It's been 3 weeks since we visited Machu Picchu and the same overpowering feelings I experienced during the visit are still with me today. You can read my Inca Trail review which contain my first impression thoughts. I believe all the reviews that I have read capture the experience quite well as the Machu Picchu experience exceeds expectations and no matter how long or how you got there, it is a place that should not be missed. After our Inca Trail hike, we returned early the next morning to do the complete tour. Our VBT guides did a great job putting MP into the context of the times, the Incan empire and why MP was built. There are many theories, one widely promoted is Mark
Adam's "trek to Mecca" as most people who visit MP, read his book, "Turn Right at Machu Picchu." Our guides had a more practical view that it was a retreat for the Incan rulers as it exhibits the same engineering, masonry, hydraulic, religious and astronomic attributes you would find in any Incan site that the Incan rulers would use. They also believe that the Spaniards knew about it, but since the Incans abandoned the place there was no need for them to destroy the place. It would be uneconomical. Interesting...
Yes, Machu Picchu is crowded. But the crowds really don't get in the way of photo opportunities. Fortunately, the concessions and bathrooms are away from the site. Ideally, the best thing to do is pack a lunch/snack, take the tour and after that stake out a spot and just watch the sun hit the stunning views and you can watch Machu Picchu transform before your eyes.
Sadly, when you leave, the realization hits you that you will never see this place again, or you will have to come back no matter where you visit in South America.
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