The experts in boutique travel To Peru and South America

50 Machu Picchu Pictures to Fuel Your Wanderlust

December 18, 2023 by Daniella

If you’re in search of magical Machu Picchu pictures, you’ve arrived at your destination. Known as one of the most mystical wonders of the world, Machu Picchu means Old Mountain in the local Quechua language. It is one of the New Seven Wonders of the World and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The ruins are located just four hours from Cusco in the cloud forest of Aguas Calientes, and they are situated at 7,972 ft (2,430 m) above sea level. It is a destination beloved by both tourists and locals alike.

On July 24, 1911, locals brought American historian and explorer, Hiram Bingham, to this ancient wonder. After seeing it’s immense beauty, he brought his findings back to the United States and shared them with the world. Today Machu Picchu is one of the most famous places to visit in the world, earning more than 1.5 million visitors a year. Keep reading to see gorgeous pictures of Machu Picchu. You’ll surely see what makes these ancient ruins in Peru so fascinating.

The Iconic Photos

Nearly everyone has come across a Machu Picchu photo at least once in their lives. Maybe it was with the Machu Picchu sunrise or shot with the late afternoon sun. Regardless of when it was taken, it’s recognized as an iconic view. These photos are both memorable and moving – almost like paintings. Here’s to all the classic Machu Picchu images that still take our breath away.


One of the iconic views of Machu Picchu on a dark and cloudy day. Photo by Eduardo Flores on Unsplash


One of the iconic views of Machu Picchu that includes Huayna Picchu, the main ruins, the Guardhouse and the Inca terraces


A sweeping panoramic view of Machu Picchu and the surrounding mountains


One of the iconic views of Machu Picchu at sunset. Photo by Evan Sanchez on Unsplash

The Guardhouse

The Guardhouse is one of the first stops along the route within the ruins. This thatched-roof building housed the soldiers guarding one of the two main entrances to Machu Picchu. 

Machu Picchu Tours:


Looking up at the Guardhouse. Photo by Daniella Beccaria


A view of the Guardhouse sitting atop the ruins surrounded by tourists. Photo by Daniella Beccaria


The Guardhouse pictured on a foggy day in Machu Picchu. Photo by Willian Justen de Vasconcellos on Unsplash

The Main Ruins

The main ruins expand throughout the entirety of the Machu Picchu sanctuary. They include the famous Inca stones that show the sheer beauty of Machu Picchu architecture. Some of the Inca walls tower above the average person, making the structures within the citadel all the more awe-inspiring.


The main ruins of Machu Picchu including a view of the Sun Temple and Inca terraces. Photo by Daniella Beccaria


A close-up of the main ruins with Putucusi Mountain in the background. Photo by fife76 on Pixabay


A view of the main ruins and structures. Photo by Daniella Beccaria


A sunny view of the main ruins on the side of the mountain. Photo by Jaesung An on Pixabay


A detailed shot of the Machu Picchu stonework. Photo by Blaine McKinney on Unsplash

Huayna Picchu Mountain

Huayna Picchu Mountain is arguably the most popular hike in Machu Picchu. It is also present in the majority of Machu Picchu pictures due to its location behind the main ruins. The Huayna Picchu “Stairs of Death” scare away some people, but the view from Huayna Picchu peak is unparalleled. Make sure to add climbing Huayna Picchu, one of the most famous mountains in Peru, to your bucket list.


A view of Huayna Picchu covered in fog, shot from the main ruins. Photo by Fábio Hanashiro on Unsplash


Huayna Picchu Mountain photographed from the main ruins. Photo by Daniella Beccaria


The view from the Huayna Picchu summit. Photo by Ana Castañeda Cano


Huayna Picchu at sunset. Photo by Sean Thoman on Unsplash


Huayna Picchu photographed on a rainy day in Machu Picchu. Photo by Daniella Beccaria

Machu Picchu Mountain

Machu Picchu Mountain, known as Montaña Machu Picchu in Spanish, is the higher, more difficult of the two hikes. Climbing Machu Picchu Mountain can be quite a challenge, but when you reach the top, you’ll experience the 360° Machu Picchu aerial view with the surrounding mountains and river below. 


The view from Machu Picchu Mountain summit. Photo by Lizzie Thomas


A foggy view of the main ruins from Machu Picchu Mountain. Photo by Daniella Beccaria


The shadow of Machu Picchu Mountain visible from the summit. Photo by tacowitte on Flickr

Putucusi Mountain

Putucusi Mountain, also known as Happy Mountain, is a lesser known hike on an adjacent mountain. This hike puts Huayna Picchu’s stairs of death to shame with its own seven sets of near-vertical ladders. Once you climb them though, the views of Machu Picchu are unlike anything you’ve seen.


A view of Putucusi Mountain from Machu Picchu on cloudy day. Photo by Ben Miller on Flickr


The near-vertical ladders leading up to the summit of Putucusi Moutnain. Photo by Ben Miller on Flickr


Putucusi Mountain seen from the main ruins with a view of the Urubamaba river. Photo by Bruce Tuten on Flickr


The view looking down from Putucusi Mountain of the town of Aguas Calientes. Photo by Jimmy Harris on Flickr.

Machu Picchu Weather

With two main seasons in Peru – sunny and rainy – the views of Machu Picchu can change significantly. Sometimes the mist and fog hang low in the ruins creating a mysterious and magical experience. Other times, the sun shines bright, illuminating the stonework and history. In all types of weather, Machu Picchu still looks incredible.


