Where is Machu Picchu?
Where is Machu Picchu? In many ways, Machu Picchu has to be the biggest marvel in the universe of South America tours. Many poets like Pablo Neruda have written about the beauty of this exotic place. Machu Picchu is located in the heart of Peruvian Andes, more than 700 miles away from Lima, the capital city of Peru. This former religious sanctuary for the Inca empire is 74 miles northwest of Cusco, after a pleasant train trip or an exciting trek across the Peruvian jungle, in the famous Inca Trail to Machu Picchu. The ruins of Machu Picchu sit on the hillside above the Vilcanota River Valley, and the surrounding green mountains will make it an even more dreamy scenery. You’ll realize that this place looks better than those beautiful pictures you have seen on the internet and guidebooks.
Machu Picchu is one of the most amazing travel destinations in the world. Just search for the pictures online and you’ll come to realize this for yourself, even before visiting the Lost City of the Incas. This beautiful destination in Peru will greet the tourist with so many archaeological sites and natural treasures. You’ll certainly be mesmerized by Peruvian culture and geography once you go there.
Machu Picchu Weather
Weather is one of the most relevant Machu Picchu facts to consider before traveling to this place. It can have a drastic impact on your traveling experience, depending on what time of the year you choose for an adventure trip to Machu Picchu. Throughout most the year, weather in Machu Picchu is warm and humid during day and cool at night, with temperatures between 53 and 75 F. However, it rains BIG time from November to March, between summer and autumn in the Southern hemisphere. Because of rain, some tourist attractions and activities may be unavailable in Machu Picchu, so keep this in mind before booking your flight to Peru and Cusco.
Machu Picchu History
According to recent research, Machu Picchu was formerly an ceremonial sanctuary and a vacation residence for the Inca sovereign Pachacútec, between 1438 and 1470. Even though it was rediscovered in the early 20th century, it was almost abandoned for another 100 years.
The archaeological sites will tell you a lot about Machu Picchu facts, history and culture of the inca people, who strived for perfection. They definitely had a vision for the city they had in mind. However, Spanish conquerors led by Francisco Pizarro destroyed most of the cities built by the incas. The only thing that saved Machu Picchu from the disaster was its location between the remote Andes mountains, hidden away from the eyes of the Spanish invaders. Thanks to that, Machu Picchu is currently the best-preserved Inca city. In other words, you can call it an archeological gem. But the origins of this fantastic place don’t lack controversy at all: there are many scientists who think Machu Picchu was even an astronomical observatory, between other theories. There is a sacred stone named Intihuatana (Solar Clock), and twice a year, the sun doesn’t produce any shadow below this stone.
Interesting Machu Picchu Facts
It is time for us to take a look at a few fun facts about the amazing Machu Picchu.
- It is referred to as the Lost City. When Hiram Bingham III, an explorer from Yale, stumbled into Machu Picchu in 1911, the ruins of the city were covered in jungle. That is exactly why it is called the ‘lost city’.
- When Hiram Bingham left Machu Picchu, he brought along more than 4,000 archeological pieces and donated it to Yale University. For decades, there were constant claims from the Peruvian government about these valuable pieces, until Yale finally agreed on its restitution and returned the treasures in 2011.
- If you look Machu Picchu from a panoramic side view, supposedly you’ll see the face of an Inca.
- In July 2007, Machu Picchu was designated as one of the Seven Wonders of the Modern World, in a poll with more than 100 million voters.
- With more than 600,000 visitors each year, Machu Picchu is the major tourism destination in Peru and one of the most popular ones in the entire world.
- The name Machu Picchu comes from a quechua (the Inca language) word that means “Old Mountain”.
- At the ruins themselves, there are certain rules of entrance. One of the lesser-known is that you may not enter dressed in the traditional costume of another country; so you’d better take off your kimono or kilt before climbing up to Machu Picchu!
- Although many of the stones used to build the city of Machu Picchu were more than 50 lb, it is believed that no wheels were used to transport them up the mountain. Experts claim that hundreds of men pushed the heavy rocks up the steep mountain side.
Machu Picchu Tourism
Thanks to it’s immense popularity, Machu Picchu is kind of a pilgrimage destination in our days. We don’t know how it managed to stay hidden for several years, but it’s certainly not hidden nowadays! Indeed, the mysterious Lost City of Incas holds an special fascination for all of us, with more than 600,000 travelers visiting this place every year.
When you have the right information, you can easily reach Machu Picchu without much trouble. There are lots of ready-made Machu Picchu tours available from tourist operators. Otherwise, you can book components individually. However, since the popularity of this place is on the rise, it would be wise to book your Machu Picchu tour well in advance. During the peak season (June-August), this place is going to be really crowded, so it’s more difficult to book a hotel room at the last minute. There’s even a government restriction about the daily number of visitors in Machu Picchu during high season, and they sell the entrance tickets a week in advance. If you climb up to the Lost City thinking about buying a las-minute ticket, you might get a nasty surprise and be forced to return. So, all that money you spent on airfare and other things will be a total waste. Therefore, book everything in advance so that you don’t have to go through such a scenario. Be well prepared before you travel to this beautiful place.
If you are heading to Machu Picchu, you should definitely stay at the nearest town called Aguas Calientes. This tiny village is only 20 minutes away, at the foot of Machu Picchu mountains, and it has a decent offer of hotels, hostels and some other lodging options. There’s also a campsite at the entrance of town, if you’re traveling with your tent on a low budget.