TripAdvisor travelers consistently vote Machu Picchu, Peru, a top world destination. It's easy to see why.
Machu Picchu is considered one of the 7 Wonders of the World.
How the Incas accomplished the incredible feat of using immense granite building blocks fitted perfectly together - in spite of many different angles to match up - is still a mystery to modern engineers.
Machu Picchu is easily recognized by its unique structures and scenic setting and is one of the most photographed spots in the world.
Trips to Peru's Machu Picchu are especially satisfying not only for the incredible and extensive sites of the ancient Inca Civilization and its related culture but also for Machu Picchu's majestic setting in the mountain mists and cloud forest of tropical Southern Peru.
When Lin and I visited Machu Picchu and surrounding region, we really
enjoyed not only the citadel (of course, it's fantastic) but also the
Along with our daughter Kelsey, Lin's mother Win, and two other friends, we took a very informative tour of Machu Picchu.
had hired our guide through the recommendation of the small hotel where
we stayed in Cusco, and he was well worth the expense. He spoke English
quite well and gave us good rundowns on all we were seeing.
is a lot to see. Just in the citadel itself were a number of spots that
were known for specific purposes and we tried to retain it all and take
To supply the food for the residents, the site included an agriculture area with terraces and food storage. Considered sacred by the locals, Machu Picchu, Peru is especially important as a cultural heritage site.
The architecture and setting combined make this one of the most impressive locations in the world.
Peru's Machu Picchu and surrounding areas now form the Machu Picchu Historic Reserve, covering an area of 80,535 acres (32,592 hectares)
Where is Machu Picchu Peru?
Machu Picchu is located high atop a steep mountain ridge about 3000 feet above the Urubamba Valley in Southern Peru.
Although it is 7,970 feet (2,439 meters) above sea level, the Machu Picchu area is in the midst of the extensive tropical forest on the eastern slope of Peru's southern mountains
The Landscape and Natural Attractions
Much of the beauty and charm that surrounds Machu Picchu, Peru's biggest
tourist attraction, is its unusual setting: a spectacular natural
environment of verdant ridges and valleys covered with mountain forests.
Huayna Picchu (in Quechua, 'Young Mountain') is the mountain right next to Machu Picchu, a hallmark feature of photos of the area.
There are interesting Inca ruins in different parts of Huayna Picchu that are accessible by steep trails.
For the more athletic and adventurous, a hike to the breathtaking peak of Huayna Picchu is not to be missed.
Again, to get the MOST out of your visit to Machu Picchu and the surrounding areas, whether you have a tour guide or not, you really should get yourself a well-made, detailed map of Machu Picchu and highlights of the Sacred Valley and its trails.
The flora is particularly diverse and interesting: nearly 200 species of orchids have been recorded in the sanctuary.
Notes on visiting Machu Picchu:
Most of our photos later were lost (long story). So, back up your photos as soon as possible.
What Lin and I use now is Carbonite, an automatic cloud backup for files, photos and more. Since it backups all files on your computer as you add them it eliminates forgetting now and regretting later. It is very inexpensive, about $5 USD a month and you will have immediate access to your photos and files from any of your connected devices.
Of course there are other good free cloud backups but the catch is that most of them do not backup automatically, something that we personally have found essential.
MAP OF MACHU PICCHU
Another thing that we should
have gotten and didn't realize it until later was an informational book
with a good map of Machu Picchu; hopefully one that included the
surrounding Sacred Valley highlights.
You just don't realize
before you start all the things that later you'll try to remember. A map
really makes a difference and comes in real handy when trying to place
what photos were taken where.
With or without a guided tour, this book is indispensable for taking in and remembering what you are seeing. A fold-out map is included with many details.
It comes very highly recommended.
Some of the
areas, for example the mountain Huayna Picchu and Machu Picchu Mountain,
are closed for maintenance for brief times each year. You may want to
check for closure dates. The Citadel itself is open every day.
Buy your entrance tickets months in advance. Entry is limited.
At the same time, if you are determined to climb Huayna Picchu, the 1,000 foot peak at the extreme of Machu Picchu
(highly recommended), you need to purchase a special ticket. Entry to
Huayna Picchu (also spelled Wayna Picchu) is limited to 800 people per