For many visitors to Peru and even South America, a visit to the Inca city of Machu Picchu is the long-anticipated high point of their trip.
In a spectacular location, it’s the best-known archaeological site on the continent. This awe-inspiring ancient city was never revealed to the conquering Spaniards and was virtually forgotten until the early part of the 20th century. In the high season, from late May until early September, 2500 people arrive daily. Despite this great tourist influx, the site manages to retain an air of grandeur and mystery, and is a must for all visitors to Peru.
Machu Picchu is probably one of the top international bucket list destinations. Unknown to the outside world until 1911, its mystique and stunning location on a mountain ridge have been drawing adventurous visitors ever since. In 2007, this stone citadel in the sky was voted one of the New Seven Wonders of the World in an internet poll in which more than 100 million votes were cast.
The detail of Machu Pichu
Twelve acres of terraces, gardens, staircases, temples and aqueducts sprawl along a jungle ridge above the Urubamba River at 7,970 feet above sea level. Most archaeologists believe the 15th-century site was built as an estate for the emperor Pachacuti, then abandoned and “lost” after the Spanish conquest.
In 2011, the Peruvian government began limiting visitors to 2,500 per day, so it is vital to get tickets well in advance of your visit through an online ticketing site. An English site explains the process.