The village of Machu Picchu Pueblo is tucked in a verdant canyon just below historical sanctuary of Machu Picchu. Just 70 miles from Cusco, the village is cut off from the city by thick cloud forests and rippling mountains, and the only way to reach it is by rail—or on foot along the Inca Trail. The train journey is one of the most magnificent in the world, following the emerald Sacred Valley of the Inca between steep mountains. The lodge is set in lush forests at the edge of town, bordered by the Vilcanota River, and the iconic citadel of Machu Picchu is a short bus ride up the mountainside.
The Andean cloud forests that surround Machu Picchu are rich with plant and animal life, from vibrant orchids and exotic bromeliads to colorful butterflies, monkeys, and myriad species of indigenous birds. Various endangered species can sometimes be seen, including the Andean cock-of-the-rock, Andean spectacled bear, river otter, and mountain lion.
The largest group of indigenous people in Peru are the Quechua, who number in the millions and are spread across western South America. The Peruvian Quechua are thought to be direct descendants of the Inca, whose empire stretched from modern-day Colombia to Chile until Spanish colonization in the 16th century. Despite increased globalization, the rich cultural heritage of the Quechua people is still present today, visible, in part, in their colorful textile traditions and other time-honored crafts. The Quechua language is spoken widely and considered one of Peru’s official languages, along with Spanish.
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