Machu Picchu stands 2,430 metres above sea-level and is literally in the middle of a tropical mountain forest! It has recently earned its place on the list of the new 7 wonders of the world. And rightfully so for its breathtaking natural setting on the eastern slopes of the Andes and the upper Amazon basin with a rich diversity of flora and fauna. Who wouldn't be absolutely enthralled by the surrounding mountain range, the mystery and intrigue of the "Lost Cities of the Incas" and the well-preserved ruins!
It was extra special being there to celebrate Peru's 100th Birthday. We skipped the Inca Trail (the famous 4 day hike which you have to book at least 6 months in advance) and opted for a more relaxed trek to the top instead. The fastest and most efficient way is via Peru Rail. Most people arrive/depart from Cuzco train station ($125 usd for a two-way ticket) and then take a 20 mins bus ride up the long windy road to the top ($15 usd). The journey takes approximately 3.5 hours and departs at 6am each morning. When you arrive at Machu Picchu Town, don't forget to get a visitor's permit ($30 usd) as this serves as your entrance ticket. To avoid disappointment, plan ahead since the Government only issues 500 permits a day.
The view from the top:
Machu Picchu is perched in the most dramatic setting amidst the high peaks of the Andes - the grass is a carpet of the softest lush green, there are llamas running free and maze-like ancient ruin walls and giant terraces to explore to your heart's content. This place is a photographer's dream! Words cannot describe the beauty so I'll let these pictures speak for themselves...