Machu Picchu Travel
A wonder of the world, a once in a lifetime sight, the one and only Machu Picchu.
Machu Picchu, a truly iconic ancient wonder, without comparison or equal, has provided life-long fascination and endless intrigue for generations since its accidental rediscovery in 1911 by the American explorer Hiram Bingham. The ‘Lost City’ is as magnetic and awe-inspiring now as it was then, providing not only a real step back in time and glimpse into a long-forgotten world, but also some of the best views of the verdant valley below.
Consisting of more than 150 separate buildings connected by a myriad of over 3,000 ancient stone steps, staggered agricultural terraces and numerous ceremonial sites, the 15th century Inca citadel of Machu Picchu has captured the imagination for generations, having laid untouched and unseen by the wider world for over 400 years. Though many theories exist on the function of the complex, from a prison to women’s refuge, crop testing site to hideaway for the nobles during Spanish colonisation, one thing not in doubt is the majesty of its location, the fascination of its legend and the memories any visit will no doubt create.
The main site of Machu Picchu can be accessed either by bus, if staying in nearby Aguas Calientes, or via one of the many scenic trails the region is known for. If seeking the famous aerial view of Machu Picchu from the so-called ‘Sun Gate’, the best option is the classic Inca Trail, which begins its final day with a hike to this iconic viewpoint as the sun rises and mist clears away from the manicured lawns. Other fantastic walking trails in the area such as the Salkantay or Lares routes climax at a lesser-visited side of the main citadel, perfect for ‘off the beaten path’ types. If, however, you prefer a more relaxing journey to the site, be sure to board the Vistadome train from Ollantaytambo or Cusco to get to Aguas Calientes, the gateway to Machu Picchu. Once there, it’s a bus ride up to the entrance and then a morning or afternoon exploring one of the great, man-made Wonders of the World – an experience you’ll never forget.
The Temple of the Moon
Deep in the natural caverns of Machu Picchu Mountain, you will find the ominously secluded Temple of the Moon, thought to be a ritual site for offerings and worship of the Inca Gods.
The Sun Gate
Considered to be an ancient military installation, protecting the main route into Machu Picchu, the Sun Gate is perfectly well-preserved and offers some of the best photo opportunities in the valley.
For even more dramatic views of the main citadel, as well as being a worthy and intriguing site in its own right, braving the cliffside trek up Huayna Picchu is a must, though numbers are limited daily.