In Quechua: "Machu Pikchu" translates machu = old and pikchu = pyramid or mountain, thus Machu Picchu. The archaeological site is situated in the gorgeous 37,000 ha mountain rainforest or cloud forest Machu Picchu historical Reserve.


Machu Picchu Facts

This incredible site became known in 1911, after archaeologist Hiram Bingham was take to the ruins by a local farmer. Built on a mountain top 300 m above the Urubamba river, visitors are offered a breathtaking view of the steep surrounding peaks, covered in cloud forest. It is also the final destination of the famous Inca Trail.


Why consider booking our  Peru National Parks Tour? Because for the same price, our tour gets you to ALL places Peru is so famous for. On top of that, you get to see 9 National Parks/Reserves accompanied by a naturalist guide. There is nothing similar on the market. As Peru can be combined with other countries, we organize tours in modules: Lima Cusco, Machu Picchu module, Manu National Park module, National Parks Module, All modules.

Destinations Overview:  World Heritage Site Lima,  World Heritage Site Cusco, Amazon park Manu National Park World Heritage Site Valle Sagrado/Sacred Valley, World Heritage Site Machu Picchu, Cloud Forest Machu Picchu Sanctuary, Highland wetland Titicaca National Reserve, Uros floating islands, Altiplano wildlife park Salinas & Aguadas Blancas National Reserve, World's second deepest canyon Colca Canyon, Word heritage site Arequipa, World heritage site Nazca Lines, Pampas Galeras National Reserve, San Fernando National Reserve, Paracas National Reserve, Ballestas Islands National Reserve.


The Machu Picchu facts are still not well understood what the role of the citadel was to the Incas. The latest point of view is, that Machu Picchu was a country resort of some sort. There were never more than 750 people living there during the dry season and far less during the wet season. Construction started around 1430, but it was abandoned about a century later by the time of the Spanish occupation. 


Whatever its role, it was very well hidden and travelers at the time had through long valleys with military check points and watch towers and it was not all that surprising, that the Spanish colonizers missed the site. After all, the new territory was faced by an incredible population decline, and an uninhabited village hidden in unaccessible the mountains would not have drawn all that much attention.


Even though some local peasants are said to have known about the place, it did not draw much attention. Remember, until 1954, most peasants were semi-slaves as they were kept in bondage by the large landlords who possessed their lands and there was not much interest in yet another ruin in addition to the ones already known along the Urubamba valley. Bingham was on an expedition sponsored by Yale University and looking for the last Inca hideout, Vilcabamba. As he was lead to the site by a local farmer, Melchor Arteaga, he discovered the site for science and the outside world. While originally primarily protected by interested archaeologists, the ruins were declared a Peruvian Historical Sanctuary in 1981 and a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1983. What is little know to the general public, is that the protected site is much larger than just the mountain with the citadel. The total extend is 32,592 ha (±100,000 acres) of primary tropical mountain or cloud forest.



Machu Picchu map.


MACHU PICCHU FACTS & PICTURES: Boarding the Machu Picchu Train at Ollantaytambo

MACHU PICCHU FACTS & PICTURES: Second class train.

Railway station in Ollantaytambo with regular tourist class train to Machu Picchu.

Service on board of the regular tourist class Machu Picchu train.


Machu Picchu tourist train takes passengers from either Cusco or Ollantaytambo to Aguas Calientes, Peru and back.


MACHU PICCHU FACTS & PICTURES: bar first class train.

There is a deluxe train, but that is very expensive, costing around $700.



Most people take the bus up the mountain. These buses take off every few minutes both from Aguas Calientes at the end of the Sacred Valley the highlight of the Inca Empire, and from the entrance of the Machu Picchu Lodge at the top of the mountain.



MACHU PICCHU FACTS & PICTURES: Mid-sized bus up the mountain

Passangers getting off the bus in front of the Machu Picchu Lodge.


MACHU PICCHU FACTS & PICTURES: Entrance Machu Picchu Sanctuary Lodge.

MACHU PICCHU FACTS & PICTURES: Machu Picchu Sanctuary Lodge Restaurant.


Being the only place to spend the night at Machu Picchu itself, the Machu Picchu Sanctuary Lodge is very costly, but if you can effort it, sleeping at one of the seven wonders of the world, of course is a once in a lifetime experience. Being much lower and closer to the Amazon, the climate is much wetter and warmer than the climate of Cusco.


MACHU PICCHU FACTS & PICTURES: Sun Gate Inti Punku, is where the Inca Trail enters the monumnet.

Yet another way of reaching Machu Picchu is by walking the Inca Trail and one enters the monument at the Sun Gate Inti Punku.


Taking the Inca Trail of course is a totally different experience as one reaches the monument after a 4 days' hike. The trail takes you through landscapes varying from traditional farming land, cloud forests and Andes paramo with views of snow capped mountains. Each day the scenery is totally different as the trail sometimes takes you on Inca-built stone pathways and steps, but most of the times over a regular trail. The trail is now government regulated and only a limited number of visitors per day is allowed on guided walks.


