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Machu Picchu Tours

Join our Machu Picchu tours and experience this ancient wonder

Machu Picchu has  captured the imaginations of people the world over. Our Machu Picchu tours are designed to be unique and interactive

Ok, so there are many beautiful, awe inspiring places in the world. Take the backstreets of Syria for example- A really nice place to kickback and relax with a cocktail with a nice view. But if Syria is not your scene, maybe you should consider joining one of our Machu Picchu tours. A tad more relaxing and dare we say it, mind blowing views coupled with an experience that is way different to any other adventure you may have been on. Not only do you get to trek to the top of Machu Picchu, (2430), but you get to trek on the infamous Inca Trail. “How high is Machu Picchu?” the man in the back row screams out. Well the official height is 2430m above sea level. Or 1324m above my house. But alas, our Machu Picchu Tours do not start from my house. What is the significance of that you may be wondering? And don’t wonder to much as you may stray of the route and get attached by an Incan Bigfoot. The significance is that if you do decide to start the tour from my house, I hope you are good swimmer. We are based in South Africa, so you are gonna have to swim across the Atlantic, followed by a 1300km trek just to get to Machu Picchu. I have a funny feeling you may be a tad tired when you get there.

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 About our Machu Picchu Adventure

Our adventures will show you snow capped mountains, amazing wildlife and a landscape filled with colourful local people and the ever present reminders of our Inca ancestors. Our partners in Peru are two well known and popular local guides. With over 700 Inca trails between them and more than fourteen years experience, they are the ideal people to show you around their home country. Their passion and boundless enthusiasm will ensure you have the trip of a lifetime. The rest of the team is handpicked to maintain our high standards. We know just how important the guide is to making your trip special. Our guides are some of the best in the region, chosen for their professionalism and ability to communicate their passion for their country. All have many years experience guiding, speak good English, hold degrees in tourism, training in first aid and are fully licensed to work as guides. Our cooks are well trained in food hygiene and will amaze you with the delicious meals they prepare, in even the most remote of campsites. Our wranglers and porters will take down camp and speed past you carrying all your luggage and camp equipment. When you walk into camp to find it all set up in yet another stunning location, you will wonder just how they manage to do it. Our goals are simple: we want to share with you our knowledge and love for this wonderful country and its people so that you come away loving it just as much as we do. Secondly we want to make a positive contribution to the people and places we meet along the way. Whether you want to visit Machu Picchu, hike one of the many trails or simply appreciate the beauty and history of Peru from the comfort of a coach.

 

Where is Machu Picchu Situated?

Machu Picchu is a 15th-century Inca site located 2,430m (7,970 ft) from my house, i mean above sea level. Machu Picchu is situated in the Cuzco Region, Urubamba Province and Machu Picchu District in the country of Peru. It is situated on a mountain ridge above Sacred Valley, which is 80km (50 miles) northwest of the Cuzco Region and through which the Urubamba River flows. Some archeologists around the world believe that Machu Picchu was built as an estate for the Inca emperor  “ Pachacuti” .  Machu Picchu is often mistakenly referred to as the “Lost City of the Inca”, but is known to be the most familiar icon of Inca Civilization.

The historic people of Inca built the estate around 1450, but left it a century later at the time of the Spanish Conquest. Although known locally, it was unknown to the outside world before being brought to international attention in 1911 by the American historian Hiram Bingham. Since then, Machu Picchu has become an important tourist attraction. Most of the buildings have been reconstructed in order to give tourists a better idea of what the structures originally looked like. By 1976, thirty percent of Machu Picchu had been restored. The reconstruction of Machu Picchu continues to this day.

Since the site was not known to the Spanish during their conquest, it is highly significant as a relatively intact cultural site. Machu Picchu was declared a Peruvian Historical Sanctuary in 1981 and a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1983.

Machu Picchu was built in the classical Inca style, with polished dry stone walls. Its three primary structures are the Intihuatana (Hitching post of the Sun), the Temple of the Sun, and the Room of the Three Windows. These are located in what is known by archaeologists as the Sacred District of Machu Picchu.

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 History of Machu Picchu 

 

Machu Picchu was built around 1450, at the height of the Inca Empire.  The construction of Machu Picchu appears to date from the period of the two great Incas, Pachacutec Inca Yupanqui (1438–1471) and Tupac Inca Yupanqui (1472–1493).

 Hiram Bingham theorized that the complex was the traditional birthplace of the Incan “Virgins of the Suns”. More recent research by scholars such as John Howland Rowe and Richard Burger has convinced a number of archaeologists that Machu Picchu was an estate of the Inca Emperor Pachacuti. Johan Reinhard believes Machu Picchu to be a sacred religious site. This theory stands mainly because of where Machu Picchu is located. Reinhard calls it “sacred geography” because Machu Picchu is built on and around mountains that hold high religious importance in the Inca culture and in the previous culture that occupied the land. At the highest point of the mountain which Machu Picchu was named after, there are artificial platforms; these had a religious function, as is clear from the Inca ritual offerings found buried under them.

