Hidden from view for hundreds of years under miles of overgrown vegetation, the Inca city of Machu Picchu in Peru has certainly been making up for lost time since its discovery by American explorer Hiram Bingham in 1911. Last year Machu Picchu was one of South America’s most visited landmarks, attracting 1.1 million tourists from around the globe.
Earlier this year TripAdvisor readers voted Machu Picchu as their number 1 world attraction to see in 2013. Whether you hike the world-famous Inca Trail to the site, or take a spectacular train journey through Peru’s Sacred Valley, why not make Machu Picchu your go-to destination this year?
Here are 5 reasons why Machu Picchu is top of SATO’s list for 2013:
1. You could discover a piece of hidden history
Historians say that just 40% of the original site of Machu Picchu was constructed above ground, with much more lying hidden underneath. The thick forest surrounding the site also means that other ruins and pathways in the area could be concealed from view. Who knows, maybe you could out-do Hiram Bingham and stumble upon a piece of the site that has never been seen before?
2. The skill of the Incas will amaze you
Machu Picchu was built over 500 years ago, and yet the stones used for each part of the site were cut so perfectly that they were fitted together without cement or mortar. The Incas used farming and building techniques that were incredibly advanced for their time. The site is still standing strong five centuries later, so they must have been doing something right!
3. It was a sacred spot for the ancient civilizations of Peru
Evidence shows that the Incas were certainly not the only people to have visited Machu Picchu. Remains at the site reveal that it was visited by people from many other parts of the highlands, from areas as far south as Lake Titicaca. Built in the middle of a sacred landscape, Machu Picchu was definitely held in high regard by the civilizations of the time, and may even have been the end point of a pilgrimage. Visit the site for yourself to discover why it meant so much to Peru’s ancient people.
4. You’ll get unforgettable views at an unforgettable site
Whether you spot Machu Picchu from the Sun Gate on the final morning of your trek, or whether you see it towering above you on the bus journey from the town of Aguas Calientes, you will never forget the first time you are presented with that breathtaking view. Climb one of the two mountains overlooking Machu Picchu for a birds’ eye experience of the site that you will remember forever.
5. It’s an opportunity to discover what Peru has to offer
All international flights land into Lima, one of the cultural and culinary capitals of the world. To make your journey to Machu Picchu, you’ll go via Cusco, a beautiful colonial city with its own fair share of Inca ruins. That’s only the beginning however- Peru has beaches, hiking trails, tropical jungle and much more. Make 2013 your year to experience the magic of Peru and Machu Picchu!
So why wait to make your own Machu Picchu trip come true!
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