Torres del Paine National Park

Machu Picchu, Peru, one of the New Seven Wonders

Machu Picchu, Peru
Image: inca world PERU - Tours and Tourist Packages
Machu Picchu (Old Peak in Quechua language), is the most emblematic National Monument of Peru and has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1983. 
Situated at 2,500 meters above sea level in the Urubamba River valley within the Central Cordillera of southern Peru, the citadel consists of archaeological ruins from an ancient village of the Inca Empire. It is considered one of the most desired tourist destinations for travelers worldwide.
According to recent anthropological research, the location of the redoubt was chosen to place it at the highest possible altitude so that they could see the sky closer. The Inca civilization believed that a location closer to the sun would allow them a better and more suitable position for their astronomical studies as well as religious rituals. In addition to its great historical and cultural value, Machu Picchu is considered a masterpiece of architecture and engineering. The impressive citadel, whose construction dates back to the XV century, went unnoticed by the Spanish conquerors and was almost forgotten until the XX century.
The site also offers breathtaking views of the surrounding valleys and mountains, making it a must-visit for history and nature enthusiasts alike.


Machu Picchu is located in the Eastern Cordillera of southern Peru, on a mountain ridge that is 2,430 meters (7,970 feet) above sea level.  It is about 80 kilometers (50 miles) northwest of Cusco, the former capital of the Inca Empire. 
The site is surrounded by steep slopes and lush forests, and overlooks the Urubamba River valley.  The river cuts through the mountains and creates a canyon with a tropical climate. 
Machu Picchu means "Old Peak" in Quechua, the language of the Incas.  The name refers to one of the two peaks that flank the site. The other peak is called Huayna Picchu, which means "New Peak".



The climate of Machu Picchu is influenced by its high altitude and its location near the equator. It is generally mild and humid, with an average temperature of 16°C (61°F). However, the weather can vary greatly depending on the season and the time of day. The rainy season lasts from November to March, when heavy showers and fog are common. The dry season lasts from April to October, when sunny days and cold nights are typical.

The best time to visit Machu Picchu is between May and September, when the skies are clear and the views are spectacular. However, this is also the peak tourist season, so be prepared for crowds and higher prices.

How to get there 

There are several ways to get to Machu Picchu from Cusco. The most popular and convenient option is to take a train to Aguas Calientes, the nearest town to the site. There are different types of trains available, from budget-friendly to luxury ones. The train ride takes about 3-4 hours and offers scenic views of the countryside (due to the mountainous topography and the lack of direct roads, the route to Machu Picchu involves a long journey by road or train).

Once in Aguas Calientes, you can either take a bus or hike up to Machu Picchu. The bus takes about 30 minutes and costs around $12 for a round trip ticket. The hike takes about 90 minutes and follows a steep trail with stone steps. You will need a valid entrance ticket to Machu Picchu to access the trail.

Another option is to hike the Inca Trail, a four-day trek that starts from Ollantaytambo or Km 82 on the railway line. This is a challenging but rewarding way to reach Machu Picchu, as you will pass by several archaeological sites and enjoy stunning views of the mountains. You will need a permit and guide to hike the Inca Trail, and you should book well in advance as space is limited.

Places to visit in Machu Picchu

Machu Picchu is divided into two main sectors: the "urban sector" and the "agricultural sector". 

The urban sector contains most of the buildings and structures that were used for religious, administrative, and residential purposes. The agricultural sector contains terraces and storehouses that were used for farming and food storage. Some of the most notable places to visit in Machu Picchu are:

* The Intihuatana,  it is a ritual stone associated with the astronomical clock or calendar of the Inca. It is a four-sided stone, with each point representing the four cardinal points (north, south, east, and west). The name "Intihuatana" is derived from the local Quechua language, where "inti" means "sun," and "watana" is the verb root "to tie, hitch (up)." Hence, Intihuatana is literally an instrument or place to "tie up the sun," often expressed in English as "The Hitching Post of the Sun". The stone was used for agricultural and astronomical purposes, and it is believed to have been used to "tie up" the sun during the winter solstice festival known as Inti Raymi.

* The Temple of the Sun, or "TorreĆ³n", a semicircular building that was dedicated to Inti, the sun god. It has a window that aligns with the sunrise on the winter solstice. This important Inca site may have been used as an astronomical observatory.

