Machu Picchu is one of those destinations we all dream of visiting. Whether you first saw it in a National Geographic photographic spread, read Hiram Bingham’s account of the city’s discovery, or were inspired after watching Charlton Heston in Secret of the Incas, these iconic ruins are once seen, never forgotten.
If you choose to hike the multi-day Inca Trail along Peru’s Sacred Valley, you’ll have plenty of time for anticipation to build. The climax is to stand at the ‘Sun Gate’ and gaze in awe at Machu Picchu in its spectacular setting as the Incas did 500 years before.
The Incas had a strong understanding of astronomy, as you’ll discover it you visit Machu Picchu at sunrise and sunset, or, alternatively, during a full moon. The Temple of the Sun was a solar observatory and place of animal sacrifice; the ritual Intihuatana stone is thought to have been an early kind of astronomical clock or calendar. Your private guide’s passion and understanding of Inca history will become apparent as you wander spellbound around this enchanting city in its spectacular mountaintop setting.