An Introduction: Main sides around Machu Picchu city
Machu Picchu ("Old Peak") is located 2,430 metres (7,970 ft) above sea level. It
is situated on a mountain ridge above the Urubamba Valley in Peru, which is 80
kilometres (50 mi) northwest of Cusco and through which the Urubamba River
flows. Most archaeologists believe that Machu Picchu was built as an estate for
the Inca emperor Pachacuti (1438 -1472). Often referred to as "The Lost City of
the Incas" it is perhaps the most familiar icon of the Inca World
The Incas started building the "estate" around AD 1400 but abandoned it as an
official site for the Inca rulers a century later at the time of the Spanish
Conquest. Although known locally, it was unknown to the outside world before
being brought to international attention in 1911 by the American historian Hiram
Bingham. Since then, Machu Picchu has become an important tourist attraction.
Since the site was never known to the Spanish during their conquest, it is
highly significant as a relatively intact cultural site. Machu Picchu was
declared a Peruvian Historical Sanctuary in 1981 and a UNESCO World Heritage
Site in 1983. In 2007, Machu Picchu was voted one of the New Seven Wonders of
the World in a worldwide Internet poll.
Machu Picchu was built in the classical Inca style, with polished dry-stone
walls. Its three primary buildings are the Intihuatana, the Temple of the Sun,
and the Room of the Three Windows. These are located in what is known by
archaeologists as the Sacred District of Machu Picchu. In September 2007, Peru
and Yale University almost reached an agreement regarding the return of
artifacts which Yale has held since Hiram Bingham removed them from Machu Picchu
in the early 20th century. In November 2010, a Yale University representative
agreed to return the artifacts to a Peruvian university.
Machu Picchu (Spanish pronunciation: [ˈmatʃu ˈpitʃu], Quechua: Machu Pikchu [ˈmɑtʃu
ˈpixtʃu], "Old Peak") is a pre-Columbian 15th-century Inca site located 2,430
metres (7,970 ft) above sea level. It is situated on a mountain ridge
above the Urubamba Valley in Peru, which is 80 kilometres (50 mi) northwest of
Cusco and through which the Urubamba River flows. Most archaeologists believe
that Machu Picchu was built as an estate for the Inca emperor Pachacuti
(1438 -1472). Often referred to as "The Lost City of the Incas", it is perhaps
the most familiar icon of the Inca World
PLACES TO VISIT.
The Temple of the Moon, one of the three major temples in
the Machu Picchu area, is nestled on the side of the mountain and is situated at
an elevation lower than Machu Picchu. Adjacent to the Temple of the Moon is the
Great Cavern, another sacred temple with fine masonry. The other major local
temples in Machu Picchu are the Temple of the Condor, Temple of Three Windows,
Principal Temple, "Unfinished Temple", and the Temple of the Sun, also called
HUAYNA PICCHU MOUNTAIN
According to local guides, the top of the WAYNAPICCHU
mountain was the residence for the high priest and the local virgins. Every
morning before sunrise, the high priest with a small group would walk to Machu
Picchu to signal the coming of the new day.
Huayna Picchu or Wayna Pikchu (Quechua wayna young, young
man, pikchu pyramid; mountain or prominence with a broad base which ends in
sharp peaks, "young peak") is a mountain in Peru around which the Urubamba River
The Incas built a trail up the side of the Huayna Picchu
and built temples and terraces on its top. The peak of Huayna Picchu is about
2,720 metres (8,920 ft) above sea level, or about 360 metres (1,180 ft) higher
than Machu Picchu city.
The number of daily visitors allowed to enter Huayna Picchu
is restricted to 400. Advance purchase of tickets online will guarantee
admission. A steep and at times exposed climb leads to the summit. Some portions
are slippery and steel cables (a via ferrata) provide some support during the
one-hour climb. At times during the rainy season, the tours are closed. The
climb is not recommended for visitors in poor physical condition.
From the summit, a second trail leads down to the Gran Caverna and the Temple of
the Moon (a misnomer). These natural caves, on the north face of the mountain,
are lower than the starting point of the trail. The return path from the caves
completes a loop around the mountain as it rejoins the main trail.
THE SUN GATE or INTI PUNKU
How to get Machu Picchu from Cusco
There are 112krn of railway line between the city of Cusco and the station of
Puente Ruinas or Aguas Calientes town. The trip starts in the station of Poroy then it
goes to Cachimayo and lzcuchaca until
it reaches the Anta plains, an extensive cattle area. It climbs down the gully
of Pomatales before descending to the Sacred Valley of the Incas, arriving at
the station of Pachar. The route then crosses the Urubamba River to the right
bank and arrives at the station of Ollantaytambo. For those who arrived here by
the asphalt road of the Sacred Valley, one can board the train to continue to
Aguas Calientes town.
trip by train takes 4 Hours
aprox from Poroy station to Aguas Calientes town ( or Machu Picchu
Best and Fast way to get Machu Pucchu: take a
local van from Cusco to Ollantaytambo (1 hour and a half) and then take the
train from Ollantaytambo to Aguas Calientes town ( 1 hour and a half) todo 3
hours.... best way!
