Mysterious Machu Picchu, often called “The lost City of the Incas” is a stunning sight that will amaze and astound any visitor, and since it was not plundered by the Spanish when they conquered the Incas, it is especially important as a cultural site and is considered a sacred place. It was recently voted as one of the New Seven Wonders of the World.
Machu Picchu is both the best and the least known of the Inca ruins. It is not mentioned in any of the chronicles of the Spanish conquistadors and archaeologists today can do no more than speculate on its function. The local Quechua farmers in the area knew of Machu Picchu for centuries, but it was not until an 11-year-old boy led the American historian Hiram Bingham to the site on July 24, 1911, that the rest of the world became aware of its existence. At that time the site was covered in thick vegetation, and Bingham and his team returned in 1912 and 1915 to clear the growth. Over the years, much work has been done on excavating and studying the site. Despite these efforts, many unanswered questions remain.
The ultimate way to experience the Inca city is by walking one of the trails that lead you to the sun gate where you can enter Machu Picchu at sunrise, with the mist rising up from the mountains and the enigmatic ruins illuminated in the first light of day, before the many tourists descend upon it. The most famous trail, known as the Inca Trail has limited places at any one time to preserve it, so book up in advance to secure your place! However we do offer an alternative, the Lares Trek which does not require any permits and many feel is better than the Inca trail as it is less crowded with incredible views of glaciers on the way.
For those who are not so keen on trekking we offer an option to stay in Cuzco and then get the train up to the site where you can rejoin the group, so whether youre a trekker or not you can enjoy the magic of Machu Picchu. Below is a selection of our South American tours that offer a foray into this forgotten city.