Machu Picchu: Inca Trail

Set high in the Andes mountain range at 7,972 feet (2,430 m) above sea level, northwest of Cusco, Peru is the Machu Picchu. Known to many as the “Lost City of the Incas,” the 15th-century Inca citadel is accessible by the classic Inca Trail. The 270 mile (43-km) trail is part of the Machu Picchu Sanctuary that combines Peruvian nature and history into a 4-day hike. The Inca Trail passes verdant mountain-scapes, lush cloud-forest, subtropical jungle and various Inca ruins along the way before ending at the Sun Gate on Machu Picchu Mountain where the citadel lies. Many of the ruins and sections of Machu Picchu are covered in agricultural terraces, which prevented landslides and provided protection against invaders. Machu Picchu was built around 1450 but abandoned a century later. American archaeologist Hiram Bingham rediscovered it in 1911. It has been declared a Peruvian Historical Sanctuary and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.