History of Machu Picchu

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Archaeological evidence uncovered around the site suggests that the area was first used for agricultural purposes back in 760 B.C.

Machu Picchu Historical Photo

The war of Vilcambamba Pachacutec in 1440 established the first settlement at the site. It was called the Tahuantinsuyo Empire which was later followed by the formation of the government of Manco Capac.

It is thought that Machu Picchu was first inhabited by 300-1000 inhabitants, who were of the highest class or “Llactas”.

The valleys around these areas were important for their agricultural contribution, however after death of the Emperor Pachacutec, it lost its importance, with the establishment of new sites like Ollaytantambo and Vilcambamba. The building of these new sites by his successors, in more accessible terrain made Machu Picchu less appealing.

From 1527 to 1532, two brothers Huáscar and Atahualpa fought against each other in a civil war over the Inca Empire. Their father, Inca Huayna Capac had given each brother a section of the empire to manage, one in Huáscar in Cuzco and Atahualpa in Quito. When Huayna Capac and his heir, Ninan Cuyuchi, died somewhere between 1525 and 1527, the two brothers Atahualpa and Huáscar went to war over who should rule.  The population who had come to live in the Machu Picchu area from rural or remote locations left after the war ended to return to where they came from. Later another brother, Manco Inca was sent into exile in Vilcambamba, and Machu Picchu was deserted.

Antonio Raimondi was an Italian geographer and scientist from Milan who visited Machu Picchu in 1851. In 1867 Augusto Berns arrived to mine the site.

Hiram Bingham re-discovered the ruins in 1911. He documented and publicised his “discovery”.

Photo of Hiram BinghamPhoto of Hiram Bingham

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Facts About Machu Picchu To Outsmart Your Tour Guide

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Outsmart your guide at Machu Picchu

Peru has so many ancient ruins, villages imbued with an infusion of ancient and modern Incan tradition, mixed with a melting pot of Colonial and pre- Spanish Peruvian culture. 

Of all the Peru landmarks, Machu Picchu (which in the Quechua native language, means “Old Peak” or “Old Mountain.”) is the one categorised as both one of the best known and also most mysterious of the ancient Inca sites. Call it cliche to label it the jewel of Peru’s crown or it’s most famous contribution to the 7th wonders of the world, but Machu Picchu has remained in the limelight since it’s discovery by Hiram Bingham in 1911. It stands at 2,400 meters above sea level and it’s precise stone construction is spread along a narrow and uneven mountain vista, tucked up against a 400m sheer cliff, overlooking the Urubamba Valley and River. The whole city was hidden (and thus saved) from marauding conquistadores for centuries and its high remote location makes if feel like it is floating on a sheet of mist.

Local guides will tell of legends withed down from Inca ancestors, archaeologists will give you another perspective all adding to the sites enigmatic status, but it’s actually quite hard to put your finger on the reasons why this citadel in the clouds is just so fascinating.

Many of the discoveries in and around Machu Picchu have led to more questions than answers around it’s true purpose. The more discoveries made it seems, the wider the variety of possibilities.

Rather than give you a list of dates, numbers and scientific facts, this page is going to offer you a treat, so you can wow your guides and make them think you’ve been on a crash course of anthropology and/or Incan philosophy!

I probably don’t need to tell you that Machu Picchu’s walls, caves and buildings are widely adorned with intricate carvings in the citadel, boasting carefully selected cave entrances, strange altars, 600 impressively engineered terraces, a 1km long aqueduct and exquisitely engineered buildings. Quizzical llama lawnmowers help to keep the grass around the buildings all beautifully manicured, showing off their best features. It is indeed a sensory feast for 21st century eyes staring firsthand at structures built by Incan hands more than a thousand years ago!

Did you also know that the positioning of the buildings are no accident. Inca people were master astrologers, the milky way had particular significance, and they arranged structures within the citadel to align with the cosmos or rising of the sun at specific times of year?

Standing amongst these features, everyone marvels at the masterful engineering the ancient Incan builders managed to achieve way back in the mid 14th century. You may find yourself getting lost in stories told by local legends if you walk through the various buildings with a local guide (like our Cynthia Valledares). When you also understand the significance of the structures around you from a spiritual and ritualistic point of view – it is not at all difficult for ones mind to be blown!

The technique used to build the structure is called called “ashlar”, this means that stones that are precisely cut to fit together without any mortar. This method is so precise that not even a credit card can slide between stones. Peru has experienced hundreds of years of seismic activity, yet the stones the Inca’s crafted stand strong, mostly undamaged by natures powerful forces.

