SPY THE GLORIES OF THE INCA
You know… Machu Picchu, Peru
Attempts to slash visitor numbers at the Inca site have had little effect. In 2016, a record 1.4 million people (over 5,000 a day in summer) arrived, geed on by every listicle, guidebook and (ahem) magazine declaring it a Peruvian icon.
But what about… Choquequirao, Peru
Whereas Machu Picchu is wrongly called a ‘lost city’ (it was more likely a royal estate), Choquequirao is a true citadel, nearly three times the size of its more famous cousin. Today, just half has thought to have been uncovered, and from its setting, high above the thrashing waters of the Apurímac River, it receives only a trickle of visitors.
One reason is that the only way up is by foot, on a journey that more than rivals the Inca Trail for views. Around four days is required to hike the Apurímac Valley and back, rising up past Capuliyoc, through little-seen villages and into the thin air of its high-altitude jungle. But it’s worth it, especially with what’s on the horizon. Plans for a new road and cable car (ferrying up to 3,000 people a day) to the site have been mooted for years, but for now it’s still that rare and wonderful thing – minibus free!