Besides being a Unesco World Heritage Site Machu Picchu is also one of the New 7 Wonders Of The World. When visiting the Inca ruins in the middle of the Peruvian mountains, you’ll discover why this site is really earning these titles. The location in the middle of the Amazon jungle, halfway up the Andes plateau and 2,430 meters above sea-level gives the Inca site – that was built around 1450 – a beautiful, dramatic setting, especially when the clouds come in.
The history of the site is filled with mysteries, and the current theory is that Machu Picchu was a sacred place for the Incas since the mid 15th century. Their abrupt departure only a century later is probably caused by smallpox outbreaks, but neither this theory, nor any other has ever been proven though.
It was only in 1911 that the site was discovered again, completely covered by vegetation and inhabited by some Peruvian farmers who were using the terraces as their farming land.
For one of the most spectaculair views of the whole site, you’ll have to climb either Wayna Picchu or Machu Picchu itself. A tough hike but certainly worth the breathtaking view. If your mind is set on climbing the mountain the site has been called after, ensure your reservation in advance as only a limited number of people are allowed up per day.
The easiest way to get to Machu Picchu is taking a train from Cusco to the village of Aguas Calientes at the foot of the mountain, where you’ll have plenty of options to stay for the night. The more budget option to get to Aguas Calientes involves a connection of buses, taxis and minivans from Cusco through the rugged landscapes, and if you like a two-hour hike along the train tracks from the hydroelectric station at the bottom of Machu Picchu.