Some of the most interesting architectural features of Machu Picchu are all closely huddled together over it’s total area of 32,592 hectares, an assortment of structures, each with an archaeological and spiritual back story that would make even Indiana Jones proud!

Sacred Rock

Looking out over the central plaza to the far end of Machu Picchu , we find the Sacred Rock, something you will notice in almost every Inca village. The Inca practiced placing a sacred stone in close proximity to the building site and this was dedicated to the site itself, which adds to the intrigue of the site; what did this mean to these people, and what daily practices took place right here where you stand, some say they can still feel the energy of these people and the land they revered so much.The Sacred Stone of Machu Picchu was carefully placed at the base of Huayna Picchu (or little peak), a place from which it’s possible to ascend right up to the summit, for a magnificent view down the valley. After your hour-long hike to the top of the peak, you can choose to stop off on the way back down at the Gatekeeper’s shack for a signed memoir, verifying you have conquered the steep climb up Huayna Picchu. The rock, resembling the shape of the top of the mountains behind it is a shrine where the Incas carried out special rituals and pachamamas (offerings to the earth).

The Sacred Rock is a powerful symbol in Machu Picchu, and is recognised as being a spiritual area for meditation and absorbing positive energies.

Many visitors like to include Temple of The Moon cave, another enigmatic structure situated approximately 1280 feet or 390 m below the summit of Huayna Picchu facing North. This is less than an hours walk from Sacred Rock, and will reward you with not only grand Inca structures to marvel over, but also spectacular views down the valley.

Central Plaza

Temple of the three windows, Machu Picchu, Peru

The Central Plaza of Machu Picchu is laid out with rows of many roofless stone structures embedded among steep terraces, facing outward for a grand view of Huayna Picchu. The lush green grass colour in the middle of the plaza can be likened to an island sitting amongst the rest of the Inca stone buildings that make up Machu Picchu. It’s an enticing and inviting spot amongst the buildings for Llamas and other grazing animals to frequent for a tasty meal. The Central Plaza’s grassy field also provides separation from the Sacred Plaza and Intiwatana to the residential areas on the farther side of the complex.

One of the buildings bordering the plaza is the Temple of the Three Windows. From this standpoint we look out to see a pretty view out on to the green central field, if we carry on from here, a flight of stairs at the back of the Sacred Plaza takes us back down to the Central Plaza.

At the very lowest end of the Central Plaza we find what is known as the Prison Group, this is essentially a network of cells, passageways, and niches extending both underground and up to the plateau above. Right in the center of this group of structures, we find the Temple of the Condor, some visitors and locals call this the main attraction because of its attention seeking condor carved in stone right above a rock pile. Behind this striking carved condor head, is a doorway leading to a tiny underground cell.

Temple of the Condor

Temple Of The Condor

The Temple of the Condor in Machu Picchu has to be one of the highlights (although you will find it difficult to choose one) of your exploration of these Inca ruins. It is an exquisite example of Inca stonemasonry. The Inca took a natural rock formation shaped by the elements millions of years ago, and skillfully shaped it into the outspread wings of a condor in flight. The Condor represented spirit and higher levels of consciousness, so the Inca considered the Condor to be of elevated importance in the animal, and spirit kingdom.

On the floor of the Condor temple you can see a rock carved in the shape of the condor’s head and neck feathers, this section of the rock makes up the figure of a three-dimensional bird. Historians speculate that the Inca used the head of the condor here as a sacrificial altar. Underneath this is a small cave that used to contain a mummy, the hierarchal importance of which perplexed archaeologists like many other mummified remains found in this area. Behind the temple, is situated a prison complex. The prison comprised of many human-sized niches and an underground maze of dark dingy dungeons. The close proximation of the alleged sacrificial temple and the prison structures conjures up visions of how the Inca may have used them for sacrifice or other rituals. Similar Inca prison sites, record events outlining the handling of an accused citizen… word has it that the prisoners would be shackled into these niches for up to 3 days to await their fate. The jury could nominate their death for such simple sins as laziness, lust, or more in line with Victorian punishments, theft.

Funerary Rock Hut

Funerary Rock Hut

If you are a photographic enthusiast, you will want to take a small hike to Machu Picchu’s Funerary Rock Hut. It’s believed this location was the place where Inca nobility were mummified, and like many places chosen for overseers to rest, the vantage point from the hut offers a dramatic view over the whole complex.

