Adventure Holidays in Peru with Exodus Travels: Machu Picchu
Possibly the most famous panorama and archaeological site on the planet, Machu Picchu is an intricate labyrinth of stone temples and palaces on brilliant green terraces, cradled between two dramatic peaks and surrounded by the all-consuming beauty of the Andes.
The surrounding mountains reach for the skies above as cloud forests give way to sheer cliff faces, sharply descending into the deep canyon and the rushing river Urubamba far, far below. It is famous for a reason - there’s not a soul on earth who can fail to be impressed with the awesome majesty of this lost Inca city in the clouds.
What makes Machu Picchu so compelling that it draws thousands of tourists here is that it stood forgotten for centuries until Hiram Bingham brought it to the world’s attention in 1911. The Incas kept the secret of its existence closely guarded from the Spanish invaders and no written records exist. To this day, nobody truly knows why it was built.
Theories abound; Machu Picchu is thought to have been constructed perhaps as a site of astronomical significance, an observatory, an important agricultural station, a military fortress, a place of learning, an important ceremonial centre, a royal Inca retreat or perhaps just to celebrate the unspeakable greatness of the natural beauty around it. It is certainly successful at the last.
Inside Machu Picchu
The city takes hours to explore and you need to give yourself enough time to soak up the special atmosphere and unforgettable views. Snap a panoramic picture from the Hut of the Caretaker, breathe in a spectacular view of the snowy Andes from the Sacred Plaza, climb to the mysterious shrine of Intihuatana and admire the carvings in the Temple of the Condor.
The Inca Trail and Sun Gate
While it is possible to reach Machu Picchu by train most adventure travellers strive to reach these dizzy heights by the power of their own two feet on the Inca Trail. Once you’ve scaled Dead Woman’s Pass, pushed yourself to your limits on the ancient Inca pathways, passed through the mystic cloud forest and countless Inca ruins on route, you’ll be rewarded at the Sun Gate – Intipunku - by the panorama of Machu Picchu laid out before you. Truly one of the world’s most thrilling view points and the only way to see Machu Picchu in its full glory. See Exodus' Inca Trail Tours page for more info.
A short walk away and almost as beautiful as Machu Picchu itself, Wayna Picchu – “Young Peak” or “Forever Young” - offers small intricate ruins, Inca terraces, a waterfall and ceremonial baths fed by mountain springs. Take in the staggering views and remember to pay tribute to the Earth Goddess Pachamama for her generosity.
Endangered Machu Picchu
Can ancient monuments like Machu Picchu sustain the impact of 21st century tourism? It’s a troubling question, especially as scientists have already discovered landslide threatening subsidence on its western side and UNESCO has called for visitor restrictions in recent years.
Currently the international community is keeping a watchful eye the situation and the Inca Trail already operates responsible tourism policies with restriction on numbers, licensed local guides, organised porter welfare and eco-camping regulations.