Is a tour to Machu Picchu a part of your bucket list? You’ll even learn to look forward to the adventures and stories with these facts.
1. Machu Picchu Isn’t the Actual Incan Lost City
A significant part of the Inca Empire lore is the search for the so-called Lost City. Whether it was to find gold or to solve mysteries, nobody really knows. What was clear was this was supposed to be the last bastion for the Inca when they waged wars against the Spanish conquistadors. That place was not Machu Picchu but Vilcabamba, where the Inca ruins called Espiritu Pampa are.
For about 50 years, however, people believed it was the Machu Picchu after its discoverer Hiram Bingham III, an explorer, incorrectly identified the area as Vilcabamba. Interestingly, he already “found” Espiritu Pampa but spent only a short time when he ran out of supplies. It might have prevented him from taking a closer look at the surroundings.
2. Machu Picchu Is a Big Estate
When you want to visit Machu Picchu and see everything, make sure you have enough reserved energy. The place is huge! It has a land area of about 325 square kilometers. This makes it significantly bigger than Maldives and Malta. It is more than 100 times larger than Monaco.
The complex has two sections, and three structures separate each of these. These are a staircase, a moat, and a wall. Within the area, where you can find the buildings, you will find over 150 clusters or campuses.
3. It Can Take You Days to Reach There
In reality, you can do it in a day (excluding a flight from Lima and a train ride, which can take you five hours in total). But one of the best experiences you’ll ever have is taking the Inca Trail. The Inca Trail is more than 40 kilometers long, and along the way, you’ll encounter difficult or challenging terrains. One of these is the Dead Woman’s Pass, which obtained its name from its shape.
While the area is smooth (thanks to the Inca and millions of hikers through the years), it is the highest point in the trail at 4,215 meters above sea level. It is even higher than the citadel itself. Besides the rocks, the pass hardly has any tree, so you have little protection from the natural elements. Overall, it takes you about four days to get to Machu Picchu, but if you tend to be slower, it can extend to one day more. The good news is the scenery is amazing.
4. Not Everyone Can Get into Machu Picchu
To help preserve one of its cultural and even religious gems, Peru limits the number of visitors to the site. The government allows 2,500 people to come in every day. It then issues 500 more permits to those who want to hike the Inca Trail. The entrance has three different shifts, and you can get it only when you arrive at the top hour. You can stay only for four hours around the area. Most of all, you cannot explore the area without a tour guide.
Machu Picchu is one of the world’s UNESCO World Heritage Site for a reason. Its stories and legends, architecture, science, and mystery make it worth every sweat, queue, hike, and maybe a few tears. Don’t let the opportunity pass you by.