Machu Picchu is the best ecological destination in South America
The ecological sanctuary of Machu Picchu has just received a new award, this time from The World Travel Awards, which for the second consecutive year has considered the archaeological citadel of Peru as the “Best ecological destination in South America.
This institution recognizes and celebrates excellence in all sectors of the tourism and travel industry around the world, and according to The Wall Street Journal, the nominations of the tourism world are equivalent to the Oscar awards of the Academy of Cinematographic Arts and Sciences.
Machu Picchu, administered by the National Service of Natural Areas Protected by the State (SERNANP), presents an ecology that is extremely diverse and complex, in spite of being only 0.025% of the total area of the Peruvian territory, being a refuge zone that gives around 10% of the biodiversity of the whole country.
Its life zones, genetic banks, ecosystems, and impressive diversity of flora and fauna are among the largest in South America and the world.
Flora and fauna diversity
Studies to which INFOREGION had access show that the sanctuary presents up to nine life zones, which are distributed among humid forests, very humid-low mountains and subtropical subalpines, up to moors, tundras and subtropical levels, all of them at different heights that start from 1,800 meters above sea level (masl) and reach more than 4,600.
These enormous variations of heights from the low montane dry forests, to the borders of the valley, up to the level in the summits of the mountain range, besides a singular topography and the eyebrows of forest, give origin to a great diversity of flora and wild fauna.
All this ecosystem is precisely what makes Machu Picchu a very important and special ecological place, duly taken care of by specialized personnel of the SERNANP.
In Machu Picchu, the varied environmental conditions have generated a particularly diverse flora covering an enormous range from closed forests to thin mountain peaks. For this reason, this Inca citadel has been described as the botanists’ paradise.
In 1981, Machu Picchu was legally established as a Protected Area in the category of Historic Sanctuary. This nomination has generated a great recovery of wild fauna in many areas of the zone.
During Hiram Bingham’s expeditions in 1911, the naturalist Harry Ward determined the existence of about 200 species, but later studies have discovered almost 900, among them, about 50 mammals, 400 birds, 400 insects, 30 among reptiles and amphibians, and a dozen fish, such as spectacled bears, dwarf deer, sachacabra, zebus and pumas, Andean fox, wild cat, as well as rare species such as Procyon Cancrivorus, Felis Jocobita, Mazama Chunyi, among others.
Also, many beautiful birds such as the Andean cock of the rocks -tunqui in quechua-, the national bird of Peru and associated with Machu Picchu; the Monte pava; the Torrentes duck, the only bird in the world with great ability to swim and dive; the hooded bird; the giant hummingbird, the largest in the world; the green tail; and the masked trogon.
Also millenary birds like the famous Andean condor that appears on the ruins of Machu Picchu as well as in the highest points of the Inca Trails; it can fly hundreds of kilometers and stay hours flying between the valleys or hillsides looking for its food.
It is a special ecological characteristic of Machu Picchu its landscape and natural beauty with its cloudy forests and blue sky, its mountains and valleys that surround it, where you can clearly distinguish the more than five ecological floors with their microclimates, and these in turn, in particular harmony with an impressive diversity of flora and fauna.