Go visit Machu Picchu
on the morning of July 24, 1911, an enterprising lecturer-explorer from Yale University set off in a cold drizzle to investigate rumors of ancient Inca ruins in Peru. Hiram Bingham stumbled upon one of the greatest archaeological finds of the 20th century—and what was named in 2007 as one of the new seven wonders of the world: Machu Picchu. Contemporary Peruvian expert Luis Lumbreras, the former director of Peru's National Institute of Culture, describes "a citadel made up of palaces and temples, dwellings and storehouses," a site fulfilling ceremonial religious functions.Bingham's discovery was published in the April 1913 issue of National Geographic magazine, bringing the mountaintop citadel to the world's attention. Most tourists visiting Machu Picchu take a train to the famous Inca ruins, but some with a more adventurous streak choose to follow the Salkantay Trail and Inka Jungle.
MACHU PICCHU TODAY
Being named a modern world wonder as part of a worldwide poll in 2007 was a mixed blessing for the people of Cusco, the former center of the Inca world and the closest city to Machu Picchu. It's highly unlikely that researchers will find an archaeological smoking gun that will definitively identify the purpose and uses of Machu Picchu. Scientists, however, continue to excavate and rebuild the site. Modern scientific advances, such as those that re-identified the gender of the skeletons that Bingham found, could help uncover clues to reveal the reasons for its construction, the activities that took place there, and its subsequent abandonment.
Citadel plaza: 7,970 ft (2,430 m)
Huayna Picchu summit: 8,920 ft (2,720 m)
Daytime: 68 to 80°F (20 to 27°C)
Nighttime: 50 to 64°F (10 to 18°C)
From April to October
While clear, sunny weather is the norm, scattered rain showers are not uncommon even in the dry season. Evenings are clear, but cold.
From November to March
Bring an umbrella and a rain jacket and be ready for the possibility of weather-related travel delays. But fear not, clear weather is also likely. Evening temperatures are cold.