Machu Picchu & the Inca Trail

The ruins of Machu Picchu, rediscovered in 1911 by Yale archaeologist Hiram Bingham, are one of the most beautiful and enigmatic ancient sites in the world. While the Inca people certainly used the Andean mountain top (7972 feet elevation), erecting many hundreds of stone structures from the early 1400's, legends and myths indicate that Machu Picchu (meaning 'Old Peak' in the Quechua language) was revered as a sacred place from a far earlier time. Whatever its origins, the Inca turned the site into a small (5 square miles) but extraordinary city. Invisible from below and completely self-contained, surrounded by agricultural terraces sufficient to feed the population, and watered by natural springs, Machu Picchu seems to have been utilized by the Inca as a secret ceremonial city. Two thousand feet above the rumbling Urubamba river, the cloud shrouded ruins have palaces, baths, temples, storage rooms and some 150 houses, all in a remarkable state of preservation.

These structures, carved from the gray granite of the mountain top are wonders of both architectural and aesthetic genius. Many of the building blocks weigh 50 tons or more yet are so precisely sculpted and fitted together with such exactitude that the mortarless joints will not permit the insertion of even a thin knife blade. Little is known of the social or religious use of the site during Inca times. The skeletal remains of ten females to one male had led to the casual assumption that the site may have been a sanctuary for the training of priestesses and /or brides for the Inca nobility. However, subsequent osteological examination of the bones revealed an equal number of male bones, thereby indicating that Machu Picchu was not exclusively a temple or dwelling place of women.

One of Machu Picchu's primary functions was that of astronomical observatory. The Intihuatana stone (meaning 'Hitching Post of the Sun') has been shown to be a precise indicator of the date of the two equinoxes and other significant celestial periods. The Intihuatana (also called the Saywa or Sukhanka stone) is designed to hitch the sun at the two equinoxes, not at the solstice (as is stated in some tourist literature and new-age books). At midday on March 21st and September 21st, the sun stands almost directly above the pillar, creating no shadow at all. At this precise moment the sun "sits with all his might upon the pillar" and is for a moment "tied" to the rock. At these periods, the Incas held ceremonies at the stone in which they "tied the sun" to halt its northward movement in the sky. There is also an Intihuatana alignment with the December solstice (the summer solstice of the southern hemisphere), when at sunset the sun sinks behind Pumasillo (the Puma's claw), the most sacred mountain of the western Vilcabamba range, but the shrine itself is primarily equinoctial.

Shamanic legends tell that when a sensitive person touches their forehead to the Intihuatana stone it opens their vision to the spirit world. Intihuatana stones were the supremely sacred objects of the Inca people and were systematically searched for and destroyed by the Spaniards. When the Intihuatana stone was broken at an Inca shrine, the Inca believed that the deities of the place died or departed. The Spaniards never found Machu Picchu, even though they suspected its existence, thus the Intihuatana stone and its resident spirits remain in their original position. The mountain top sanctuary fell into disuse and was abandoned some forty years after the Spanish took Cuzco in 1533. Supply lines linking the many Inca social centers were disrupted and the great empire came to an end. The photograph shows the ruins of Machu Picchu in the foreground with the sacred peak of Wayna Picchu towering behind. Partway down the northern side of Wayna Picchu is the so-called "Temple of the Moon" inside a cavern. As with the ruins of Machu Picchu, there is no archaeological or iconographical evidence to substantiate the "new-age" assumption that this cave was a goddess site.
Although Hiram Bingham was the first person to bring word of the ruins to the outside world in 1911, other outsiders were said to have seen Machu Picchu before him. The site may have been discovered in 1867 by a German businessman, Augusto Berns, and there is some evidence that another German, J. M. von Hassel, arrived even earlier. Maps found by historians show references to Machu Picchu as early as 1874. In 1904, an engineer named Franklin supposedly spotted the ruins from a distant mountain.

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FD Tour Machu Picchu & Vistadome train

The day starts with an early morning rise to transfer to Cusco Train Station for a three hour train journey to the famous Inca Citadel of Machu Picchu, also known as "The Lost City of the Incas", one of the best known examples of surviving Inca architecture. Arrive at Aguas Calientes Station followed by a 30-minute bus drive, climbing 6km of windin..