Every day herds of Alpacas and Llamas arrive via the terraces near the Funerary Rock Hut to graze leisurely on the grass. These furry manicurists keep the lawns short, neat and tidy for our benefit whilst filling their stomachs with rich green grass. From this position we look out towards the start of the Inca Trail, in contrast to many of the skinny mountainous trails in the region, it is easy to see because the Inca Trail is a well developed wider road that connects the Cusco region directly with Machu Picchu.

The hike up the long sturdy stairs that lead to the Funerary Rock Hut will give your muscles a good workout, but the rewards at the end of this short but relatively steep hike are worth every drop of sweat. The views from this viewpoint will stay in your memory along with many snapshots of your unforgettable trip to Machu Picchu.

From this point we take a detour back down the stairs to arrive at the Royal Tomb.

Royal Tomb

Royal Tomb Machu Picchu

Walking down and to the left descending a long set of stairs, we approach the Royal Tomb. This cave-esque area of Machu Picchu is decorated with ceremonial niches and adjacent to the Temple of the Sun is a carefully carved Inca cross. The cross design resembles steps, and represents the three levels of existence in the Inca world. The first step, symbolised by the snake, is representative of the underworld or of death. The second step represents the present, or human life, symbolised by the jaguar. The highest step represents the celestial or spiritual plane of the gods, and is symbolised by the condor.

This revered site has been the focus of numerous mummy excavations. Over 100 skeletal remains have been discovered here, 80% of which were women. For this and several other factual reasons, historians surmised that the area was inhabited primarily by Inca high priests and an elite selection of chosen women.

Immediately to the left of the royal tomb lies a series of 16 ceremonial baths, cleverly linked together via a skilfully engineered viaduct. At the top of this system we find the watershed hut, which passes beside the rock quarry emerging at the Sacred Plaza.

Intiwatana

Intiwatana Hitching Post Of The Sun

The Intiwatana at Machu Picchu, is referred to by Inca and modern people as the “hitching post of the sun”. One of Machu Picchu’s primary functions was that of astronomical observatory. It is a carved rock pillar with construction planned to orient towards the four cardinal points. As accomplished astronomers the Inca used the angles of the pillar to accurately predict the solstices. The sun was an integral part of the Inca way of life and greatly influenced agriculture which supported the life of the whole community. The Inca considered the Sun the supreme natural god and during the winter solstice on June 21, it is said that the high priest would rope a golden disc to the Intiwatana, to symbolically catch the sun, returning it back to earth, thus ensuring another bountiful season of crops.

Sadly the Intiwatana is the only structure of its kind left standing by the Spanish conquerors, who went on a aggressive campaign to wipe out all structural references to Inca religion. Many visitors report that Machu Picchu feels like one of Earth’s magnetic focal points, it emanates a mystical quality and carries an inherent spiritual or metaphysical power.

When you’re sitting on the edge of heaven, perched high above the valley at the Sacred Plaza looking down at the Urubamba River below, it’s hard to deny the etherial sense this place is embued with. Turn around behind you, and absorb the genius of the ancient builders who created these stone plaza and temple structures, framed magnificently in the background by the spectacular mountain peaks of Machu Picchu and Huayna Picchu to the left and right. How could you not be moved and humbled by this experience?

Huayna Picchu

The big little mountain that everyone forgets. Huayna Picchu is like a jewel in the crown of Machu Picchu. Standing at  2,720 metres (8,930 feet), it towers above and behind the citadel of Machu Picchu.  Only 400 people are allowed daily to climb Huayna Picchu in 2 groups – first departing at 7.00AM second at 10.00Am. The steep (both hands and feet needed) climb winds up the side of the rock faces and through a tunnel. It takes about 1.5-2 hours up and about 45 minutes to 1 hour down. For many people climbing Huayna Picchu is one of the highlights when visiting Machu Picchu.  The view from the top highlights how the structures and terraces below are built on seemingly impossible places like they are almost glued to the mountain side. You are in for a breathtakingly beautiful panorama of the site of Machu Picchu below, but also the snowcapped mountains and grand valleys beyond.

Machu Picchu is divided in two parts

Hanan and Urin according with the Inca tradition. This essentially means upper and lower, or heaven and earth.  The upper realm = included the sky, the sun, the moon, the stars, the planets, and constellations (milky way in particular) and was called hanan pacha (in Quechua). The hanan pacha was inhabited Inti, the masculine sun god, and Mama Killa, the feminine moon goddess. The lower realm is where earth spirits reside, or the people who inhabit the earthly realms. 

