The astonishing site of Machu Picchu has recently become one of the most talked about travel destinations in the world.
Situated 2,350 meters above sea level in a seemingly impossibly isolated location on the slopes of the Peruvian Andes it strokes the mind. An exciting way to access Machu Picchu is by walking the Inca Trail, an intensely popular hiking path that soars to 4,000 meters over its 45km length, adding still more grandeur to the Incan village when – typically after days hiking – you do finally arrive.
If your efforts to get there don’t leave you breathless, the complexity of the citadel will. Clearly based on ancient Cusco, Machu Picchu contains delicate squares, storehouses, temples, workshops, stairways and even water fountains amongst what at first seems a simple rustic layout. There’s a traditional out of town graveyard guarded by a control gate, a sacred sun rock, and even an underwater channel used to nourish crops with the water running from the town’s fountains.
In this case, though, the route through the stunning Andes is very nearly as impressive as the destination. Given clear weather you’ll have the chance to stare at the snowy peaks, wallow in smelly Sulfur springs, cross delicate footbridges and crumbling canyons, and even ascend the flimsy Inca stairways that have you hanging on for dear life, and eying the native orchids and wildlife.
You’ll need to book months in advance to guarantee one of the limited daily spots (500 per day at the time of writing, due damage to the site from excessive tourism), either walking the trail or taking the train or helicopter-assisted short cuts up to this quite incredible site. The first time you see the ancient landscape emerge from the clouds at the peak of its sheer subtropical mountain home, or explore the well preserved temples, fountains, houses and tombs all hidden away far from civilization, though, you’ll be very glad you did.
Aguas Calientes is best known as the ending train station on the trip from Cusco to Machu Picchu. As one would expect with the "Gateway to Machu Picchu", it has developed into a town that bas…
Ollantaytambo is a town located in Peru's "Sacred Valley" and is about 40 miles northwest of Cusco on the route to Macchu Pichu. It is located at a fairly lofty altitude of 9,200 feet and th…