Once you are in Aguas calientes town
you take a BUS ride (25minutes up) to Machu Picchu Inca city (Price for this bus
ticket is USD9.50) any way you can skip the bus ride and walk up to Machu Picchu
(2 hours up)
This is the cheapest of the four services offered by PeruRail and only runs
between Ollantaytambo and Aguas Calientes. As the name suggests this service is
popular with backpackers because large racks above the seats allow backpacks to
be stored easily and safely, ideal
if you have
just done the Inca Trail or similar trek. The cloth-covered seats are
comfortable. Seating is arranged in groups of four (two seats facing
another two seats).
This is a new train service introduced in 2010. The Expedition service has large
panoramic windows and additional windows in the roof allowing you to enjoy the
mountain scenery. A snack and hot drink are included with the Expedition
service. There is also a table in front of you and the seats are
comfortable. Overall not a lot of difference from the more expensive Vistadome
service and, in our opinion, offering good value for money.
The Vistadome ServiceThe
Vistadome service has large panoramic windows and additional windows in the roof
allowing you to enjoy the mountain scenery. A snack and hot drink are included
with the Vistadome service. There is also a table in front of you. With the
Vistadome service you get posh leather seats which are very comfortable with
more leg room than the Expedition service. However the main advantage is that
you arrive at Aguas Calientes before the Expedition train (but only just).
Hiram Bingham Service
The Hiram Bingham train is the most luxurious way to journey between Cusco and
Machu Picchu. The carriages are painted a distinctive blue and gold while
interiors are luxurious, warm and inviting with elegant decoration in the style
of the 1920's Pullman trains. As passengers step on board they are encompassed
in a world of polished wood, gleaming cutlery and glittering glass. The train
consists of two Dining Cars, an Observation Bar Car and a Kitchen Car, and can
carry up to 84 passengers. Enjoying such a luxurious journey as you pass through
small villages that can't afford adequate schools or healthcare may make some
people feel uncomfortable, and rightly so. Ecotourism at its worst.
Entrance Ticket to Machu Picchu.
Tickets to enter Machu Picchu can no longer be bought at the entrance to Machu
Picchu itself. You now have to buy the entrance tickets at the Machu Picchu
Cultural Centre in Aguas Calientes town (10m from the main Plaza, opens at 5:15am).
The entrance fee in 2010 is 126 Peruvian Soles (which is approximately US$45).
There is a 50% discount for students with a valid ISIC card.
The people who work
in the Cultural Centreonly accept
payment in Peruvian Soles and rarely have any change so make sure that you
take the exact amount. If you don't they'll just tell you to come back when
you have the correct change - which can be difficult at 5:15am !! If you can,
best to buy the entrance tickets the day before. Alternatively you can buy the
tickets in Cusco at the Instituto Nacional de Cultura (INC) offices which can be
found at Cultura AV, 15 minutes by taxi from the main Plaza de Armas of Cusco). The
tickets are valid for 3 days from the day of purchase which means you have time
to travel to Aguas Calientes, stay the night and enter Machu Picchu the
following morning. However once you enter Machu Picchu they are only valid for
that day. If you want to return to Machu Picchu the following day then you have
to buy another ticket!!
Machu Picchu opens at 6am and stays open until 6pm. You can take small bags into
the ruins but anything larger must be left at the luggage store near the
entrance for 4 Peruvian Soles a piece (about 1.5USD) - remember to take exact
Machu Picchu is a lot quieter before 11am and after 3:30pm. Monday is the
busiest day, as many people head off to Machu Picchu after visiting Pisac market
on Sunday. Sunday is one of the quietest days. June, July, August and September
are the busiest months when as many as 3500 people visit the ruins everyday.
Even during the low season you can expect between 1500 and 2000 visitors per
NOTE: Mythical Trails Peru agency can
help you to buy your Machu Picchu ticket, just let us know or send us an e-mail
Where to stay in Machu Picchu: Hotels and hostals
Looking for info about Hotels in Machu Picchu make click on the link :
recommend stay over night in Aguas Calientes town and take a bus up to Machu
Picchu. It give you the chance to
see the sunrise over Machu Picchu...the light is
more gentle and there are fewer visitors ( Good for Pictures)
can stay at the super expensive US$750 a night Machu picchu,
Sanctuary lodge ,which is the only hotel adjacent to Machu Picchu ruins, or you can spend the
night in one of the many hotels in Aguas calientes town.
There's not a great deal to do in Aguas Calientes it doesn't rate as a particularly pretty town being built mostly of concrete,
much of which looks half finished, but I think visitors will agree that it does
have its own individual charm and character. There's a feel of a frontier town
about it, with the railway forming the high street and the steamy jungle-clad
mountains closing in on all sides.
There are plenty of restaurants and hotels in the town and its main attraction
are the thermal springs which gives Aguas (waters) Calientes (hot) its name. The
outdoor springs are situated 15 minutes walk up from the town centre. They are
fairly basic, with facilities to change and shower, and are used by the locals
as much as the tourists, but it's a great place to relax, buy a beer, and enjoy
Cuisines: French, Peruvian
Good for: Child-friendly, Romantic, Groups, Business, Local cuisine, Special