Why visit Machu Picchu this year?

Most of us have an image of Machu Picchu embedded in our mind. The breathtaking, lost Inca city in the Peruvian Andes that we’d all love to see. It’s hard to believe that one of the world’s most amazing archaeological sites was discovered by chance by a young history lecturer from Yale University 100 years ago today. 100 years on, more than a million people are expected to visit the site this anniversary year, reports BBC Travel.

Surprisingly, most tourists only spend a few hours there visiting the spectacular Sun Temple, the Royal Mausoleum, the Intihuatana Stone and the Sacred Plaza before heading back to Cusco, but if you do make this trip of a lifetime to the southern hemisphere, why not spend a few extra days visiting spots that most travellers don’t get to see? Here are some suggestions.

Instead of climbing the more popular (and lower) Mount Huayna Picchu for a great view of Machu Picchu, if you’re fit and strong, try the 90-minute climb up ancient stone steps to Mount Machu Picchu, where you can have the 1,640ft summit and amazing views almost to yourself.

If you do head for Huayna Picchu, there’s more than just the view to see. Don’t miss the Temple of the Moon, which is located in a complex of caves built directly into the mountain rock. It features some impressive stonework that gives you an insight into the sophisticated techniques used by the Incas.

And stone carvings can also be seen, but are often missed, in the rock quarry located between the Sacred Plaza and the Temple of the Sun. The cut granite pieces indicate the space was probably a workshop used by expert stonecutters. Don’t miss the almost-finished steps and the Serpent Rock, with snake etchings.

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