The dry season coincides with the Northern summer and high season is June and August. While taking pictures with blue skies are most likely taken during the dry season, the wet season has its own charm, as the ruins are covered in continuously changing drapes of clouds. During the dry season, be sure to use sunblock as you are in the tropics at a considerable elevation.


MACHU PICCHU FACTS & PICTURES: Average temperatures climate data.

MACHU PICCHU FACTS & PICTURES: Montly rainfall climate data.

Temperatures are usually very moderate, on a sunny day in the sun, Machu Picchu can be hot.

During the rainy season, it is wise to bring along a raincoat or a poncho.


Most visitors take one of the mid-size busses from Aguas Calientes to and from the lost city of the Incas, but there is a trail through the forest which traverses a beautiful cloud forest and the early risers can enjoy a great variety of birds when taking the 1,5 hours trail through the woods in stead.


MACHU PICCHU FACTS & PICTURES: National Historical ReserveMACHU PICCHU FACTS & PICTURES: Begonias in National Historical Reserve

For those who take the trail up to or down from the mountain, a beautiful walk lies ahead.


MACHU PICCHU FACTS & PICTURES: Machu Picchu entrance

Left: Machu Picchu tickets are NOT sold at the entrance gate and are limited to 2500 per day, with entrance to Huayna Picchu and Montana Machu Picchu each being further limited to 400. During peak times of the year, tickets can sell out days in advance.

MACHU PICCHU FACTS & PICTURES: Machu Picchu guard house and storage houses

MACHU PICCHU FACTS & PICTURES: Machu Picchu historical main gate.

Near the entrance are the storage houses and the original guard house (with the steep roof).


The original main gate.




MACHU PICCHU FACTS & PICTURES: Machu Picchu tourists.



isitation is less during the wet season and visitors have more opportunity to express themselves.


MACHU PICCHU FACTS & PICTURES: Machu Picchu Temple of the Sun.

MACHU PICCHU FACTS & PICTURES: Temple of the Sun at Machu Picchu.

Temple of the Sun




Inside royal tomb


The Sacred rock



MACHU PICCHU FACTS & PICTURES: Inti Huatana or Inti Watana solar Inca Calendar.

The Three Windows Temple.


Solar clock or calendar, Inti Huatana.


MACHU PICCHU FACTS & PICTURES: Temple of the Condor rock.

MACHU PICCHU FACTS & PICTURES: Machu Picchu sacred fountain.

Temple of the condor.


Sacred fountain.


MACHU PICCHU FACTS & PICTURES: Pegs to attach thatched roofs.

MACHU PICCHU FACTS & PICTURES: Thatched roof attached to pegs in the wall.

MACHU PICCHU FACTS & PICTURES: Interior of restored house.

Above left: Pegs to attach the the thatched roofs.

Above right: roof attached to pegs.

Left: interior of a restored house.


Impressions of the citadel on the mountain

MACHU PICCHU FACTS & PICTURES: Machu Picchu citadel overview.

MACHU PICCHU FACTS & PICTURES: Machu Picchu in the mountains of the historical reserve.

MACHU PICCHU FACTS & PICTURES: Machu Picchu agricultural terraces.


MACHU PICCHU FACTS & PICTURES: Machu Picchu trapezoid doors and windows.

MACHU PICCHU FACTS & PICTURES: Machu Picchu in the mountains.


Nature at Machu Picchu


MACHU PICCHU FACTS & PICTURES: Viscacha rodent Lagidium Peruanum resides at Machu Picchu.

MACHU PICCHU FACTS & PICTURES: Begonias along the Machu Picchu trail



At Machu Picchu, nature is everywhere: the surrounding cloud forests where rainforest wildlife roams, and even on the walls, where viscachas run around and begonias grow from the walls. This too is one of the Machu Picchu facts.


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Just look at the quality of our high resolution pictures. We took them all ourselves. We have thousands of high resolution pictures on this website, that you can see enlarged by clicking on them. These pictures show that we have been everywhere in the country of your interest and really know the details. We are professional explorers and biologists with MSc and PhD.


National Parks Tours Worldwide, a social responsibility and conservation company, is a brand name of the World Institute for Conservation & Environment, registered in the Netherlands with headquarters in the USA.


Latin America Desk in Quito, Ecuador inside:

Hotel Balmoral, Address: Calle Moreno Bellido E6-57 & Avenida Amazonas, Quito

Telephone: (++593)(02) 2 50 5310, Cell phone: (++593) (0) 96 29 35 271

Email Latin America Desk in Quito, Ecuador:

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Parks Man Dr. Daan Vreugdenhil is author of this website. He dedicated his life to the conservation of nature., He was part of the team that selected the first 39 protected areas of Ecuador, including. Yasuní and Cuyabeno, the latter of which he he later recommended to be expanded from originally 150,000ha to 600,000ha, together with then Cuyabeno director Prof. Dr. Flavio Coello and Parks and Tribes partner. Daan is also the founding father of the Cuyabeno Lodge and co-manager of the Cofan Lodge.