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A Guide to Exploring Mysterious Machu Picchu

July 18 2017

Unravel the mystery behind the lost land of the Incas

Nestled in the basin of the river Vilcanota-Urubamba, Machu Picchu should be on your priority list of tourist attractions around the world. This place receives rains between October through April which is the official rainy season. While the peak season is July and August, Machu Picchu is open year-round.

Machu Picchu (Old Peak) is an archaeological masterpiece, ensconced in the eastern slopes of the Peruvian Andes and surrounded by tropical mountain forests. Situated 7,970 feet above the sea level, it is located in the Cusco Region, Urubamba Province, in Peru, South America. Machu Picchu towers over the Sacred Valley with the Urubamba River flowing below.

One of the New Seven Wonders, it covers 32,592 hectares across mountain slopes, and valleys.

From India to Machu Picchu

  • Flights from India to Cusco or Lima may cost ₹1.5 lakhs on the lower end
  • Once at Cusco you have to travel to Aguas Calientes, the nearest town
  • From this town, Machu Picchu is 8 km away
  • Look for accommodation in Cusco or Aguas Calientes or any other city that you land in
  • For hotels you can browse through various online hotel booking sites
  • Double-bed room for a day may cost ₹2500 on an average
  • If you are looking for a budget stay, you can also find hostel beds that are available for as little as ₹500-₹700.
  • International travel card offers discounts at merchant outlets across the globe for your dining, shopping, stay and other expenses. Hostels, rooms in houses, meal of the day and intercity buses will help to tame your budget
  • At road stalls you can munch on local food for as little as ₹200, but in restaurants a meal may cost anything between ₹1000- ₹2000.

Inter-City Travel

Travelling from one place to another also cuts a slice in the budget pie. A taxi may cost about ₹1500 while bus rides may amount to ₹800 on an average. Microbuses cost around ₹50.

March to Machu Picchu

  • There are 3 trains (Inca Rail, Peru Rail, and the Belmond Hiram Bingham train) that go to Aguas Calientes. Tickets can be booked at their sites, at authorised collection agents and at offices of the Regional Directorate of Culture.
  • After reaching Aguas Calientes you get a round trip to and from Machu Picchu for approximately ₹1500.
  • Dirección Desconcentrada de Cultura Cusco provides permits to visit the site of Machu Picchu via their website

Tips for Getting the Best Experience

  • It is advisable for the travellers to acclimatise themselves at Cusco or Aguas Calientes
  • Carry your passport, ticket and original credit card from which the payment for the tickets was made to Machu Picchu
  • Travel light as one needs to walk a lot
  • Book in advance as the daily permits to Machu Picchu is merely 2500. Early booking will also help you reserve seats at economical rates
  • App guide - MPpocket, AllSubway, Tappsi, Tripadvisor City Guides

Attractions at Machu Picchu

Machu Picchu is known for its stone masonry as no mortar was used to hold their walls in place. This superb masonry, and stretches of greenery can be witnessed at Sacred Plaza. A flight of stairs at the back of the Sacred Plaza descends to the Central Plaza.

Do not miss the Temple of the Condor where the flight of the condor is captured and carved in stone. Intihuatana is a carved rock pillar, whose four corners helped in predicting the solstices. Each of them trail to the rich civilization of INCA and gives a glimpse of its intelligent construction.

Machu Picchu is one of the most visited tourist attractions in Peru, and is also located at a high altitude. Tourists are required to travel long distances by foot over uneven surfaces and clipped rocks. A foot placed wrong can result in trouble. travel insurance is therefore recommended, as it provides cashless hospitalization and safeguards against loss of checked-in baggage, passport, handbags and personal accident.

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