Browsing: Machu Picchu

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New Zealand News

Breathing. It’s something we take for granted.

Peru: Every breath is sweet at Machu Picchu But when it comes to climbing a steep mountain at an altitude of 4,500 metres en route to the famous Inca site of Machu Picchu in Peru, every breath you take is sweeter than honey.

At this height every step is a struggle on this arduous trek, your head is spinning through lack of oxygen and a bitter cold wind strikes your sweat-soaked back as you wonder whether it’s all worth it.

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By James Michael Dorsey

Special To The Sentinel

Machu Picchu, Cusco, PeruMy wife and I had spent a wonderful day climbing through the ruins of Machu Picchu in Peru, and we were ready for a large dinner.

We were staying in a little hotel at the base of the mighty granite cliffs that house this ancient ruin, and right next to the raging Urumbamba river. This is in the thick of the Peruvian jungle, and it is rustic dining at its best.

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By Rory Carroll

Machu Picchu, Cuzco, Peru The headlines from Peru look bleak. Tourist hordes overwhelming Inca sites. Huge new hotels endangering Machu Picchu. A wonder of the world cracking at the seams.

The news is not as bad as it looks. Globalisation has not scalped another victim, not yet anyway, and concealed in these tidings of woe are reasons to cheer.

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By Jeremy Kressmann

Inca Trail, Peru World travelers just can’t get enough of Peru’s famous Inca Trail. But has the Inca Trail had enough of them? It may come as surprise to anyone still planning summer travel to Peru, but the world-famous path to Machu Picchu is completely sold out for the 2008 summer travel season, with the next available opening in September 2008.

As veteran Peru trekkers might know, the Peruvian government began imposing restrictions in 2005 on the number of hikers who could take the path each day to no more than 500.

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By Aurore Jouanin

Alternative Inca trail in Peru The South American country of Peru is every trekker’s dream come true and often figures at the top of travellers’ wish lists. Every year, the world famous Inca trail attracts millions of visitors from around the world who come to walk in the steps of the people who built the sacred city of Machu Picchu. However, people who spent time in the area will tell you the Salkantay trail is a rewarding alternative to the busy Inca trail.

The world famous trek can remind you of Saturday shopping on London’s Oxford Street, whereas the Salkantay trail will offer nothing but pure wilderness, peace and physical challenge.

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Nouse – York University

Unable to reach Machu Picchu by the conventional route, Venetia Rainey explores the former Inca capital of Cusco, where history fuses with South American vibrancy

Machu Picchu, Cuzco, Peru One of the world’s most spectacular treks is the Peru’s Capaq Nan trail, otherwise known as the Inca trail. The classic route covers 70km and reaches heights of over 4,200m above sea. It takes about four days to reach the legendary lost Inca city of Machu Picchu, officially named one of the Seven Wonders of the World last year. The sense of victory after such a hike makes for a once in a lifetime (and fairly costly) experience. At least, so I have been told.

I had the misfortune of suffering what all travellers must endure at one point or another: food poisoning. After drinking impure water whilst staying on an island in Lake Titicaca, I was crippled by the illness and utterly unable to keep food or water down. On the third day, I found myself being roughly pulled out of bed, and my pyjamas swapped for hiking boots, shorts and a t-shirt. Three hours from the starting point of the trail, I had to admit defeat. My family went on without me, and a rather put-out porter travelled back the five hour journey with me to the nearest town, Cusco.

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Courtesy of


Text and photos by Walter H. Wustñay Wayna
The undisputed masters of the wild Wiñay Wayna, the torrent ducks can be commonly seen on the rocky riverbanks.

(LIP-jl) — The cloud forests of Peru’s Machu Picchu Historical Sanctuary are home to a host of incredible creatures which often remain invisible to hikers. Come with us and discover the secrets of their lair.

It was a dizzying gorge, more than 100 meters deep, plunging straight down to the river. Between the moss and the orchids, thousands of yellow-leafed epiphytic plants clung to the rock walls while the white foaming torrent pounded on the rocks below. The roar of the waterfall was deafening, drowning out the birdsong.

Huddled on a narrow ledge, we watched the river rush through the canyon, whose rock walls have been polished by centuries of continuous erosion. Suddenly, out of nowhere, a pair of shapes make headway against the current, practically effortlessly. Every now and then, they halt at one of the vast polished boulders, before pushing off again into the swirling currents, as if defying the mighty Vilcanota River.

