A guide to Machu Picchu

A guide to Machu Picchu

Walking really is one of the best ways to explore a destination – particularly one as unique as Machu Picchu, but if you’re not too sure what to expect from this Peruvian wonder, have a read of today’s post, courtesy of Walks Worldwide…

A favourite destination for trekkers, Peru is a fascinating country with a rich culture that oozes natural beauty. Of course, when it comes to treks here, Machu Picchu trips top pretty much everyone’s list – and reading our guide can tell you exactly why.

What is Machu Picchu?

There’s plenty of hype surrounding Machu Picchu, so you’re pretty much guaranteed to have heard of it and, if you’re planning on visiting Peru, it’s an absolute must see. But what exactly is it?

Often referred to as the ‘lost city of the Incas’, Machu Picchu was once the greatest city of the Inca Empire. One of the most amazing things about it is that its walls and ramps seem to emerge almost naturally from the rock they rest on.

machu-picchu, peru

Situated around 100 km from the Inca capital, Cusco, Machu Picchu has a spectacular setting in the middle of a tropical mountain rainforest almost 2,500 m above sea level – and is a really inspirational site that’ll have you captivated in seconds.

Why’s it so important?

Machu Picchu is famous all over the world – and its importance is cemented by the fact it’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Of course, we’ve all been to places that sound amazing and then fail to live up to our expectations, so what is it that makes Machu Picchu different?

Looking at it from the views of archaeologists and historians, it’s a crucial site simply because it gives us a unique insight into the Inca civilisation. In terms of architecture, it’s an amazing example of using natural materials to build something that works perfectly in harmony with its surroundings.

And in terms of travellers? It’s like nowhere else you’ve ever been or will ever go. Experiencing this site for yourself is like travelling back in time and really connecting with this ancient people. Hidden so far away from the capital along the long, exciting Inca Trail, it’s got an incredible air of mystery that really adds to its charm.

Things to see around Machu Pichu

Such is the mystery surrounding this site that its purpose has never been officially ascertained. What’ll strike you most about it, though, is the way its walls and platforms are built into the mountain. They almost seem like they’re a part of it.

While we don’t know the exact purpose the city served – something that’s all the more baffling given how far it is from the Inca capital – experts have picked out some distinct quarters. Depending on what kind of itinerary/package you choose, you could get a guided tour of the site, which will show you spots like the royal sector and the farmers’ quarter.

Machu Pichu, Peru

Now, the city itself is not the only thing to look out for here. If you opt for a trek, for example, the Sun Gate – or Intipunka – is definitely not to be missed. You’ll find it at the end of the Inca Trail high above Machu Picchu. It’s a small notch – pretty reminiscent of a doorway, actually – through which you can see amazing views of the city and the surrounding mountains. Utterly sublime!

Ways to visit Machu Pichu

There are two main ways of getting to Machu Picchu – trekking via the Inca Trail, or taking a train from Cusco to Aguas Caliantes and then hopping on a bus or walking up to the site from there.

If you’re after a real adventure, go for the trekking option. This way, you get to walk along the world-famous Inca Trail, which is the best-known trek in Peru. A real plus point of doing this is that you’ll get to see so much along the way, including the former fortress and citadel Ollantaytambo, and some unforgettable landscapes.

Ollantaytambo Inca Ruin, Machu Pichu

This post was brought to you by Walks Worldwide, who specialise in trekking and walking holidays to exciting and exotic destinations all around the world…

Have you ever been to Machu Picchu? We’d love to know what you thought!

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