The UNESCO World Heritage site of Machu Picchu located near Cuzco, Peru has been luring visitors for decades since the first American expedition to it in 1911. Hiram Bingham III was the one largely responsible for the initial excavation of it and now it is one of the most visited sites in the world. Unfortunately, because it has been visited by so many tourists there are things you can no longer do like fly to it or spend the night.
Machu Picchu was thought to have been built sometime in the 1400s by the Incas for one of their emperors but it was abandoned for unknown reasons when it was one of the largest temple complexes used by the Incas. If you want to feel like you are walking some ancient paths where sacrifices took place and a lot of worship then you will feel like you have been transported to a bygone era.
Hiking to Machu Picchu is the way to see it. There are two routes that must tourists take: the Lares Path and the Inca Trail. Although there are many other routes you can take which include hiking through the jungle which is a very authentic experience for the traveler that really wants to go off the beaten track. The Inca Trail is just over 100 km and takes about a day to do. You can avoid hiking if you are impaired or simply do not like long hikes by taking the train to Aguas Calientes and then catching a bus to the entrance to the temple complex.
When To Visit
There are two seasons in Peru: the rainy and the dry seasons. As you can probably guess the dry season is the best time to go which is May to September and is considered to be winter time. May is largely considered the perfect time to go. In October to April, you can expect a drizzle to a full-on storm depending on what mother nature decides to do. The foliage will be quite lush but most of the hiking trails close once the rain comes, which means you cannot experience the Inca Trail. So be well informed before you book your tickets as you do not want to see Machu Picchu in the pouring rain.
Don’t forget that there is a lot more of Peru to see so make sure you spend time in Lima and travel around. Patagonia is close by and is also a destination not be missed if you want to walk in the steps of famed naturalist Charles Darwin.