The Inca Trail – Roads of the Inca (Capac Ñan)

The Inca Paths or Inca Trails (Capac ñan Qhapaq Ñan)

The Incas stood out for their engineering works, especially the road network. There were two main roads from north to south, one along the coast and another crossing the highlands. They did betray by crossroads and secondary roads that united all the villages and “pueblos.”La main road left from Tumbes passed Arequipa and Chile. The longest route was from Colombia to Cusco, to Ayavire, where it branched into two branches that surrounded Lake Titicaca and continued southeast to Tucumán, Argentina. From there began a unit that reached Coquimbo, Chile, following from there to present Santiago.

Another branch ended in the current Mendoza valley of Uspallata. To this place, the Incas transferred populations of some mitimas. The construction of the existing ditches is undoubtedly due to the Inca influence. These roads were paved with a stone slab and measured between 4.5 and 6 meters, 1 and 2 meters. In the coastal area, the streets were straight, and where it was impossible to make them.

A territory as extensive as the Tahuantinsuyo, for example. Moche, the Huari, the Tiahuanaco, and the Chimu, covered large areas and had efficient road networks.

According to the historian Victor von Magen, while the Europeans traveled along paths full of mud and mud, the Peruvians were already walking on roads that had no resemblance elsewhere; nothing in Europe or Asia could do compared.

Main roads

1. The Road of the Mountains

That starting from the Cuzco, passed by Huancavelica, Ayacucho, Huánuco, Cajamarca and arrived in Quito, prolonging until Pasto Colombia.

This road was between 6 to 8 meters wide, was engaged, and delineated the most straight possible. Because of this, steps saved the slopes and bridges that crossed the rivers. To supply all the officials of the state who were traveling.

2. The Coast Road

It also departed from the Cusco and descended to the coast at the height of Nazca. It extended through the ancient territory of the cult Paracas, Chincha, Pachacamac, and Rimac to Tumbes, arriving at Quito’s city. He touched red sandals, and when he reached the valleys, he did surround by walls and trees that shade the traveler. Acquires of freshwater and sticks of Huarango marked the coastal roads. There was a lot of information for the traveler on these Inca roads, for example, directions and distance, directions of posadas on the streets, etc.

These roads did preserve by the population adjacent to the Inca road network; the curaca or head of ayllu organized the maintenance work after the conquest did leave to the free will of the people or ayllus the road maintenance Inca.

The Bridges

Different types of bridges are allowed to cross the rivers. In the Sierra, there were tree trunks when distances were not great, and those who became famous for their ingenuity were those that the Spaniards called “de criznejas.” These bridges rested on two great stone abutments with solid foundations and between each stirrup crossed four or six thick beams that lashed the hanging bridge. The Maromas were woven from thin branches like wicker, braiding three by three thicker ones and increasing units until reaching a diameter of about fifty centimeters. A 1534 reference discloses one of the said bridges as follows “there are very great and powerful rivers on which there are bridges made of thick ropes and between one and another there are thin and small ropes, and from these bridges, there are two where the lords passed and two where the common people passed.” The chroniclers commented

  • Several types of bridges in the Tahuantinsuyo: Hanging bridges: used when the river was wide, consisted of thick wires of agave or maguey, which extended from one side to another and did tie to dense rocks and as beds used logs tightly attached.
  • Stone Bridges: They did build when the river was narrow, and it was enough to place a gigantic stone from one shore to another in such a way as to permit

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