There is a lot that we don’t understand about this world we live in. There are ancient relics in plain sight that still make us scratch our heads while we marvel in amazement. Perhaps that’s exactly the appeal of it all as it piques everyone’s curiosity?
One of the most puzzling yet bedazzling gifts of the past is the mysterious Machu Picchu. Located on top of the mountains between the Peruvian Andes and the Amazon Basin, it is a sight to behold and a remarkable achievement. It continues to draw in numerous tourists who bask in its rich history and enigmatic energy.
History and Purpose
In the fifteenth century, the Inca civilization thrived as a strong and established society, creating the incredible area we know as Machu Picchu. The archaeological complex was believed to be the centre of religious, agricultural, and even astronomical practice for the Incas. What’s impressive about the area is how the stone terraces and architecture take advantage of the elements of the natural environment.
As far as its purpose, while it is obviously a site where the society co-existed, there are a lot of mysteries that remain unsolved. Some of which are how the Inca Empire had an advanced understanding of astronomy as is seen in the structures, and how they learned to domesticate wild plants just to name a few. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
Attractions in Machu Picchu
What’s so special about Machu Picchu, you say? A lot! It’s not some boring old place where it’s just silent and still. The architecture paired with the scenery are things you do not want to miss.
Here are some of the sights to see in the area:
- Intipunku (Sun Gate) – It’s a great site if you wish to see Machu Picchu in its grandeur along with the Inca Trail. It takes about an hour to reach the said area.
- Intihuatana – This term refers to a sundial-like structure which the Incas used to predict solstices. It is a must-see for fans of ancient astronomy.
- Phuyupatamarka (Town Above the Clouds) – In this area, you will see a series of ceremonial baths with water gushing through. It’s a great site for watching the sunset.
- Sacristy – This small building may have been used as storage for ceremonial objects. Well-carved niches are seen in this place, showing great attention to detail and artistry.
- Prison Group – For fans of confusing passageways, this is a great spot for you. The labyrinth-like architecture will make you wonder just what it is for, but it simply is mystifying.
How to Get There
If you love the thrill of mystery, you must be itching to visit the site already, right? In that case, here are two popular ways to reach this picturesque destination:
- Take a train from Cusco to Aguas Calientes, a town which is a few miles from the location. It’s the easiest and quickest route, not to mention it gives you a scenic journey.
- You can hike from Cusco to Machu Picchu. If you are a fan of a slow-burning, heart-pumping experience, a lot of multi-day guided tours are available for tourists and will definitely be the best choice for you.
Things to Consider Before Going
Now hold your horses! Sure, you now know how to get there, but here are a few pointers to remember before you start planning your adventure:
- Know when to go. It is open all year round, although you’d like to take note of the weather and when there are huge crowds. October through April is considered the rainy reason, although you can always expect it to rain anytime. Sundays are extremely crowded as Cusco residents are allowed in for free along with other tourists.
- Get used to the altitude. Since Machu Picchu is located high up in the mountains, you might want to give yourself time to adjust to that. You can stay in nearby towns like Aguas Calientes for a day or two before going to the site to avoid the nasty effects of a sudden change in altitude.
- Protect yourself from the sun. Considering the fact that the site is high up in the mountains and the ozone layer over Peru is already thin, you might want to wear a wide hat while putting on a strong sunscreen. Don’t forget to bring water as well so that you remain hydrated.
Current Tourist Rules
Just last July 1, new guidelines went into effect, where the biggest of them all was that tourists won’t be able to spend the whole day in the site. This is to protect the historical site and keep it intact for the next generations to come. This being said, you might want to plan ahead if you wish to go either in the morning or in the afternoon.
It takes a lot of planning and effort to visit Machu Picchu. However, trust me when I say that it will all be worth it, as you’ve ticked one goal off your bucket list.