machu pichu

Those Incas knew how to hit the heights.

The Peruvian site of Machu Picchu, above the Río Urubamba, is one of South America’s most popular tourist attractions.

The site is renowned for being one of the major feats of engineering, so when tackling “The Lost City of the Incas” high in the Andes, the Eagle Creek Exploration 2 Switchback Max 25 is THE backpack to take along.

It too is a marvel in engineering with its ability to transform from a roller bag to a backpack, being small enough to be carry-on and also having an interior day pack cleverly hidden until needed.

Some travelers make Machu Picchu a day trip from the city of Cusco.

Located a four-hour train ride away, Cusco is a place to make travel arrangements and get used to the high altitude. Symptoms such as head and stomachaches herald altitude sickness. Alcohol only worsens the problems. Many chose to forgo chemical solutions and follow natural Peruvian techniques by chewing on coca leaves or drinking tea made from them.

Packages are available to purchase in Cusco that include round-trip train tickets along with bus transportation to the UNESCO world heritage site along with an English-speaking guide and lunch.

Three different trains, all with different prices, are available. The most economical is the Backpacker. It leaves at 7:00 a.m. and arrives in Aguas Calientes at 11:04 a.m. The Vistadome leaves earlier in the morning. Named for the discoverer of Machu Picchu the Hiram Bingham is first class luxury of wheels. The first two ascend daily from Cusco’s Estación San Pedro, while the Bingham operates seasonally four to six days and departs from Estación Poroy.

Whatever train you take, having a seat on the left side of the train going up will provide unforgettable views.

Those who are fit can walk the celebrated Inca Trail (Camino del Inca). Beginning at Ollantaytambo, you can find two trails. One at approximately 27 miles, takes four days to complete, while the shorter one can be finished in two.

Tickets must be purchased in Aguas Calientes where there are no banks so you should bring cash.

Upon arriving at Machu Picchu, 12 acres of temples and terraces, in addition to gardens and aqueducts, are ready to explore.

For outstanding panoramic views, head up the path towards the Funerary Rock where animals like sheep and llamas often graze along the terraced ridges.

In the ruin’s main section near a quarry of stones, look southwest for seasonal views of snowcapped mountains. The Temple of the Sun (Torreón) features the extraordinary stonework that still mystifies by its superior masonry.

Similar awe-inspiring work can be found at the carved altar in the Temple of the Three Windows and the series of still-working fountains.

For those who believe Machu Picchu is a spiritual place, Sacred Rock is where the most of them head to feel the energy.

Temple of the Moon dips in and out of the dense vegetation and cloud banks. Parts of it are on rather frightening curves; however, the experience is one no one will forget. Allow at least 90 minutes to complete it.

Machu Picchu is not just a trip, it is an event.

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