Machu Picchu, Cusco - Stein Travel



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Welcome to Machu Picchu

The ancient Inca citadel of Machu Picchu is regarded as the most significant archaeological site in South America and one of the finest examples of landscape architecture in the world. Nestled high in the towering Andes Mountains on a saddle between two peaks is this most spectacular and enthralling of Inca citadels, 'The Lost City of the Incas'. Totally concealed from below it escaped destruction by the Spanish, and was only discovered by the western world in 1911 when an American explorer stumbled across the thickly overgrown ruins in their majestic setting high in the clouds. Surrounded by steep agricultural terraces and grazing llamas, the ruins consist of a central plaza, a sacred ceremonial area with intricately carved temples and royal tombs, palaces, stairways and perfectly balanced archways, towers, food storehouses, ornate fountains and water canals. Highlights of the site include one of the most famous Inca constructions, the sacred Temple of the Sun, with its distinctive round tapering tower and the centre stone that is illuminated by the rays of the sun every winter solstice. Huayna Picchu forms a dramatic backdrop to the city and a treacherously steep stone trail leads to a platform offering dizzy views of the city below and a sweeping panorama of the surrounding mountains and forests. Despite the continuous hordes of tourists the ancient Inca citadel preserves its sense of mystery and majesty, especially in the quieter hours after sunrise and before sunset, when the light and wispy strands of mist create an aura of isolated majesty.


Admission
US$20 (adults), US$10 (students)
Language
Spanish and Quechua are the official languages, but many other dialects are spoken. English is spoken only in major tourist centres and hotels.
Money

The official currency is Nuevo Sol (PEN) divided into 100 céntimos. Visa is the most widely accepted credit card, but all major international credit cards, including Diners Club and MasterCard, are accepted in many, but not all, establishments. Outside Lima facilities may be more limited. Travellers cheques may also be difficult to exchange in small towns and villages, and travellers are advised to have cash on hand. US Dollars are the easiest currency to exchange and plenty of restaurants, hotels and shops in the main cities accept dollars for payment. Casas de cambio(exchange bureaux) often give better rates than hotels and banks and can be found in any town on the tourist circuit. ATMs are available in the main cities.

Opening Times
Daily 6am-5pm. Huayna Picchu closes at 3pm.
Time
Local time is GMT -5.

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