Macchu Picchu
Peru • South America

From: Peru Travel Guide

See also: Sacred ValleyInca Trail

Machu Picchu, Peru, South America
The ruins of Machu Picchu are also well known as The Lost City of The Inca's and were built around 1430 AD and are thought to have been abandoned some time after the Spanish Conquest where it remained hidden until 1911 when the city was discovered by an American archaeologist called Hiram Bingham who was searching for Vilcabamba when he came across the Inca city.

The site at Machu Picchu contains around 140 structures made up of carefully positioned dry stone walls that were used by the Inca architects to produce solid structures such as Temples, Sanctuaries and homes. The structures were built in such a way that they could withstand earthquakes, offer protection and also contain several water channels and fountains.

Some of the main buildings and structures were the city Gate, Nusta's Palace, Royal Tombs and Royal Palace, The Temple of The Sun, Sacred Fountains, the Temple of Three Windows, The Main Temple, Intihuatana, The Main Square, Sacred Rock, Prison Area, Funery Rock, Cemetery and the House of The Guardians. On the eastern slopes of Mount Machu Picchu are several agricultural terraces that have produced items such as potatoes and corn.

Also worth visiting is Huayna Picchu which is situated just behind the Lost City and provides a fantastic view of most of Machu Picchu from above and contains further Inca ruins on its summit, the climb itself is fairly steep and there are a series of steps that lead to the top.

The site of Machu Picchu was declared a Peruvian Historical Sanctuary in 1981 and two years later a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Attraction Location Guide
The city of Machu Picchu is located some 2430 meters above sea level on top of Mount Machu Picchu in the Andes Mountain range above the Sacred Valley of the Inca's which is also called the Urubamba Valley due to the river that runs through it.

Travel Guide To Machu Picchu
One of the most popular ways to visit Machu Picchu is on one of the Inca trails where you will discover many more amazing ruins, abundant wildlife and stunning scenery. The Inca Trails position you to enter the city from the Sun Gate which is also called Intipunku which was the Inca's official entrance gate to the city. The classic Inca Trail will take you around 4 days, while the Mollepata Trail takes around 7 days to complete although there is a one day trail for those wishing to still enter from Intipunku. If you are short on time then you can take the train from Cusco all the way to the village at the bottom of Machu Picchu called Aguas Callentes and then catch a bus up the 8 kilometer road to the Inca city.

To help with the preservation of the site there is no camping permitted within the complex, no walking on the ruin walls and trying to take any of the stones home with you is also forbidden.

There is a very well equipped hotel called the Sanctuary Lodge positioned moments away from the ruins of Macchu Picchu and which has magnificent views of the surrounding area. Further accommodation can be found in the village of Aguas Callentes a short bus journey away where you will find a good selection of hotels and hostels which also have excellent facilities and at a slightly cheaper price.

Machu Picchu opens at 6.00 AM until 6.00 PM and an entrance ticket is required which can be obtained from the cultural centre in Aguas Callentes and are valid for a few days but can only be used once, so if you plan on visiting Machu Picchu and walking up Huayna Picchu in one day then it is best to get there as early as possible to avoid disappointment as they only permit a certain number of people up at intervals throughout the day.

If you are entering via Intipunku try to get to there just before sunrise and you will see Machu Picchu reveal itself in the early morning sun and the site is far less busy than later during the day. And in case you need to prove that you have been to Machu Picchu you can also have your passport stamped from the main office which is quite a souvenir especially if you have just completed the awesome Inca Trail to get there.

Guided Tours
Tours around the Lost City of the Inca's can be arranged on arrival where your guide will point out what all the various structures are whilst providing you with plenty of information about the site.

Machu Picchu is 2430 meters above sea level which can cause altitude sickness, with symptoms such as dizziness, sickness, headaches, pins and needles and nosebleeds if you experience any of these seek medical advice immediately. To help prevent altitude sickness which can occur at heights over 2000 meters ensure that you drink plenty of fluids and spend at least 2 days in Cusco which will help your body acclimatize before embarking on either the Inca Trail or to the city of Machu Picchu.