Machu Picchu

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Llamas grazing among the Machu Picchu ruins Llamas grazing among the Machu Picchu ruins Known as The Lost City of the Incas, Machu Picchu is Peru's most popular tourist attraction and one of South America's most important archaeological sites. Built by the Incas in the 15th century on a secluded mountain ridge 50 miles northwest of Cuzco, it is an awe-inspiring masterpiece of urban architecture that was so well-hidden it was spared destruction and plunder at the hands of the Spanish conquistadors. For centuries the citadel remained abandoned and almost entirely unknown until the American historian Hiram Bingham rediscovered it in 1911, placing it in the international spotlight. Subsequently designated a Peruvian Historical Sanctuary in 1981 and a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1983, Machu Picchu is now a cherished cultural icon and sacred place for many.

Built by the emperor Pachacuti on a practically impregnable site flanked by the steep Urubamba river valley and treacherous mountain slopes, Machu Picchu boasts prime examples of classic Inca architecture. The Incas were among the world's most accomplished stonemasons and the junctions in many of their mortarless ashlar structures are so perfect that not even a blade of grass will fit between them. The Temple of the Sun and the Temple of the Three Windows, two of the site's most famous structures, provide beautiful examples of this. Sun rituals were held at the former, which was built on top of a huge rock with a cave inside it used as a mausoleum, and the second is unique in that its three-window design rarely features in Inca architecture. Another of the citadel's best-known structures is the Intihuatana, a ritual stone known as The Hitching Post of the Sun. The stone was designed to hitch the sun at the time of the two equinoxes, at which time the sun shines directly over its pillar and creates no shadow. Along with palaces, dwellings and storehouses, these structures are located in Machu Picchu's urban sector, which is surrounded by the terraced fields of the agricultural sector. The Incas built terraces in order to flatten the land and conserve the thin soil to make it suitable for cultivating maize, coca, fruit and root vegetables like yucca and sweet potatoes.

Machu Picchu, window in stone wall Machu Picchu, window in stone wall The ridge upon which this ancient settlement was built sits like a saddle between two mountain peaks, Huayna Picchu and Machu Picchu. The former is a sharp peak, leading the Incas to name it young peak in Quechua, while the latter was given the name of old peak for its hunchbacked appearance. The citadel itself was originally known simply as peak or Picchu. Huayna Picchu forms the backdrop for most panoramic photos of the site and there is a trail leading to the summit, where the high priest and local virgins are said to have lived. Clinging to the slopes of this mountain are other archaeological sites of interest and visitors brave enough to hike to the top are rewarded with stunning views of the ruins below and the sacred snowy peak of Salcantay in the distance. Even the murmur of the Urubamba River rushing through the canyon far below can be heard from these heights as it meanders its way to the Amazon.

The ruins straddle the humid but temperate highland jungle and yunga zones of the Andean plateau and afford spectacular views of the surrounding rugged mountains draped in lush tropical vegetation. During the wet season, October through April, it receives abundant rain and it is thought that most of the Incas who resided there only remained during the drier winter months. The sanctuary boasts high species diversity, including numerous species of orchids and over 400 bird species, and is prime habitat for the endangered spectacled bear.

In the time of Pachacuti, Machu Picchu was linked to the rest of the Inca Empire by a series of roads or trails. Centuries later visitors can walk along these same trails to reach some nearby sites of interest. To the west there is a path to Intipata and another leads to the river and San Miguel Mountain. The best-known trail, however, is the one to the south that tens of thousands of tourists traverse each year: the Inca Trail. This trail was the principal access route to Machu Picchu towards the end of the 15th century and is a two- to four-day hike that commences in the Urubamba Valley and passes a number of Inca ruins on its way. The closest town to Machu Picchu, Aguas Calientes, is less than four miles away in the valley and there is one hotel located right next to the ruins, called the Sanctuary Lodge.

Pacarama offers the biggest choice of hotels near Machu Picchu. Below you find the list with accommodations, you can read guest reviews and book Machu Picchu hotels at the best rates.

