- Hiking / Trekking
- Archaeological Site
- Place or Historical Monument
- Unesco World Heritage
Machu Picchu, AKA 'The Old Mountain', was discovered around a hundred years ago by an American historian called Hiram Bingham, accompanied by a local guide. He subsequently announced to the world his amazing discovery - the Lost City of the Incas. The Salkantay Trek, which was the route I took to reach the site, remains my favourite memory of my holiday in Peru.
Machu Picchu is the perfect place to admire the incredible ingenuity of the Incas. A masterpiece that took almost 20 years to build, constructed out of huge, perfectly cut stones that sit one of top of the other without any supporting mortar. What's more, the site is one of only a few that weren't distroyed by the Spanish conquistadors. Today, on-going restoration work keeps the buildings in good condition, without impacting on the beauty and charm of the site.
I've been lucky enough to visit it twice, once by myself, once with a guide and it made a difference. I highly recommend you go with a guide, who'll have knowledge at his/her fingertips.
One thing's for sure, a visit to this lost city will be engraved in your memory forever.
The jewel of the Inca's,a site of mystery and magic: Machu Picchu. You need a whole day in order to make the most of this unique site and soak up its history. There are several types of tickets which offer access to different parts of the historic sanctuary: the archaeological site, Huayna Picchu or Machu Picchu mountain. It is highly recommended, in fact almost indispensable, to reserve the last two in advance because, in order to protect the site, only 2,500 visitors a day are allowed.
Navettes take you to the site in only a few minutes from Aguas Calientes. The earlier the better, because there are few people early in the morning and you will be able to enjoy the site more. Take a local guide with you for the archaeological site. It is often cloudy in the early morning but don't panic, the clouds disappear as the day advances.
Afterwards, thanks to my ticket, I began to climb Machu Picchu mountain. As I am not at all sporty the climb was very difficult but the view was worth it. My thighs can still remember how painful they were the next day! On the other hand, if you love sporty holidays, then this could be your dream activity!
-The ancient Inca city dating back to the 15th century, located in the Central Andes at an altitude of 2500m, about 8200ft, is still very well preserved. It was once a religious, ceremonial, agricultural and astronomic centre, but mystery still surrounds the true purpose of each individual building! Even more thrilling....
- Machu Picchu is a place of extraordinary beauty. You don't need to be a fan of old stones or history to be seduced by it. It's just splendid, my favourite place in all of Peru.
Perched on the summit of lush green mountains, its charm becomes evident at dawn, when the sun's rays gently alight on the first stones and when the mist rises delicately to allow a faint glimpse of its outline. It makes you feel as if you're a whole world away.
-You can have a guided tour if you wish. I recommend the tour by the way, because the little anecdotes make it worthwhile. Surprise! Whatever you decide, if you dream of playing at being Tintin amongst the Incas you won't be disappointed, the atmosphere is very striking. It's truly incredible to imagine how these marvels of engineering, which have survived numerous earthquakes, were ever envisaged on the summit of such a steep mountain. They were all built with bare hands too of course. Rumour has it that the site is threatened with closure, so hurry up if you want to see it before it's too late. You have been warned!