Pictures of Machu Picchu, the lost city of the Incas, were what inspired us to visit Peru in the first place. A picture is worth 1000 words and I hope our images of Machu Picchu will ignite your wanderlust and lead you to the Sacred Valley of Peru to experience the remains of a remarkable civilization. Here are 30 of my favorite photos of Machu Picchu for your viewing pleasure.
Machu Picchu Picture Gallery
I simply couldn't stop myself from taking Machu Pichhu photos at every turn during our visit to Peru's most famous UNESCO Heritage Site. The 30 Machu Picchu images below are grouped by theme.
Photos of the first rays of light at sunrise at Machu Picchu
A permit to visit Machu Picchu typically covers half a day. We were up at 4 am to make it up to and into Machu Picchu in time for the sunrise.We traveled to Machu Picchu before 6 am, taking a winding bus ride up the mountain from Aguas Calientes; just in time for a Peruvian sunrise. Sun rays cut across the mountains giving a mystical air to the ancient home of the Inca empire.
Photogenic llamas mowing the lawn at Machu Picchu
I never really thought about it before visiting Machu Picchu, but I suppose bringing in lawn mowers would ruin the ambiance of this glorious Incan city rediscovered by Hiram Bingham in 1911. Why lose the feeling that you are stepping back in time with modern machinery when you can mow the lawn the natural way: with llamas! This next set of pictures of Machu Picchu captures the local lawn-munching residents.
SIDEWALK SAFARI SPOTLIGHT: Did you know that in addition to great photo opportunities, Peru is known for great food? From ceviche to pisco sours, and even guinea pig, your taste buds definitely won't be bored on a trip to Peru!
Iconic Machu Picchu images
Machu Picchu sits at more than 8500 feet above sea level so make sure to acclimate to the altitude for a few days before your journey to the home of the Incas. By being smart about how you adjust to the altitude, you'll make the trip uphill with ease to see in real life some of the most iconic images of Machu Picchu with Huayna Picchu in the distance.
Photographing the trapezoidal doors and windows of Machu Picchu
Incan architecture is characterized by trapezoidal doors and windows which lend stability to the stone structures at Machu Picchu. We took plenty of pictures of Machu Picchu that included doors and windows featuring a not-quite-square shape. We especially enjoyed watching the light and shadow play off the openings.
Pictures of Machu Picchu's terraced farms
Outside the ancient gates of Machu Picchu there are terraced farms. The sun and greenery make for memorable images of Machu Picchu.
Machu Picchu images of rocks carved to mirror the landscape
The Incans placed cermonial rocks in the city of Machu Picchu that mirrored the shape of the Peruvian Andes. The resemblance is uncanny.
Photos of Machu Picchu from a distance
Our favorite photos from Machu Picchu were taken at a distance, outside the ancient walls of this city of the Incas in Peru. From a distance, you really get perspective on the layout and planning that went into developing the royal city.
Photos of the birds and flowers of Machu Picchu
Machu Picchu isn't just about Incan ruins. You'll also find great images of flora and fauna in the center of Peru's cultural heritage. Look out for birds of prey and flowers like you'll see nowhere else in the world.
Pictures of Machu Picchu on the trail to the Inca Bridge
There is a lot of ground to cover in Machu Picchu and with the new rules regarding entry permits, you'll have even less time to see it all. After an initial guided group tour through Machu Picchu, we considered what to do next. We thought about hiking up Machu Picchu Mountain but decided that it would be too strenuous and opted to hike to Inca Bridge instead. The path clung to the side of the mountain as we snaked our way along. We could see a wooden bridge in the distance although for safety and preservation reasons we weren't allowed to cross.
Photos of Machu Picchu ruins close-up
Pretend to be a member of Incan royalty as you walk among the ruins of Machu Picchu. Images of Machu Picchu dance through my mind as I think about the engineering and craftsmanship that went into this ancient structure.
Machu Picchu Images of changing skies
I adore pictures of Machu Picchu that incorporate the constantly changing sky. We started our day in Machu Picchu with blue skies over the Andes. As the morning progressed, fluffy white clouds created patterns in the Peruvian sky. In late morning, the cloud rolled in over the mountains to completely change the atmosphere at the city of the Incas.
We hope you've enjoyed our Machu Picchu picture gallery. I hope our images of the mystical city of the Incas inspire you to want to visit!
SIDEWALK SAFARI SPOTLIGHT: Did you know that Machu Picchu is a UNESCO World Heritage Site? That may not be surprising to you, but did you also know that Cusco is UNESCO Heritage rated. Why not spend 3 days in Cusco after your visit to Machu Picchu and see how native and colonial cultures collided.
Getting to Machu Picchu
Take your time getting to Machu Picchu. Fly from Lima to Cusco and then spend a few days acclimating to the altitude in Ollantaytambo. You can either take the train from Ollantaytambo to Aguas Calientes or hike the Inca Trail which originates near Ollantaytambo.
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