Whether that’s the Galapagos Islands in Ecuador brimming with wildlife, or the historical city of Cartagena – South America is home to some of the most beautiful UNESCO World Heritage Sites across the globe.
As we take you on a journey this week exploring our favourite World Heritage Sites, we take a stop here in Peru and introduce you to our favourite one on the continent.
Situated in the middle of a tropical mountain forest in Cuzco, Peru lies the ruins of Machu Picchu – the ‘lost city of Incas’. This historic sanctuary is surrounded by stone terraces, steep ridges and lush greenery as it sits in between the Amazon Basin and the Peruvian Andes.
Soaring at 2,430 metres above sea level, the temperature at the Historic Sanctuary of Machu Picchu could hit single digits. Be prepared for it to get cloudy and misty. Moreover, Machu Picchu is made up of over 150 buildings – from houses, baths, and even sanctuaries.
A Trek Through History
It is believed that these were the very grounds of the Incan Kingdom that have remained hidden for many, many years. It was built in the 15th century but was also abandoned 100 years later when the Spaniards conquered the Inca Empire.
It wasn’t until 1911 when Machu Picchu was discovered by American archaeologist, Hiram Bingham. Since then, travellers flock to Peru to catch sight of the most famous archaeological site in all of South America. In 1983, Machu Picchu was finally added to the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
Getting To The Top of Machu Picchu
There are only two ways to get to Machu Picchu. If one wishes to enjoy the journey in comfort whilst basking in the dreamy landscapes, you can hop on a train up to the mountains. It is also the fastest way to get there. For the bold and adventurous, you may choose to trek the original Inca Trail. If you do choose to trek the Inca trail, do know that this may not be an easy journey. The altitude is a challenge in itself – so make sure to get some exercise before embarking on this feat.
Although a man-made wonder, Machu Picchu still has a very natural element to it that’s inviting and intriguing all at once. The intricate stonework and historical ruins blend effortlessly with the natural environment surrounding it. Despite the mysterious secrets behind this natural wonder, Machu Picchu remains the most visited attraction in Peru and a crowd favourite in the world.