THINGS TO DO IN MACHU PICCHU
This is going to be only a brief introduction as to things to do in Machu Picchu Park, introduction to some of the highlights of Machu Picchu. Our guides know the stories behind every structure and sector, the whys, and the what fors. They are tour guides and we will let them tell you the history of Machu Picchu in situ. However, what we are going to cover in this introduction is to mention the places to go or look for, when visiting Machu Picchu, rather unmissable places, although it will depend on your ticket time slot, knowing that Machu Picchu park is big and it has different routes.
Huayna Picchu Mountain
“Machu Picchu lies at 2 400 mts. / 7 900 ft. of altitude, built as a Condor’s nest between the two paired peaks” True. Huayna Picchu is one of the peaks and appears on absolutely all postcards of Machu Picchu as an amazing background. Huayna Picchu mountain is highly desirable for the thousands of tourists visiting Machu Picchu, yet only 400 hundred individuals are allowed to climb; therefore, the permits sell out fast.
There are days in particular when thanks to the good weather, the views from Huayna Picchu are tantalizing. Otherwise, things can get hazardous and disappointing when it rains and clouds cover and uncover the vistas. The moving mist comes and goes and sometimes covers longer than expected. Get to know more about Huayna Picchu at Huayna Picchu Mountain.
Machu Picchu Mountain
The second Peak is by the name of Machu Picchu Mountain, the one which stands in the south corner of Machu Picchu. As it is with Huayna Picchu mountain that permits are needed, so it does need a permit. Machu Picchu mountain´s elevation is higher than of the Huayna Picchu; therefore, again, on a clear day, the panoramic turns out one of the bests in the world. There you have Machu Picchu citadel, Huayna Picchu peak, and the Vilcanota river serpenting down in the valley ground. It is quite an impressive viewpoint. Click at Machu Picchu mountain for more info.
Inti Punku Sun Gate
The Machu Picchu sun gate is also one of the most desirable places to get to when visiting Machu Picchu. Due to the fact the Inti punku or sun gate is the place for the very first view of Machu Picchu for each of the Inca trail hikers, other non-Inca trail hikers have an interest in getting to this place in particular. It is not far from Machu Picchu, and getting here from Machu Picchu means experiencing the Inca trail, yes it surely does. More about Machu Picchu San Gate.
Casa Del Guardian Lookout
All the photography junkies and every amateur photographer have stood in the casa del guardian lookout for the best Machu Picchu postcard. These photographs went around the world for the marketing purposes of different companies and so on. At the place, there is a solo building, the so-called casa del guardian or the house of the guard. Restored with a thatch roof as it is supposed to be in the Inca times, and the lookout is the perfect place for the delight of eyes by looking at the ancient ruins; the settlement once inhabited by the Inca people. Down there is the central plaza, separating the industrial sector from the religious and temple sectors. Everything viewed from here is worth visiting Machu Picchu.
The Inca Bridge is one of the free things to do in Machu Picchu; however, it seems that visitors have limited time to see this, and instead, they just skip it. Exploring Machu Picchu can be tiring for some as there are countless steps up and down throughout the city. That may be one of the reasons why fewer people are getting here. Due to tiredness. The other is that both mountain peaks mentioned above also are preferred by visitors because the views are unmissable, that is true.
Going to the Inca bridge from Machu Picchu park is a twenty-five to thirty minutes walk. It usually starts at the Casa del Guardian and following a well-maintained path, however, a path that goes along a sheer mountainside. And there on the sheer cliff, the Inca bridge stands for hundreds of years; wooden planks lay for the bridge deck, and a large stone wall acts as the bridge abutment if it makes sense to describe that way. It is very narrow, and the path beyond the bridge is still noticeable, but no restoration work has been carried out. It is too risky. Just look at the pictures. More about the Inca bridge.
The Sacred Plaza
The so-called Sacred Plaza. It is a small space open to the western horizon and closed on the other three sides. To the east, in particular, one finds the so-called Temple of the Three Windows, actually a 3-sided building. The windows, a spectacular feat of engineering composed by huge, perfectly dressed polygonal blocks, are located on the east wall facing the central plaza.
Extract of an article by the name At the other end of the sun’s path. Giulio Magli.
A terraced, steep pyramid on the summit of which lies a four-corned carved pilar of white granite. Intihuatana. It is immediately next to the sacred Plaza, easy to get by hiking a stepped path. Coincidentally, Intihuatana is the highest point of the urban zone of all Machu Picchu. There is no exact explanation for what was the functions of it, but as it translates for itching Post of the Sun, this had to serve for something astronomical. Inca astronomers, if alive, would reveal to us just exactly what it was for.
Nowadays, it is roped-off as protecting the stone from being touched each day by thousands of tourists, believers that this pilar of the sun would provide some sort of energy for the well-being of the body. Scientifically it is not proved, but quite believers, people continued touching it. Now, visitors no longer do that.
Note: Sometimes the access to the Intihuatana is banned.
Hiram Bingham the American Yale University professor suggested that perhaps Acllas which stands for the chosen girls of the Inca, also lived in the industrial sector of Machu Picchu as the city administrators lived in here. Accllahuasi literally means the house of chosen (girls) who were in charge of making preparations for religious practices in Machu Picchu, as for fermenting chicha for instance.
All the industrial area of Machu Picchu is a kind of maze at least it seems for the newcomers, the narrow alleyways get confused, and one can easily get lost; therefore, follow the main way to exit this area. Read twice the sign and follow the arrows. Indeed this industrial area doesn’t only boast Accllahuasi but the room of the mirrors, jail, etc.
The Temple of Condor
The Temple of the Condor in Machu Picchu is a breathtaking example of Inca stonemasonry. Clearly, most of the temple rooms in Machu Picchu are located in the upper section called Hanan Machu Picchu. The Condor Temple is not there, for some reason. Instead, it is near the industrial area, at the lower part. What is interesting about this condor temple here is that on the ground lays a flat rock-carved head with neck feathers that resemble the head of Condor. Next, just behind is a giant rock presumably carved with a wall placed on top that completes the condor’s wing, outspread wings of a condor, though. It is a very interesting architectural feat to see when visiting Machu Picchu.
The Temple of The Sun
The temple of the Sun was the prime part of the Incan Machu Picchu archeological complex. It still is today. And as in every culture in the world, this sacred and important temple in Machu Picchu should have been off-limits for ordinary people that only high status and religiouses had access to worship the Sun God.
It stands on top of a large boulder and was built with meticulously carved stones of granite. In some way, it resembles the shape of the sun temple under the Santo Domingo church in Cusco, the way it is a rounded shape but not entirely, and it is beautiful. It is not always open to the public, but there may be days in which it is open for visitors, as in the winter and summer solstices. A very unique astronomical event takes place here.