Machu Picchu   

Local descendents of the Inca people assist backpackers over the rugged mountainside.

Pictured below, local merchants sell handicrafts along the only road to the sacred site.    Admittance to the park is restricted.  You may either take a bus or backpack to the park's edge.  If you visit here, at the Regina Hotel which is the only accommodation alongside the park.  As a Regina guest, you can visit the park long after most visitors have returned to back to other places far away.  The $250 per night room rate is money well spent for this exclusive priviledge.

Hand-made tapestries are everywhere in the shops.  A real bargain is a mounted taranchula for $1.  Its value in the states is more than 15 times that amount.  The alter pictured on the right was a site for sacrifices. (You don't want to know what happened here.)

To the right is a panoramic photograph of the Machu Picchu site as seen from the mountain pass some 2000 additional feet above the ruins.  You can see the narrow, precarious pathway known as the Inca Trail.  Backpackers start  the four day trip from a point near Cusco, some 50 miles away.  Pictured right are a group of trekkers arriving at 9:00 in the morning, The Inca trail crosses the summit on the left hand side of the picture.  At some places the trail is only 30 inches wide, with a drop off hundreds of feet downward.  There aren't any handrails!

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The ancient Inca city of Machu Picchu at 8.000 feet lies deep within the Andes Mountains