Machu Picchu shines bright in a shroud of mist and sun. Photo by Willian Justen de Vasconcellos on Unsplash


A bit of fog lingers as the sun set on Machu Picchu. Photo by Nimmi Solomon on Flickr


A stunningly clear day in Machu Picchu. Photo by Leo Gonzales on Flickr


Fog and mist surround the ruins in Machu Picchu. Photo by Tomas Sobek on Unsplash

The Inca Bridge

One of the lesser known things to do in Machu Picchu is visit the Inca Bridge. Even though it is prohibited to walk across it due to the extreme narrowness, you can take the short 15-min hike to view this architectural marvel from afar. 


A view of the Inca Bridge, one of the short hikes you can do within Machu Picchu. Photo by Lizzie Thomas


The hike to the Inca bridge. Photo by Lizzie Thomas

The Sun Temple

Of all the Inca temples, the Sun Temple in Machu Picchu is one of the most interesting. Built to worship the sun god Inti, the Sun Temple, or Templo del Sol, is one of many temples in the sanctuary. 


The Sun Temple, or Templo del Sol, in the main ruins. Photo by skeeze on Pixabay


A view looking inside the Temple of the Sun in Machu Picchu. Photo by Lizzie Thomas


The Temple of the Sun situated in the heart of Machu Picchu. Photo by Dragisa Braunovic on Unsplash

The Inca Terraces

One of the most interesting facts about Machu Picchu is that the Inca terraces are some of the Incas’ best constructions. Visible on the sides of the sanctuary, they were built to prevent landslides and provide a sustainable watering system. For this reason, these same terraces can be found in many ruins in Peru including the stone ruins in the Sacred Valley.


The famous Inca terraces built to help prevent landslides and create a practical watering system. Photo by jorgecandia on Pixabay


The intricately-made Inca terraces. Photo by Simon Schwyter on Unsplash


The terraces in Machu Picchu lit by the afternoon light. Photo by derekchng on Pixabay


The Inca terraces and housing seen through the main ruins. Photo by Backpackerin on Pixabay

The Sun Gate

For those who choose to hike to the Sun Gate, or for those who pass through it on the Inca trail, the views are spectacular. The Sun Gate, known as Inti Punku in the Quechua language, was once the main entrance to Machu Picchu. It is located just 1 hour walking from the main ruins, and it’s a perfect place to take in the views.


The Sun Gate, or Inti Punku, illuminated by the sun. Photo by Alexandra Aguinaga


The stone pillars at the Sun Gate. Photo by Brian Jeffery Beggerly on Flick.


A partly-cloudy view from the trail to the Sun Gate. Photo by Steve Upton on Flickr


A panoramic view of the ruins from the Sun Gate. Photo by icelight on Flickr


The Sun Gate stonework on a sunny day. Photo by bobistraveling on Wikimedia Commons


The Machu Picchu ruins seen from the Sun Gate. Photo by Mckay Savage on Wikimedia Commons


The view of Machu Picchu and Huayna Picchu from the Sun Gate at sunset. Photo by Matthew Hay


A view of Huayna Picchu and the main ruins taken halfway to the Sun Gate. Photo by bobistraveling on Wikimedia Commons

Machu Picchu Llamas

Saving the best for last, the Machu Picchu llamas are some of the most fun photos to come out of the famous Inca ruins. Whether it’s baby llama pictures or llama selfies, they never cease to warm the heart.


A llama grazes on the grass in Machu Picchu. Photo by mlproject on Pixabay


A multi-colored llama walks around in a Machu Picchu. Photo by Junior Moran on Unsplash.


Tourists enjoy taking photos with the llamas on a rainy day in Machu Picchu. Photo by Daniella Beccaria


A llama walking through the ruins. Photo by Alex Azabache on Unsplash.


A tourist takes a selfie with a llama. Photo by Daniella Beccaria

Now, See it for Yourself

Why is Machu Picchu so special? These Machu Picchu pictures pay homage to one of the most interesting ancient ruins of the world. It is a top destination for travelers seeking history, beauty and mystery. A place where history can be seen and experienced almost exactly as it was.

If you’re planning on visiting Machu Picchu, connect with one of our travel experts to customize your trip and create the best Machu Picchu experience. 

About the author

Daniella was born in the sunny beach town of Santa Cruz, California. She spent her youth there before moving to Washington state to pursue a degree in journalism, photography and Spanish. She has worked professionally as a photojournalist in Seattle photographing everything from protests and political rallies to music festivals and Machu Picchu.

Related Posts

Peru Expert Guide: Fabricio Ortiz

Author: Britt

Born and raised in Cusco, Fabricio has witnessed firsthand how his home city and the Inca Citadel of Machu Picchu have gained worldwide notoriety over the years. He studied mechanical engineering at the National University of Engineering in Lima, but life steered him down a different path to becoming a Peru expert guide.

Inti Raymi in Cusco

Author: Anabel

On June 24, the city of Cusco celebrates Inti Raymi. In Inca times, this celebration in honor of the sun god, Inti, was the empire’s largest. Today, it coincides with Cusco’s peak tourist season. Thousands of travelers from near and far arrive to relive and experience the greatness of the Inca past.


Book with confidence

Number of Travelers
Trip Length
foodies Highlights(Optional)
Are you interested in adding a meal at one of the best restaurants in Latin America?
(feel free to select both options)
We sell virtually all services available in Peru, Galapagos, Argentina, Chile, Brazil and Patagonia