Chincana Ruins

Isla del Sol

Isla del Sol's most spectacular ruins lie near the island’s northern tip. Its main feature is the Palacio del Inca, a maze of stone walls and tiny doorways, also known as El Laberinto (the Labyrinth). Within the labyrinth there is a small well, believed by pilgrims to contain sacred purifying water.

If you’ve the energy, climb nearby Cerro Uma Qolla for a great view.

Three natural features on the rock’s western face also figure in legend. Near the northern end is one dubbed the Cara de Viracocha (Face of Viracocha) – your guide will point it out with the help of a mirror (and some imagination). At the southern end are four distinctive elongated niches: the two on the right are locally called the Refugio del Sol (Refuge of the Sun); the ones on the left are called the Refugio de la Luna (Refuge of the Moon). According to tradition it was here during the Chamaj Pacha (‘times of flood and darkness’) that the sun made its first appearance, and later Manco Capac and Mama Ocllo appeared and founded the Inca Empire.

Immediately south of the rock you’ll pass the Huellas del Sol (Footprints of the Sun). These natural markings resemble footprints and have inspired the notion that they were made by the sun after its birth on Titi Khar’ka.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Isla del Sol attractions

1. Mesa Ceremónica

0.09 MILES

About 150m southeast of the Chincana ruins is the Mesa Ceremónica. It’s thought to have been the site of human and animal sacrifices and makes for a…

2. Templo del Inca

0.72 MILES

Over the track, and in a field just southwest, from the Piedra Sagrada, are the ancient walls of the complex known as the Templo del Inca. Although little…

3. Piedra Sagrada

0.82 MILES

From Cha’llapampa Village, the Chincana route runs parallel to the beach, climbing gently along an ancient route to the isthmus at Santiago Pampa (also…

4. Cha'llapampa Museum

1.25 MILES

The small Cha'llapampa Museum contains artifacts excavated in 1992 from Marka Pampa, referred to by locals as La Ciudad Submergida (Sunken City). Among…

5. Cha’llapampa

1.29 MILES

Most tours visiting the northern ruins land at Cha’llapampa, a small village straddling a slender isthmus.

6. Marka Pampa


At low tide an innocuous-looking column of rock peeps just a few centimeters above Lake Titicaca’s surface, north of Isla del Sol. Most locals dismiss it…

7. Ruins

2.39 MILES

Some obsidian remnants among the ruins indicate contact with people as far away as Colca Canyon, Arequipa, Peru.

8. Cha’lla

3.23 MILES

This agreeable little village stretches along a magnificent sandy beach that could be straight out of a holiday brochure for the Greek islands. The…