Machu Picchu and Wayna Picchu | Machu Picchu, Peru | Two of the main vestiges of the Inca Empire, located twenty five minutes away from the town of Aguas Calientes by approximately four hours away from Cusco. I came to Machu Picchu with lots of expectations, and to be honest not with much knowledge, and I must say that all expectations were fully surpassed by its beauty, mysticism and advance knowledge of architecture, hydraulics and astronomy of the Incas at that time. I got from Porhoy Train Station, close to Cusco to Aguas Calientes, on board of the luxury train by Belmond, the Hiram Bingham, named after the American historian that discovered the sacred city in 1911. Follow my Instagram Peru Photo Gallery for more tips, photos and videos.
Machu Picchu, is without a doubt, one of the most photographed icons of the Inca Empire. Located at over 2400 meters above sea level, in the region of the Sacred Valley, close to the waters of the Urubamba River. This Pre-Columbian site, is believed was design and created by the first registered Inca Pachacuti. Machu Picchu is a quechua word and means “Old Peak”.
Here, at the citadella, you can find many relevant ruins, but some of the must see are the Intihuatana, Temple of the Sun, Sacred Rock, and the Room of the Three Windows. Machu Picchu was declared a Peruvian Historical Sanctuary in 1981 and a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1983. In 2007, Machu Picchu was voted one of the New Seven Wonders of the World in a worldwide Internet poll.
The Incas started building the “estate” around 1400, but abandoned it as an official site for the Inca rulers a century later at the time of the Spanish Conquest.
Wayna Picchu, quechua for “New Peak”, is the tallest peak next to Machu Picchu, the one that usually frames any photo of the citadella. Unfortunately I was not able to come on top, because it only opens early in the morning and they allow a maximum of 400 people per day. the top of the mountain was the residence for the high priest and the local virgins.
My train arrived to Aguas Calientes by 12noon and already was too late. This is one of the many reasons why I would recommend to stay overnight. BTW the only hotel next to Machu Picchu, is the Belmond Sanctuary Lodge, if not you will have to descend to Aguas Calientes, where you will find many many options. Wayna Picchu is 2,720 meters above sea level. The Temple of the Moon, is nestled on the side of the mountain.
Entry to the Machu Picchu: Tickets to enter Machu Picchu can no longer be bought at the entrance to Machu Picchu itself. You must buy your ticket well in advance because the government has recently decided to limit the number of visitors to Machu Picchu to just 2500. Get your ticket @ www.machupicchu.gob.pe approximately Nuevos Soles 128 (USD 49).
The bus from Aguas Calientes up to Machu Picchu takes about 20 minutes and costs US$8 each way (US$16 return). The ride itself is spectacular as the narrow track winds its way up the mountainside.
You can always do this tour on your own, of course, but if you get an expert local guide, trust me that it a complete Haute Experience. I got Abel who took me everywhere, and shared all his knowledge with me. Let me know and I can arrange this for you. And on top of all the perks, if you are traveling solo like me, you get your own guide to take as many photos of you as you want ha ha ha …. Such an incredible, spiritual experience that I recommend to everyone. Carlos Melia Luxury Travel Curator – www.carlosmelia.com
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