$405.00

Green Gold of Peru 2018

Lima / Iquitos / Cusco / Machu  Picchu /  Puno  / Lake  Titicaca/ Ica / Nazca / Paracas12 days / 11 nights Daily departures Valid from 1 person ..

$5,005.00

Peru Luxury Holiday 2018

11 days / 10 nights Highlights: Lima, Amazon jungle, Sacred Valley, Machu Picchu, Cusco, Paracas, NazcaDeparture: Wednesdays Valid from 2 passengers until 15 December 2018..

$14,051.25

Peru & Brazil 2018

14 days / 13 nights Lima (4n) + Cuzco (2n) + Puno (1n) + Foz do Iguacu (2n) + Rio de Janeiro (2n)+ Buzios (2n)Tours can start in any date of arrival, except on  holidaysPrices are valid from 2 people..

$7,893.75

Peru & Equador with Galápagos Islands 2018

Peru & Equador with Galápagos Islands 201812 days/ 11 nights Lima (3 n) + Cusco (2 n) + Puno (1 n) + Quito (2 n) + Galapagos (3 n)Tours can start in any date of arrival, except in holidays ..

$6,685.00

Peru, Bolivia & Chile

Peru, Bolivia & Chile 15 Days & 14 Nights - 2018..

$6,792.50

Peru: Magical Kingdom of the Incas

Peru: Magical Kingdom of the Incas 8 Days & 7 Nights 2018..

$4,381.25

Peru: The Kingdom of the Golden Scepter + Jungle

Lima, Ruins of Pachacamac, Nasca, Paracas, Cuzco, Machu Picchu, Puno,  Iquitos, Lima.14 days - 13 nightsThe development of the Andes Civilization is a hidden mystery. History has it that the Gods and Giants lived in these very lands, that there was an Ancient Empire: the Kingdom of the Golden Scepter.  This is a special program designed ..

$4,003.75

Peru: The Kingdom of the Golden Scepter + The Magic of Northern Peru

Lima, Ruins of Pachacamac, Nasca, Paracas, Cuzco, Machu Picchu, Puno,  Trujillo, Chiclayo, Lima.15 days - 14 nightsThe development of the Andes Civilisation is a hidden mystery. History has it that the Gods and Giants lived in these very lands, that there was an Ancient Empire: the Kingdom of the Golden Scepter. This is a special program d..

$4,603.75

Peruvian Collage 2018

6 days / 5 nightsProgram is valid from 2 PAX  for any departure date except national holidays*..

$4,226.25

The Cradle of the Inca Empire

Peru & Bolivia12 Days and 11 NightsFrom Lima to Cusco, visit Machu Picchu, continue to Puno and Lake Titicaca and cross the border to Bolivia and visit La Paz, and Tiwanaku...

$4,312.50

THE LOST CITY OF THE INCAS 2018

THE LOST CITY OF THE INCAS 6 days / 5 nights Daily departures Valid from 1 person ..

$1,962.50

5 Countries Carnival Group 2019

Brazil-Argentina- Chile – Bolivia- Peru08.03.2019 - 23.03.2019Group tour 16 days /15 nights Rio de Janeiro is Brazil’s “Marvellous City”, and with good reason. The natural beauty of this incredible place almost defies belief, from the deep sapphire water, to the golden sands of Copacabana, to the vast mountain range surrounding it.But tha..

$6,521.25

Adventure in the Souther Circuit

                                              12 days / 11 nightsLima, Paracas, Nasca, Arequipa, Colca, Puno, Cusco and Machu Picchu An opportunity to discover the wonders Peru has to offer on bus tour through its coast and highla..

$1,995.00

Amazing Peru 2018

  9 days / 8 nightsProgram is valid from 2 PAX  for any departure date except national holidays**IMPORTANT: Program rates are not valid during National holidays: January 1st - New Year / March/April - Catholic Easter / May 1st - Labour Day / June 22nd – 25th - Inti Raymi (in Cusco) / July 28th & 29th – Independence Day / Nov..

$1,595.00