Machu Picchu: Incredible Inca Ruins

American archaeologist Hiram Bingham rediscovered Machu Picchu in 1911. Be an explorer and visit the ruins of the Inca -- pre-Columbian South America's most advanced civilization.

Photo By: Getty Images

Photo By: Getty Images

Photo By: Machu Picchu Sanctuary Lodge

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Photo By: Colegota, Wikimedia Commons

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Photo By: Thinkstock

Photo By: Thinkstock

Photo By: Machu Picchu Sanctuary Lodge

Photo By: Getty Images

Photo By: Getty Images

Photo By: Getty Images

Photo By: Manchu Picchu Sanctuary Lodge

Photo By: Terry Feuerborn, Flickr

Huayna Picchu

Take an epic walking tour to see the sun rise over Huayna Picchu aka Wayna Picchu in Peru. The mountain sits high above Machu Picchu -- the “Lost City of the Incas” -- and the Urubamba River.

Urubamba Valley

The Sacred Valley of the Incas, or Urubamba Valley, is located in the Andes Mountains near Cusco, Peru, and just below Machu Picchu.

Machu Picchu Sanctuary Lodge

We’ve been told that the views of the Lost City are simply amazing from the oasis. This Orient-Express hideaway is a perfect place to relax and unwind in the shadow of the Lost City. It’s the only hotel located adjacent to Machu Picchu, one of the world’s major heritage sites. The lodge also offers a range of tours and excursions to some of the region’s overlooked attractions.

Sun Gate

Hike to the Sun Gates of Machu Picchu to get a picture-perfect vantage point overlooking Peru’s most famous ruins. Also known as Intipunku, the Sun Gates consist of 2 stones perched at a narrow passage in the crevice of the mountain above the Lost City. The sun shines through this portal each day when it rises -- hence the name.

Temple of the Condor

The Temple of the Condor was named for the positioning of its stones that resemble a giant condor. On the floor of the temple is a rock carved in the shape of the condor’s head and neck feathers. Some historians speculate that the head of condor was used as a sacrificial altar.

Intihuatana

It’s believed that the Incans created the Intihuatana, aka the “hitching post of the sun,” as an astronomic clock or calendar.

Temple of the Moon

The Temple of the Moon -- dating back 1,500 years -- is an Incan ceremonial temple located on Huayna Picchu in Peru. In the center of the cave is a throne carved out of rock. Beside the throne are steps that lead deeper into a cave. It is thought that the caves were used to hold mummies.

Cusco, Peru

More than 2 million tourists visit Cusco, Peru, each year. The old city was the site of the historic capital of the Inca Empire, and it became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1983.

Temple of the Sun

The Temple of the Sun was an Incan ceremonial temple used to honor and celebrate Inti, the ancient Incan sun god. Some experts speculate that the temple could have been an observatory or a summer home for Inca rulers.

Tinkuy Buffet Restaurant

If you’re staying at the Machu Picchu Sanctuary Lodge, make sure you eat at the Tinkuy Buffet Restaurant for lunch. The buffet includes Peruvian dishes that you can sample while gazing at awe-inspiring views of the Lost City.

Temple of the Three Windows

The Temple of Three Windows is on the eastern side of the Sacred Plaza. It has 3 windows that are unusually large, and in the foreground there is a carved stepped stone next to an upright pillar that may have been meant to symbolize mountains.

Aguas Calientes

Aguas Calientes, sometimes referred to as Machupicchu Town, is located near the Urubamba River. The town is known for its natural hot springs and baths, and it’s a popular train stop for tourists who don’t have the stamina to hike to the famous Inca site. Aguas Calientes is only a 1.5-hour walk from Machu Picchu.

Inca Trail

Located in the Andes mountain range, the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu passes through several types of unique environments, including a cloud forest and alpine tundra. Settlements, tunnels and many ruins are located along the trail before its end at the Sun Gate. The 2 longer routes to the Lost City require an ascent of more than 12,000 feet above sea level, which can result in altitude sickness.

Tampu Restaurant Bar

Sample international cuisine and traditional Peruvian dishes in the Tampu Restaurant Bar, located at the Machu Picchu Sanctuary Lodge.

Main Temple

Machu Picchu’s Main Temple is the chief temple to the north of the Sacred Square, just next to the Temple of the Three Windows. A sculpted stone, at the foot of the main wall, was used as an altar. There is speculation that Wiraqocha, an Andean god and the supreme Incan deity, was worshipped here.