Machu Picchu…what a day! It is located 115km northwest of Cusco and at an altitude of 2450m. The 18th of July we got up early to some rain, which rarely happens during the dry season (April-October) but can occur in a semi-tropical climate. We bought these plastic ponchos to not get soaked, but luckily it cleared up around midday! I had a fever the night before and probably that day too, so I was not at my best, but I made it through and we had an amazing, magical day.
Normally, most tourists go up the mountain called Wayna Picchu. A limit of 400 people can go up per day; this is the one I had gone up in 2009. However, what not many people know is that the other mountain called Machu Picchu can also be hiked. This year, we went to check out the view from up there. It took a while before the clouds moved out of the way, but we had a great view looking down at the site.
Brief history: in 1874, the German cartographer Herman Gohring mapped the region under the order of the Peruvian Government. He gave the names Machu Picchu (which means “old mountain” and Wayna Picchu to the site. The “rediscovery” of Machu Picchu was by Hiram Bingham, a North American professor who took an interest in Incan culture during a trip to South America.
Machu Picchu was the “university” for the Incas. Many nobles and privileged people lived there and it was considered very important. Along with Saqsaywaman, it is the highlight of Incan culture and demonstrates an excellent example of the Inca’s archaeological genius.
It was only in 1983 that UNESCO declared Machu Picchu a “Cultural and Natural Patrimony of Humanity”, making it a dream destination for many people around the world.