The world did not become aware of Machu Picchu's existence until 1911, when Yale university historian Hiram Bingham (1875-1956) announced that he had "discovered" the site. "Rediscovered" is a more accurate term; area residents knew of Machu Picchu's existence all along. This "lost city of the Inca" was missed by the ravaging conquistadors and survived untouched until the beginning of the 20th century. - Copyright © 2014 by Fodor’s Travel, a division of Random House, LLC. All rights reserved.
Copyright ©2014 by Fodor's Travel, a division of Random House, LLC. All rights reserved.
Things You Can't Miss
Reservations are required (far in advance) to trek the Inca Trail in the footsteps of Inca rulers. Guides lead trips of two days to a week.
© Aurora Photos / Alamy
You’ll be able to shoot your own version of the famous photos of the site by climbing to the Guard House, which overlooks the main area of the ruins.
© Scott Kemper / Alamy
Advance booking is essential for the strenuous climb to this summit, but the effort is worth the condor’s-eye panorama of all of Machu Picchu.
© David Noton Photography / Alamy
Don’t have time for the Inca Trail? An ascent to the famed Sun Gate offers the view that the Incas saw at the end of their journeys 500 years ago.
© BBA Travel / Alamy
It’s a bit of a walk from Aguas Calientes, but Museo de Sitio Manuel Chávez Ballón helps you understand aspects of Machu Picchu’s origins and meaning.
© National Geographic Image Collection / Alamy
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