If you’re ever thinking of visiting Peru, then this is the year to come. On July 24 2011, Peru will be celebrating the 100 anniversary of Hiram Bingham’s famous re-discovery of Machu Picchu, the ancient Inca city perched high on a plateau in the Andean mountains.
To coincide with the 100 year anniversary, Yale University has also signed an agreement to return some 5000 Inca pieces which were taken by Hiram Bingham and which will be housed in a new museum in Cuzco city.
In 1911, whilst researching the lost legendary city of Vilcabamba in Cuzco, Hiram Bingham was led to this incredible high mountain site by local farmers who actually lived at the city and who farmed its now world-famous terraces. Hiram Bingham thought he had stumbled upon Vilcabamba and was excited at the prospect but he was of course wrong and in fact had stumbled upon a new city, undocumented before and which the Spanish had never discovered. As such the site was incredibly well preserved.
Peru has lots more to offer though rather than just Machu Picchu. Further north, close to the archaeological site of El Brujo, a new museum has also recently opened up showcasing the incredible discovery of the mummy of Cao. It was in 2006 that this female mummy, complete with tattooed skin was discovered, resplendent in jewels and authoritative symbols of the pre-Inca Mochica culture, clearly highlighting the importance of a female ruler in ancient Peru.
This new museum is an excellent choice to combine with other well known sites including the great adobe city of Chan Chan and the Sipan tombs near Chiclayo.
Besides Machu Picchu, Peru offers many more great cultural sites around the country.
We suggest a tour of Peru to combine Lima, Cuzco and the surrounding countryside and an overnight stay at Machu Picchu. A deluxe vacation could include the Monasterio Hotel, which include oxygenated rooms to lessen the effects of the altitude and a ride on the aptly named Deluxe Hiram Bingham train. Peru travel packages are available throughout the year but April through to October is the best time to visit.
A combined trip with the north of Peru will reward all of those interested in ancient cultures and archaeology but if you would also like to experience the wildlife of the Peruvian rainforest, then we would recommend a trip to the Amazon, easily accessible from Cuzco. Choose from river cruises to rainforest lodges to enhance your stay.