Visiting Machu Picchu

Category: South America
Date Posted: 2013-08-30


Machu Picchu may be one of the most well-known monuments on Earth, but there are still many who have yet to discover the beauty of this place. Here are some of the reasons why you should consider adding this destination on your wishlist.


Machu Picchu Peru

Photo Credit: Machu Picchu Peru by ShashuBellamkonda, on Flickr


What is Machu Picchu?


This is an easy question, but I am sure there are some who still don’t know much about this famous archeological site. Machu Picchu was once a thriving city of the Incas, a stronghold whose stone walls defended the Inca Empire for years. Made entirely out of stone, the city is made up of countless homes and palaces. While archeologists today are still trying to find out if Machu Picchu was a military base, a ceremonial site, or simply a retreat for the wealthy, one thing is certain: the legendary “Lost City of the Incas” (and UNESCO World Heritage site) is worth visiting.



Where is Machu Picchu?


Located high in the Andes (at over 2000 m), this Peruvian site was the center of a series of trails. Machu Picchu is also surrounded by the Urubamba River, which is known for being extremely windy and difficult to navigate. Tropical forests complete the appearance of a city with a unique, yet isolated position.



Who discovered Machu Picchu?


When reading about the inhospitable landscape, you might immediately wonder who was able to travel to such a remote area, and find the city in the first place. Funnily enough, while the locals knew of the site, Spanish conquistadors were never able to find it.


Hiram Bingham

Photo Credit: Hiram Bingham by Juliana Manzerova, on Flickr


It wasn’t until 1911, when Hiram Bingham, a professor at Yale University, first laid eyes on the mysterious city. Famously, Bingham ended up “discovering” Machu Picchu by accident – he was supposedly on a mission to discover an entirely different city. Nonetheless, Machu Picchu soon became known to the world.



When should I visit Machu Picchu?


While the site is open year-round, it is highly recommendable that you visit Machu Picchu between May and September, the period also known as the dry season. July and August are the busiest months, and while travelling during peak season offers you many travel options, it is also very crowded.


Travelling during the rainy season may not be so hectic, but it also restricts the number of ways to travel to the Lost City. If you’re not afraid of a little rain, November and April are ideal, as the weather is far too unpredictable in the remaining months.




How do I get to Machu Picchu?


Due to its location, Machu Picchu might seem difficult to reach at first. However, after flying to Peru, it is only a matter of time until you find out how easy it is to get to the Lost City. During the dry season, bold tourists can try hiking, zip lining, or biking, but there are many other possibilities available. If you want to travel comfortably, then you can get to Machu Picchu via bus, minibus, or even train. There are many travel agencies which offer a variety of tours, so it’s only a matter of finding what is best for you.



Why should I visit Machu Picchu?



Why not? It’s a unique experience in which you can learn about an interesting culture, while also enjoying the breathtaking Peruvian landscape. If planned wisely, a trip to Machu Picchu (and its surroundings) can be done even if you’re on a budget. Get ready for the adventure of a lifetime!