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Machu Picchu

This article discusses how to take a Machu Picchu Tour to celebrate the Centennial of the discovery of Machu Picchu by Hiram Bingham in July 1911.

100 years ago, only a handful of Spanish- and Quechua-speaking farmers knew about a cliff side dotted with terraced fields and abandoned stone buildings. Not even the Spanish conquistadors, set to conquer the native population in the 1500s, knew about the area. They razed many of the nearby Inca sites, including Cusco, Sacsayhuaman, Ollantaytambo, and Vilcabamba, but completely missed Machu Picchu.

400 years after the Incas left Machu Picchu, an American explorer by the name of Hiram Bingham came upon the. What he and his team of National Geographic explorers and architects found took their breath away. In contrast to the other Inca sites in the Sacred Valley, here the stonework of the abandoned buildings, terraces, and roads were remarkably preserved.

And the site was huge! Covering an entire cliff side, and nestled deep in the cloud forest of Southeastern Peru, the city of stone was built on top of a giant mountain, with several similarly giant mountains surrounding it, separated by deep valleys and rivers. In nearly all directions, lush green mountaintops spread out as far as the eye could see.

Over the past century, millions of tourists have traveled to Machu Picchu, either by train or by foot along the Inca Trail, to experience the unparalleled beauty of this city in the sky, also nicknamed The Lost City of the Incas.

This year, Machu Picchu Peru Tours agencies are preparing for an influx of travelers, especially during the high season, June-August. Not only are these months prime time for vacationers to travel to Peru, but it’s also when the Sun Festival, Inti Raymi, occurs in Cusco, and this year, the Centennial occurs in July. Plus, the dry season in the cloud forest makes it an ideal time to take a Peru tour.

On a Peru tour to Machu Picchu during the Machu Picchu Centennial and high season, make sure to plan well ahead and book your travel arrangements in advance. The Inca Trail to Machu Picchu often gets booked up months in advance, because only 500 people (including guides, porters, and trekkers) are allowed on the trail each day. The Peruvian government wants to preserve the trail by limiting a number of hikers each day.

If you are planning to visit Machu Picchu by train, you should still plan your Peru tour well in advance. You need at least 3 days to visit Machu Picchu, although at least 4 days is preferred. Here is an outline of a 4-Day Lima-Cusco-Machu Picchu Tour:
  • Arrive in Lima, the capital of Peru, on the first day, and spend the night in a Lima hotel.On the second day, take a flight to Cusco and check into your Cusco hotel
  • In the afternoon, you can take a Cusco city tour to see the highlights of this fascinating city, which was once the capital of the Inca Empire
  • On the third day, you’ll take the train from Cusco to Machu Picchu Pueblo, and then take a shuttle bus to the entrance of Machu Picchu
  • Then spend the day enjoying the sights and take a guided tour of the great archeological wonder. In the afternoon, you’ll return by train to Cusco, where you will spend the night
  • In the morning, you’ll fly out to Lima. This whirlwind tour to Machu Picchu by train will allow you to see the highlights of Cusco and Macchu Picchu in 4 days. But to get the most out of your Peru tour, it’s best to spend more time in Cusco, the Sacred Valley, and Machu Picchu itself

Talk to a travel consultant about the best way to travel to Machu Picchu for the Machu Picchu Centennial this July 2011. You can also check out our 4 Day Lost City of the Incas Tour to Machu Picchu.

Also, check out our article on Machu Picchu Artifacts Returned to Peru.

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