A Travel Guide for
What is Machu Picchu?
Machu Picchu is an ancient historical site
that was built in the 15th century by the
Incan civilization. It is located in Peru, on a
mountain ridge above the Sacred Valley,
which is 50 miles northwest of the city of
Cusco. Most people believe that it was an
estate built for the Incan emperor, Pachacuti, and it is often
referred to as the “Lost City of the Incas” because it was abandoned a
century later after being built. Anyone who is interested in learning
about other cultures and going to historical sites, specifically Incan sites,
should definitely want to visit.
Geography and Climate
Machu Picchu is located between two mountains high above the Urubamba river
valley in the Cusco province of Peru, 7,710 feet above sea level. Steep slopes
surround Machu Picchu from all side; The Incas accessed it by using the Inca trail.
The Peruvian Andes and Amazon have two main seasons,: the dry season which
runs from May to September, and the rainy season, which runs from October to
April. During the dry season, temperatures can run from 50° F at night to mid 80°
F during the day. During the dry season is the best time to travel to Machu Picchu,
although this time coincides with the summer holidays in North America. So in
order to avoid large crowds, it is best not travel in July and August when it is the
The ruins contain approximately 180 buildings, and there are many things to see,
so people who are visiting should try to spend at least a few days to thoroughly
explore the area. The Machu Picchu site is divided into two areas: the agricultural
area and the urban area. The urban area is further divided into two parts: Hanin
(upper area), and Hurin (lower area). The agricultural area is mainly a set of
terraces that were built for farming, so mostly the attractions are located in the
Hanin and Hurin areas.
More Attractions: Hanin
In the Hanin area, the Temple of the Sun is located,
which is one of Machu Picchu’s main religious
buildings. It’s location and relative position to the sun
suggest that is was used for the winter solstice
ceremony. Another attraction is the Intihuatana, which
is a hill turned into a set of terraces with a pyramid
shape. At the top of the hill lies the Intihuatan, known
as “Sundial.” a carved piece of stone used by the Incas
for astronomical purposes.
More Attractions: Hurin
Other attractions in the Hurin side include the Sacred
Rock, which is a flat-sided rock placed a pedestal, and
it marks the departure point to the Huayna Picchu
route. The Sector of the Three Gates is another
structure that contains houses and workshop facilities,
and faces Machu Picchu’s main square.
The major activity to do in Machu Picchu is to hike up
the Wayna Picchu, which towers above the south end
of the ruins. The entire walk has beautiful scenery, and
from the top of the mountain you have a birds eye
view over the whole site.
Machu Picchu is highly secluded and is surrounded by
mountains, so getting to the site can be difficult. Either
you can take the Inca Trail, or you can take a bus from
the nearby bus station called Aguas Calientes. Once
you are in the ruins, there are no vehicles, so you will
have to get around by walking.
What To Bring
You should bring good, comfortable walking shoes as
the only way you can get around the ruins is by
walking. You should also bring clothes for cold
weather such as sweaters, jackets, and scarves, as it
can get very cold in the mountains. Also make sure to
bring mosquito repellent, because Machu Picchu is
highly infected with mosquitos.
So what are you waiting for? Machu Picchu will be an
incredible, unforgettable experience of a lifetime, and
you definitely won’t regret going!