Another theory maintains that Machu Picchu was an Inca llaqta, a settlement built to sustain the economy of controlled regions. Yet others think it may have been built as a prison for people who committed crimes against the Inca society.

Although the Citadel is located only about 80 kilometers (50 miles) from Cusco, the Inca capital, the Spanish never found it and consequently did not plunder or destroy it, as they did many other sites. Over the centuries, the surrounding jungle grew over much of the site, and few outsiders knew of its existence.

On 24 July 1911, Hiram Bingham announced the discovery of Machu Picchu to scholars. As an American historian employed as a lecturer at Yale University, Bingham had been searching for the city of Vilcabamba, the last Inca refuge during the Spanish conquest. Here, he claimed that Machu Picchu was the “last and lost city of the Incas.” This theory was later tarnished as American explorer Gene Savoy reached Vilcabamba in 1964. Pablito Alvarez, a local 11 year-old Quechua boy, led Bingham up to Machu Picchu. Some Quechuas lived in the original structures at Machu Picchu.

Bingham started archeological studies and completed a survey of the area. Bingham made several more trips and conducted excavations on the site through 1915, collecting various artifacts which he took back to Yale. One of the artifacts he recovered was a set of ceremonial Incan knives made from bismuth bronze. These knives were molded in the 15th century and are the earliest known artifacts containing bismuth bronze. Bingham wrote a number of books and articles about Machu Picchu, the most popular of which today is “Lost City of the Incas“, a 1911 Yale expedition and his discovery of Machu Picchu, written in 1948 near the end of his life.

As Bingham’s expeditions took place in Machu Picchu, locals began to oppose the operation of Bingham and his team of explorers. Local landowners began to demand payments of rent from the excavation team, and rumors started circling  about Bingham and his fellow explorers stealing artifacts and smuggling them out of Peru through the bordering country of Bolivia. These accusations worsened when the local press caught wind of the rumors and helped to tarnish the legitimacy of their expedition, branding it ”as harmful to the site” and claiming that local archaeologists were being “deprived of their rightful knowledge about their own history” because of the excavations of the American archaeologists. By the time Bingham and his team left Machu Picchu locals began forming alliances in order to defend their deserved ownership of Machu Picchu and its cultural remains, while Bingham claimed the artifacts were to be studied by experts in American institutions.

The site received significant publicity after the National Geographic Society devoted their entire April 1913 issue to Machu Picchu.

In 1981 Peru declared an area of 325.92 square kilometers (125.84 sq mi) surrounding Machu Picchu as a “Historical Sanctuary”. In 1983 UNESCO designated Machu Picchu a World Heritage Site , describing it as “an absolute masterpiece of architecture and a unique testimony to the Inca civilization”.

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Machu Picchu ( ” Virgins of the Sun”)

Bingham suggested that Machu Picchu might have been a temple devoted to the Virgins of the Sun. These women dedicated their lives to the Inca Sun god. This theory was largely based on dozens of skeletons Bingham’s team found buried at the site. George Eaton, a US osteologist said in the early 20th century that the remains were nearly all females. This theory was tested and in 2000, the remains were examined and it was too believed that the skeletons were about half males and half females. Verano’s analysis was based on skeletal differences between the genders that were not known during Eaton’s time. Verano believes Eaton may have been misled by the relatively small size of the Andean people, who are typically shorter than the European and African skeletons with which Eaton would have been more familiar with.”He saw the small bones and immediately assumed that they must be of a female skeleton,” he said. Archaeologists now generally agree that the skeletons at Machu Picchu were not those of Inca people, but rather helpers who were brought in from all over the Inca Empire to serve at the site.”If you thought of Machu Picchu as a royal hotel or a time-share condo for the Inca emperor and his guests, then these were the staff that cooked the food, grew the crops, and cleaned the place,” Verano said.

The discovery of Machu Picchu and much of its history has been glorified by Hiram Bingham. This issue has come to light after Hiram’s son, Alfred, discovered a collection of letters that his father had sent his mother in 1911. Due to early publications, many people were led to believe that Hiram had long sought after the lost city of the Incas and eventually found it after trekking through a hazardous tropical jungle. Alfred Bingham reveals that this was not the case. In actuality, Machu Picchu was not a chief objective of Hiram’s 1911 expedition. Nor was the search for the city long and dangerous. Hiram had been led to the location just forty-eight hours after beginning his journey. The road to Machu Picchu was not hidden in a wilderness; rather it was located next to a heavily populated region of farmers. Hiram frequently claimed that the paths to Machu Picchu were the most inaccessible in all of the Andes. However, the letters indicate that Hiram used a modern road system and travelled to the region with ease. It is said that the original journey only took Hiram one hour and a half’s time. Today, tourists can make the trip within fifteen minutes.

Alfred had discovered a series of unpublished photographs from his father’s journey. Hiram had claimed that all the ruins of Machu Picchu were covered in dense vegetation. The photographs depict the ruins in a clear open space. The letters and photographs suggest that Machu Picchu was not isolated in wilderness, but rather connected and populated by several indigenous families. Alfred also suggests that his father did not originally value his findings at Machu Picchu as he only spent one afternoon at the location before returning to his camp.

 

 

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