* The Temple of the Three Windows, a rectangular building that has three trapezoidal windows facing east. It symbolizes the three realms of the Inca cosmology: the sky, the earth, and the underworld.

* The Temple of the Condor, a rock formation that resembles the shape of a condor, a sacred animal for the Incas. It may have been used as a sacrificial altar or a prison.

* The Main Plaza, or "Plaza Mayor", a large open space that was used for ceremonies and gatherings. It is surrounded by buildings and terraces on three sides.

* The Royal Tomb, a cave-like structure that was probably used as a burial place for an important person. It has niches, sculptures, and a carved stone that resembles a throne.

* The House of the High Priest, considered one of the best preserved Inca structures in the area, with all four walls still standing. Very little is known about the specific purpose of the House of the High Priest, but it is believed to have been a place for the elite in the Inca society to enter Machu Picchu.

* Inca Trail, it is a famous hiking route in that leads to the ancient ruins of Machu Picchu. It is a multi-day trek that takes four days and three nights and covers a distance of 39 kilometers along the Inca Trail. The path takes hikers through various Andean environments, including cloud forest and Peruvian jungle, following the original route taken by the Incas 500 years ago. The route is a once-in-a-lifetime adventure that offers spectacular scenery and ruins. However, due to its popularity and concerns about the impact of tourism on the historic sanctuary of Machu Picchu, the Inca Trail is limited to 500 people per day and permits are difficult to obtain. It is important to make reservations in advance with a licensed tour company.

* Huayna Picchu, a steep mountain overlooking Machu Picchu with ancient ruins and a challenging hike. Also known as Wayna Picchu it is part of the National Sanctuary and overlooks the famous Machu Picchu, offering stunning views of the surrounding mountains and valleys. The name "Huayna Picchu" means "young mountain" in Quechua, and it was the site of an important Inca temple. The mountain is a popular attraction, and a steep and sometimes exposed trail leads to the summit in about two hours. Only a limited number of visitors are allowed to hike Huayna Picchu each day, with a maximum of 400 visitors.

* The Sacred Valley, a place in the province of Urubamba in Cusco, Peru, and is often considered the gateway to Machu Picchu. The Sacred Valley is known for its beautiful traditional towns, ancient citadels such as Pisac, Ollantaytambo, and Chinchero, and agricultural terraces such as Moray. 

The Sacred Valley offers a range of activities including ruin visits, adventure experiences such as ziplining and rafting, and cultural workshops. The valley is a major tourist destination and is located between Cusco and Machu Picchu, making it a popular stop for visitors to the region.

While Machu Picchu itself is not located in the Sacred Valley, it is very close, and visitors often pass through the Sacred Valley on their way to Machu Picchu.


Other interesting data

* Machu Picchu was built around the 15th century by the Inca emperor Pachacuti as an estate and a retreat. It was abandoned around the 16th century, probably due to the Spanish conquest or an epidemic.

* The Inca citadel was not widely known to the outside world until it was "discovered" by the American explorer Hiram Bingham in 1911. He was led to the site by a local farmer named Melchor Arteaga. Bingham thought he had found Vilcabamba, the last refuge of the Incas, but he was mistaken.

* Machu Picchu is considered one of the New Seven Wonders of the World and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It attracts millions of visitors every year and is one of Peru's main tourist attractions.

* Machu Picchu is also a source of mystery and speculation. Some people believe it was a sacred center for worship and rituals, while others think it was a secret city or a military fortress. Some even claim it has connections to aliens or ancient civilizations.

* Whatever the truth may be, Machu Picchu is undoubtedly a marvel of engineering and architecture, and a testament to the ingenuity and culture of the Incas.


  1. Sure, Machu Picchu in Peru is one of the New Seven Wonders of the World. The view of the ancient city, surrounded by the majestic Andes Mountains, is something that I will never forget. It is a great reminder of the ancient Incan civilization and its history. You can get more information at Andean Path Travel EIRL.

  2. Absolutely! Day Two on the Inca Trail tour can be a real test of endurance, but the breathtaking scenery truly makes it all worth it. It's incredible how the beauty of nature can help distract from the physical challenges. It's all part of the adventure!


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