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Going on a trip to Machu Picchu with kids? Here are some fun and interesting Machu Picchu facts for kids to keep them interested in the trip!
While it’s the goal of many adults to hike Machu Picchu from Cusco, most kids probably couldn’t care less. In fact, Machu Picchu is probably just one of many Incan ruins they’ll be visiting on your family vacation to Cusco, and they may be tired of them.
If you are hiking Machu Picchu with kids you may need something interesting to talk to them about so they feel powerful, strong, and excited about their trip down the original Incan trail.
Planning your trip to Machu Picchu with kids:
- Buy a complete, full-day Machu Picchu trip from Cusco
- Buy your Machu Picchu entrance tickets ONLY in advance
- Book the best-rated hotel in Aguas Calientes (closest town to Machu Picchu) for families
- Book the best-rated hotel in Cusco for families
Fun Machu Picchu Facts for Kids (and adults!)
These fun facts with help everyone in your group enjoy their trip to Machu Picchu even more!
1. Who was Machu Picchu built for?
No one knows for sure what Machu Picchu was supposed to be! It may have been a summer retreat for the king, the capital of a regional society, or the trading center for different Incan towns.
2. Is Machu Picchu one of the 7 World Wonders?
In July 2007 Machu Picchu was named one of the New 7 Wonders of the World on an internet poll (though it had been on the UNESCO World Heritage Sites list since 1983).
3. Why is Machu Picchu known as the “Lost City of the Incas”?
Built in the 1400’s, Machu Picchu was only used for around 100 years before it was abandoned by the Incas. The Spanish never found it when they conquered the Incan Empire in the 1500’s, and it wasn’t even discovered by modern-day archeologists until Hiram Bingham was shown there by locals in 1911!
4. How was Machu Picchu built?
The Incas constructed their buildings with a “dry mason technique”- without mortar! They simply cut rocks to fit so perfectly that nothing could slip between them. These rocks were incredibly heavy. Some weighed over 55 tons! They were either pushed up the side of the mountain by hundreds of men or carved directly from the mountain’s quarry.
5. How did Incans get from town to town in the Incan Empire?
The Incans built a complex system of roads and bridges across the Incan Empire. They are considered some of the strongest historical beings. Mail carriers, for instance, would run long distances to relay messages to far-away leaders. A message or gift could travel 240 km/ day on the relay system from Peru all the way to modern-day Colombia!
6. Who became leaders and workers in the Incan Empire?
Intelligence tests were administered to Incan children. Based on their results they were taught a trade, sent to school to become leaders, or were sent to live with nobility.
7. Beware of Ghosts!
Legend says that spirits rise from the ground to take people away at night. For this reason local porters will sleep with a mirror or shiny piece of metal beneath them!
8. How many people lived in Machu Picchu?
The Incans didn’t keep any written records. There is a lot we don’t know about the Incan society, but it’s estimated that up to 1,000 people lived at Machu Picchu. The complex was made up of over 300 buildings including temples, homes, and commerce buildings. The people who lived and worked in Macchu Picchu were some of the most elite of the Incan empire!
9. Why was Machu Picchu abandonded?
Machu Piccu was abandoned after only 100 years of use. We don’t know the exact reason why it was left, but it may have been due to an outbreak of smallpox or to better protect themselves against the Spanish invasion.
10. Is Machu Picchu safe?
Have no fear while visiting Machu Picchu- it’s more earthquake-proof than California! The terraces along the sides of Machu Picchu weren’t used for farming, they were a protection against earthquakes. The terraces helped protect the main ruins from sliding down the side of the mountain.
11. How many people visit Machu Picchu every day?
Machu Picchu is the most popular and famous attraction in South America. It saw around 100,000 visitors in the 1980’s, which rose to ove 1.2 million poeple annually by 2013. Recently it attracted up to 5,000 visitors each day, which is currently capped at 2,500 people each day.
Only 500 people are permitted on the Incan trail daily, 300 of which are reserved for porters and guides.
Other amazing things to do in Peru with kids:
- Check out all the fun things to do in Lima with kids!
- See the Huacachina Peru Oasis- sand dunes for sandboarding and dune buggy rides!