First Officer Matt Bliss surveys the scene at Machu Picchu in 2008.
Famous as the "Lost City of the Incas," Machu Picchu has gone from being a remote and abandoned ruin to serving as a major tourist attraction. Today this no longer lost city is thronged by thousands of people at the height of the summer season. The site remains one of the most photogenic locations in the world, and repays knowledgeable investigation. In the dawn mists, even this Kodak mecca can still furnish an almost mystic atmosphere. But to find a more authentic experience of the world of the ancient Incas--that is at least, to see the kinds of settings in which their society flourished--one must venture further afield.
Among the lesser-known traces of the Andean civilizations one may yet gain a feel for the landscapes and natural rhythms in which the Incas lived. In the small villages of Peru, despite the satellite dishes beginning to sprout from local roofs, one may still encounter festivals and other traditions from Inca times which have not yet been wiped out by the rising tide of globalization.