Machu Picchu sits high above the Vilcabamba Valley on a long narrow mountain ridge. It is split into two sectors of roughly equal size, the Agricultural Sector and the Urban Sector. Limited by the shape of the ridge upon which Machu Picchu is built, the layout of the site is long (north to south) and thin (east to west), measuring 530 by 200 meters (1,739 x 656 feet). General access to Machu Picchu is via the main entrance (the only entrance), which is located in the lower eastern side of the Agricultural Sector. Although the main attractions of Machu Picchu are spread out across the site, the good concentration of them are found in the Urban Sector.
What to See
Marking the original entrance to Machu Picchu, the Guardhouse is the perfect spot for panoramic views of the citadel and to take the best photos […read more]
Huayna Picchu (2,750 meters) is the majestic mountain situated to the north of Machu Picchu. Hike the famous trail to the summit for magnificent views […read more]
Intihuatana, a Quechua word meaning “hitching post of the sun,” is an important stone possibly used as a sun dial or for astronomical purposes […read more]
Linking an original Inca Trail coming from Vilkabamba Choqekirao, the Inca drawbridge is a pleasant 15 minutes hike to the rear of Machu Picchu […read more]
The Main Temple is an impressive rectangular-floored building forming part of the Sacred Plaza. Its walls feature trapezoidal niches and stone pegs […read more]
A small natural cave formed by a large rock, The Royal Tomb has some of the finest masonry at Machu Picchu, and is thought to be the resting place of supreme Inca leaders […read more]
A plaza formed by the Main Temple, the Temple of 3 Windows and the Priest’s house – the finest-built structures in Machu Picchu […read more]
Located high above Machu Picchu, the Sun Gate was thought to have been a military outpost controlling the principle entrance to Machu Picchu […read more]
Located in the lower urban sector of Machu Picchu, the Sacred Rock (also called Wank’a) is flanked by 2 large shelters and was used for important Inca rituals […read more]
Formed by a group of natural caves, terraces and enclosures, the secluded Moon Temple was thought to be used to make offering’s to Inca God’s […read more]
The Sun Temple is the only building in Machu Picchu to feature a semi-circular wall. It encloses a large stone alter, probably used for spiritual worship and sacrifice […read more]
A finely crafted temple situated on Machu Picchu’s Sacred Plaza, featuring three large trapezoidal windows, all of which face the sunrise […read more]
The Route to Visit the Attractions
There is essentially one controlled circular route or trail that you follow when visiting Machu Picchu; it is well marked and fairly easy to follow. You can choose to take either the upper-route which runs clockwise around the citadel or the lower-route running anticlockwise. Although a challenging start to your tour of Machu Picchu, the upper route first takes you to the Guardhouse where there are panoramic views of the entire citadel.
Attractions that Require a Hike
Huayna Picchu, Machu Picchu Mountain, the Inka Bridge, the Moon Temple and the Sun Gate are not located within the main Agricultural and Urban Sectors of Machu Picchu. Rather, these 5 attractions are located on the outskirts of the citadel. To access any of them, you first need to enter Machu Picchu by the main entrance before proceeding on to the trail head. There is limited entrance to Huayna Picchu, the Moon Temple and Machu Picchu Mountain, and a special ticket is required to be purchased in advance (see Machu Picchu tickets for more information). The Inka Bridge and the Sun Gate are free to visit at any time.
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