1.Huayna Picchu, Peru
At an elevation of nearly 9,000 feet, the view from atop this peak, which towers over the 15th-century ruins of Machu Picchu, is breathtaking in a number of ways. A steep, slippery climb to this rocky summit is a nerve-racking effort—one instantly rewarded with a panoramic perspective of the Urubamba River Valley and the famed city of the Inca. But what to eat? Certainly not a complicated dish of roasted cuy (guinea pig) or a pisco sour. Instead, a celebratory Inca Kola and a pleasantly portable butifarras—a sandwich of Peruvian ham, onions, chili peppers, and lime. Don't linger too long—the hike down is a doozy.
Huayna Picchu also known as Wayna Picchu (Quechua: "Young Peak") is a mountain in Peru around which the Urubamba River bends. It rises over Machu Picchu, the so-called "lost city of the Incas" and divides it into sections. The Incas built a trail up the side of the Huayna Picchu and built temples and terraces on its top. The peak of Huayna Picchu is about 2,720 metres (8,920 ft) above sea level, or about 360 metres (1,180 ft) higher than Machu Picchu.
According to local guides, the top of the mountain was the residence for the high priest and the local virgins. Every morning before sunrise, the high priest with a small group would walk to Machu Picchu to signal the coming of the new day. The Temple of the Moon, one of the three major temples in the Machu Picchu area, is nestled on the side of the mountain and is situated at an elevation lower than Machu Picchu. Adjacent to the Temple of the Moon is the Great Cavern, another sacred temple with fine masonry. The other major local temples in Machu Picchu are the Temple of the Condor, Temple of Three Windows, Principal Temple, "Unfinished Temple", and the Temple of the Sun, also called the Torreon.
Machu Picchu at Sunrise
Machu Picchu’s cascading terraces and precision-cut stones provide evidence of the masterful building skills of the Inca, whose empire included a vast realm of 12 million people at its height.
Mountains rise above stone walls at Machu Picchu, which served as a royal retreat. The Inca quarried and moved stones weighing more than a hundred tons despite lacking wheeled vehicles and iron tools.
Tourists, Huayna Picchu
Visitors to Machu Picchu take in the view from Huayna Picchu, the peak that looms over the Inca site. The Urubamba River cuts through the valley below.