Impressive, imposing, magical—these are a few of the words tourists use to describe Machu Picchu, so it’s no wonder that it has become one of the most visited and best known travel destinations in the world. The awe-inspiring site, located in the Urubamba Valley 130 km from Cusco, is a tangible symbol of the Inca Empire’s greatness. If you’re not already convinced that Machu Picchu is worth the trip, here are four more reasons.
- Machu Picchu is one of the New 7 Wonders of the World
Machu Picchu earned its title as one of the New 7 Wonders of the World for its ingenious construction and even more phenomenal setting. It is one of the rare spots in Peru that the Spanish never found. For this reason, the citadel has maintained its original architecture and engineering, allowing archaeologists and tourists alike to observe how the Incas built their cities and roads over and on mountaintops. To add to the titles, Machu Picchu was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO for the importance the site once held for the Inca Empire and for its impressive combination of ecology and culture.
2. Machu Picchu can be reached by way of the famous Inca Trail
Year after year, thousands of tourists and travelers make the trek over high mountain landscapes and through steamy, vegetation-rich jungles, past ancient ruins and Andean vistas, to arrive at Machu Picchu via the Inca Trail. The entire trek is a four- to five-day adventure, full of dramatic climactic variations, extreme altitude, and challenging day-long hikes. Nevertheless, it is the ultimate way to arrive to at the mountaintop Inca citadel if you’re up for the challenge.
3. The sunrise view from Intipunku
Intipunku, or Puerto del Sol, is located one kilometer south of the citadel. From there, you can catch the sun rising over Machu Picchu. For the best view, arrive before dawn to watch the clouds clear and the citadel come into form right before your eyes.
4. The astounding diversity of flora and fauna
The citadel of Machu Picchu has an approximate area of 32,000 hectares that shelter a vast variety of flora and fauna. It’s even possible to see some of the more exotic wildlife and flora of Peru, like the spectacled bear, the cock-of-the-rock, and different types of birds and orchids. Additionally, you’ll likely spot the world-famous llamas roaming around the citadel.
How To Make the Trip to Machu Picchu
Due to its location at 2,360 meters above sea level, there are only two options for getting to Machu Picchu: by train or by trek, of which there are a few different trekking options. The Inca Trail is one of the best of those options for seeing all of the Inca Empire’s impressive feats of construction as you traverse through stunning Andean scenery.