Wake early to arrive for sunrise from the high terraces overlooking Machu Picchu, as the clouds gradually part to reveal this stunning citadel surrounded on all sides by steep mountainsides and lush vegetation.
Perhaps the most photographed and visited archaeological site in the South American continent, there is no doubt of Machu Picchu’s fame and enduring popularity. Don’t be put off by the number of visitors here, though – the site is genuinely spectacular, perched as it is on a high ridge and surrounded by lofty Andean peaks. There is accommodation right next to the ruins, although we prefer to have the option of exploring the town below in the evenings with its bustling little market and great selection of cafés. It is well worth staying at least one night here, preferably two so you can explore hidden pathways with secret viewpoints to the site as well as discover wildlife conservation projects and observe the beautiful tropical vegetation at this lower altitude to the stark altiplano.
Getting to Machu Picchu (outside of the short wet season December – March) is easy enough, depending on how active you are. The intrepid adventurers can take to one of several Inca pathways that lead into the citadel through the valleys and over steep passes through the Andes. You can also choose between camping (albeit with showers and massage facilities) and comfortable rustic lodges with comfortable rooms with bathrooms and even a Jacuzzi to soak your limbs! If you want to explore the more remote reaches of the Inca empire, then combine your trek to Machu Picchu with a bespoke adventure to also hike to the little known and recently discovered site of Choquequirao.
For a decidedly more decadent and serene way to arrive, travel there by rail. There are a number of services that run alongside the Urubamba River down towards the sub-tropical zone of Machu Picchu amid bromeliads and coffee plants. Savour gourmet cuisine as the train heads alongside the river towards this dramatic Inca city. We can even charter a private carriage if you and your group of family or friends wish to arrive in style and arrange for you to walk around Machu Picchu in the company of an eminent archaeologist.
It is worth losing a few hours’ sleep too the morning after you arrive. Get up early before sunrise for the first journey up the hill to the ruins as it opens. Although often clad in mist early morning, as the sun burns off the clouds, the citadel emerges in front of you in quite spectacular fashion. If you have a head for heights, the best views of the site are from the summit of Huayna Picchu, climbing behind the site.
Contact us to design your bespoke private holiday to Peru to soak up the sunrise at this iconic historic monument, truly one of Peru’s most magnificent highlights.
By Marcela Kunova - 20th April 2017
Nicola Shepherd, founder and CEO of The Exploration Company, organises unusual trips for HNW and UHNW clients ranging from birthday parties at an Indian Maharajah's palace to reliving Sir Vivian Fuchs's 1950s expedition to the South Pole. Citywealth caught ...
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