About Machu Picchu
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The ruins of Machu Picchu include some of the most beautiful Incan stonework in the Americas. Practically speaking, they can be divided into two main sections: the central urban sector, and its surrounding agricultural areas. The urban sector is made up of residential areas, royal chambers, ceremonial baths, a prison, a central plaza, and several temple areas including Intiwatana, the Temple of the Sun and the Temple of Three Windows. The agricultural areas comprise of farming terraces and security posts, as well as the citadel’s cemetery.
The peak of Huaynu Picchu behind the citadel can also be climbed, though the view of Machu Picchu can be somewhat disappointing. There is a well-kept trail, so despite its daunting appearance, Huaynu Picchu can be climbed by any agile traveler.
Machu Picchu dates back to the Inca-time. It was long lost, and no one except some locals knew about the village until Bingham (USA) came across it in 1911 on his search for another Inca city (Vilcabamba). Today its a grand tourist attraction.
There are two ways of accessing the ruins of Machu Picchu. There is a short road that zigzags up the mountainside connecting the site to the small town of Aquas Calientes down below. Buses travel regularly between Machu Picchu and Aquas Calientes, but the only connection between Aguas Callientes and other towns in the area is by rail (see Aquas-Calientes – Getting there & away). The other way of accessing Machu Picchu is by foot, following the Inca Trail.
First To Review: Eric M.
Oct 26, 2008
Hiking the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu was one of the best experiences of my life. There is something magical about following that ancient road to one of the world's most beautiful places. Don't feel obligated to take a guided tour of Machu Picchu. For me, it was a place I wanted to discover slowly - as a more sensory experience. This is a great place to just "be".
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Sep 4, 2009
Machu Picchu has been on my list of “must experience” places for a very long time. In the spring of 2009, my youngest son and I went on an adventure to Peru. In planning our trip, Machu Picchu always arose to the top of our list. The trip was an adventure and it turned out that Machu Picchu rightfully belonged as we had ranked it.
We took the backpacker train from Cusco to Aguas Calientes, departing before the sunrise; the sights, smells, and sounds, of Cusco early in the morning invigorating and exciting. As we left Cusco and travelled down into the Sacred Valley we both found the train to be an excellent, comfortable way to see the country side. From villages to farm land we continued on and eventually we began tracking along the Urubamba River and were afforded awe-inspiring views of the Urubamba Gorge.
As the train came to its last stop, we found ourselves only two kilometers from the ruins. Wide-eyed and filled with anticipation, we made our way from the train station to the shuttle service. As we clambered aboard the bus I contemplated my decision to take the train and shuttle, rather than hike the Inca Trail. The weather had been a consideration, as was time and expense. In the decision process, the train made the most sense for this adventure. I hope someday to hike the Inca Trail, but the train was best for this day.
As we headed up the mountain, my son and I discussed the time we had to explore and see Machu Picchu. The weather was holding, but we didn’t know for how long. We decided that we might get wet and cold, but we were going to experience Machu Picchu regardless of the weather.
As the bus pulled into a space outside the UNESCO site, everyone aboard was anxiously getting their belongings together to exit the bus and make their way to the entrance. I noticed there were people from many lands aboard the bus and they all seemed to be speaking at once over the noise of the bus. Occasionally I recognized a language or accent; however this cacophony only served to emphasize the uniqueness and appeal of the ruins we were about to experience.
My son and I made it off the bus and made our way to the entrance and presented our tickets and passports. We were kindly greeted and offered the services of a tour guide. The guide fees were reasonable and we were assigned our guide.
Our guide was Peruvian (of course) and spoke good English. He took his time with us and led us into the ruins. As we entered the ruins, the whole of Machu Picchu was laid out in front of us. It was truly breathtaking. My son and I both stood for a very long time and soaked in all we could. My son had earlier put his camera into action, but now was taking photographs furiously. I followed suit and began exposing photographs of all that I could. Our guide was patient and gently prodded us on and he began an explaining Machu Picchu to us in a professional manner. The day passed too quickly and the tour was ended. We thanked our guide appropriately and said our goodbyes. We then spent our remaining time scrambling around the ruins and exposing more photographs. Way before long, it was time to go.
We reluctantly made our way back to the shuttle as the sun was beginning to set and we were tired and happy. Machu Picchu was impressive. It impressed my son and me, in such a manner that I feel sure neither of us will ever forget our day at Machu Picchu. It truly was a "must experience" place.
Sep 4, 2007
This is probably the most incredible place I've ever been to. It's difficult to describe what it's like to walk around these ruins, but there's something about the landscape - the steep cliff-like hills and the lush greenery - that is completely mesmerizing. I also has a great nap under the big tree in the main courtyard (me and another 20 or so other trekkers having woken up at 3:00 am to arrive at the ruins via the Inca trail just in time to catch the sunrise).
Another cool thing about Machu Picchu is the snobby lamas that really give the impression they know they are the cat's meow. Check out the photo of the purple lama I uploaded - the poor guy was obviously sick from something, but even this didn't stop him from looking like an aristocrat.
Oct 30, 2008
Machu Picchu is another world wonder I must suggest for anyone to see. The Inca trail leads people directly into the heart of Machu Picchu. Unfortunately over time, the soil has begun to erode beneath this magnificent ruin leading the Peruvian government to restrict the number of people allowed into the site. While some sites are off limits the ruins are largely open to anyone who cares to walk around and hike the trails. It is a beautiful place that was left untouched while other parts of Peru were ravaged by invaders. This is certainly one site to be seen.
Aug 20, 2008
The inca Trail was the most amazing hike of my life. The end destination that was Machu Picchu was the most spiritually uplifting place i have ever visited. The mountains spoke to me that morning whilst resting on a rock overlooking the site at dawn. It was amazing, nothing has ever compared to this experience. It was a most beautiful feeling to absorb the energies that were present amongst the mountains and Inca ruins.