although no one knows just why or how. It may have been used for religious ceremonies, for astronomical observations, or even as a summer retreat when Cuzco, the Incan capital, turned cold.
Whatever the purpose, a Machu Picchu tour reveals a place of soul-stirring beauty. Curved agricultural terraces, wide plazas, thatched-roof houses, and temples set against the snowcapped Andes invite conjecture about the people lucky enough to have lived here so long ago.
But Machu Picchu isn’t the only ancient city you’ll be able to explore on your trip to Peru. Dramatically perched on a promontory nearly five thousand feet above the roaring Apurimac River is Choquequirao, an Incan outpost that is four times the size of its “sacred sister.” Although its existence has been known for some time, Choquequirao has only recently been opened to nonacademics. On your Peru tour, you’ll be able to trek to this saddle in the high Andes, where it’s believed that Incas worshipped the mountain gods, the river, and the natural elements.
In contrast to such “Lost Cities,” Cuzco is still very much alive today. See its vast Sacsayhuamán Fortress, a UNESCO World Heritage site, and marvel at how this massive city has survived earthquakes and the ebb and flow of colonialism. When you visit Cuzco, you’ll explore not only history but also Peru’s modern cuisine and culture.