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Published on February 26th, 2013 | by Andrew Garcia

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7 Natural Wonders Guide: Machu Picchu

A Brief History

Also known as “Old Peak”, Machu Picchu is a world renowned historical site. It stands 2,430 meters (7,970 ft) above sea level in the Cusco Region of Peru, South America in the middle of a tropical forest and was constructed by Incas around 1450 during the pre-Columbian 15th-century from the period of the two magnificent Inca leaders, Pachacutec Inca Yupanqui (1438-71) and Tupac Inca Yupanqui (1472-93). Can be found in a place called Sacred District of Machu Picchu, the three primary frameworks of the Old Peak are the Intihuatana (Hitching post of the Sun), the Temple of the Sun, and the Room of the Three Windows, which are built with sleek dry-stone wall surfaces. Aside from the three main structures, Macchu Picchu also comprises of several individual quarters: a quarter ‘of the Farmers’ near the enormous terraces whose pitches were cultivated and turned into hanging gardens; an ‘industrial’ quarter; a ‘royal’ quarter and a ‘religious’ quarter.

Inca’s beautiful structures are brought about by series of natural phenomenon in the area that later results to the increasing of platforms, leveling of stone protection, constructing of ramps and stairways and the building of the mountain itself whose cyclopean buildings seem to be a prolongation of nature. Its scenery of Flora and fauna both are rich and diverse. Common vegetation in the land includes trees, bushes and more than 90 types of orchids. The wildlife also includes a variety of butterflies and insects distinct in the area.

 

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Traveller’s Guide

Visitors of Machu Picchu can either walk the Inca Trail or leave by rail from Cuzco or Ollantaytambo, either during the day, or during the night in Aguas Calientes. Walking via Inca Trail will take you either two or four days. That’s why you have to prepare yourself to survive the long walks and sleeping in tents. However, the reward is worth it as you will see first the city through the Sun Gate. Your tour agency may include to your journey the Cusi Travel, Llama Path Wayki Trek and Peru Trek, depending on the rules and regulations imposed by the government.

If you don’t want to hike via Inca Trail, then you can either travel by foot again, or by train, to Aguas Calientes. If you choose to walk, you have to pass through Santa Maria and Santa Teresa which will take 2-3 hours. If you want to avoid the annoying crown, stay overnight. You will have more chances of roaming around the park freely earlier in the morning, or late in the afternoon.

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You can’t bring a lot of foods in the park. You have to only bring at most 20 litres and leave the rest at the luggage counter at the entrance. Otherwise, your foods will be confiscated by the inspectors.

If you prefer to take the train, you still have to take a bus to reach the site. From the train station of Aguas Calientes, go straight to the bus departure area and buy your tickets. Buses leave as early as 5:30 AM as soon as they are full, so you have to be there at least 90 minutes early if you’d like the first bus. The trip will take around 30 minutes. Sometimes, it takes longer hours for one bus to be full, so it is advisable that you book your return trip in order for you not to miss the train departure.

Only 400 individuals enabled per day to go up the hill, divided into 2 teams. Group one gets in from 7 – 8 and is informed to be back by 11. If you have some time at hand, or wish for some privacy, you can additionally walk to the Moon Temple (Templo de la Luna) and the Great Cave (Gran Caverne). It’s a long walk and daring trip entailing a number of ladders. Some might find that the sites aren’t really rewarding, however unexpected wildlife can be seen. This trip is likewise fairly interesting since the partway through you leave the mountain terrain and enter a more conventional woodland. The caves could be reached either by hiking down the path from the peak of Wayna or by the split from the main Wayna Picchu trail. Bear in mind that it is a lot easier to come down from Wayna Picchu than to go up from these temples. Make sure to bring lots of water and foods for this long hike. The trip from the summit to the caverns and back to the checkpoint takes about two more hours.

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If you want to avail the tickets, you can purchase it online through http://www.machupicchu.gob.pe/ or from ticket offices listed on that site, or at the Aguas Calientes cultural center. 5:30AM-9PM. Don’t buy them at the travel agency at the train station. They don’t actually give you one, but a receipt stating that you can get your ticket from a particular person, whom you need to look for all around Aguas Calientes. The latest entrance fee as of March 2012 is 128 Soles. They also give discount to children and students with ISIC card. Don’t forget to bring your passport with you as you can not enter the site without it.

 


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