Machu Picchu is located in the department of Cusco, in the Urubamba province and district of Machupicchu. It is perched on the eastern slopes of the Vilcanota mountain range, a chain of mountains curtailed by the Apurimac and Urubamba Rivers. At latitude 13º7' South and longitude 72035' West of the Greenwich Meridian, Machupicchu is located at a height of 2,350 meters above sea level (main square).
CLIMATE AND ENVIRONMENT
It is located in a subtropical zone, or dense wood, the reason why the climate is mild, warm and damp, with an average year-round temperature of 21ºC (69ºF) during the day. One can perceive two distinct seasons during the year: the rainy season from November to March, which is a time of heavy rains. Visitors are advised to dress accordingly during this season. The dry season from April to October brings on higher temperatures.
FLORA AND FAUNABoth are abundant and varied. Typical plant life in the historic reserve of Machupicchu includes Pisonayes, Q'eofias, Alisos, Puya palm trees, Ferns and more than 90 species of orchids. The fauna in the reserve bear, cock-of-the-rocks or "tunqui", tankas, wildcats and an impressive variety of butterflies and insects unique in the region. The shape of the land, the natural surroundings and the strategic location of Machupicchu lend this monument a fusion of beauty, harmony and balance between the work of the ancient Peruvians and the whims of nature.
MACHU PICCHU, LAND OF THE ORCHIDSMachu Picchu, land of the Orchids Many species are living for centuries in the Sanctuary, but only one is the queen of all plants and living creatures, with over 300 species and many colors, this plant is such a beautiful thing to observed and smell, that’s why Machu Picchu, Land of the Orchids, must live forever.
HISTORYOne cannot pinpoint who was the first to populate these lands, as it was a time of occupation rather than foundations. Machupicchu was visited by explorers well before Hiram Bingham, although with little success. These included Antonio Raymondi, the Count of Sartiges and Charles Wiener. Other visits included one in July 1909 by the Santander brothers, whose inscription can be found carved into the base of the Temple of the Sun. At the same time, Peruvian explorers Enrique Palma, Augustin Lizárraga and Gavino Sánchez arrived at the citadel by the route of San Miguel.
The railway line runs parallel to the river in winding loops that follow the riverbed. From here one can see the typical vegetation of the upper jungle, which climbs up to the top of the steep mountain range that forms the Urubamba Canyon. The train passes through the Chilca train station from where one can see the snowcapped peak called "Veronica". With a height of 5,750 meters above sea level, it is the highest peak in the Urubamba range. The train stops at Kilometer 88, where the Inca Trail begins.
The train then continues on its way, passing through the station of Pampacahua and the town of Aguas Calientes, located at Kilometer 110. When the train line comes up against a wall of imposing granite mountains, it then plunges into two tunnels before arriving at the station of Puente Ruinas. From here, minibuses take the travelers up 8 kilometers of roads to the Tourist Hotel. The entry control to the Inca citadel is done near the hotel.