How was it that an 8 year old boy was in responsible for guiding Hiram Bingham, without thinking that today it would be a wonder of the world? 

Machu Picchu is full of mysteries and its discovery is an adventure in itself. It is located in the province of Urubamba, Cusco, it is an Inca construction hidden in the top of the mountains where the clouds can hug it but the jewel of the Inca empire apparently had a different name.
 

All About Machu Picchu

History of Machu Picchu and its construction

Pachacutec had the task of expanding towards Vilcabamba, on the way he found a natural space that the canyon offered. He was amazed and in 1450 he ordered the construction of his palace for a particular reason. His "panaca" or family ancestry was his important motive and also to take care of his tomb. A city which he called Patallacta, now known as Machu Picchu. For its construction he needed real specialists who could accomplish a task of great importance.

Interesting facts: The real name of Machu Picchu in Peru was Patallacta which comes from Quechua words like "Pata" which means step or high and "Llacta" as mountain, town or city, which together would express town of stairs or mountain top.

Specialized people from the highlands such as the Collas, Lupaqas and Pacajes, Chimus, Cañaris and Chachapoyas were taken to Machu Picchu to build the wonder of the world. They were ethnic groups recently conquered in order to keep their political influence. The functions of Machu Picchu were administrative, political and religious center. The Inka elite settled in Machu Picchu because they were members of the panaca (family ancestry) of Pachacutec, in the same way were the builders and cultivators of the terraces.

Machu Picchu | Ultimate Trekking

In 1471, when Pachacutec died he was buried in his "house" of Patallacta. He was also cared for and venerated as a great idol by his servants and his family descendants.

Did you know: Occasionally, the body of the deceased Pachacutec was moved to the city of Cusco to participate in important events such as festivals and various ceremonies.

At the time of the arrival of the Spaniards they chased the rebellious Incas of Vilcabamba specifically in the year 1540. Machu Picchu had to be uninhabited and years later the whole area was delegated to Hernando Pizarro and later to Arias Maldonado. It is believed that in 1568 the town of Picchu was still inhabited. It is said that the Cacique (governor) of the village of Picchu ordered the cultivation of coca for the Spaniards.

Did Hiram Bingham discover Machu Picchu?  

A professor from the United States named Hiram Bingham rediscovered Machu Picchu in 1911. He fell in love with its beauty and majesty that he returned to do more excavations and research at the citadel. But this professor made other discoveries before he found Machu Picchu and his marriage was put to good advantage in his life as an explorer.  

Biography of Hiram Bingham

Hiram Bingham was born on November 16, 1875 in Honolulu, United States, his parents were Hiram Bingham Jr. and Clara Brewster. He was the son of the first Protestant missionaries to bring the great salvation of Jesus Christ to the Hawaiians.

Since he was a child he was interested in books although his parents only allowed him to read the Bible and an album of morality stories. He decided to take refuge in the Honolulu library where he could read the adventure books he wanted, he adored "the adventures of Huckleberry finn by Mark Twain".

In 1898 he graduated from Yale University. Years later he moved to Berkeley where he did his graduate work at the University of California to study sociology and then decided to leave it for history, he did his doctorate at Harvard University. Two years later his life was to change totally.

He got married to Alfreda Mitchell in 1900, heiress of a prestigious family that owned the Tiffany jewelry company in New York. They had seven children with Hiram Bingham. And he was finally able to finance his life as an explorer.


Hiram Bingham's expeditions before arriving at Machu Picchu
  • In 1907 he made his first expedition in the Andes of South America, Venezuela and Colombia. And they followed the route of Simon Bolivar in his struggle for independence. For the first time they saw the Andes stretching the length of the continent, as well as the beauty of breathtaking landscapes and lakes.
  • Bingham arrived in Cusco on January 28, 1909 where he found a megalithic town of great antiquity, visited Catholic churches, Inca walls, central square, San Antonio Abad University of Cusco and then Sacsayhuaman where he could not understand the immense constructions with its temples.
  • Hiram and his group went to the northeast, towards Choquequirao (which means cradle of gold). Where on February 7, 1909 they found ruins and long agricultural terraces. All covered with trees and weeds.
  • On July 25, 1911, they continued towards Vilcabamba, reaching Vitcos and Yuraq rumi, which would be the clearest achievements of Bingham.
The boy who helped Hiram Bingham

