The last stop on our Peru journey was Machu Picchu.

Machu Picchu | Healthy Green Kitchen

I’ve dreamed about seeing this legendary place for a very long time.

Machu Picchu | Healthy Green Kitchen

It far exceeded my expectations: I was truly astounded by the beauty, mystery, and spiritual significance of the site.

Machu Picchu | Healthy Green Kitchen

Known as “The Lost City of the Incas”, no one knows exactly when or why MP was built. Construction of the buildings is thought to have been completed in the mid-15th century (and the area was apparently abandoned about one hundred years later). Fortunately for us, MP was not discovered nor destroyed by the Spanish conquistadores. The remote location and the surrounding jungle “hid” the site for many years: only locals knew about it until 1911. If you are interested in learning about how MP came to be known to the world, I recommend the book Cradle of Gold: The Story of Hiram Bingham, a Real-Life Indiana Jones, and the Search for Machu Picchu. I read it on my phone while we were traveling in Peru and I really enjoyed it.

Machu Picchu | Healthy Green Kitchen

Machu Picchu | Healthy Green Kitchen

Machu Picchu | Healthy Green Kitchen


MP is situated on a mountain ridge, high above the funky (tiny!) town of Aguas Calientes. Unless you are hiking the Inca Trail (a 4 day experience), MP is accessible only by buses that chug up an extremely windy road. Note that MP is not at very high altitude, though: you do not experience discomfort here the way you might in and around Cuzco.

Machu Picchu | Healthy Green Kitchen

Machu Picchu | Healthy Green Kitchen

Machu Picchu | Healthy Green Kitchen

Maddie and I spent an afternoon exploring MP with a guide, then we went back the next morning and walked around on our own. We lucked into wonderful weather on both days that we visited. It rains frequently at MP, and this is evident in the lushness of the landscape, but it did not rain on us.

The views of the misty mountains on all sides, and the Urubamba river below, were stunning:

Machu Picchu | Healthy Green Kitchen

Machu Picchu | Healthy Green Kitchen

Machu Picchu | Healthy Green Kitchen

The stonework is positively magnificent:

Machu Picchu | Healthy Green Kitchen

Machu Picchu | Healthy Green Kitchen

Machu Picchu | Healthy Green Kitchen

Machu Picchu | Healthy Green Kitchen

And we really got a kick out of the sweet alpacas and llamas that wander the grounds:

llamas1

Machu Picchu | Healthy Green Kitchen

If you ever have the opportunity to travel to Peru (and Machu Picchu), GO! Feel free to shoot me an email if you need any advice planning your trip…I will try to help :)

 

16 Comments

  1. 1

    Angie — July 30, 2013 @ 1:21 pm

    Wow, what kind of camera do you use? looks like you were there midday. In the early morning the fog makes it feel even more like a magical otherworldly place.

  2. 2

    Amanda @ Once Upon a Recipe — July 30, 2013 @ 2:18 pm

    Absolutely stunning. I have vowed that one day I will travel to Peru to see Machu Picchu in all its glory!

  3. 3

    Aimee — July 30, 2013 @ 2:45 pm

    wow. i must’ve said WOW about ten times looking at these. phenomenal. that’s definitely now on my bucket list!!

  4. 4

    merry jennifer — July 30, 2013 @ 6:22 pm

    Wow, Winnie. These photos are stunning. I never realized how beautiful MP was until now. Now I’ll be dreaming of a trip…

  5. 5

    Barb Ellison — July 31, 2013 @ 6:48 am

    fantastic photos thanks

  6. 6

    Katie | Healthy Seasonal Recipes — July 31, 2013 @ 8:29 am

    Winnie,
    Wowzers! Crazy beautiful. I can’t believe how steep the mountains are there. It must have been so surreal. The stone work is unbelievable, and to think it was abandoned only a hundred years after its completion.

  7. 7

    Kristi Rimkus — July 31, 2013 @ 8:34 am

    Truly incredible photos. What a wonderful trip!

  8. 8

    France @ Beyond The Peel — July 31, 2013 @ 12:32 pm

    One of the most magnificent places in the world. It truly does exceed any expectations you might have, even if you think that nothing could meet them! Machu Pichu does. I wish I had a mother so cool as to take me to South America. You’re one awesome momma!!

  9. 9

    Shauna — July 31, 2013 @ 3:13 pm

    This looks so amazing! I’ve have a strong pull towards Peru for some time and would love to go!

  10. 10

    Laura (Tutti Dolci) — July 31, 2013 @ 7:33 pm

    Stunning photos, Winnie!

  11. 11

    Suzanne perazzini — July 31, 2013 @ 8:21 pm

    You are right – it is spectacular even though we saw it mainly in the rain. Every time the rain cleared and we got a glimpse of the landscape, it took my breath away. It was almost more atmospheric with the fine rain and cloud and those moments of clearing. The contrast was stunning. It is my favourite place in the world, even above Angkor Wat and that was truly magnificent.

  12. 12

    Beth (OMG! Yummy) — August 2, 2013 @ 7:22 pm

    What a great experience for you and your daughter. And, of course, Winnie, stunning photos. Like my brother and son, you have a gift! Though MP is more visually stunning, the story of a lost city recovered reminds me of our visit to Pompeii this summer. It is just fascinating to be able to see and learn how they were living so long ago by the recovered remains of the ash-covered region. MP is on my bucket list … but in the meantime, thanks for sharing.

  13. 13

    Stacy | Wicked Good Kitchen — August 3, 2013 @ 3:20 pm

    Aww…just loved reading this post, Winnie! And, soaking in all the beauty from your stunning photographs. So wonderful to experience MP with your daughter and that the weather cooperated. So very kind of you in offering to help others plan their trip. You are a gem and thanks for sharing! xo

  14. 14

    Melanie @ Just Some Salt and Pepper — August 4, 2013 @ 11:17 pm

    I’ve really enjoyed your recap of Peru. Everything looks gorgeous and I would love to visit one day!

  15. 15

    Camille — August 6, 2013 @ 2:30 pm

    Lovely photos! I’ve always wanted to visit Machu Picchu, it looks so amazing!

  16. 16

    Shelley Alexander — August 11, 2013 @ 4:47 pm

    Winnie, your trip sounds amazing and the pictures are absolutely beautiful! I especially like the one of you and your daughter sitting high in the air. Now I need to plan a trip to Peru for my mom and I!