There is some irony that South America's top destination — this sprawling, ancient Incan settlement — was hidden for centuries, tucked so well out of sight that the Spanish explorers were never able to find it (and that's a good thing, since they likely would have destroyed it). But in 1911, American explorer Hiram Bingham changed all that when he discovered the ancient ruins up in the clouds of Peru. Today, millions of travelers visit Machu Picchu, Peru's "lost" city, which is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Whether you're traveling for archaeological exploration or for the bucket-list hike, you'll be rewarded with the beauty and magnificence of both the ruins and the natural scenery.
Things Not to Miss in Machu Picchu
Use this Machu Picchu travel guide to make the most of your trip to these mysterious and spectacular ruins, and be sure include these activities on your Machu Picchu itinerary:
• Watch the sun rise and set over the ruins by staying overnight in Machu Picchu
• See the extraordinary stonework at the Temple of the Sun
• Hike the neighboring mountain, Huayna Picchu
• Enjoy the scenery on a train ride from Cusco to Machu Picchu
When to Visit Machu Picchu
The prime time for Machu Picchu travel is during the dry season, from May to October. The rainy season lasts from November to March, but travel to Machu Picchu during that time frame has its benefits, namely significantly fewer tourists and a much more personal look around the ruins.