On July 19, 1911, Professor Hiram Bingham began his search for the "lost city", in other words, he wanted to find Vilcabamba.He followed in the footsteps of Manco Inca, reached Ollantaytambo where they camped and Bingham was fascinated with the fortress, visited its ruins and said: "it deserves to be a place of pilgrimage".

The next day they went through the rainforest to the house of Melchor Arteaga. Bingham hired him as their guide. The next day an adverse climate greeted them, in spite of that, Bingham's group entered the jungle, where steep and muddy roads made themselves felt, then they arrived at a hut.

Pablito The boy who helped Hiram Bingham | Ultimate Trekking

There lived the Richarte family, and it was to them that Arteaga entrusted the job because he was exhausted. An 8 year old boy named pablito was finally in charge of leading them to Huayna Picchu.

At the same time, Hiram Bingham rediscover the wonder built by the Incas called Machu Picchu. He was struck by the temples and house. He wrote in his book: "Suddenly I found myself standing in front of the walls of a ruin and houses built with the finest quality of Inca art. The walls were hard to see as trees and moss had covered the stones for centuries. But in the shade of the bamboo and climbing the bushes were the visible walls made of white granite blocks cut with the highest precision. I found shining temples, royal houses, a large square, and thousands of houses. I seemed to be in a dream." 

 

Places you must visit inside Machu Picchu

  • Temple of the Sun:

    Built on top of a natural cave, its main function was to worship and give offerings to the sun god (Inti). It is well located to capture the first rays of sunlight during the winter solstice.

    Temple of the Sun inside Machu Picchu | Ultimate Trekking

  • The sacred plaza:

    Here you will observe two important constructions: The first is the main temple with three walls finely worked in each stone. Second, the temple of the three windows has the impeccably carved walls of the entire city, with trapezoidal shaped windows.

    The sacred plaza | Ultimate Trekking

  • The Intihuatana:

    A single perfectly carved stone with an enigmatic purpose. A sundial that casts different shadows according to the movement of the sun and seasons of the year.

    The Intihuatana inside Machu Picchu | Ultimate Trekking

  • Huayna Picchu:

    You will find the dreamiest view of the entire city. The Huayna Picchu mountain is a very popular attraction because climbing it is an adventure apart. It is steep and can generate vertigo but once at the top you could take the best pictures.  There you will also find the temple of the moon. 

  • The condor:

    The Incas worshipped the condor, the puma and the snake. They carved a natural rock formation in the shape of the condor and another stone in the shape of the condor's head and neck. 
     

Information before visiting the wonder of the world

Where is Machu Picchu?

The Historic Sanctuary of Machupicchu is located in Peru, in the district of Machupicchu, province of Urubamba, department of Cusco, between the coordinates 13° 10 19" and 13° 14 00" south latitude and 72° 30 5" and 72° 36 33" west longitude, the Llaqta of Machupicchu is located on a summit surrounded by two prominent mountain peaks known as Huayna picchu and Machu picchu.

What is Machu Picchu?

Machu Picchu is a mysterious and fascinating city built in stone, located on the mountains surrounded by a river, which shares a unique and pleasant climate and landscape. It is composed of two Quechua words "Machu" which means old or old and "picchu" is the summit of a hill, which translated refers to "old mountain", referring to the geographical landscape.

When was Machu Picchu built?

Machu Picchu was built in 1450 during the rule of Pachacutec. A work that required specialists in architecture, engineering and astronomy.

How high is Machu Picchu?

The altitude of Machu Picchu is 7972 feet or 2430 meters above sea level. And located 500 meters above sea level on the Urubamba River. It is known for being the eyebrow of the jungle.

How old is Machu Picchu?

