Thursday, December 31, 2009

Machu Picchu - Peru

Machu Picchu
Place of Peace and Power

Machu Picchu is the most intriguing destinations on the planet ( one of the seven wonders of the world ) situated in Peru, South America.
Machu Picchu , is the Lost City of the Incas, located on 8000 ft above sea level and nestled on the highest peak of the Andes Mountains. This ‘Sacred Valley’ is famous for its spectacular views and photographic scenaries, a place of unforgettable sunrises and magical moonlit nights This is one of the world's archaeological jewels and South America's major travel destinations. This is situated in the middle of tropical mountain forest, in an extraordinarily beautiful setting, and was rediscovered in 1911 by Hiram Bingham, a professor from Yale. This Lost City is famous for the Inca architecture and is fascinating both for its history and for the natural beauty that surrounds it.
Prepare the soul, sharpen the senses, forget for some minutes, the small, transcendental problems of our lives, of modern…man…And take a trip to Machu Picchu, a trip to the serenity of the soul, where we feel our fragility…

Machu Picchu stands 2,430 m above sea-level and  located high in the Andes Mountains in modern Peru, South America. It lies 43 miles northwest of Cuzco at the top of a ridge, hiding it from the Urabamba gorge below. Its mountain peaks, at around 6,270 meters above sea level,

Best months :   May to September

May is the prettiest month (the dense, subtropical mountain forests are exceptionally green) while August is the best all around month. The least desirable period is from October to April, the rainy season. 

Route Map:<
View Larger Map
Getting There:

There are a variety of ways to get to Machu Picchu from Cusco. These include
Fly Away:
Nearly all tourists begin their adventure by flying from Lima to the city of Cuzco (1 hour 15 minutes). They then stay overnight in Cuzco before embarking on their journey to Machu Picchu.
On Tracks: A three and a half hour train journey from Cusco will take you to the colourful Machu Picchu Town. There you will board a bus for the 30 minute drive up the mountain to Machu Picchu Sanctuary Lodge and the ruins.   You then transfer to a bus that zig-zags up a steep 2,000 foot high mountain slope to reach the Machu Picchu site (30 minutes).
By Hiking:
You can also hike from the Cuzco area to Machu Picchu on a network of ancient paths collectively named the Inca (or Inka) Trail. The journey takes 2 to 10 days, depending on your speed and choice of paths.
By Helicopter:
There is service between Cuzco and Aqua Calientes (near Machu Picchu).
On Wheels: By road to Ollantaytambo, then by train to Machu Picchu Town. Allow three hours.  Train service is provided by PeruRail. Once in  Machu picchu Town a regular bus service operates between Machu Picchu Town and the Inca ruins where Machu Picchu Sanctuary Lodge is located. Allow 20 minutes    
Please note that there are no taxis from Machu Picchu Town to the Machu Picchu Citadel, the only form of transportation is on public buses.

Tourist information

Daily visiting hours:
6.00am to 5.30pm

The entrance tickets to Machu Picchu are only sold at the INC (National Institute of Culture) office in Aguas Caliente town. Please note that the INC only accepts local currency. Since 2005, night visits to the Machu Picchu Citadel are no longer permitted.

Prime Attractions:
Machu Picchu :

Machu Picchu is a place of unforgettable sunrises and magical moonlit nights - located at the top of Aguas Calientes, in the heart of the valley of the Incas. Enjoy the remains of the ancient culture of this unique place, considered part of Peru's and the world's cultural heritage..The ruins are located in a lush jungle and are believed to have been built in the mid-15th century by Inca Pachacutec.
The Citadel

It has a magnificent natural scenery of a historic sanctuary, recognised as a Cultural and Natural Patrimony of the World. The construction was generally in stone and the roofs were built of tree trunks and thatched with ichu or straw. The walls lean slightly inward to protect against earthquakes. The breathtaking views from this mountaintop citadel and its well-preserved ruins are a photographer's dream.

Intipuncu – Sun Gate  
Located at 2,600m above sea level,. The climb from the Citadel to Intipunco has great views and photo opportunities

Puente Inca – Inca Bridge   Bridge is constructed over the Urubamba River. This bridge is a masterpiece of engineering, as it is carved out of the protruding rocks embedded in the mountainside, which served as a protection of the sacred citadel.

Temple of the Moon 
The magnificent and extraordinary artistic skill of the Incas is really amazing. The Moon Temple is one more instance of their incredibly sophisticated constructions. Although the site is really small, it amazes one with the perfection of its chisel work.
Funerary Rock Hut

One of the most photogenic spots at Machu Picchu can be experienced by hiking to the Funerary Rock Hut. Believed to be the place where Incan nobility were mummified, this vantage point offers a dramatic view of the whole complex.

Royal Tomb,
is the place where Incan Kings were mummified. . This cave-like area of Machu Picchu contains ceremonial niches. Inside the Royal Tomb , you can see numerous mummy excavations. Of more than 100 skeletal remains discovered here, 80% were women. This fact, among others, leads many historians to surmise that the area was inhabited primarily by high priests and chosen women.

