Machu Picchu, located in the Andes Mountains of Peru, is a world-renowned archaeological site that has captured the imaginations of travelers and explorers for generations. With its awe-inspiring mountain vistas and ancient Incan ruins, Machu Picchu is a must-visit destination for anyone interested in history, culture, and adventure.
In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the history of Machu Picchu, the best ways to explore the site, and some tips for making the most of your visit.
The History of Machu Picchu
Machu Picchu was built by the Incas in the 15th century and was abandoned just over 100 years later during the Spanish conquest of the region. It remained hidden from the world until 1911 when American archaeologist Hiram Bingham stumbled upon the ruins while searching for the lost city of Vilcabamba.
Today, Machu Picchu is recognized as one of the most important archaeological sites in the world and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The site consists of a complex of stone structures, including temples, terraces, and living quarters, that were built without the use of mortar.
Exploring Machu Picchu
There are a few ways to explore Machu Picchu, depending on your interests and preferences. Here are some of the most popular options:
- Hike the Inca Trail: The Inca Trail is a multi-day trek through the Andes Mountains that ends at Machu Picchu. This is a great option for those who enjoy hiking and want to experience the stunning scenery of the region.
- Take the Train: The train from Cusco to Aguas Calientes, the town closest to Machu Picchu, is a comfortable and scenic way to reach the site. From Aguas Calientes, visitors can take a bus or hike up to the ruins.
- Visit with a Tour: Many tour operators offer guided visits to Machu Picchu, which can be a good option for those who want to learn more about the history and culture of the site.
Tips for Visiting Machu Picchu
Here are a few tips to help you make the most of your visit to Machu Picchu:
- Plan ahead: Machu Picchu is a popular destination, so it’s a good idea to book your tickets and accommodations in advance.
- Consider the time of day: The site can get crowded during peak hours, so consider visiting early in the morning or late in the afternoon to avoid crowds.
- Dress appropriately: The weather can be unpredictable in the Andes, so bring layers and waterproof gear.
- Hire a guide: A guide can provide valuable insight into the history and culture of the site and can help you navigate the complex of ruins.