So here we are at number 5: Machu Picchu
We stayed in Lima prior to traveling and very much enjoyed the ocean views in the Miraflores area. I wouldn’t suggest staying in any area in Lima that is away from the ocean as the pollution is bad (see information on why by doing a Google search). Plan on visiting Machu Picchu anytime from May through September as it is fairly dry then. If you want to go during the less busy times make in May or September, not in between. It is almost 8,000 feet so it might be a good idea to get in good physical shape if you want to do a little hiking.
From Lima you go to Cusco (or fly directly there and skip Lima), then a three hour train trip to Aguas Calientes (near Machu Picchu ruins), and lastly another 20 minutes by bus and then you have arrived! But it is all beautiful and well worth it. You will be at the gate of the awesome Machu Picchu.
Machu Picchu is situated in the Cusco region of Peru. It was built in the 1450’s by the Inca Emperor, Pachucuti and may have been his country estate or a place to worship. For certain it was an astronomical observatory because its sacred Intihuatana stone accurately exhibits the two equinoxes. The sun sits directly over the stone creating no shadow during the two equinoxes.
My breath was taken away in awe of the surroundings. It has an enormous spiritual impact because so many elements join together: physical grandeur because there is an interweaving of sky, mountains, jungle, river and clouds. Even the hills reflect the shape of condors. Even the architecture reflects the mysticism and a natural fit to the area. Please forgive the internet pictures as the originals are out in California!