One of the most beautiful and impressive ancient sites in the world, Machu Picchu is the undisputable number one among the top tourist attractions in Peru.
Although known locally, Machu Picchu was largely unknown to the outside world before being rediscovered in 1911 by historian Hiram Bingham. Since then, a large part of the settlement has been restored and today, Machu Picchu attracts hundreds of thousands of tourists from around the world. In 1983 it became a UNESCO World Heritage site.
From Cusco many tourists take the train to Machu Picchu, although some very tough ones go up the Inca Trail, which takes about three or four days. When going on foot you must make reservations in advance because Peruvian authorities only allow a certain number of visitors on the trail every day.
Once there, Machu Picchu often shows the average tourist a mystic image. The site is situated on top of a high hill with steep slopes dropping to the valleys below. The mountains are often covered in fog and clouds.
The ruins of Machu Picchu are divided into two sections. In the agricultural area visitors can see how the Inca grew their crops and worked on their land. In the urban section you can see the Temple of the Sun and other buildings where people lived and worshipped their gods.
Many tourists rush through Machu Picchu in a day and catch the last train back to Cusco, but some people take their time and spend the night in Aguas Calientes, the nearest town, only 6 kilometers away. Those who are in good physical shape can go on hiking trips in the nearby mountains and visit smaller peaks in the area.
Altitude 28000-2900 meters
Temperature Max 24º C and 12º C. Rainy season runs from November through March
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