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Av. Hermanos Ayar s/n, Urb. Las Orquideas, Machu Picchu, Cuzco, Peru
Review Score 7.7
Constantly innovating and improving its services and facilities to achieve the full satisfaction of its guests, the Hostal Chaska is a...
from USD 39 per night
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Calle Wiracocha s/n, Machu Picchu, Cuzco, Peru
Review Score 8.3
The Wiracocha Inn's three-story, ocher-colored building is located at the edge of the forest and adjacent to the Aguas Calientes River....
from USD 49 per night
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Av. Pachacuteq 804, Machu Picchu, Cuzco, Peru
Located in Aguas Calientes' main street close to the thermal baths, after which the town was named, Hospedaje Aguas Calientes is a...
from USD 29 per night
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Calle Aymuraypa Tikan 105, Machu Picchu, Cuzco, Peru
Conveniently located only 50 meters east of the railroad station where the trains from Cuzco pull in, the Machu Picchu ByB is housed in...
from USD 9 per night
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Avenida Pachacutec Mz. 19 Lt. 9, Machu Picchu, Cuzco, Peru
Review Score 7.7
Taypikala Boutique Machu Picchu is a modern and luxurious hotel located in Aguas Calientes, the town below the ruins of Machu Picchu....
from USD 118 per night
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Avenida Pachacutec 150, Machu Picchu, Cuzco, Peru
Review Score 8.0
Located in the upper part of Avenida Pachacutec, just a stone's throw away from the entrance to the hot springs, Hostal Imperio de los...
from USD 30 per night
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Avenida Pachacutec 109, Machu Picchu, Cuzco, Peru
Review Score 9.6
Smart, chic and people-friendly, the El MaPi Hotel unites creative design with day-to-day practicality. Its eye-catching yet...
from USD 200 per night
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Calle Colla Raymi 104, Machu Picchu, Cuzco, Peru
Review Score 8.2
Gringo Bill's Hotel offers cozy accommodations with personality right on the main square of Aguas Calientes. Catering to travelers...
from USD 98 per night
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Lí­nea Férrea Km. 110, Machu Picchu, Cuzco, Peru
Review Score 9.0
Escape to your own private Andean paradise of lush gardens, whitewashed cottages and intimate terraces in the shadow of Machu Picchu....
from USD 65 per night
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Las Orquídeas M-24, Machu Picchu, Cuzco, Peru
Review Score 7.5
Conveniently located near the train station, Inti Punku Machu Picchu is an attractive modern hotel with helpful staff. It can...
from USD 13 per night
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Barrio las Orquideas D-8, Machu Picchu, Cuzco, Peru
Review Score 8.0
Located a few minutes from the Machu Picchu train station, handicraft markets, and thermal springs, the Green Nature hotel offers...
from USD 73 per night
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Avenida Pachacuteq 803, Machu Picchu, Cuzco, Peru
Review Score 8.5
Pakarina Inn & Restaurant is a budget lodging in the center of Aguas Calientes catering for all types of travelers, from backpackers to...
from USD 25 per night
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Alameda del Artesano 219, Machu Picchu, Cuzco, Peru
Review Score 8.0
The Inti Punku Inn opened at the beginning of 2012, featuring a clean, crisp décor in a quiet setting yet conveniently located right...
from USD 89 per night
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Avenida Pachacutec 809, Machu Picchu, Cuzco, Peru
Review Score 7.0
Pachakuteq Inn is located close to the natural hot springs that the town is named for, and just across the street from the Wiñay Wayna...
from USD 30 per night
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Avenida Hermanos Ayar Mz 1 Lote 3, Machu Picchu, Cuzco, Peru
Review Score 9.0
Nestled on the western side of the small town of Aguas Calientes, in the shadow of the mountain housing the archaeological site of Machu...
from USD 361 per night
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Calle Chaska T'ika C-6, Machu Picchu, Cuzco, Peru
Margarita's House is a budget hotel on the eastern side of the railroad station featuring basic guest accommodations with en-suite...
from USD 30 per night
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Avenida Pahchacutec 706, Machu Picchu, Cuzco, Peru
Royal Inti Inn is located in the heart of the small town of Aguas Calientes. Besides comfortable accommodations, it offers a...
from USD 50 per night
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Kori Wakanki 607, Machu Picchu, Cuzco, Peru
Machu Picchu Eucalyptus offers 26 spacious guest rooms with mountain and river views—all with private baths featuring free toiletries...
from USD 29 per night
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Calle Wiracocha M-18-4, Machu Picchu, Cuzco, Peru
Review Score 7.9
At the Terrazas del Inca hotel guests can enjoy beautiful panoramic views of the lush mountains surrounding Machu Picchu and the...
from USD 60 per night
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Avenida Pachacuteq 811, Machu Picchu, Cuzco, Peru
The Condor Palace Hostel is located on Pachacuteq Avenue, which is literally packed with restaurants, bars and late night venues, and it...
from USD 35 per night
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This is a zero-star hotel.
Probably due to the type of accommodation, this hotel or vacation rental has not been evaluated by existing star rating systems. The stars for this property are therefore awarded by Pacarama based on its expertise and knowledge of the hotel market in Peru and Chile.
Prices are per night per room