When people hear the phrase “travel destinations,” many times a visual of transparent blue water, sandy beaches, and palm trees comes to mind. For the more upscale destination, maybe the picture looks something more like the Eiffel Tower paired with a fancy French cuisine and a glass of wine. For a girl like myself, sure, these are vacations I would love to take part in; however, my dream travel destinations are a bit off the beaten path. What better way to begin this blog than with the location that sits highest on my travel list: Machu Picchu.
Now I’m sure a few questions are racing through your mind right now. Where on Earth is Machu Picchu, if it’s even on Earth? What kind of a name is that? Why would I ever want to go there for a vacation? Well, don’t worry or fret if you have never heard of Machu Picchu. Many haven’t, but it’s about time. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the New Seven Wonders of the World. Located in the country of Peru on the western side of South America, Machu Picchu is a 15th-century Inca site. Now why would one want to choose Machu Picchu as their vacation destination? For the people who do not consider “why not” a legitimate reason, I’ll throw out another: the beauty of this place. The site sits on the peak of the mountain Machu Picchu (aptly named) in the Peruvian Andes Mountains. The Urubamba River surrounds the site on three sides, leading to typical morning mist. The location among extremely steep mountains and deep valleys provides a truly gorgeous spectrum to feed the human eye. If nothing else, head to Machu Picchu to take in the beauty of the Peruvian mountains. For all those that need another good reason to desire to explore Machu Picchu, the history is mind-boggling. Maybe it’s just the anthropologist or historian buff in me, but the true uniqueness of this place lies in the fact that it had never been known of by the Spanish during their conquests of the South American lands. The sacred rocks that were defaced in other territories of Spanish invasion are completely untouched at Machu Picchu. Therefore, Machu Picchu is an extremely intact cultural site, displaying much of the original architecture in the way it was constructed by the Incan people. The typical Inca style of architecture consisted of polished dry-stone walls, present at Machu Picchu. 1450 is the approximate year of construction of Machu Picchu, but experts believe construction on the site began as early as 1400. It is believed that Machu Picchu was built as the estate for the Inca emperor Pachacuti.
The profound history of this archaeological gem is something I could write on and on about, but this is a travel blog. I do not want to give all the secrets away. Part of traveling is discovering, and part of discovering is understanding the history of a place. So, enough said. Go to Machu Picchu, learn about the people who inhabited the American continents long before the famous Christopher Columbus, and get a visual into their life before European conquistadors brought an end to their glory days. If I haven’t given you reason enough or piqued your curiosity in the slightest, go to Machu Picchu for no reason at all because traveling doesn’t require one.
For those that are interested in other Incan sites that may be less publicized than Machu Picchu, here are a few names to research: Choquequirao, Llactapata, Vitcos.
Everyone knows of the typical travel sites: Expedia, TripAdvisor, Orbitz, HotWire, etc. This section will suggest other deals specific to the destination.