Machu Picchu Archaeological Site
By Paulina Sánchez |
The inhabitants of Machu Picchu abandoned the city to prevent it from ever being discovered. Now you can visit it and marvel at its beauty.
VISIT MACHU PICCHU IN PERU
THE LEGEND OF MACHU PICCHU
Legend says that, following the Spaniards’ arrival, the inhabitants of Machu Picchu abandoned their city so that it would not be found. After swearing they would never reveal its location, the Incas left their world behind and sealed it with megaliths. Fortunately, nature aided them too as it hid the buildings and the supposed treasures that were kept in them behind an impenetrable thicket. And so, the city slept for five hundred years on the mountaintop of the Andes until a History researcher from Yale, Hiram Bingham, “discovered” it in 1911. Based on his findings,National Geographic magazine published an issue dedicated to the site in 1913, and ever since then, Machu Picchu has been a popular attraction for academics and tourists. That’s why it’s not a surprise that nowadays it’s one of the Wonders of the Modern World.
Machu Picchu is located northeast of the city of Cusco. The complex is conformed by structures such as terraces, temples and altars. Even though the Incas did not invent the wheel, they designed roads and domesticated the llama as a beast of burden. Also, they built suspension bridges and trained highly skilled runners capable of sprinting across long distances to take messages to neighboring territories (Did someone say marathon?).
When you visit this destination, apart from marveling at its natural and architectural landscapes, you’ll learn about Peruvian culture. Actually, you’ll find that many of the locals still wear traditional colorful clothes. Likewise, if you’re lucky, you’ll meet some likeable llamas that will probably look at you with delusions of grandeur, as if being aware that tourists, who are evidently fascinated by them, love taking pictures of them.
A HIDDEN MUSEUM
The Manuel Chávez Ballón museum is a rarely visited place; however, its function is to preserve and spread the Historic Sanctuary of Peru. Throughout its seven different exhibit halls, the museum will teach you about the beauty and the mysteries of its collections, which will immerse you in the importance of Machu Picchu. In addition, it will offer you information about this wonderful place, such as how and why it was built in a natural setting. Also, don’t forget to visit the botanical garden it houses… it’s full of orchids! The museum faces the mountains of Machu Picchu, so you can reach it by going over the bridge that crosses over the Urubamba river on the way to the citadel.
PERUVIAN NATIONAL PARKS
Apart from its more than 100,000 archaeological sites including Machu Picchu, Peru offers many attractions. You can practice ecotourism at the Manú National Park, cultural tourism in colonial cities like Cusco, adventure tourism at the Huascarán National Park and gastronomical tourism in Lima, Gastronomic Capital of America.
HOW TO TREAT ALTITUDE SICKNESS
It’s probable that when you arrive in Cusco you’ll have altitude sickness, but it usually diminishes after the first three hours, which is the time you should rest before ascending to Machu Picchu.Yet, if you feel great discomfort, you can smell muña Peruvian leaves or drink a coca leaf tea –don’t worry, it won’t cause any hallucinations.
THE MYSTERIOUS TEMPLE OF THE MOON
Visiting this temple takes time because you need to walk extra miles if you want to be amazed by its secrets. Located on the mountainous slopes that fall on the northern side of Huayna Picchu, the Temple of the Moon rises, its name given by the explorer Hiram Bingham meaning “The big cavern“. Its location inside a cave makes it a unique architectural work, so don’t miss the chance to visit it.
THE OTHER ENTRANCE TO MACHU PICCHU
There is another way to reach the wonderful city of Machu Picchu, and it’s the Inca Trail. It’s the best route for visitors who decide to immerse themselves in the Andean flora and fauna. You must walk 4 days and 26 miles in order to reach your final destination. Are you up for the challenge? If you take this path, you can enter the Andean world through vegetation that decorates the landscape and gives you the feeling of being an explorer. It’s important to book in advance and have a good conditioning level in order to live this incredible experience.
THE BEST TIME TO TRAVEL TO MACHU PICCHU
The annual average temperatures in Machu Picchu are of 60ºF. For this reason, we recommend taking a sweater and a raincoat, especially if you travel there between October and April –rainy season. For your convenience, we suggest planning your trip in August, when you’ll find the best weather. Also, make your reservations at least one month in advance and pay for a certified guide. One more travel tip! Don’t go in February because the Inca Trail closes that month to promote the natural recovery of the land.