Machu Picchu is on many travelers “bucket list” along with our traveling friends we were about to fulfill that wonderful pleasure.
Traveling to Machu Picchu
We traveled for about 45 minutes by bus, with our group to pick up The Peru Rail Sacred Valley Train in Urubamba for the trip along the Urubamba River to Machu Picchu., At the station we were greeted and escorted to observatory cars built-in the 1920’s with glass roofs. The views were beautiful including the roaring river and the many terraces created by the Incas along the mountainsides. We arrived at the train station at the base of Machu Picchu. Of course there are two ways up the 2,000 feet to the base of the mountaintop; a bus along the winding road or hiking. We decided to let the younger generations, not in our group, hike! There is a famous “Inca trail” that you could take a few days and hike to Machu Picchu from Urubamba avoiding the train.
Because of the large number of tourists they are very careful about the number of people allowed at any time. Our time to start our climb was 1:35. The walk, they say is 200 steps, no way it was many more or so it seemed. It is very uneven stones and different size steps and being at 8,040 feet, breathing is anything but a breeze! At the top we walked to the right about 50 yards and we were had our first view looking down at Machu Picchu!
About Machu Picchu
Machu Picchu is recognized as one of the worlds most sacred places and is located in the Andres Mountain of Peru. The beauty of its setting is awe-inspiring. It was built-in 1450 by the Incas and is a marvel of engineering. The citadel of Machu Picchu means “old peak” in native Quechua language of the Incas. It is 2,000 feet above the Urubamba River basin. The city’s beautiful granite blocks make up the dwellings, agricultural terraces, storehouses, plazas and temples. A tremendous feat of architectural planning, engineering and stonework all built without the use of iron tools or draft animals.
The city was used, it is believed, as a royal retreat for the next 100 years until the Spanish conquest. Only 50 miles from the Inca capital of Cusco. It was not discovered and destroyed by the Spanish and became a lost city in the Spanish Empire.
Machu Picchu was discovered in 1911 by Hiram Bingham a professor of Latin American History from Yale University. Bingham had previously been in Peru in 1908 and explored around Cusco and The Sacred Valley along the Urubamba River. Yale funded the return trip in 1911 to look for additional cities of the Inca’s. As his expedition made its way up the river he ran into a farmer who told him about some old buildings up the mountain. The farmer sent his son along with Bingham to show him the way. It was then that he discovered Machu Picchu totally overgrown by the jungle. Several years later Bingham returned to map the area and discovered the size of the city. He returned to Yale with many artifacts to be displayed in the Yale Museum. Note: since then many of the artifacts have been returned to the country of Peru.
Edgar – Our Tour Guide
Edgar Rivas of LIMA TOURS was our guide for the three days we spent in The Sacred Valley, Cusco and Machu Picchu. We all enjoyed his passion for the Inca heritage and knowledge at so many levels of detail as he guided us through the beauty and heritage of the Inca Empire. Edgar, we thank you for making this a perfect experience.
With Edgar as our guide we walked through the city until almost 6 p.m. that evening. At every turn through the ancient city Edgar told us the stories and they are thought to have been. As with ancient Inca cities the land was tiered for growing vegetables and various building for storage, living and praying. The main temple was unique.
This is a picture of our Machu Picchu “Mob”. It was a wonderful group to spend the time not only at Machu Picchu but also in Cusco and The Sacred Valley. We all have wonderful memories for as long as we can remember!
Here are many pictures from our exploration.
As we walked through the city Edgar pointed two of the mountain peeks. One is Machu Picchu Mountain. There is a staircase up the mountain to the top. You must purchase a separate ticket and only 400 people a day are allowed to make the trek.
The other is Huayna Picchu where a trail will take you past architectural vestiges such as alters narrow stair cases, tunnels and terraces. The trail leads to the best known view down to Machu Picchu. Only 400 people are permitted to hike up each day to that site also. Both of these hikes are up staircases some very steep and when the rocks are wet can be dangerous. If we had been 20 years younger we would have ventured up the trails! You must be prepared for the thin air and steep inclines up rocky staircases. This was one of the most wonderful experiences of our lives. If you have the chance it is an experience not to be missed!
Exhausted, we ventured back to the pick up area where our group met and took the bus back to town and our hotel ,The Sumaq Machu Picchu Hotel in the town of Machu Picchu,for a few drinks and dinner. Then off for a good night of sleep.
We travelled during the rainy season and were blessed with little rain and beautiful sunshine while at Machu Picchu. We did have lots of rain at night while we slept. When we woke the next morning after the rain and the river next to the hotel was crazy.
We left the hotel early heading to catch the Peru Rail back to Cusco where we would spend our final evening in the Sacred Valley. We were entertained on the train with locals in custom, what fun as they danced up and down the train with our members of the “Mob”.