In Machu Picchu/ Peru

Movies to Watch Before Visiting Machu Picchu

April 26, 2016
Inca Trail Machu Picchu

Movies featuring Machu Picchu

The Motorcycle Diaries

If there ever were a road trip of the lifetime, it would be this one.  Based on Ernesto (Che) Guevara’s memoir of the same name, the movie recounts the quintessential road trip that every wandering traveler (myself included) dreams of having.  Though we know what eventually happens with Che, politics aside, the movie’s focus is on the adventure.  I envied that scenery from start to finish.  The culmination of Che’s arrival at Machu Picchu was solemn yet pensive. Back then, the misty clouds didn’t have to compete with pesky tourists.

Aguirre the Wrath of God

This movie neither centers on Machu Picchu nor strives for historical accuracy.  So why the mention?  The film’s focus is actually on a group of conquistadors in search of El Dorado and hones in on a crazy one named Aguirre.  Filmed on location in Peru, the film is entirely in German.  As weird and misplaced as it sounds, you have to love it for other reasons.  Think art house.  Cult classic.  Amazing soundtrack by Popol Vuh.  One of Time Magazine’s All Time 100 Best Films.  If you watch it for any reason, do so for the opening scene where the conquistadors descend from Huayna Picchu.  Best opening scene EVER.  I couldn’t be more excited to visit Machu Picchu for that very scene alone.

Max is Missing

While the first two movies are quite famous, sometimes you just need something light hearted.  “Max is Missing” is a cheese ball mystery akin to the Goonies and the young Indiana Jones, bolstered by the fact that it’s filmed entirely around Cusco.  Young Max is dragged to Peru on a family vacation and receives an ancient Incan artifact from a man on the street.  Once the word is out, two bad guys start chasing him down.  Max teams up with a local kid to outwit the bad guys, all the while whizzing through Machu Picchu, Sacsayhuaman, and Cusco.  It’s a fun watch.

The Ghosts of Machu Picchu

Finally, a documentary!  I wish I had seen this before I left.  There’s so much information about Machu Picchu that you think you know, but that’s not the half of it.  I spent a few hours wandering around the Lost City not even knowing there was a natural spring that fed the water canals.  I didn’t even know that Machu Picchu was situated between two earthquake fault lines, and was completely unaware that the terraces were water filters.  Who knew?  Bonus: excellent photography.  Skeleton bone analysis gives additional clues about Machu Picchu’s inhabitants.

Various YouTube Videos

YouTube has become my go-to source of info on travel as of late.  I had a ton of questions on the Inca Trail, and 85% of them were answered in someone’s YouTube video.  A quick YouTube search brings up tons of videos, and I watched every single one.  Well almost.  I watched enough videos to separate the bad from the good, and I’ve provided links to the best (and most informative) videos below.

♥ For watching a father/son complete the Inca Trail with heartwarming narrative, watch SOMETHING HIDDEN – THE TRAIL TO MACHU PICCHU (link)

♥ For getting a general feel for Cusco, watch 15 THINGS TO DO IN CUSCO (link)

♥ For getting practical tips and day-by-day narrative, watch INCA TRAIL – JOURNEY TO MACHU PICCHU (link)

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