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In quest of Camino Inca, the Cultural landscape of Qhapaq Ñan,

the Camino Principal Andino, the Inca Trail of the Andes

Inca civilization reached its zenith in Peru in mid-15th century though the origin of the Inca Empire goes back to the 8th century. Although the Inca empire was governed from its two principal seats of power, Cuzco, the capital, and Machu Picchu, the Inca territory spun most of the principal regions of the Andes mountains. They built a complex road system that connected the many villages and population centers belonging into the empire, known as Qhapaq Ñan, the Camino Principal Andino.

Starting in the decade of 1430, Inca emperors began the conquest of the various regions of the Andes. By 1525 Incas integrated extensive territories of South America into the empire, and the Camino Andino, the principal north – south axis, lead from the southern region of contemporary Colombia all the way to the center of Chile, and through an artery system of intersecting east – west roads covered what was called "Land of the Four Quadrants" or Tawantinsuyu, converging in the city of Cuzco, the empire’s capital.
The Tawantinsuyu included most of Central and North Peru, Ecuador, the south of Colombia, the basin of Lake Titicaca, most of Bolivia, the highlands of Argentina down to the province of Mendoza, and roughly the northern half of Chile.
Camino Andino,  or the Inca Trail aka Inca Royal Road, reflected the complex, effective and integrative organization of the state. Messages were sent by runners who relayed along the 2 to 4 meters wide, sometimes cobblestone paved roads. With its coast roads, the highlands roads and a great net of secondary and traverse roads, the Inca Trail system united all the parts of the empire facilitating its administration and communication among the settlements of the empire. It is from this standpoint that the Inca Trail constitutes a heritage resource of importance and for this reason in 2001 Camino Andino Pricipal, or Qhapaq Ñan, has been submitted to the UNESCO for inclusion in the World Heritage List of sites and monuments of historical significance.






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