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Video Of The Day: Huayna Picchu Offers Bird's-Eye View Of Machu Picchu
Standing on the mountain ridge of Machu Picchu, the most recognized site of the Incas that sits high above the Urubamba Valley in Peru, is an experience sought after by people from all over the world. Walking around the UNESCO World Heritage Site, one can't help but wonder what life was like for the Incas who lived there in the 15th century. As visitors take a moment – or in some cases, several hours – to sit and soak up the surrounding peaks of the Andes Mountains, one gets a sense of the kind of connection the Incas must have had to the breathtaking landscape that surrounded them. One of those peaks, Huayna Picchu, or "Young Peak," is the emblematic sugarloaf mountain that rises over Machu Picchu in most photos. The Incas paved a trail up the side of the mountain and built temples and terraces on its summit – where local guides say the high priest and local virgins lived. Today, 400 tourists can enter Huayna Picchu each day by purchasing advanced tickets for 152 Peruvian neuvos soles, or around $57 U.S. dollars. The one-hour climb to the top isn't easy; it's a steep ascent the equivalent of 253 flights of stairs that includes some dizzying hairpin turns where climbers must use steel cables for support and – in certain spots – leaves climbers exposed on the side of the mountain on tiny steps. In this video, Mike Theiss takes viewers to the summit, showing how hikers must squeeze through a cave at one point and demonstrating just how harrowing some of the stairs can be. But the best parts about the hike (and the above video) are the 360-degree view from the top and the bird's-eye view of Machu Picchu. Watch closely to see the switchback road the buses take to transport travelers from Aguas Calientes, the town below the Inca site, to Machu Picchu. Believe me, the views are worth braving your fear of heights and the soreness that results from the climb!