Sacred Plaza

The view from Machu Picchu's Sacred Plaza makes one appreciate the superb craftmenship of the Inca. Surrounding the plaza are the most important buildings of the city. The Principal Temple is an example of excellent Inca stonemasonry, with its large stone blocks polished smooth and joined perfectly.

Central Plaza

Descending from the back of Sacred Plaza is the Central Plaza, a large grassy field that separates the Sacred Plaza and Intiwatana 


known as the "hitching post of the sun" is a carved rock pillar whose four corners are oriented toward the four cardinal points. The Inca wereaccomplished astronomers, and used the angles of the pillar to predict the solstices.
Sacred Rock:
Before a village could be erected, a sacred stone must be dedicated to the site. The Sacred Stone of Machu Picchu sits at the base of Huayna Picchu (little peak), from where you can take a one-hour climb to the top for another excellent view of the entire valley

Temple of the Condor

is a breathtaking example of Inca stonemasonry. A natural rock formation began to take shape millions of years ago and the Inca skillfully shaped the rock into the outspread wings of a condor in flight.   Under the temple is a small cave that contained a mummy. A prison complex stands directly behind the temple, and is comprised of human-sized niches and an underground maze of dungeons.

Inca Trail

is one of the world’s most famous hiking trails. Starting from the Sacred Valley of the Urubamba River and ending at the breathtaking ruins of Machu Picchu, the 45km trail takes three to five days to complete. The trail itself winds through a combination of high altitude mountain ranges (the Andes) and dense subtropical forest.

Inca Trail Map

Select a location and virtually travel to the popular and world famous Inca Trail. The trail will take you to Machu Picchu where you will find stunning views of the ancient village abandoned by the Incan's in the 17th century.

Machu Picchu Sanctuary Lodge

Machu Picchu Sanctuary Lodge is the only hotel located adjacent to the ancient citadel of Machu Picchu and the best hotel by which to explore the beautiful surrounding area.  Machu Picchu is a sacred and magical place of spectacular sunrises and mystical moonlit nights. This lodge is the perfect place to relax and unwind in the shadow of the Lost City.

Machu Picchu - Old Mountain  
This mountain is located towards the south of the Citadel.  A slow climb takes approximately three hours and once you reach the top, you will enjoy spectacular views. Not many visitors climb this peak (3,000 meters above sea level).

This is the mountain directly facing the Machu Picchu Sanctuary Lodge, name means 'Happy Mountain'. It has an altitude of 2,400 metres above sea level, and is sometimes also known as the 'Orange Half' mountain.

This hike takes about two and a half hours from the base of the mountain,. Once at the peak, you will be rewarded with a special view of Machu Picchu.

Thermal Baths
The town of Aguas Calientes, has hot springs and is just a 15 minute walk up the Pachacutec Avenue from the town's main square. These are natural, underground, hot sulphur springs, which bubble up from the rocky ground at varying temperatures and are well known for their medicinal properties.

Visiting Mandor Waterfall is an unforgettable adventure. It is an area of lush forest surrounding the town of Machu Picchu.
This stream of water flowing from step to step is one of the more tranquil spots in Machu Picchu. Just what the pools of water were used for is not exactly known. They could have been ceremonial baths. The first three fountains are very well decorated which may suggest a more religious purpose

The Palace:
Where the king lived is one of the more house-like dwellings in the ruins and has the only private bathroom in the kingdom.

Temple of the Sun:
One of the most important parts of the ruins of Machu Picchu, the Sun Temple is where religious ceremonies took place and well worth a visit.

The Guard House:
This is where the classic photo of Machu Picchu is taken. Most of the post-card views are from this vantage point and it is a good place to see the “face” in the rocks behind the ruins.

Lake Titicaca
 Lake Titicaca is set in the Andes Mountains at an altitude of around 12,500 feet, and as such, earns the title of highest navigable lake in the world. Also it is the largest lake in South America in terms of volume, and is sometimes used by the Bolivian Naval Force for naval exercises.

Hotels and Resorts:
As Machu Picchu becomes more and more of a popular destination, it is important to try and make your arrangements as far in advance as you can. Some of the best hotels are
·         Machu Picchu Sanctuary Lodge
·         Inkaterra Machu Picchu Hotel
·         Hostal Presidente
·         Gringo Bills
·         La Cabana Hostal
·         Hostal Machu Picchu
·         Hostal Pachacuteq
·         Hostal Continental
·         Jardin Real Hotel
·         Rupa Wasi Eco Lodge

Restaurants to Eat
·         Chez Maggy
·         Indio Feliz
·         Pueblo Viejo
·         Toto's House

Nearby Attractions:

Peru Travel Resources

·         Climbing
·         Inca Culture
·         Inca Trail Tours
·         Machu Picchu Tours
·         Peru Adventure Travel
·         Peru Surfing
·         Peru Travel Guides
·         Peru Travel Insurance
·         Trekking
·         Vacation Rental

For your Safety
Its good,  if you notify the authorities of the INC (Instituto Nacional de Cultura) at the entrance of the ruins, if you are planning to make any hikes. Please do not go out alone, the chance of getting lost is very high.

For your Comfort
Carry enough drinking water, wear comfortable shoes, take insect repellent and sun block with you. Keep at least one set of dry clothes at the Lodge.

Wishing you a very Safe and Happy Journey!!

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