In 1911 the Yale University lecturer and explorer accidentally stumbled upon the lost Inca city of Machu Picchu. Originally overlooked by Hiram Bingham as an important find, he continued his mission on into the Amazon Jungle in search of the lost city of Paititi - which was rumoured to be full of riches and artefacts left behind by the Incas. Only 2 years later did Hiram Bingham return to Machu Picchu to start a full archaeological study of the citadel.
Some say that Machu Picchu was never lost to the Jungle, and was simply kept a secret by locals in the area. In-fact when Hiram Bingham first arrived at Machu Picchu there were several families using the sturdy stone structures as shelter.
Perched high up on the edge of a cliff set deep in the high jungle of Southern Peru, Machu Picchu fabled ‘The Lost City of the Incas’ is truly a first class attraction in South america. Located 120km's (75 miles) north-west of Cusco (the closest major city), the settlement was reputed to be an important place or retreat for the royalty and hierarchy of the Incan Empire.
During the 16th century when the Spanish over-powered the crumbling Inca Empire, Machu Picchu was left abandoned at the mercy of the Jungle. The Inca Trail network that connected Machu Picchu to other important Inca sites were destroyed in a frantic attempt to hide the citadel from the Spanish. The Spanish never found Machu Picchu, and that is why today the citadel of Machu Picchu is one of the best preserved Inca Ruins in all of South America.
In 1983 Machu Picchu became a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and more recently in 2007 was voted one of the seven New Wonders of the World by an internet poll.
As quoted by Paul Jones Senior Travel Expert at Totally Latin America "Machu Picchu is simply a one of the most stunning places in the world. For me it is not so much the beautifully constructed Inca buildings or the sheer size of the citadel, but more about the incredible remote location which is just magical, peaceful and extremely mystical - it leaves a lasting impression".
The ruins of Machu Picchu are divided into two main sections known as the Urban and Agricultural Sectors, divided by a wall. The Agricultural Sector is further subdivided into Upper and Lower Sectors, while the Urban Sector is split into East and West Sectors, separated by wide plazas.
Comprehensive guided tours of Machu Picchu typically take about 2 hours, and include the following points of interest.
- The Caretakers Hut
- The Temple of the Sun
- The Royal Tomb
- The Sun Temple
- The Three Windowed Temple
- Intihuatana / Solar Clock
- The Inca Quarry
Additional tours of Machu Picchu may include Huayna Picchu, The Moon Temple, The Sun Gate and the Inca Bridge. Follow the links to find out more information.
Combine two of South America's best attractions with one of our Galapagos Machu Picchu Tours. The travel experts at Totally Latin America are specialists in both destinations and have created a selection of exciting vacations just for you. Browse our selection of Galapagos Machu Picchu Tours or contact a native English speaking travel advisor today.