Machu Picchu

Incredible Must See Sacred Places

Photo Image of Machu Picchu
Image courtesy of Deposit Photos


An enchanting four-day walk through orchids, low-sung clouds and mountain passes high in the Andes is a mystical, ancient place unheard of in western nations until 1911 and now one of the top tourist destinations in the world. Historians, archaeologists and theorists still do not know why Machu Picchu was erected or what its function was, but layperson, expert and traveler alike agree: it’s magic.

Tours to Machu Picchu may vary in style, luxury and cost, but all are designed to maximize the theatrical impact of viewing this awe-inspiring site as the mists rise off the Andes in the fragility of early morning.

Embarking on a Machu Picchu Excursion

Tours originate in Lima, and are gained by a one-hour flight inland (east) to the venerable city of Cuzco, an ancient historical site in its own right. Time in Cuzco is well spent acclimatizing to the high elevation and beginning an immersion into Incan culture; there is a range of excellent and affordable accommodation in the walled city. There are museums and ruins galore to enhance a stopover in Cuzco, the launch point for virtually all tours to Machu Picchu.

A Place Shrouded in Mist, Clouds and Mystery

No one knows the purpose or function of the place that takes one’s breath away on first sight. Machu Picchu was not even mentioned in any journals that chronicled the invasion of the Spanish conquistadors in the 1600s, leading historians to believe it might not have been a place of significance. Anyone who has been there would beg to differ. Machu Picchu was “discovered” in 1911 and prior to that was unknown in the western world. Covered in overgrowth, it was finally cleared by 1915 and its significance in ancient Incan culture studied.

Getting from Cuzco to the ancient site can be done in three basic modes: a four-day hike with camping en route; by motorized vehicle, commonly in a van; and by train, followed by a quick bus ride from Aguas Calientes, where travelers may enjoy the thermal baths. The aim is always to arrive at Machu Picchu in time to stand at the renowned Sun Gate and witness sunrise as the mountain mists lift like a curtain and reveal the stunning view that is a recent addition to the wonders of the world. It is nearly as incredible at sunset.

Experienced Machu Picchu tourists recommend staying at the lodge at the foot of the mountain, although it is costly. The facilities are average and the restaurant adequate, but luxury is not the reason people go to Machu Picchu; it is a pilgrimage of different proportions, a glimpse of the distant past and a spiritual experience like few others. And there is not a monetary element to that.

Be ready for extreme weather changes, and don’t forget binoculars and a camera. Sturdy shoes are required whether the hike is taken or the train. US dollars are accepted everywhere.

Even accouterments like horseback riding among the ruins, the Inca Museum and local whitewater rafting cannot match the magic of seeing Machu Picchu, still a mystery, the seat of a civilization, emerge from the mists like an ancient memory not forgotten.

0

Incredible Must See Sacred Places

Stonehenge

Still the subject of speculation as to its true reason for existing, Stonehenge, located at Salisbury Plain in Wiltshire, England, is presumed, among other things...

Angor Wat

While religion is in heated opposition to science in our times, back in the early 12th century, master builders for the Khmer Empire created the...

Machu Picchu

An enchanting four-day walk through orchids, low-sung clouds and mountain passes high in the Andes is a mystical, ancient place unheard of in western nations...

Uluru Ayers Rock

It’s no longer “Please Don’t Climb”, it is law as of October 2019 that Uluru, also called Ayer’s Rock, in the southern section...

Ghats Of Varanasi India

Those of you who have viewed the beautiful 2005 film, “Water”, directed by Deepa Mehta have already seen the Ghats of Varanasi. The film is largely...

Mount Sinai, Egypt

More than just an amazing sacred place, Mount Sinai, Egypt, has deep significance for members if the Abrahamic religions (essentially the monotheistic sects that worship...

Mecca, Saudi Arabia

Deep in a narrow desert valley in the Hejazi region of Saudi Arabia lies the sacred city of Mecca (also spelled Makkah), the annual destination...

Jerusalem, Israel

A popular tourist destination for all religious orders, Jerusalem is one of the oldest cities in the world, set in four quadrants (Armenian, Jewish, Christian...

St. Peter's Basilica, Vatican City

Unlike its famous Parisian counterpart, Notre Dame Cathedral, St. Peter’s Basilica in the sovereign state of Vatican City, within the confines of Rome, Italy...

Pashupatinath Temple Nepal

For the people who live in Nepal, daily life is likely fairly normal, but for those of us who view it as the home of...

Temple of Athena

The Greeks were counting on her: their goddess Athena, worshipped for being victorious in battle, was their hope for winning the agonizing Peloponnesian War against...

Incredible Must See Sacred Places

Where is your sacred place? What is a sacred place to you? For those of us living in modern times, a sacred place might literally...

Destinations to Discover

Incredible Must See Sacred Places

Where is your sacred place? What is a sacred place to you? For those of us living in modern times, a sacred place might literally...

Things to Do in Aruba

Part of the Netherlands Antilles group of Caribbean islands — the “A” in the “ABC” (Aruba, Bonaire, Curaçao) — Aruba is surprisingly affordable. It lacks the...

Canadas Most Scenic National Parks

From sea (Pacific) to sea (Atlantic) to sea (Arctic), every province and territory in Canada boasts designated national parks for visitors from around the world...

Things to Do in Paris

What more can be written about Paris that has not already been scribed, spoken or filmed? It’s one of the foremost cities of the...

Most Amazing Festivals in the World

We humans work hard and when we play, we celebrate. The array and variety of amazing world festivals is an example of how lavishly we...

Things to Do in New York City

New York City is an expensive place to live (it boasts the highest number of resident billionaires of all the cities on earth), with the...

Things to Do in London

London, England. The words still evoke an era, probably the 1960s and 19670s of mods and rockers, Carnaby Street, youth culture, Princess Margaret, the Beatles...

Things to Do in Venice

In the global battle for most romantic city in the world, the Venice versus Paris finals often switch winners, but here at Affordable Travel, we...

Amazing U.S. National Parks

The United Sates of America is vast, and not only contiguous; it has offshore islands and territories in faraway locales. Its large northern peninsula, the...

Things to Do in Athens

Athens, Greece, has been the city of cultural imagination and classical history for over three millennia. The largest city in Greece, Athens, the namesake of...