Not a huge amount is known about Machu Picchu, it mainly seems to be speculation as the Incas didn’t keep records. It was built by the Incas around 1440, according to dating, and they stayed there for about 90 years. It was abandoned soon after the Spanish arrived in Peru, possibly in a plan to stop the Spanish knowing about it’s existence. To say it was lost for the next 350 years would be a definite exaggeration, as it was used to some extent by locals, but it wasn’t until 1911 when Hiram Bingham went on a Yale-funded expedition to Peru, that he stumbled across it looking for a different site.
From the town of Machu Picchu Pueblo, it’s either a $10 bus or another hour long walk, so of course we walked. We were up at 4am and got to the entrance of MP just before it opened at 6am. We’d bought tickets the night before, for $43, and so were allowed into the main section. There are three types of tickets, and the most restricted one sells out about a week in advance, which allows you to go up the mountain that is in the background of most shots of the site – Huayna Picchu.
Machu Picchu is phenomenal. A combination of the breathtaking setting and incredibly well-preserved buildings makes it one of the best sites that I’ve ever been to. We arrived at 6am, and were there until past 2pm. Sure, we took it slowly, but we could have spent longer there if we weren’t starving. There is a restaurant at Machu Picchu, and it is a mere $40 for the buffet. It is located in the one hotel at the site, where rooms are $600 a night, because of course they are. Madness.
My whole trip cost me about $100, which was all of the transport, two places to sleep, 3 meals and some snacks. Definitely an expensive three days! Thankfully Peru is usually not that expensive, so I’ll be able to live cheaply for a while to get back on budget.