The Incas built Machu Picchu around 1450, but abandoned it a century later at the time of the Spanish Conquest. Although known locally, it was unknown to the outside world before being brought to international attention in 1911 by the American historian Hiram Bingham. Machu Picchu is one of the modern Seven Wonders of the World.
The site is so large it would take several days to see everything, however the highlights can be seen in a day, or better, two days if you have the time and available.
Machu Picchu - Central Area
The Central Area of Machu Picchu can be defined effectively as the areas that are covered as a part of the standard 2-3 Hour Private Tour offered by us and other providers. There are over 150 different palaces, temples, dwellings, and other structures within the citadel. Take time to get lost in its 75 acres of wonder and climb some of the citadel’s 10,000 steps.
Separated into three areas, agricultural, urban, and religious the structures are arranged so that the function of the buildings matches the form of their surroundings. Famous Machu Picchu attractions include the Intihuatana stone, which points toward the sun at the winter solstice and may have acted as an astronomical calendar, and the Temple of the Sun, and the Room of Three Windows, both of which were devoted to the Sun God Inti.
The central buildings of Machu Picchu use the classical Inca architectural style of polished dry-stone walls. The Incas were masters of this technique, called ashlar, in which blocks of stone are cut to fit together tightly without mortar. Many junctions in the central city are so perfect that it is said not even a blade of grass fits between the stones.
Huayna Picchu is the mountain you see behind Machu Picchu. It is about a 3 - 4 round-trip hike. Towering above the north end of Machu Picchu this steep mountain is often seen in the backdrop to the classic photos of the ruins.
The mountain is steep, but stone steps are laid along most of the way and where the mountain is steeper you will find a steel cable is used as a handrail. For fit people it is not a difficult climb.
Only 400 people are allowed to hike Huayna Picchu each day so please ask us to book tickets for your at the point of booking your Vacation.
Inti Punku the Sun Gate
Inti Punku, the Sun Gate, marks the entrance to Machu Picchu.
It is a one hour uphill hike to the south east of the Sanctuary, climbing more than 300 meters. The hike is on the original Inca trail and is paved with Inca stones. There is a spectacular view from the gate (pictured)
This one-hour hike to the south west of Machu Picchu, a nice original trail that overlooks the Aobamba Valley. The Inca Bridge is a part of a mountain trail that heads west from Machu Picchu. The trail is a stone path, part of which is cut into a cliff face. A twenty-foot gap was left in this section of the carved cliff face, over a 1,900 feet drop that could be bridged with two tree trunks which when removed the trail became impassable to outsiders. The path is narrow and paved with original Inca stones.
Apu Machu Picchu
The hike to the summit of Apu Machu Picchu is 2½ hours and can be quite steep in places. This trail, accessed from Machu Picchu joins parts of the Inca trail leading to the Sun Gate before climbing to the mountain's highest point. From there, enjoy the views Machu Picchu and other significant ruins in the area, such as Putukusi, Huayna Picchu, Salkantay Mountain and the Vilcanota River.
This is a breathtaking hike, lot of orchids along the way, birds in the bushy areas, and with every stop the view gets better and better. The climb is 600 meters uphill, so a reasonable level of fitness is required.
Access to Apu Machu Picchu is controlled by special tickets which need to be purchased in advance. Please ask for these at the point of booking to avoid disappointment.