The renowned Citadel of the Incas is located in such a privileged location that grants a dream-like natural scenery. The surroundings are covered in the exuberant nature of the Peruvian cloud forest, right at the limit of the Andes and the amazon basin. The flourishing region complements the overall experience in the archeological site, and trust us, it certainly won’t go unnoticed.
The natural areas of Machu Picchu comprehend hundreds of species of birds, animals, and plants. For that reason, it is considered to have one of the most impressive ecosystems of Peru. Therefore, if you ask anyone that has already visited the Inca sanctuary, they will describe the whole region as a real-life fairytale.
For those who didn’t know, the Historic Sanctuary of Machu Picchu isn’t only recognized as one of the New Seven Wonders of the World since it was also chosen as the Best Green Destiny World by the World Travel Awards in 2012.
The entire site comprehends over 32,500 hectares of jaw-dropping landscapes suitable for an enormous diversity of wildlife. It is undoubtedly a paradise for nature enthusiasts, composed of low grasslands, towering mountains, evergreen valleys, and cloud forests.
Although we want you to experience it for yourself, we’d like to give you even more information about all the special features you’ll encounter during your trip. Let yourself be spellbound by the extensive biodiversity of Machu Picchu and make the most of your experience!
Thanks to the weather conditions, the region offers an appropriate environment for the development of vegetation in the surroundings of the citadel. There are around 2,354 documented plant species, including beautiful orchids, begonias, trees, and much more.
If you didn’t know there are over 400 species of orchids in the famous sanctuary, and some of them were recently discovered by specialists. Scientists have recorded in its interior up to ten life zones and two well-differentiated ecoregions.
The most relevant from the ecological point of view are the high Andean grasslands, the high altitude dwarf forests and the high jungle or Yungas, represented by the cloud forests and the mountain brow. This enormous variety of ecological floors or habitat allows the existence of an astonishing variety of species of flora and fauna, perfectly adapted to the specific conditions of their environment.
The Historic Sanctuary was internationally recognized by UNESCO in 1983 as a Cultural and Natural Heritage of Humanity. Only three areas in the Americas hold this distinction: Tikal, in Guatemala; Calakmul, in Mexico; and Machu Picchu in Peru.
Machu Picchu is home to 582 different species of animals, where 42 are only found in this region. Also, this place is home to over 300 species of butterflies that cannot be seen anywhere else in the world. Here are some of the most recognized animals of the area:
1. Andean Bear
Also known as Ucumari, it is a distinctive bear species of the Andes. Unfortunately, the animal has been constantly persecuted and threatened by illegal hunting and the expansion of cities in its habitat.
However, if you’re lucky enough, the Andean bear has been seen walking around the citadel despite being very elusive. This characteristic species is also famous because it served as the inspiration for the creation of the character ‘Paddington.’
2. Sacha Cabra - Dwarf Deer
Also known as Pudús, they are the smallest members of the deer family. It is certainly one of the smallest cervids in the world. However, they are another endangered species of the Andes and seeing them can be quite difficult. Generally, they live in areas above 2,000 meters above sea level.
For the Andean mythology, the cougar or puma was an important animal for the mysticism of the region, especially since it is part of the Inca trilogy. It is the second-largest feline in America. However, you have to be extremely lucky to spot it in its natural habitat since it is very elusive.
4. Gallito de las Rocas (Cock of the Rocks)
Also known as the national bird of Peru, this specimen is associated with Machu Picchu and it’s often seen in large trees, hidden among its leaves. Seeing it is easier than it seems, but you will need to pay attention to the trees and their distinctive bird song.
5. Andean Condor
It is the third-largest bird in the entire world, they can weigh up to 15 kilograms and have a wingspan of 3 meters approximately. Therefore, they prefer windy areas to stay in the air. They have been seen on the ruins of Machu Picchu and at the highest points of the Inca Trail.
6. Giant Hummingbird
If you take the Inca trail, you could be able to see it along the route. It is the largest hummingbird in the world and can be slower than others of its kind. You will recognize it by its light brown color and its similarity to a large swallow.
Llamas and alpacas are in the plains of the citadel, you will see them enjoying their natural environment, but remember to respect their space, and above all, not to intervene in their feeding. Some of them are used to tourists, and also seem to pose for pictures.
These are some of the features that complement the beautiful scenery of Machu Picchu. The archeological site isn’t only about history and architecture as you can see since the overall experience is complemented by the exuberant nature of the region.
Viagens Machu Picchu cares to provide everything you need to have an authentic experience through Peru. If you wish more information, please check our travel packages and start planning the trip of your life.