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Home > Peru Itineraries > Cusco & Machu Picchu Tours > Machu Picchu Travel information > Inca Drawbridge > Elevation Machu Picchu

Elevation Machu Picchu

Here you will find information about the elevation Machu Picchu and some recommendations that could be very helpful at the time that you are planning your trip. Machu Picchu was unknown to the outside world before being brought to international attention in 1911 by the American historian Hiram Bingham. Since then, Machu Picchu has become an important tourist attraction. Machu Picchu was declared a Peruvian Historical Sanctuary in 1981 and a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1983. In 2007, Machu Picchu is one of the New Seven Wonders of the World.

Machu Picchu means in Quechua "Old Peak", it is located 2,430 meters above sea level. Is 13 9 '47 "south latitude and 72 32' 44" west longitude. It is part of the district of same name, in the province of Urubamba, department of Cuzco. The nearest major city is Cuzco, the capital region and former Inca capital, 130 km. away.

The weather is warm and humid during the day and fresh at night. The temperature ranges between 12 and 24 degrees Celsius. The area is usually wet (about 1955 mm annually), especially between November and March.

There are two ways to reach Machu Picchu, taking a train to Aguas Calientes, which takes around 3 hours and then taking a bus to go to Machu Picchu, about 25 to 30 minutes. The other way is through the Classic Inca Trail which is a hike from 3 to 5 days. The best time to visit Machu Picchu is from April to November, is the dry season. If you are planning to do the Inca Trail, take note that it is not recommended going in rain season which is between December and March, because it could be very dangerous. The entrance to the impressive Sanctuary is open from 6:00 am to 17:00

The mountains Machu Picchu and Huayna Picchu are part of a formation known as orographic Vilcabamba Batholith in the Central Cordillera of the Andes. They are on the left bank of the Urubamba Canyon called, formerly known as Quebrada de Picchu. At the foot of the hills and surrounding them, runs the river Vilcanota-Urubamba. The Inca ruins are located halfway between the tops of two mountains, 450 meters high above the valley and 2,438 meters above the sea level. The floor area is approximately 530 meters long by 200 wide, with 172 buildings in its urban area. Biogeographically is located in the Peruvian Yungas ecoregion.

The ruins are inside an intangible territory of the National System of Protected Natural Areas (SINANPE), called the Historic Sanctuary of Machu Picchu, which covers an area of 32,592 hectares (80,535 acres or 325.92 km ) basin river Vilcanota-Urubamba. The Historic Sanctuary protects a number of biological species in danger of extinction and several Incas establishments. The landscape is shaped by a series of hills and mountains, with almost vertical slopes and deep narrow ravines where rivers flow.

The complex is divided into two areas: the agricultural zone, made up of sets of agricultural terraces, which lies south and the urban area, which is where the occupants lived and where some of the main civil and religious activities were developed. Both zones are separated by a wall, a moat and a staircase, elements that run parallel down the hill east of the mountain. The floor of their non roofed areas is provided with a drainage system consisting of layers of gravel (crushed stones) and rocks to prevent rain water ponding. 129 drainage channels are spread throughout the urban area, designed to avoid splashing and erosion, resulting in mostly in the moat separating the urban area of the agriculture area, which was actually the main drain of the city. It is estimated that 60% of the constructive effort of Machu Picchu was making foundations on terraces filled with gravel for good drainage of excess water.

Machu Picchu, as part of a region of great economic movement in times of Pachacutec, was integrated into the network of Inca roads of the Empire. Using these pathways you can access to other nearby Inca sites that are of great interest. The north by the forks in the road of Huayna Picchu you can reach the Temple of the Moon or the top of the mountain where you will find Inca constructions. To the west is the road to Intipata and passes through the famous "removable bridge". To the south is the best known and most important road of all, which is the most popular trekking route in Peru. The Inca Trail to Machu Picchu is a trip of 3 to 4 days going through what the late fifteenth century was the main access route to Machu Picchu, which began in Llactapata Complex and passed through the ceremonial centers of Sayacmarca Phuyupatamarca and Wiaywayna, ending in the "inn" of Intipunku, the "gated" entrance to Machu Picchu domains and final point.

The Sanctuary of Machu Picchu has a rich biodiversity due to a combination of factors is within a range of altitude, which provides a range of temperatures, and high mountains also create favorable microclimates for the evolution of certain species and subspecies. The local flora of the reserve of Machu Picchu includes pisonayes, q'ofias, alder trees, puja, ferns, and there is an estimate of 300 species of orchids, of which only 260 species have been identified and classified. Due to the rugged nature of the land, only 35% of the territory has been studied. Further research could reveal many surprises. The situation of the land, the natural surroundings and strategic places of Machu Picchu give this sanctuary a fusion of beauty, harmony and balance between the work of the ancient Peruvians and the whims of nature. Thanks to the diversity of existing micro-regions within the reserve of Machu Picchu, you can find an impressive variety of animals in the area. They have identified 375 species of birds, 200 of which can be observed on a tour around the sanctuary, also there is the Andean condor, the torrent duck, llamas, alpacas, vicunas, the Andean Spectacled bear.

Recommendations

* Visit your doctor before the trip.
* It is recommended getting a insurance travel, in case of any emergency.
* At your arrival in Cusco, rest and drink coca tea, that will avoid high sickness (soroche).
* Try to stay at least 2 or 3 days in Cusco city, because you will to acclimatize.
* Take note about the season that you are planning to go to Machu Picchu.
* From April to October (dry season)is recommended to take sunglasses, sunscreen and hat.
* From December to March (wet season) is advisable to wear boots, because the floor gets slippery. Also a raincoat or umbrella is recommended.
* When you are visiting Machu Picchu only take with you a small bag or backpack with the necessary things.



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