Machu Picchu is literally one of the coolest places to visit in the world.

Machu Picchu has long since served as an iconic international landmark. This mysterious and easily recognizable Peruvian destination remains one of the most visited attractions in the world. The well preserved Incan village offers an in depth view into an entirely new civilization. Many travelers take the chance to go on a guided tour to the settlement, and do not regret this sacred opportunity. There are plenty of Machu Picchu facts that you likely do not yet know.

If you want to make the most of your travel experience, it is always good to educate yourself beforehand. You will likely find that the more you know about a place, the more you appreciate it when you are actually there. The simple stone structures become much more than a constructed edifice, they are now stories. The carefully crafted moment in history practically comes alive before you when you know about its history and culture. Nobody has ever regretted taking the time to research their destination before visiting, and neither will you. Learning about Machu Picchu will only enrich your incredible experience.

These 10 Machu Picchu facts are sure to astound you.

1. Nobody knows why Machu Picchu was abandoned.

It is one of those timeless history mysteries that everybody wants to solve. Among the best Machu Picchu facts to know, is that we don’t know why Machu Picchu was ever left. Though the Spanish conquistadors played a significant role in the demise of the Incan empire, it appears that Machu Picchu was abandoned even before this happened. There are speculations of a smallpox epidemic, but nobody truly knows why the Incas left Machu Picchu.

2. Machu Picchu vanished for numerous centuries.

Granted, Machu Picchu has been around roughly since the mid-1400’s. However it was completely unknown to the outside world until 1911. During this year, popular archaeologist Hiram Bingham discovered the alluring village of Machu Picchu. From this point on, Machu Picchu has remained a place of mystery and wonder, beheld by the rest of the world.

3. Sleep with one eye open when you are in Machu Picchu.

Machu Picchu Facts

The village of Machu Picchu has always been covered with a layer of clouds, due to its immense elevation. Because of this, it cannot help but be helpful but feel a little mystical when exploring the city during the day. In the past, people have swapped spooky folklore in Machu Picchu. Even today, plenty of porters sleep with a shiny piece of metal, or a mirror, to guard against the spirits.

4. The stones within Machu Picchu were so carefully crafted that no mortar was needed.

When it comes to building with stone, generating exact precision is complicated and takes time. However, the creators of Machu Picchu were able to not only construct immense building, but they were able to do it all without mortar. This was possible because each stone was cut so precisely, that it fits perfectly with others. Picture a giant lego set.

5. There is more than one way to get to Machu Picchu.

This is one of those practical Machu Picchu facts that you will be glad that you knew before you left. If you are trying to decide your route of choice, know that there are multiple options to get to Machu Picchu. You can take the traditional Inca Trail, which is the most iconic experience. Travelers are also able to venture down the Inca Quarry Trail, which takes them through local villages and less populated archaeological sites. This really is the road less traveled, and it pays off.

6. Llamas are a thing here.

Machu Picchu Facts - Llamas

If you are not prepared, you might be surprised to see these furry creatures roaming freely throughout the Inca Trail. Llamas are adorable to look at, and they are a historical exhibit all their own. In the past, the Incas utilized llamas as an extremely useful resource. Llamas are helpful for carrying heavy loads and for providing extremely soft wool. If you have never felt a sweater made with alpaca or llama wool, you are missing out.

7. Machu Picchu is hidden in plain sight.

This is one of those mysterious Machu Picchu facts. The Incan civilization cannot be spotted from below. Its perfect placement has allowed it to remain virtually unscathed throughout the nation’s violent history. In fact, Machu Picchu was one of the only cities to survive the Spanish conquest.

8. The language spoken around Machu Picchu is not Spanish.

Put away that “Every Tourist’s Guide to Basic Spanish” book for a minute, because it may not be of much use around Machu Picchu. The ancient Incas actually spoke a language known as Quechua. Many people around this area actually still speak the language in modern day. In fact, the name Machu Picchu comes from the phrase meaning “Old Peak” or “Old Mountain” in Quechua.

9. The Incas were quite architecturally advanced.

Machu Picchu Facts - The Incas

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to look at Machu Picchu and determine that the Incas were quite ahead of their time in terms of construction and architecture. However, the intricate complexities within the structures of Machu Picchu all account for the reason that it is so well preserved today. For example, the Inca people took extra precautions to ensure that the village would not slide down the mountainside. Over 600 terraces exist around Machu Picchu, which act as a buffer and hold the entire town in place.

10. Machu Picchu is kind of a big deal.

As you may have guessed, Machu Picchu is Peru’s most popular attraction. It is also South America’s most famous ancient ruin. Naturally, there are limitations for how many people visit here each day, in order to keep the ruin well preserved. If you want to visit, you will have to obtain a permit and guide to get to the ruins.

Visit Machu Picchu and witness these facts in real life.

Everything is much cooler in real life, and Machu Picchu is no exception. This timeless travel stop is one of those adventurer rights of passage. Visit Machu Picchu for yourself and witness these Machu Picchu facts in real life.

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