Did you know that Machu Picchu was nominated as the “Top Dream Destination 2018” after competing with 16 other top international destinations? And it won for a good reason, millions of people each year visit the ancient Inca citadel and this has not changed ever since.
Here some interesting Machu Picchu information which might explain why it is such a popular destination:
Machu Picchu was discovered in 1911 by Hawaiian archeologist Hiram Bingham. The exact age of the site is undefined but to believed it was built in the mid-1400s under the order of Pachacuti Inca Yupanqui. It was probably constructed for spiritual and/or royal lodging reasons. The Spaniards were unable to find the citadel because it is so high up hidden in the mountains. Lucky for us, because that is thought to be one of the reasons why it is still so well-preserved, even though it was constructed atop two earthquake fault lines. Another factor that helped to preserve was the advanced architecture of the Incas. Stones fit perfectly on top of one another which makes the walls incredibly solid. The construction is now considered as one of the New Seven World Wonders.
Size and Surroundings
At around 2,430 m high, Machu Picchu has an area of 32,592 hectares and is divided into an urban, religious and agricultural area. Many stairs lead the way to plenty of constructions, houses, and temples that are made out of stone walls. In the middle of the site, a plaza is located and plenty of terraces surround the Inca site. There is the Inti Punku, the Sun Gate, which was once the main entrance to Machu Picchu and now the entry for the Inca Trail hikers. The ruins of Machu Picchu also stretch up to Huayna Picchu mountain which is next to the citadel. On the way to its top, it is possible to visit the Temple of the Moon. A short 45-minute hike will take you to the mountain top along a steep path but with a breathtaking view over the whole site. Huayna Picchu means “Young Mountain”, whereas Machu Picchu means “Old Mountain”. With being one of the favorite hikes when at the site there is only a limited number of tickets and they sell out extremely fast.
The rainy season (November – March), at first thought, might not seem like the perfect time for a visit, but that is the ideal time to fully enjoy nature when it is in its greenest and most beautiful.
Ways to get to Machu Picchu
Nowadays, there are plenty of ways of how to get to Machu Picchu, some longer and some shorter. Numerous hikes pave the way to the UNESCO world legacy. From shorter treks like the Inca Trail 2 Days to 5 Day treks like the Salkantay Trek or longer treks like a combination of the Inca Trail 4 Day and Salkantay 5 Day hike. If you are looking for something more relaxed go for the Inca Jungle Trail.
For anyone who does not like hiking at all, there is the option of doing a 2 Day or Fullday tour by car and train. The transport system from Cusco to Machu Picchu is quite developed. Plenty of vans bring you to Ollantaytambo each day from where you can take the train to Aguas Calientes, the village located at Machu Picchu. You can also take a train from Poroy, a village about 20 minutes from Cusco, however, train frequency is way less. Another way is going to Hidroeléctrica near Santa Teresa by car and walk approximately 10 km for around 3 hours. Once at Aguas Calientes buses with a frequency of 20 minutes take you for a serpentine-ride to the entrance of Machu Picchu, or you take an around 1,5-hour-long hike climbing up the path made out of stairs.
What to keep in mind for your visit
To be able to enter Machu Picchu you do need an entrance ticket, which is recommendable to buy in advance. Especially in the busy season (April – September) tickets sell out extremely fast. That also applies to extra hikes like Huayna Picchu and Machu Picchu Mountain. Since 2019 there are nine different time schedules, whereas in 2018 there were only two: one in the morning and one in the afternoon. For Huayna Picchu and Machu Picchu Mountain, there are more schedules as well now. You can either get your tickets through a travel agency or buy it on your own at the Ministry of Culture. This can be done either online or directly at their office.
As Machu Picchu is one of the world’s top dream destinations, many freshly-wed couples make it their honeymoon destination. The magic of this place is reason enough to get a flight to Peru and get lodged in one of the beautiful hotels in Aguas Calientes for a unique experience and to immerse into its hidden mysteries. You can combine the visit for your Machu Picchu honeymoon perfectly with a hike to make it an even more unforgettable journey.
Take a glance at the small Machu Picchu map to give you an idea of the site: