The Untold Stories of Machu Picchu

With more than 5,000 visitors a day Machu Picchu remains at the top of our bucket lists. Renowned for being one of the most ‘Instagrammable’ places in the world, the ancient citadel is the perfect wanderlust capture.

You may already know that the ancient citadel was discovered by Yale professor Hiram Bingham in 1911, who later revealed his discovery to the world via National Geographic in 1913, but there is more to this wonder of the world than meets the eye.


According to Travel and Leisure Machu Picchu was never supposed to be discovered. Upon building Machu Picchu the Incans were keen to keep it a treasured secret, worried that the Spanish would lay claim to the site and its spoils. Less than 100 years after the establishment of the city, in 1532, the Incans plotted to abandon it. They burnt the forest surrounding Machu Picchu in the hope of obscuring the paths, which proved to be a successful ploy with the site going undiscovered for hundreds of years.

Bingham discovered the wrong city. Bingham actually thought that his local guides were leading him to the Lost City of the Incas, Vilcabamba, which has been a key area in the rulers year-long battle against Spanish conquistadors. Bingham was eventually proven wrong in 1964 by explorer Gene Savoy. Unlike Bingham’s experience you can count on Inkaterra’s explorer guides to show you the sights.


Machu Picchu was perhaps the original resort town. According to archaeologists Machu Picchu was built as a sanctuary for the royal family. Research suggests that Pachacutec, Inca leader who it is believed to have been built for, may have hoped for a peaceful getaway to escape Cusco city life.

The citadel is also thought to have been an ancient pilgrimage route. Despite early explorers suggesting that Machu Picchu was a secluded citadel, archaeologists now think that the site was part of a pilgrimage route never finished due to the arrival of the Spanish.


 Despite everything that we know there is still more to learn about this wonder of the world. Only in 2014 French explorer, Thierry Jamin, discovered a door that no one had found before. It is thought to lead to the burial chamber of Yupanqui, but the Peruvian government have forbidden its opening so we can only speculate. Who knows what we will go on to uncover.

Discover more of Machu Picchu with our excursions available for guests.