As part of the series Explorando Lima, in which I demonstrate the immense diversity that Peru has to offer without even leaving the region of Lima, I walk part of the Qhapaq Ñam, the Royal Road otherwise known as the Inca Trail, in the valley of Lurín.
For more on the Qhapaq Ñan, see The Chaski
The Qhapaq Ñam, the Camino Real or in English the Royal Road is a network of roads that spanned tens of thousands of kilometres and stretched in length from the south of Colombia to southern-central Chile – more than half of the mountainous west of the continent of South America.
Part of this networked went from the major population centre of Pachacamac along the Lurin valley passing several pre-Columbian cities and tambos, over 5000m – roughly 16000ft of mountains to through the area of Jauja and Huancayo, through the area of the former Huari empire to the Inca capital of Cusco.
Not much of this route survives – in the lower part of the valley the hills are loose and sandy. Time and earthquakes have both helped to shift the trail off the sides of these hills. Even in the time of the Incas, routes like this needed much maintenance. Currently the trail is in poor state and its not recommended to go alone.