"Lost City of the Incas" Top 5 Page for this destination Machu Picchu by jadedmuse

Machu Picchu Travel Guide: 693 reviews and 1,964 photos

Human Curiosity - or Man's Arrogance?

I think it is not so much a function of human curiosity as it is a symptom of man's arrogance, to question how another more ancient civilization could have accomplished something that otherwise defies contemporary explanations.

Such is the mystery of Machu Picchu. Historians and archaeologists still cannot explain the existence, the purpose, and the inhabitants of Machu Picchu - although they've been able to piece together some ideas and theories.

Machu Picchu is one of the last vestiges of an ancient empire that was beautiful, sophisticated, mystical, and in so many ways more highly evolved than the Europeans who "conquered" it. Some people may attribute the Incas' demise to the Spaniards' lust for gold; others will say that empires can never last; still some will say that this is a natural function of progress.

But I find the loss of the Inca Civilization - and their fabled city of Machu Picchu - to have a much simpler explanation: The Spaniards had rifles.

And so the sun set with a bang on a fascinating, flourishing and fabulously golden empire...due to gun powder.

Machu Picchu is thus referred to as the "Lost City of the Incas"...it is named so in large part because it remained elusive to explorers for centuries - and because the original Spaniards searched all over for it, believing it to be full of gold (remember, this was a European culture obsessed with finding "El Dorado").

Some people consider it to be the Eighth Wonder of the World. It is difficult to reach - most likely by design. It is cradled in the bosom of Peru, protected by the Andean mountains and the sub-tropical jungle.

The Spaniards never did find it.

The ruins seem to suggest that this was a city which housed approximately 1500 Inca residents, and theories abound as to who these residents were - and why they seemed to have so abruptly left. There are literally no traces, no explanations. The Incas were extremely organized, and they had a sophisticated communications system. I tend to think that the Incas somehow knew that the Spaniards were coming after them and that , given the Spaniards' drive to decimate, could very well find them even as this small enclave lay hidden amidst mountains and jungle. So this little community simply abandoned their sanctuary and moved on, in the name of self-preservation and survival.

Ironically, the only thing that has survived Machu Picchu is its mystery.

What Else is There to See in Peru?

Please also see my travel tips for Cusco as well as Ica and Tambopata - they are MUST SEES while in Peru!

Travelogues, Travelogues and More Travelogues!

Also see my Ruins of Machu Picchu and Inca Trail-Ancient Royal Highway travelogues, as well as those found under my Cusco page.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Trekking the Inca trail, rounding the corner, seeing Macchu Picchu in the misty distance...
  • Cons:Dying to know what the Incas were doing there and why did they leave so mysteriously...
  • In a nutshell:El Condor Pasa....y solo el condor sabe lo que pasa.....
  • Intro Updated Mar 9, 2006
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Reviews (27)

Comments (50)

  • Feb 1, 2010 at 3:57 PM

    There is a fund to help porters get to go to the top and experience Machu Picchu. Check out the Karikuy-Haugen Fund at http://www.karikuy.org!

  • Jan 6, 2010 at 10:48 PM

    this is a superbly written page michele. i loved the info you have given, added with some spiritual emotions as well. thanks for your input!

  • staindesign's Profile Photo
    Jul 7, 2009 at 6:02 AM

    Thanks so much for the info, i'm sure it will save my vacation!

  • Mr.Sparkle's Profile Photo
    Mar 15, 2009 at 10:04 PM

    i really like what you wrote here. there is a poetry to your words.

  • slidenhs's Profile Photo
    Feb 19, 2009 at 2:29 PM

    I like how they let you sample it but after you drink it they tell you the fementation is cause by saliva from chewing the corn sprouts. It tasted good untile then.

  • Aug 26, 2008 at 7:02 AM

    You're an EYE SAVER!!!! Your nose bleeds told me to bring LOTS of EYE DROPS. I have EXTREME DRY EYES. I thought, ALL THE RAIN no problem. I was WRONG. Now I know to pack LOTS of EYE DROPS. THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!!!!!!!

  • starship's Profile Photo
    May 1, 2008 at 9:59 AM

    Do you have any idea where on the trail the Vista Dome train crosses paths with the trail? I'm an older, inexperienced hiker/climber so I wonder about the train. Thanks

  • calcaf38's Profile Photo
    Feb 23, 2008 at 3:22 PM

    Wonderful memories. I can't really believe I was there (took train both ways, though). Great photos and text, Michèle! You were brave to try chicha. I passed on both chicha and cuy...

  • HooptheWorld's Profile Photo
    Aug 13, 2007 at 11:36 PM

    thanks...sage advice...!!

  • pd1's Profile Photo
    May 31, 2007 at 10:55 PM

    Your Description of Machu Pichu was cool and i would surely would be planninga trip there would like to know more about how to get there , the bookings and hotels


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