According to research Machu Picchu was built in the 15th century and gradually abandoned in the following century. Because the Inca empire was invaded by the Spaniards.

When is the best time to visit Machu Picchu?

The best time to visit Machu Picchu is during the intermediate seasons, that is to say, between rainy and dry seasons. Specifically the months of April, May, September and October. But you can certainly visit it at any time of the year because it is a wonder of the world.

How far is lima from machu picchu?

By road it is 1205 km away. A bus ride is approximately 22 to 27 hours to Cusco and then to Ollantaytambo is 1 hour and 30 minutes and by train to Machu Picchu is approximately 1 hour and 20 minutes. 
 

Trekking options and Tours

Going on a train with incredible views and then going up to Machu Picchu by bus is a nice experience. But there are other more challenging ways to get to the Wonder of the World; enjoy the Machu Picchu tours in its different versions.    

Restaurants in Machu Picchu Town

If you are in Machu Picchu or have already planned to visit the Inca citadel, let me tell you that there is also the wonder of Peruvian food. It is a separate attraction in Peru that you should enjoy without a doubt. The good thing about the Machu Picchu restaurants is that you will find a variety of food such as: vegetarian, vegan and more.

Delicacies like ceviche, lomo saltado, aji de gallina, causa limeña, pachamanca, arroz con pollo and I could go on naming Peruvian dishes. Here are the Peruvian restaurants in Aguas Calientes, Machu Picchu.

  • Full house & Peruvian Cuisine: A place where beautiful views accompany your delicious dishes. Excellent gastronomy with comfortable prices.
  • Restaurante Munaycha: Good food, wines and beer. It has great attention from the staff. And a great view of the river next to the window. 

     

Machu Picchu Tickets 2024

The entrance tickets to Machu Picchu have 5 types of experience, each one has its own itineraries and privileged places that you will visit. The historical sanctuary is huge and there are too many things to see, but you will not be able to see everything in one day. So here I explain each type of ticket and their prices.

Which ticket should you choose to enter the Machu Picchu Historic Sanctuary?

A tip is to buy your ticket to Machu Picchu in advance to avoid that the date you choose is already occupied, since only 1000 people can enter per day. Admission tickets can be purchased from the official website, or through a licensed tour operator.

  • Machu Picchu (General entrance):

    With this ticket you will visit Machu Picchu and tour circuit 1, 2, 3 or 4. On average your visit will take you 2 hours and 30 minutes.

  • Ticket Machu Picchu + Huayna Picchu (with circuit 4):

    In addition to Machu Picchu, you will visit the famous Huayna Picchu, where you can take amazing pictures with a huge view of Machu Picchu. It has a thrilling climb that you must experience. Approximately your visit can take you 5 hours, it depends a lot on your physical condition. It is allowed for people over 12 years old.

  • Ticket Machu Picchu + Montaña (with circuit 3):

    If you want a largely majestic view of the entire citadel and all the surrounding landscape, you should choose this ticket. The time it will take you to do the tour is an average of 6 hours.  It is available for all ages.

  • Ticket Machu Picchu + Huchuy Picchu (with circuit 4):

    It is an adventure in addition to Machu Picchu, you will visit a small mountain compared to Huayna Picchu. It is an easy route to do. It can take you 4 hours to do the whole tour, and it is allowed for all ages.

  • Ticket Machu Picchu + Inca Bridge (with circuit 1 or 2):

    You will visit an ancient bridge from the Inca period; it is impressive because it is built over a cliff. The approximate time it will take you to do the tour is 2 hours and 30 minutes. The entrance fee is for all ages.

Machu Picchu Admission Ticket Prices

Here are the ticket prices for 2024. It is time to make your purchase from the official site of Machu Picchu tickets or from TreXperience.

Entry Tickets 

Price

Machu Picchu Regular ticket (Only Machu Picchu)

US$ 50

Huayna Picchu + Circuit 4

US$ 75

Machu Picchu Mountain + Circuit 3

US$ 75

Circuit 4 + Huchuy Picchu Mountain

US$ 50

Machu Picchu + Inca Bridge

US$ 50