Named one of the new Seven Wonders of the World, Machu Picchu is one of the most extraordinary and beautiful archaeological sites on earth. Its setting amidst tropical mountain forest on the slopes of the eastern Andes is unparalleled and demonstrates a wonderful interaction of man-made structures with the natural environment. Macchu Picchu was probably the greatest urban achievement of the Inca Empire, the largest civilisation in the Americas before the arrival of Europeans, and dates to the period of the rule of Pachacutec Inca Yupanqui (1438-71) and Tupac Inca Yupanqui (1472-93). The exact purpose of the city, 100km from the capital at Cusco, is unknown, but different quarters have been identified - Farmers, Industrial, Royal and Religious. However it is Machu Picchu's architecture, stonework, and integration with its environment that makes it so impressive. The ruins are best reached after a 4 day trek along the Inca Trail, when they come spectacularly into view through the Sun Gate. It's also possible to take the train from Cusco to Aguas Calientes and catch a bus to the site - if staying at Aguas Calientes after trekking the Inca Trail, be sure to return to Machu Picchu early next morning to experience it before the daytrippers arrive.
Travel to Machu Picchu
Organised group tours: Click here to see 2 tours to Peru which may include Machu Picchu.
The Inca Trail: Cusco & Machu Picchu
Jul 2013 (5th ed.)378 pages