Embark on the journey back in time down the Inca trail to the city of Machu Picchu. Built around 1450 and abandoned 100 years later, Machu Picchu lay forgotten until 1911 when Hiram Bingham brought attention to this treasure and it was soon thereafter declared a world heritage site. It recently received a title change to be included as one of the New 7 Wonders of the world. The Machu Picchu ruins are 7970ft above sea level on a ridge in the Umbra Valley in Peru, meaning that altitude sickness can be problematic for some. The buildings are constructed in dry stone wall, and are created so flawlessly that in some places the stones are so well constructed that not even a knife can pass through the crevices. Current perspectives on history and prevalence of Machu Picchu indicate that it was a country resort for elite Incans, with no more then 700 people living their at one time.
The best time to visit Machu Picchu is between April and May. This is right after the rainy season and just before high tourist time, everything is perfectly lush and green, and not to cold. Due to the influx in tourism over recent years there are now regulations on the numbers of hikers allowed on site, so be sure to book your trip in advance.
Odds n' Ends
It costs about $45 Canadian to enter into Machu Picchu, plus travel and accommodations. Hiking the Inca Trail can take 2 - 4 days, or you can opt for same day travel by taking a train from Cusco to Ruinas station and a bus the remainder of the trip up. It is suggested to schedule at least one day if not two for a visit, travelers can choose to stay near the ruins in one of the various hotels in Aguas Calientes. If you want to really live it up there is only one hotel actually in Machu Picchu, and it is called the Machu Picchu Sanctuary Lodge, and considered extremely expensive. The rooms do not have a view of the ruins, but the isolation and tranquility are priceless.
Other pointers to remember for this experience is that large backpacks and luggage are not allowed on site, only small backpacks and bags. It is prohibited to bring outside food to the ruins, but this is up for debate. Try and packs some snacks and drinks as ones offered on site can be pricey, up to double what they are in Cusco.
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Almost a century after its archaeological discovery and thanks to recent studies of sixteenth century archival documents, there are good arguments to suppose that the citadel of Machu Picchu was - like the pyramids of the pharaohs in Egypt...
Beholding the ancient incan ruins of machu Picchu as they rise from the Peruvian jungle is a joy that deserves to be on everyone's travel wish list. But did you know that there's more than one way to arrive at this World Heritage Site?
In 1911, an innkeeper from the Peruvian town of Aguas Calientes led Hiram Bingham on a scramble up a steep, jungle-tangled embankment to the extensive ruins of an Inca settlement that was named Machu Picchu for the neighboring mountain.
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