There’s something obnoxious about teenagers when they gather into groups. It seems to be a universal truth crossing all cultures and geographies. When the late morning field trips begin to arrive in Machu Picchu, it’s best to just stay clear. Those wise enough to arrive the day before and spend the night in Aguas Calientes will have hours of unpolluted ruins to explore. The site can be reached as early as five in the morning when the sun begins to brighten the deep navy-blue skies and the air is brisk and laden heavy with the morning moisture of the spongy cloud forest. So it’s understandable to feel a bit defeated when the silence is broken by the sounds of puffing adolescents more concerned with their current social status than their heritage.

But not to worry! Machu Picchu has countless surprises. It’s a place that almost seems tailored to the individual, allowing everyone to make what they want of their experience. The many boulders and walls provide great perches for soaking up particular views. Conversely, there are also lush grassy plazas where many choose to stretch-out and relax as though they were here to decompress and even nap – and napping wasn’t an uncommon sight.

Those wishing to establish a more spiritual connection to the site will still find success only a few steps off the well worn tourist trails. Their sanctuary may require a quick vault over a low wall or may be at the bottom of a staircase a little to dangerous for the casual visitor. It might be found in the maze of the east urban sector homes, occupied only by the wild chinchillas, or it may mean descending to a lower agricultural sector as these young ladies have done.

Everyone’s perfect place can be realized with a little adventure and creativity.

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