It is a pair of torrent ducks (Merganetta armata), one of the most extraordinary creatures to inhabit the mountain rivers. Commonly found in any highland body of water at altitudes over 1,000 meters, these birds, which will only live in clean, pollution-free water, have been doted by nature with the astounding ability to swim through the wildest rapids, making them their undisputed habitat.ñay Wayna
The archaeological site of Wiñay Wayna looks out over the valley from its ledge. The view is simply impressive.

The apparent risk of living in such an environment is compensated for by access to abundant food, for which there is no competition: the larvae of thousands of insects amongst the rocks, submerged in water rich in oxygen. Another species, albeit smaller, shares the rapids in search of smaller insects and larvae. This is the water blackbird (Cinclus leucocephalus), a tiny black-and-white bird no bigger than a sparrow which has literally learned to swim underwater in search of food.

As quickly as they arrived, the ducks flutter upriver. We decide to stay beside the river to photograph the dazzling variety of wildflowers. A purple fuchsia brims over with nectar for the ever-hungry hummingbird. The tiny bird will pollinate each flower with the pollen that clings to its feathers.

In another bulb, a pair of emerald green beetles appear to struggle clumsily inside the brightly hued flower. A little further away, fruit has proved to be irresistible for legions of colorful butterflies, while a slight movement amongst the leaves points to the presence of caterpillars, which in appearance look like something out of science fiction.

The forest is also home to two other creatures, as beautiful as they are elusive: the spectacled bear (Tremarctos ornatus) and the pudú or sachacabra (Pudu mephistopheles). The spectacled bear is South America’s only bear species, and lives out a vegetarian existence hidden deep in the cloud forest; the sacahacabra is a species of dwarf deer which stands just 30 centimeters high. The animal waits for sundown before setting off in search of shoots and fallen fruit, hidden by the undergrowth, making it invisible to predators.

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for map of the area - click here -Courtesy of

Text: Martín Acero         Photos: César Morán

Watchful eye

enlargeMachu Pichhu under the watchful eye of a local

(LIP-jl) — Since 1997, a group of public and private entities have been battling to preserve and protect Peru’s most prized cultural and natural heritage: the Historical Sanctuary of Machu Picchu.

The Peruvian Trust Fund for Protected Areas (PROFONANPE), sums it up succinctly: Machu Picchu is Peru’s best-known attraction worldwide. Without a doubt, it is the most impressive archaeological legacy of Peru’s past. The Historical Sanctuary includes 32,000 hectares of mountains, watersheds, rivers and cloud forest, an area of priceless ecological and geological worth, and a matchless landscape.
The archaeological remains are also superbly crafted, blending in with the landscape.

Its special location, on the eastern slopes of the Andes, and its cloud forest teeming with biological diversity, lends it a uniquely beautiful quality. And if that wasn’t enough, it is also Peru’s most heavily-visited tourist destination. Last year, more than 400,000 tourists visited the citadel.

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for map of the area - click here -Provided by
South American Explorers

(by Tim Leffel)

Porters with low-tech backpacks on the Inca Trail

enlargePorters with low-tech backpacks on the Inca Trail.

During high season in Peru, 500 people set off on the Inca Trail each day. On average, 300 of them are porters. So during any four-day period, 1,200 of these human pack mules are at work somewhere between Ollantaytambo and Machu Picchu, carrying camping gear, chairs, and four days’ worth of food.

What makes the porters want to take on this job? Do they really make any money? What do they think of these pampered tourists who fly from around the world to spend their nights sleeping on the ground, their days straining their knees and dealing with smelly toilets?

The Inca Trail is likely the most popular multi-day hike in the world. Despite annual increases in costs, the permits often sell out months in advance. Once you’re on the trail, you see why the trip is so popular.

Trekkers spend four days and three nights soaking up amazing Andean Mountain vistas around every turn, seeing ruins that can only be visited on foot. The prize is arriving at the spectacular site of Machu Picchu just before sunrise.

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for map of the area - click here -Courtesy of

Text: Anthony Velarde – Photos: Walter Hupiu



(LIP-wb) — A Rumbos team traveled the 124 kilometers that separate the Apurimac Valley and Choquequirao, the citadel that is starting to conquer the world, from the Urubamba Valley and the great Machu Picchu.

It was a five day trip from the highlands to the jungle, from narrow tropical valleys to freezing high grasslands, from our uncertain present to the heart of our illustrious past.

We entered the most infinite solitude imaginable as the gigantic snow peaks of the legendary Vilcabamba mountains seemed to rise to meet us.

Two hours before we had left Cachora, a small town in the Apurimac region, four hours from the city of Cusco. Cachora, at 2900 meters above sea level, with its ancient and robust pisonay tree that gives shade to the central plaza.