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Machu Picchu is one of the most recognisable archaeological sites in the world, buried deep in cloud forest.

Machu Picchu is one of the most recognisable archaeological sites in the world. Perched high on a saddle between two mountains, there are few places which can rival its magnificent setting; surrounded by steep valleys, green forested mountainsides, and low-hanging clouds. Its terraced slopes fall away to the Urubamba River, which rushes along round a great hairpin bend below, making access difficult and the arrival even more magical. 

The ruins of Machu Picchu are very well preserved because the Spanish conquistadors never discovered it. It is thought that the citadel was abandoned before the Spanish arrived in Peru, buried for centuries in the jungle, until the explorer Hiram Bingham stumbled upon it in 1911. It was later explored by an archaeological expedition sent by Yale University, and continues to be excavated to this day.

Aside from completing the Inca Trek, Machu Picchu can only be reached by train, either from Cusco or from the Sacred Valley of the Incas. The journey takes about 3 hours and passes through a beautiful valley between imposing mountains. There are different train services available, from the comfortable modern Vistadome train, to the classic and luxurious Hiram Bingham. The trains go to the town of Aguas Calientes, from which a short bus ride takes you right to the entrance of the archaeological site. See below for more information.

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