Ask me five years ago to name a historical treasure in South America and off the top of my head Machu Picchu would have probably been the first answer out of my mouth. This place is the stuff of boyhood daydreams. An exotic Andes mountaintop city shrouded in mist and mystery made coming here by motorcycle feel like something that Indiana Jones would be doing with us.
But with every ying there is the yang and Machu Picchu conjures up images of tourist hell at the same time as wonder and awe. Going to Peru brings the question with many overland travelers “should I go Machu Picchu?” Word on the street is it is expensive to make this sojourn, and while not free, it did not break the bank for us. See our penny pinchers guide for getting to Machu Picchu. Was the effort worth it? Most definitely.
Yes, by late morning the site was crawling with hoards of selfie-stick toting rabble doing stupid shit and acting like self indulged children. For example, we were quietly taking a picture of a single llama grazing peacefully when a US pre-teen boy ran at the animal shouting “check this out MOM”. The little monster ran into our little slice of photographic heaven and attempted to hug or maybe hump said llama right in front of us. Floppy hatted parents just smiled vacantly as they dabbed sunscreen on each-other.
But, Machu Picchu is huge and it was more than easy to peel away and get the run of the place mostly to yourself. Our visit was worth every glorious second and the magic of Machu Picchu enveloped us in spite of children leg-humping the llamas.
Machu Picchu is an Incan city set in the Andes Mountains high above the Urubamba River valley. Built in the 15th century and later abandoned, it is renowned for its sophisticated dry-stone walls (that fuse huge blocks without the use of mortar), artistic building construction, and mind-blowing panoramic views. Machu Picchu was never discovered by the Spanish so the site is pretty much “as is” in all its glory. The site is valuable and the Peruvian Government knows this so it is kept clean, well-maintained, and true to its origins (no snack bars or modern construction to be found).
It was with awe that we watched the sunrise on the ruins and then spent the day exploring and hiking to the Inca Bridge and Sun Gate (the original “official” entrance to Machu Picchu). Our photographs barely do it justice. Yes, you should go to Machu Picchu.