 Popular Trails Leading To Machu Picchu

Ancient Inca rulers forged trails and communication systems through this region over 18,600 miles long, paving mountain tracks, building runners and swing bridges from straw ropes. Most of these structure still exist today, and it’s quite astounding to think that the well worn steps you are walking on when traversing the Inca or Lares trails were hand constructed by Inca stonemasons so very long ago.

The most popular trails leading to Machu Picchu are the Lares Trail and the Inca Trail. There is also the Salkantay trek, but the two most raved about journeys by far are the Lares and Inca trail. The Lares takes you through many more villages, without the same level of foot traffic you may encounter on the Inca Trail. You can also opt for cycle and kayak options, where you can visit a small village on Lake Titicaca’s reed islands and hang with the locals. Experiences like these are magical, they add a few more days to your adventure, but you’ll leave with a whole new sense of the meaning of immersion in another uniquely Peruvian culture. Check out this comparison between the Inca Trail vs. Lares Trails or take a look at our Jaguar trip which gives you the option of visiting these places and many more.

Inca Trail Hike to Machu Picchu

A trip to Machu Picchu along the Inca trail is the epitome of a spiritual and wondrous experience to one of the worlds most fascinating ancient wonders of the world. An unforgettable experience is not something you have to ‘try’ to achieve when visiting Machu Picchu – you’ll be taken on a journey of curiosity and wonder in all directions.

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Noel Carroll reviewed Active Adventures – 5 star – 29 July ·

Jaguar trip to Peru. Great guides, accommodations, activities, food. Absolutely the best adventure I have had, and I have been blessed with quite a few. Would definitely consider another one. Hiking the Inca trail on this trip was the hardest and most rewarding thing I have done.

Other pages that may be of interest:

Best Time To Trek Machu Picchu | Machu Picchu Tours |4 Day Machu Picchu Trek 

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Machu Picchu

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Although it’s one of the most well-known archaeological wonders of the world, Machu Picchu still holds plenty of secrets and is on our shortlist of must-see destinations on any Peru trip.

Paul enjoying Machu Picchu on the Jaguar tripPaul Walrath enjoying Machu Picchu – on the ‘Jaguar‘ trip

Machu Picchu is an enigma, some would say a paradox because it is known as both the best known yet least known about of the Inca sites. Since its discovery on July 24, 1911 by North American Hiram Bingham, Machu Picchu has been considered one of the world’s greatest architectural and archaeological monuments, due to its extraordinary magnificence and harmonious structure. Machu Picchu is definitely one of the most fascinating sites in Peru.

At 2,400 meters above sea level, in the province of Urubamba, Machu Picchu surprises us because of the way its stone constructions are spread over a narrow and uneven mountain top, bordering a sheer 400 meter cliff into the Urubamba River canyon.

Why and how was Machu Picchu built?

Huayna Picchu from Machu Picchu

Machu Picchu is a citadel shrouded in mystery, and to this day archaeologists have not definitively uncovered the purpose of this city of stone. The site covers an area of about one square mile, and stands in a region that the Incas considered to be magical, due to the meeting of the Andes mountains with the mighty Amazon river. When 135 bodies were discovered while exploring the site, 109 of which were female, some believed that Machu Picchu could have been a monastery where acllas (young girls) were trained to serve the Inca and the Willac Uno (High Priest). Others said it may simply have been an advance settlement for further expansions planned by the Incas. Perhaps the mystery may never be fully explained.

The surprising perfection and beauty of Machu Picchu’s walls, built by joining stone to stone without using any cement or adhesive whatsoever, has led to many theories developing around how the city was constructed as well. It is said that a bird by the name of Kak’aqllu knew the formula for softening rock but by command, perhaps by the ancient Inca gods, had its tongue torn out. Others say there was a magic plant that could dissolve and compress stone. Nonetheless, mysteries and myths aside, the obvious wisdom and skill of the city’s ancient builders – evidenced by Machu Picchu’s many squares, aqueducts, watchtowers, observatories and its sun clock – is quite clear.

Many people may be drawn to Peru by Machu Picchu, yet it is considered by many of our guests, to be just one of many of the ruins featuring on the “highlights reel”of their trip. See reviews to read more

Group photo looking down on Machu Picchu Ruins

How to get to Machu Picchu – One day or multi day trails

You can take a one day trip to Peru from Cuzco or Lima, and walk up to this citadel in the clouds high in the Andes, or you can take some time to get acclimatised and trek via several trails that lead to Machu Picchu, most taking around 4 to 5 days to complete. A lot of people begin their Peru trip with the intent of visiting Machu Picchu, but don’t know how much more there is to see and do in and around Machu Picchu.

