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Machu Picchu

Machu Picchu is a mysterious and magical ancient citadel remotely located in the Cordillera Vilcabamba jungle. This meticulously preserved site is justifiably accredited with UNESCO World Heritage Site status and is amongst one of the most iconic sights of South America.
The ancient citadel of Machu Picchu is 2,430 metres above sea level, perched between Huayna Picchu and Machu Picchu Mountain, hunkered into dense tropical forest and flanked by the Urubamba River. Walking around the site stirs the imagination as to what life would have been like when the Inca civilisation thrived here in the 16th century.  

You can discover Machu Picchu in a day, combined with an overnight stay the night before at the local town, or you can spend five or more days trekking the Inca Trail.

About Machu Picchu


There is much debate among scholars as to whether Machu Picchu was a military fortress, a retreat for the Incan monarchy or a ceremonial site. The only certainty is that it remains a testament to the engineering prowess of the Incas.
 
A guided tour reveals an extensive water distribution network, immaculate masonry, agricultural terraces and a keen relationship between the Incas and astronomical events.
 
Although the Peruvians knew of the site, it was not until 1911 that a thorough excavation began, following an expedition here led by American Hiram Bingham.
 
We would say that Machu Picchu is an iconic site that you must visit. However, it gets extremely busy and you follow a well trodden circuit learning about the ancient citadel.

Where to stay


Most people stay at a nearby town where there are many hotels that cater for all budgets and tastes. The small town itself is not glamorous but functional, and it's a great base from which to explore Machu Picchu. Alternatively, there is one option adjacent to the entrance; it does not have views over the site but it does give you the option of being one of the first people in to watch the sun rise over the site.

Top tip


Machu Picchu is extremely busy between 10am-2pm. We highly recommend that you avoid these times, and you will have much more freedom. One option is to get up first thing in the morning and get there before the crowds, alternatively head up the mountain mid-afternoon when most of the day trippers are descending to catch the train back to Cuzco.

AT A GLANCE

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