For many visitors to Peru and even South America, a visit to the Inca city of Machu Picchu is the long-anticipated highpoint of their trip. In a spectacular location, it’s the best-known archaeological site on the continent. This awe-inspiring ancient city was never revealed to the conquering Spaniards and was virtually forgotten until the early part of the 20th century. In the high season, from late May until early September, 2500 people arrive daily. Despite this great tourist influx, the site manages to retain an air of grandeur and mystery, and is a must for all visitors to Peru.
It’s not just the Machu Picchu ruins, but their dramatic setting on the Andean mountains that takes your breath away. Then there is the entire Sacred Valley, which offers stunning alpine views of snow-capped mountains, grasslands, Llamas grazing on the fields, not to mention more scattered ruins from the Incan Empire, and the final leg of the journey that leads to the historic Peru Rail to Aguas Calientes, the town at the base of Picchu.
Images and text: Nitin Gairola
With inputs from www.lonelyplanet.com.