The ancient citadel of the Inca empire
Along with the Iguazu Falls, Rio and the Galapagos, Machu Picchu is one of the most famous destinations in South America. At approximately 50 miles to the northwest of the stunning Incan city of Cusco, this Inca citadel is one of the most stunning archaeological sites in the world and gives a glimpse at the level of sophistication of this 15th century tribe.
Originally discovered by the famous American historian, Hiram Bingham, the site and temple was thought to have been built around the 1400s as an estate for the then Inca chief, Pachacuti. Today the site is a UNESCO world heritage site and has been voted many times as one of the seven wonders of the world. With its other worldly feel and the fact that it is always bathed in sunlight, with the valleys in darkness below, it certainly takes the breath away the first time you see it.
Most who come here choose to stay for a couple of nights which will then allow for a full day at Machu Picchu and exploring the surroundings, including the taller, Huayna Picchu that offers great views over the site (although it is a pretty hair raising scramble to get up there!) Another option worth having a look at is the 2 day or 4 day walk that takes you into the site from the eastern side, and allows for some incredible walking through the peaks of the Andes. (it is said that, where it takes us 4 days to walk from the valley to Machu Picchu, the Incas used to run out from Cuzco and get there in the same day! When you are hiking the route and see the locals stomping past with 40kgs on their heads you can see that it would be possible!) To give you an idea of the itinerary for the 2 day walk have a look at the below:
Walking the Inca Trail
2 day/1 night short version of the Inca Trail - This trip allows a taste of the Inca Trail without days of hiking and camping and is ideal for trekkers wanting to experience at least a part of the Inca Trail but haven't got the time or energy to complete the full 4 day trek.
The hike starts from the train’s stop at Kilometre 104 and follows the trail for six hours to the first spectacular view of Machu Picchu from Inti Punku, The gate of the Sun. From here the path descends into the world famous “Lost City”. After a restful night in a hotel in the town of Aguas Calientes, you return to Machu Picchu at dawn to see the ruins in perfect morning light. In the afternoon, you will return to Cusco by train.
**Before taking this tour you must know about the new regulations created to minimize impact on the fragile environment of the Machu Picchu Sanctuary, Nowadays only 500 people in total including guides, cooks and porters on the classic Inca Trail, the shorter Inca Trail and the Salkantay 7 day trek are allowed to enter Machu Picchu via the Inca trail daily. We advise you to book early to secure your spot.**