The Inca lost city of Machu Picchu is one of many big dreams for many. Embraced by the steep mountains, the wonder leaves the much-seen tourist easily speechless.
The pictures do not do justice to Machu Picchu. When the ancient Inca city appears in the morning in the midst of the fog, the visible cannot be described in words. Machu Picchu must be experienced for himself, with his own eyes.
MACHU PICCHU AS A TRAVEL DESTINATION
In the cache of the Andes
Machu Picchu is located in Peru in the Andes Mountains, about a couple of hours from the city of Cuzco. The ancient city of the Incas was not discovered until 1911, as it is located in the lap of difficult-to-navigate mountains. Today, Machu Picchu is by far Peru’s most popular tourist destination, one of the once-in-a-lifetime destinations for most tourists. The area is vast and can easily take several hours to explore.
Machu Picchu can be taken on a day trip from Cuzco or the Sacred Valley. Most also combine Machu Picchu with excursions in the Sacred Valley and a few days in Cuzco.
A popular option is also to hike the ancient Inca road, the Inca trail, to Machu Picchu. The hike, which lasts four days and 43 kilometers, takes you through the mountains and rainforests at their best at an altitude of 4,300 meters. Hiking requires good fitness as it is physically strenuous.
The trip should be scheduled for summer or autumn
Machu Picchu is located in the Andes Mountains, so the weather is cool and dry from May to October. From November to April the weather is warm but rainy. In February, the Inca trail will be closed due to renovations and rainfall.
Machu Picchu can be visited all year round, but the best time is during the dry season or right at the beginning or end of the rainy season.
Get tickets in advance
The area of Machu Picchu is huge and most of the destinations require climbing steep stairs. For the disabled Machu Picchu is a very challenging destination. Tickets for Machu Picchu must be purchased in advance. Tickets cannot be purchased on site.
In Peru, you should be vigilant against thieves and use only official taxis. Proficiency in Spanish is a great help, as only a few speak English. Cuzco and Machu Picchu are located high in the mountains, so the risk of mountain sickness should be taken seriously, especially if you plan to hike the Inca trail to Machu Picchu.
FLIGHTS, ACCOMMODATION AND MOVEMENT WITH MACHU PICCHUL
By plane from Lima to Cuzco
Machu Picchu is best reached by flying to Lima and taking a connecting flight to Cuzco. Flights should be booked well in advance, especially during the high season. There are no direct flights to Finland from Lima, but you can fly through several European cities with one stopover.
Prices for flights to Lima are from just over a thousand euros upwards and from Lima to Cuzco a few hundred euros. Cuzco can also be reached by bus from Lima, but the journey takes about 22 hours.
Cuzco has the most accommodation options
The most convenient way to travel to Machu Picchu is to stay in Cuzco, where you will find plenty of accommodation of different levels and prices. However, Cuzco hotel prices are somewhat higher than elsewhere in Peru.
Overnight stays are also possible in the Sacred Valley, for example in Ollantaytambo, Pisac or Aguas Caliente, which is right next to Machu Picchu.
Arrive on foot, by train or bus
Machu Picchu can be reached from Cuzco by train and bus. The price of a train ticket is high for Peruvians, but you can see stunning scenery along the way. The train runs to Aguas Caliente, where you have to change to a bus. Buses run from Aguas Caliente to Machu Picchu continuously from morning to afternoon. Train tickets must be purchased well in advance.
Machu Picchu can only be reached on foot. If you want to see the whole area, getting around requires good fitness, as there are many stairs and they are steep.
MACHU PICCHU ATTRACTIONS
Temple of the Sun.
The city of Machu Picchu is clearly divided into different parts, all of which have had their own purpose. The city has a terrace-like section for agriculture, trade and housing, as well as its own sections for royal and religious spending. Most of the couple of hundred buildings have been residential. It is estimated that more than a thousand people have lived in the city.
One of the most interesting places in the area is the Temple of the Sun. In the center of the sacred area is the ritual stone of the Incas, the Intihuatana, which must not be touched, but by holding hands near it one can reportedly sense the power of the gods. The stone is positioned relative to the sun so that it may have been used as a calendar or clock.
Postcard landscapes and condor shaped stone
The stone, possibly used for funeral expenses, the Funerary rock, and the restored house next to it at the top of the city are one of the most famous sites in Machu Picchu. Well-known postcard pictures of Machu Picchu have also been taken here.
The Temple of the Condor, the Temple of the Condor, is also worth a visit, as the huge stone shaped by the Incas resembles a flying condor.
Breathtaking Inca bridge
Just outside the actual town is a breathtaking bridge, the Inca Bridge, to which you have to walk along a path about a meter wide while a steep drop down into the valley opens directly below.
The bridge has once led to Machu Picchu, but it has been demolished, probably by the Incas, so that outsiders cannot find the city.
Climbing Wayna Picchu
On the outskirts of the city rises Mount Wayna Picchu, on which it is possible to climb. The journey is tough, but the mountain offers stunning views over the city. Tickets must be booked in advance and the mountain is only accessible to a few hundred people daily.