The Iconic Machu Picchu

Most countries and even major cities have a major icon attached to their name. This icon can be anything from a building to a nature preserve. But, no matter what it is, it stands out from the other sights within that county or city. These are the places that you first think about when hearing a place’s name. Some places have bigger iconic images that are known world wide, where others have smaller ones that are only known to the people that live there or are traveling there. The bigger the icon is the more talk there is about it, thus making it hard not to build up preconceived thoughts about what it will be like. These types of places can be hard to travel to because having preconceived thoughts can always have the down side that leads to disappointment. But, if the iconic image is worthy of its fame, than it is a place that must be seen.
One of the biggest iconic images attached to a place is none other than Machu Picchu . When talking about Peru one of the first things that comes to mind is Machu Picchu, making it by far one of the most iconic images of Peru. It is even so famous that most of the times when talking about South America in general, Machu Picchu is thought of quite fast. It therefore is very hard not to have grand preconceived thoughts about what Machu Picchu will be like.
As I walked for a few hours along the train tracks to get to Machu Picchu I had one task to think about. This task was to get my mind in check. I wanted to try and get all the preconceived thoughts out of my mind. I did not want to keep building up Machu Picchu because that could lead to disappointment when I got there. As my walk came to an end I felt like I was ready to see Machu Picchu. I know I still had preconceived thoughts about what I was about to see. However, just knowing they were there helped me to try and be more open minded.
In the end seeing Machu Picchu was something I will never forget. It was well worth the time and money to get there. There is a reason it is pictured when talking about Peru or South America. It is an icon that captures the imagination and takes us back to an ancient time. Here are a few attempts to capture the iconic image that is Machu Picchu.

48 responses to “The Iconic Machu Picchu

  1. I have to say, when I think about traveling to South America, machu pichu is definitely on my list. These photos are great. I can’t wait for the day I get to go!

  2. I loved what you had to say about iconic places…and it can be disappointing if the build up has been overdone. I still have Machu Picchu on my list. I wanted to ask how you felt around the locals. I recently met two Peruvians in the US, here for study. I found them to be incredibly warm, genuine and gracious. We met on an airplane and I am sure we will be friends for life. Is this typical of Peruvians?

  3. Very nice pictures. One of my favorite places. The experience there opens up possibilities that we have never considered. I think it is as close as we have come to finding what it would be like to discover intelligent life from a different planet because they developed independently of western or eastern thought or concepts.

  4. Hi Ryan, thanks for following my blog. I completely agree with you on how iconic places that are so firmly entrenched in our minds when thinking about a particular place or region would indubitably affect our first impressions when we actually arrive, and I find it admirable that you tried as best as you could to remove all pre-conceived notions of what Machu Picchu is or would be like as you trekked your way towards it – a good reminder for us all as we embark on our travels. Thanks for sharing πŸ™‚

    • Trying to remove my pre-conceived thoughts is a task that I am trying to do more and more when I travel. It is hard to do and I know you can not remove all of them, but I do think it is a good way to see places.

  5. Great photos! What time did you need to go to be able to get such amazing tourist-free shots?! Did you go on your own or with a tour?

    I just bought my tickets to Lima and plan go there in mid-December, which is supposed to be the beginning of the rainy season. I’m a little worried about the rain, did you hear anything about this?

    -Amanda at

    • I did go on my own and I got there very early in the day, right after sunrise. It is a better time to go because most tours get there around mid day. However even when I went there still were a lot of people, it was hard to get many photos with out random people in them. I know that is around the rainy season, but it might be better because it is the start of it. Hope it is not to rainy for you.

  6. Thank you for liking my recent Peru posts including one of Machu Picchu. Good that you are travelling, unencumbered by many other responsibilities. As for myself, I will have to wait till October for my next substantive trip, when I will go to New Mexico. That is, apart from inner journeys I may take. Best wishes.

    • You post was great, I like to read other peoples thoughts about places that I have just been to. At least you wait till October is not to far away, I can not wait to read about your time in Mexico.

  7. Hey Ryan, great post! I have to say, I totally agree with you, Machu Picchu is one of those places that is teeming with expectation but surpasses the beauty you had in mind. Worth every penny. I get to take a new group of kids there in less than a week and I can’t wait to share it with them! I hope you’re enjoying Peru, keep up the awesome posts!

  8. Hey Ryan, good to see a fellow trotamundos on here. Great shots of Machu Picchu, you definitely captured the spirit of visiting touristy places – you need to start fresh, regardless of what you think you know.

  9. Your article hits the nail on the head. I remember visiting the Alamo in Texas, how disappointing, so small, insignificant compared to what I thought it should be like…a great place for protection in heated combat…then I woke up. Size and grandeur do not make a marvelous sight, but the people who built it, lived in it, fought in it, imagined in it.

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