View of the grassy stone terraces of Machu Picchu with a single tree growing on one terrace.

Cusco and Machu Picchu: Living History

Despite the conquest, Inca culture has proven remarkably resilient over the centuries, which creates the sensation of time standing still. Quechua, the Inca language that is spoken by six million Andean highlanders, is heard as often as Spanish along the narrow alleyways of Cusco. Inca Trail hikers who arrive at dawn at the Inti Punku, or Sun Gate, will see the fog rise gently from the terraces and perfect stone buildings of Machu Picchu, which was lost for centuries and therefore perfectly preserved.

A view of a crescent beach with a strip of white sand surrounded by heavy vegetation.

Early Peoples of the Virgin Islands

Four waves of pre-Columbian people settled in the Virgin Islands: the Ciboney, Igneri, Taino, and Kalinago peoples. Each group arrived in the Virgin Islands from South America, and each brought new advances in crop cultivation, social structure, and tools.

Luminous green water fills the caldera of an extinct volcano.

Lake Quilotoa and the Quilotoa Loop

The road northwest of Latacunga loops through a series of remote indigenous villages. The spectacular scenery in this region—in particular the incredible beauty of Lake Quilotoa—makes this a very popular hiking destination.

Low grass studded with small yellow wildflowers carpets the areas between the remains of stone walls.

Visiting Ecuador’s Ingapirca Ruins

Home to the Inca empire’s only remaining sun temple, Ingapirca is easily Ecuador’s best set of pre-Columbian ruins. Ben Westwood covers the history of Ingapirca and what travelers can expect to see.