After all, if you are going to Peru to experience a South American trip of a lifetime, why not learn about all the activities and other ruins there are to discover.

Popular activities on our Peru trips (including Machu Picchu):

  1. Hiking the Lares or Classic Inca Trail
  2. Exploring Machu Picchu – facts about Machu Picchu
  3. Hiking in the Amazon jungle
  4. Sea kayaking on Lake Titicaca
  5. Staying with a local family on Amantani Island
  6. Hiking Sacsayhuamán fortress
  7. Hiking and cycle in the Sacred Valley of the Incas
  8. Exploring Cuzco
  9. Cycling through Andean villages and La Raya Pass
  10. Hiking Amantani and Taquile Islands

You may be surprised at the number of activities you can do in Peru. In fact it’s a surprise to a lot of people that it is possible to enjoy these “non Machu Picchu focused” activities at all. Our philosophy is a little different to many tour companies, we believe that if you are going to travel all the way to a new country to experience a whole new culture, why not experience as many perspectives, local cultures and ruins as you can while you are there?

Obviously the most popular trail chosen by visitors wanting to visit Machu Picchu is the Inca Trail. Some people prefer the Lares Trail because it offers a much more immersive experience in Peruvian village culture. If you wants to experience some of the traditions and village life the early Inca’s enjoyed, you can stay with their descendants in one of the many villages along the Lares Trail.

If you want to hike the traditional route,  take a sneak peak below at some of what the Inca Trail has to offer.

Hike to Machu Picchu on the ancient Inca Trail

The Inca Trail between the Sacred Valley of the Urubamba River and the mysterious abandoned citadel of Machu Picchu is one of the world’s classic treks. Climbing out of the river valley, crossing rugged mountain passes over 13,000 ft high, the trail winds through the Andes, passing numerous significant Inca ruins en route before descending through the Sun Gate to the silent stone city of Machu Picchu. To hike the Inca Trail is a thrilling experience and a great privilege. You need a permit from the Peruvian government to set foot on it, and there are strict limits on the number of permits issued each year. If you join a guided tour like the ‘Jaguar‘ trip, these permits are all take care of for you.

But the Inca Trail is much more than a great hike. It is one small portion of an incredible network of such trails crossing high mountain ranges, bleak deserts, and raging Andean rivers, tying the Inca Empire together. At its peak expansion, Tahuantinsuyo (or The Four Corners as the empire was known) extended from what is now southern Colombia in the north, to central Chile in the south, covering a distance of about 5500 km (3400 mi). To rule such a vast domain, the emperor, or Inca, forged a remarkable communications system of approximately 18,600 miles of trails, paved through much of its length, stepped where need be, through tunnels where necessary, and using gossamer suspension bridges built of straw ropes to cross rivers unfordable in the wet season.

The roads served to move the conquering Inca armies, and were generally wide enough for a minimum of two warriors to travel abreast. A system of runners stationed at rest houses known as tambos sped messages along the roadways, much like the Pony Express mail of the old American West. The Inca, at his empire’s capital in Cuzco, could receive news from far away Quito as rapidly as a letter crosses between the two cities in today’s mail.

As remarkable as this highway system was in the days when it was built, used and maintained, it is an astounding testimony to its construction that so many segments remain serviceable today, after half a millennium of neglect. Clearly the Inca highway system ranks as one of the greatest engineering achievements of pre-industrial man.

The full Inca Trail is approximately 40km long. Spread over 4 days, this amounts to about five hours walking per day, although you can walk at your own pace – you are not forced to walk with your group the whole time. It is not a difficult walk, although there are a couple of high passes, and a steep climb on the second day, so a basic level of fitness is required.

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Aventura Fantastica!

“This was our second Active Adventures trip and while we went to Peru mainly to see Machu Picchu, I feel it was only a fraction of the fun we had during our trip. For me, hiking at 14,000+ feet, climbing rocks via ferrata to go zip lining was an awesome experience despite being very prone to altitude illness (we got there a day early and I was fine by the second day) and having a hubby who is very afraid of heights. Machu Picchu was magnificent but I really enjoyed the less crowded Incan and pre-Incan sites we visited more because we had them nearly all to ourselves. Our tour leader Jhayro and another local guide Daniel (who we had for 3 days in Peru) also made our trip extra special being so friendly and fun to be with both while leading us on adventures as well as during meals and on the bus.

