Similar to stepping out of the Colosseo metro station in Rome and looking up at the majestic Colosseum for the first time, nothing can quite prepare you for the breath-taking setting of Machu Picchu, despite seeing countless photos and videos of the famous Inca ruins.
Many would argue that the online world has spoilt the surprise of many places, in some respects it has. With a few button clicks you can now explore the Great Barrier Reef on Google’s Street View Treks, get first-person video tours of Petra on YouTube, or Facetime your mate for a 360 degree view from El Capitan once he’s reached the peak. But only a fool would rely on these things to satisfy their interest. There are certain places so spectacular that no technology available can match the awe-inspiring spectacle of being there in person. For me, Machu Picchu is one of those places and it has plenty of surprises.
Not all locations need spectacular sites to make them worthy of a visit. You’ll never be able to taste the fresh fish of the Mediterranean, breath in the Australian sea air or dance at a street party in Rio if you rely on the tech giants to take you places. Some of the places I visited in Peru obviously weren't as magnificent as Machu Picchu, but it was my first time in South America and being somewhere new and away from Grey Britain is always enough to keep me happy. It also helps that Peru has plenty to see and do.
I won't go into all the details about the day spent at Machu Picchu, go and see the wonder for yourself as I guarantee you that even the most professional photos and videos don't do it justice. If you do go then I highly recommend you booking in advance to get one of the 400 tickets to climb Huayna Picchu, the mountain that overlooks the ruins. It's a tough climb and not for the faint-hearted but well worth it for the incredible panoramic views and wild butterflies that surround you at the top. I also recommend staying in Agues Clients the night before so that you can get into the ruins early the next morning. It's worth spending a whole day there and seeing how the weather dramatically changes the atmosphere of the place.
Unsurprisingly, Machu Picchu was the main reason for visiting Peru but I wanted to cram in as much as I could in two weeks so I decided against taking part in the 5 day trek to get there and spent the extra days travelling around the country. It was a wise decision as Peru is home to some beautiful scenery. If I’d walked the Inca Trail I probably would have ran out of time to see the magnificent Colca Canyon, or beautiful coastline of the Paracas National Reserve.
I absolutely loved Peru and would return immediately if I could. The people are extremely friendly and the food is delicious. I'd highly recommend it.
The photos below were taken in Cusco, Agues Clients and Machu Picchu. I'll be posting another update soon which will include photos from the second half of the trip.
If anyone would like more details or recommendations for visiting Peru then feel free to leave a comment or e-mail me (details on 'About' page).