Hiking to the Temple of the Moon
The hike to Templo de la Luna is one that is often overlooked by travelers to Machu Picchu. Most visitors want to climb Huayna Picchu mountain, so they purchase the extra ticket. But included with that ticket is the chance to hike to the Templo de la Luna and the Gran Carverna, which are reached by a trail that snakes around the far side of the Huayna Picchu mountain down through rainforest. The temple is unique because it is remarkably well preserved and the forest is somewhat overtaking it. The temple was cut into two caves and is made of perfect mortarless Incan stones. The rest of the temples in the Machu Picchu sanctuary are cleaned and conserved, but the forest has been allowed to grow over much of this temple. The hike is about an hour each way, with the trail cutting through the sides of the mountain and barely hanging on the cliff side in places. You can get to the temple either by going down the loop trail from the top of Huayna Picchu or by taking the trail on the left from the main Huayna Picchu trail about 1/3 of the way along. Take the extra time and energy to visit this forgotten temple--you won't be disappointed.
By Tiffany Doan
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