Peru is a land of wonders, full of mysteries and beauty that captivate the senses. One of the most famous attractions in this country is Machu Picchu, a remarkable ancient Inca city located in the Andes Mountains. This place is so impressive that it has been named one of the New Seven Wonders of the World, and it attracts thousands of visitors every year.
If you’re planning to visit Machu Picchu, you’re in for a treat. But there’s more to this place than just the ruins. The best way to explore Machu Picchu is by following a circuit that will take you through the most significant parts of the site. In this article, we will guide you through the Machu Picchu Best Circuit, an itinerary that will help you make the most of your visit.
First Stop: Cusco
Before we get to Machu Picchu, we need to start in Cusco, the historic capital of the Inca Empire. Cusco is a charming city with colonial architecture, narrow streets, and an energetic atmosphere. Here, you’ll find plenty of things to do, including exploring the Plaza de Armas, visiting the Cathedral of Cusco, and strolling through the colorful San Blas neighborhood.
But Cusco is also the gateway to Machu Picchu, and you’ll need to spend some time here to acclimate to the altitude. Machu Picchu is located at 7,972 feet above sea level, and Cusco is at 11,152 feet. Spending a couple of days in Cusco before heading to Machu Picchu will help you avoid altitude sickness and enjoy your visit.
Second Stop: The Sacred Valley
After spending some time in Cusco, it’s time to head to the Sacred Valley, a region located between Cusco and Machu Picchu. The Sacred Valley is full of archaeological sites, small villages, and stunning landscapes. Here, you’ll find the famous Pisac market, the ruins of Ollantaytambo, and the impressive salt mines of Maras.
The Sacred Valley is also an excellent place to try some Peruvian cuisine. You can taste the local specialty, guinea pig, or try a hearty plate of lomo saltado, a stir-fry made with beef, onions, tomatoes, and French fries. And if you’re feeling adventurous, you can sample some coca tea, which is said to help with altitude sickness.
Third Stop: Aguas Calientes
After exploring the Sacred Valley, it’s time to head to Aguas Calientes, the town located at the base of Machu Picchu. Aguas Calientes is a small and bustling town, full of restaurants, souvenir shops, and hostels. Here, you’ll find plenty of options for accommodation, but make sure to book in advance, especially during the high season.
Aguas Calientes is also the starting point for the hike up to Machu Picchu. You can choose to hike up to the ruins or take a bus. The hike takes about 1.5 hours and is steep, but it’s an excellent way to prepare for the awe-inspiring sight that awaits you at the top.
Fourth Stop: Machu Picchu
And finally, the highlight of the trip: Machu Picchu. This ancient Inca city is located at the top of a mountain, and it’s surrounded by breathtaking views of the Andes. Machu Picchu was built in the 15th century and abandoned a century later, but it was rediscovered in 1911 by the American explorer Hiram Bingham.
Visiting Machu Picchu is a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and it’s essential to take your time to explore this incredible site. The Machu Picchu Best Circuit will take you through the most important parts of the ruins, and it will help you make the most of your visit.
Start by visiting the House of the Guardian, which is located at the entrance to Machu Picchu. This building was used as a checkpoint to control access to the city. From here, you can see the famous postcard view of Machu Picchu, with the ruins in the foreground and the mountains in the background.
Next, head to the Temple of the Sun, one of the most impressive structures in Machu Picchu. This building was dedicated to Inti, the Inca god of the sun, and it’s aligned with the summer solstice. The Temple of the Sun is famous for its precise stonework and its trapezoidal windows.
After the Temple of the Sun, visit the Intihuatana, a stone pillar that was used as an astronomical clock. The Intihuatana is also known as the “hitching post of the sun,” and it’s said to have been used in Inca ceremonies to tie the sun to the earth.
From here, head to the Temple of the Condor, a building shaped like a condor’s wingspan. This structure was used as a prison, and it’s known for its impressive stone carvings that resemble the head of a condor.
Finally, visit the Sacred Plaza, which is located at the heart of Machu Picchu. The Sacred Plaza was used for religious ceremonies, and it’s surrounded by impressive buildings, including the Temple of the Three Windows and the Main Temple.
After exploring Machu Picchu, you can head back to Aguas Calientes and enjoy a well-deserved meal or relax in one of the town’s hot springs. And if you’re feeling adventurous, you can hike up to the Sun Gate, which offers stunning views of Machu Picchu and the surrounding mountains.
Finally, Machupicchu is an excellent place to meditate.
The Machu Picchu Best Circuit is an excellent way to explore this incredible site and make the most of your visit to Peru. From the charming city of Cusco to the stunning landscapes of the Sacred Valley, to the awe-inspiring ruins of Machu Picchu, this itinerary will take you on a journey through the wonders of Peru.
But remember, visiting Machu Picchu requires some preparation and planning, especially when it comes to altitude sickness. Make sure to spend some time in Cusco before heading to Machu Picchu, and take your time to acclimate to the altitude.
And don’t forget to enjoy the local cuisine, sample some coca tea, and take in the breathtaking views of the Andes. Peru is a land of wonders, and Machu Picchu is just the beginning. So pack your bags, and get ready for an adventure of a lifetime!
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