Tour Machu Picchu
Machu Picchu is a 15th century Incan city in Cusco located high in the Andes Mountains. Experts believe that it was built for Incan emperor Pachacuti. As it is considered one of the Seven Wonders of the World, this region gets a huge influx of tourists every year.
Machu Picchu was built in a classical Incan style with three main structures- Hitching post of the Sun, Temple of the Sun and Room of Three Windows. It is interesting to note that the Spanish didn’t find this site during the conquest, and it therefore remarkably remained intact. In fact, it wasn’t noticed until 1911! Tour Machu Picchu and you’ll be transported to the past.
Traveling to Machu Picchu
One easy way to get to Machu Picchu is to take the tourist train from Cusco. This trip takes 4 hours and is extremely scenic. This is the perfect way to get to the site if you can’t or don’t want to hike the Inca trail.
You can also take a train directly from Ollantaytambo. This ancient city is also located in the Sacred Valley of the Incas and has a lot to see including its own ruins. As a result, oftentimes people spend a few days in this city.
Many people walk the Inca trail to get to Machu Picchu. This is a 28 mile hike that takes 4 days. If you choose to do this it will undoubtedly be one of the most memorable experiences of your life. Along the way, you will see remarkable scenery and get immersed in culture. Keep in mind that you do need to book in advance if you plan to hike the Inca Trail.
Where to Stay
One of the most outstanding places to stay when visiting Machu Picchu is the Machu Picchu Sanctuary Lodge. While this is one of the more expensive options you will find, I strongly recommend it and you get to stay on the top of the mountain. There are jungle paths around the lodge, and you can see clouds below.
If you are looking for someplace more reasonable in price, try the Hostal Samanapaq. It is clean, nicer than other low cost hotels and has a very friendly staff.
The Sites and Sounds of Machu Picchu
As mentioned above, hiking the Inca Trail is a phenomenal way to spend your time in Machu Picchu. You should also consider the climb to Huayna Picchu. Only 400 people are permitted to do this climb per day, so again, plan in advance. It takes about 2 hours to climb to the peak and you will get great views of Machu Picchu along the way. Cable ropes are posted to assist tourists to get to the top. Keep in mind that you need to be in decent shape to climb Huayna Picchu and certainly to hike the Inca Trail.
Of course, you will want to see the various sites at Macchu Picchu itself including the Temple of the Sun, which was used for astrological purposes. The Temple of Three Windows is stunningly impressive as is the Intiwatana, which you must access by a stone staircase.
If you are looking for gourmet food, you should consider the Tampu restaurant at the Sanctuary Lodge. If you are staying at the lodge, you will definitely want to take advantage of this restaurant’s great buffet.
Aguas Calientes is a small town at the bottom of the valley and it is home to most of the area’s good restaurants. If you want to go for traditional Andean cuisine, choose grilled lamb, pork and alpaca. Grilled trout is also popular. In general, you can find great food for very reasonable prices.
One excellent restaurant in Aguas Calientes is the Tree House. This restaurant serves creative dishes with local ingredients. It is connected to a hotel and surrounded by trees.
All throughout the Sacred Valley of the Incas there are amazing places to hike. You can find scenic views and beautiful summits and peaks. Be sure to bring a camera. You will quickly realize that there is a good reason why Machu Picchu is Peru’s top tourist destination.
While the climbs and views in this area are majestic, be sure not to push yourself too hard. The air is very thin and you will need to stay hydrated. Remember if you fall or injure yourself, it can quickly ruin your vacation so only hike within your physical limits.
Also mudslides and floods have been an issue for tourists in the past. In 2010, thousands of tourists were stranded and two people were killed. Obviously, you should always be mindful of the weather before setting out on a hike.