Peru is a country of many treasures. It was once the home of the largest empire in the world and the Machu Picchu ruins is the mystifying place where it all comes to life. The culture and people mixed with intriguing landscapes makes this a wonder worth investigating.
The Incan built structure looms over the Urubamba Valley and is nestled about 7,000 feet above sea level in the Andean Mountain Range. Due to its isolation from the rest of Peru Machu Picchu was deemed as the Lost City since it was unknown until its relatively recent discovery in 1911.
The site can be reached from a 45km hike known as the Inca Trail. It starts at the sacred valley of the Urubamba River and ends at the majestic Machu Picchu ruins. The hike consists of about four to five days in high altitudes. The trail itself is fairly easy however the high altitudes climbing at about 12,000 feet in some parts make it more difficult for an unprepared hiker. It is recommended to stay in Cuzco at least two days to acclimate yourself to the oxygen levels. Sometimes there are long waiting lists to embark on this journey so, be sure to book well in advance.
Hiking is not the only means to experience this archeological jewel. From the Sacred Valley you can get a train to Aguas Caliente. There is no train station at Machu Picchu so from there you can catch a bus to the base of the ruins. There will still be a small hike until you reach the terraced entrance. Each step takes you higher and higher as your anticipation builds with each exhausted breath until you enter a world touched by the Gods. A spiritual compulsion unable to be describe with words.
Tennesseans are used to fresh air with rolling hills and rock faced roadways. But there is nothing that can prepare you for the adventure you are about to embark on. You can book and make arrangements on your own or visit a local travel agent to book the tour for you. Flights out of BNA International Airport will most likely go from Nashville to Miami then on to Peru. You will be required to have a valid passport and any visas necessary before entering the country.
Regardless how you get there it would be worth a trip around the world and back to see those green authoritative mountains hugged with clouds. The ruins are phenomenally well preserved instantly taking you back into time. This defining moment of a traveler’s life will be unmatched by nothing you have seen or will see again.
The photo used in this article was taken by Rebecca Hosking. All rights reserved. Copyright 2007.