilcabamba was most likely built by a culture prior to the Incas.

 

In Vilcabamba you can find several houses, which were built on platforms. This was done in this way, possibly with the aim of protecting everyone from the floods that were happening at the time.

 

Why is it known as "the lost city"?

The Spanish were one of the first to speak of a lost city where, apparently, the rebellious Incas were hiding, those who refused to submit. When the Spanish arrived in Peru, there were many fights between the Spanish and the Incas, which led many of the latter to take refuge in Vilcabamba, where they established a small government. These thoughts were recorded in chronicles, but the site did not yet have a name.

 

It was in 1911 that, thanks to Hiram Bingham and his book "The Lost City of the Incas", there is a first historical record of Vilcabamba as such. In the book, Bingham talks about a place called Espiritu Pampa. This created a controversy, since, some time later, other authors discovered that Bingham could be wrong and confuse Vilcabamba with Machu Picchu.

 

At present, a consensus has been reached that Vilcabamba is, in fact, the Pampa Spirit and, therefore, it is considered the last refuge of the Incas.

 

Tourist attractions to visit in the Vilcabamba district

In Vilcabamba we can find many tourist attractions. One of them is the archaeological site of Vitcos, also known as Rosaspata. It is said that the last legitimate heirs of Huayna Capac lived here: Manco Inca Yupanqui, Sayri Tupac Inca, Titu Cusi Yupanqui and Túpac Amaru I.

 

The archaeological site of Vitcos is located approximately 2700 meters above sea level, so from here you have an impressive view of the Vilcabamba valley. It has 3 divisions and is very important in the history of the Incas because different negotiations with the Spanish were held here.

 

Another tourist attraction is the tomb of Espiritu Pampa. It is a non-Inca tomb and has 11 cists, but 2 of them were desecrated before their discovery.

 

Because the offerings are in the style of the Wari culture, it is believed that it was this culture that made the burial. Due to the amount of offerings (among which are silver plates), it is believed that he was a very important person of the time, so his discovery was compared with that of the Lord of Sipán.

 

How to get to Vilcabamba?

To get to the lost city of the Incas, you must first get to Cusco. A good alternative is to go by bus, in this way you can observe the landscapes of Peru. If you start the trip from the capital, the journey takes around 19 hours. The bus goes to the capital of the department of Cusco and, from here, you take a taxi or bus to the Vilcabamba district, which is located in the province of La Convencion.

 

Vilcabamba is located approximately 118 kilometers from the capital. To get to the lost city, the traveler must go by bus to Kiteni, a town that is located on the route to Quillabamba, and from Kiteni to “Azul mayo”.

 

Here the bus stops and tourists have to go on a walk of up to 9 hours. Although the stretch is long, the person will go hand in hand with incredible natural views, making the experience unique in every way.

 

Extra data about Vilcabamba:

  • In Vilcabamba rains are frequent. If you are going to visit the lost city, it is preferable that you make the trip between April and October, when the rains are minimal.
  • Archaeologists found evidence of a fire in Vilcabamba. The most popular theory is that this fire was started by the Spanish when they conquered the Incas.
  • The Spanish wanted to find Vilcabamba because it was said to be a city with great wealth, full of gold and silver. However, no research has proven the mass existence of these precious metals.

Vilcabamba is a destination full of adventure and mystery that you cannot miss. Now, you are ready to visit this city and have a great experience.

 

Other Tours in Cusco:

The famous Inca Trail Tours are the most popular excursions in Cusco - Peru; and considered among the best walks in the world. 

If you want to visit Machu Picchu, we recommend you to book your Machu Picchu Ticket in advance, so you will enjoy your Vacation in Machu Picchu without any problem.

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