For a vacation that gives you a true taste of the exotic and a history lesson, too, consider a visit to one of the new Seven Wonders of the World – Peru’s Machu Picchu.
Machu Picchu is a pre-Colombian Inca site situated on a mountain ridge above the Urubamba Valley. It is just northwest of the town of Cuzco. Machu Picchu is often referred to as the “lost city of the Incas”. Some of the most important ruins of the city include the Intihuatana, the Temple of the Sun, and the Room of the Three Windows.
But, in addition to the history you’ll find by seeing the ruins themselves, you’re certain to be amazed at the scenery all around, which is best viewed by riding the train most of the distance to the ruins. The train leaves from Cuzco each day to take visitors to Aguas Calientes, the point closest to the ruins themselves.
The train ride along the way is like a travel back in time. You’ll see fields being tended just the way they were more than 100 years ago, by people wearing clothing made from fabric woven by hand the way it has been for centuries.
Once you reach Aguas Calientes, you’re still about two kilometres from the ruins. A bus will take you to them, or you can hike the final steps down into the ruins for some breathtaking views. You’ll see llamas wandering along with the tourists as you walk into the ruins, but don’t be alarmed. They’ve been there for years and have learned to coexist with the tourists quite well.
Aguas Calientes has several hotels and restaurants for those visiting the ruins. You might enjoy a night or two here before heading back to Cuzco on the train. Staying in Aguas Calientes is also less expensive than other nearby towns. There is not a lot of entertainment here, but that’s part of the charm of stepping back in time. Be certain to pick up some of the native crafts and hand woven fabric you’ll find for sale here.
A trip to Machu Picchu is an adventure of a lifetime. There are few places on earth so amazingly preserved and yet so amazingly simple. In Machu Picchu not only do you get an unrivaled archaeology lesson, but you’ll leave feeling like you’ve visited the past, both from the ruins and from the people who live there today, much like they did centuries ago.