The food we had in Peru was excellent and that is coming from someone who is usually viewed as a picky eater with a fussy stomach. My hubby, who is a much more adventurous eater than I, tried alpaca and guinea pig and both were surprisingly good (yes, I tried them too!). After a couple days, we were used to not drinking the tap water or flushing paper down toilets so neither were a big deal. In fact, when we were in Quito, it seemed strange to be able to do so!

For the Galapagos portion of our trip, we were led by Jose since our scheduled guide Pablo couldn’t be there due to a family emergency. Jose was very knowledgable about the local geology, flora, fauna and variety of other things and with several in our group being (former) teachers or scientists, we sure did ask a lot of questions. The unique wildlife of the islands was the primary reason I wanted to visit and I loved seeing Galapagos turtles again as I’d not seen them since I was a child back in the 60’s (I remember riding on some in a zoo which I know now was so wrong!). It was my first time seeing marine iguanas and blue footed boobies in the wild and I also enjoyed seeing a variety of other creatures that are in other places but we don’t see very often, even living in Hawaii which has very similar geology.

Like Hawaii, each of the Galapagos Islands was different and it was interesting to see how they varied. The different forms of transportation we used to get from island to island were also adventures in themselves: 2 hour ride on a speed boat and an hourish ride on a teeny prop plane!

The only thing that was not quite what we expected with this trip was that some of the activities listed on the Galapagos Island itinerary we did not get to do. Nevertheless, the trip was fantastic and being probably my one and only trip to South America, it will always be remembered.”

Shirley Pratt's Review ImageShirley Pratt – Hawaii, United States
Iguana, May 2016

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10 Quick Facts about Machu Picchu

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Facts about Machu Picchu Peru

1. Longitude and Latitude Machu Picchu

Machu Picchu’s geographical position is 13.1631° S, 72.5450° W. It’s located 74.7 kilometres (46.4 miles) from Cusco. See How To Get To Machu Picchu  

2. Size of Machu Picchu

The Machu Picchu Inca Ruins cover an area of one square mile. The area of the greater Machu Picchu Historic Sanctuary in the Vilcanota-Urubamba basin covers 32,592 hectares.

3. Temperature at Machu Picchu

During the warmer months of September, October, November and December the weather is fairly mild with a good average temperature of between 8 degrees celcius (44 degrees F) and 20 degrees celcius (68 degrees F).

4. Population of Machu Picchu

The population of Machu Picchu was most likely between 1,000 and 1,200 at any given time – but the ruins have been uninhabited for hundreds of years now. Today – the closest town to Machu Picchu is Aguas Calientes, with  a permanent population of around 3000 people. 

5. Languages Spoken in and Around Machu Picchu

The native spoken language is ‘Quechua’ – the ancient Inca language. Spanish is the colonial language, introduced by the Spanish on their arrival in November 15, 1532

6. Weather And Seasons at Machu Picchu

Machu Picchu is usually covered in mist until mid morning, giving it the feeling of hovering amongst the clouds. Most rainfall (during the rainy season) is seen in December, January, February and March. Machu Picchu has dry periods in May, June, July, August and September. On average, the warmest month is September. See Best Time To Visit Machu Picchu

7. Meaning of the name Machu Picchu

In the Quechua native language, “Machu Picchu” means “Old Peak” or “Old Mountain.”

8. Machu Picchu’s Global Significance

Machu Picchu is recognised as one of the Seven Wonders of the World and is featured on many intrepid travellers bucket list.

9. Machu Picchu Transport

There are several options for getting to Machu Picchu, other than by foot of course. Trains operate, as do busses, both public and private. Small group tour busses are less crowded if you can find them. You can visit this page for more information about transport to Machu Picchu.

10. Fitness For Machu Picchu & Other Hiking Options

Machu Picchu is a city at altitude, so it’s a great idea to stay a few days and enjoy being treated to some authentic Peruvian hospitality. It’s a pleasant day hike from Aguas Calientes if you are only interested in a flying visit to Machu Picchu itself. If you are going to walk one of the “trip of a lifetime” journeys to get there however, you’ll need a moderate level of fitness. Again, taking your time to acclimatise and investigate the local villages, or other ruins along the way makes for a much more “cruisy” (as we say in New Zealand) adventure to the city in the clouds.

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