It’s almost unfathomable that Machu Picchu, considered one of the new seven wonders of the world, was virtually forgotten until the early 20th century. Now recognized globally as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, in peak season from May to September nearly 2,500 people visit the ancient city daily. Also known as the “Lost City of the Incas,” Machu Picchu offers a unique experience for all travelers.
Prepping for your adventure
Rainy season in Peru is from October to April. This makes early summer through to late fall the best time to visit. Make sure you buy your ticket in advance to avoid disappointment. They only offer so many passes per day and they often sell out.
Don’t forget you need to be prepared for the physical effects of traveling and hiking.
Nestled in the Andes Mountain range, the elevation of Machu Picchu, 7,972 ft above sea level, is no joke. Altitude sickness can ruin any trip. The best way to prepare is to take things slow so you can acclimatize to the elevation.
Choose comfortable, breathable clothing and a lightweight bag so you can explore the site easily. You’ll definitely want to have your phone charged up and don’t forget your camera. You will want it to capture the beauty and mystery of the tropical mountain forest.
There’s nothing like it as the clouds float in the distance and the rounded edges of the mountains show the age of the place.
Make the experience your own
Being such a beautiful destination it attracts a lot of tourists. They come in droves, and the busiest day is Sunday because locals in the Cuzco province receive free admittance. This may impact whether or not you decide to hire a tour guide. Many locals are available for hire as you arrive, or you can choose to skip the tour and explore on your own.
It’s a cheaper option if you’re on a budget. Plus navigating the city on your own could be just as enlightening.
Walk in Incan shoes
Trekking up the mountainside and weaving through the stone-carved buildings, will inspire you to empathize with the Incans, who built the city. Carrying the massive stones up the steep cliffs and carving them into buildings, temples, baths, and terraces. A simpler time, it forces you to reflect on all the technology we rely on each day.
At Machu Picchu, each structure was constructed with intention. The Temple of the Sun was built to honor the Incan deity, “Inti.” So when the sun shines through the center window, it falls directly on the large ceremonial stone in the winter solstice. You can’t go into the temple, but the exterior shows the artistry of the early Peruvians.
The whole experience is spectacular. At times it feels a little surreal. If you have a chance to go to Machu Picchu, take it. You won’t forget it.
For a detailed guide to hiking Machu Picchu check out this great post from A Nomad on the Loose.
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This post was proofread by Grammarly