Latest guide to Machu Picchu offers new, visual experience

I was fortunate enough to talk with Peruvian expeditionary and author Juan Luis Tord about his latest publication, A Guide to Machu Picchu. The captivating images and detailed notes about the historic site are sure to pique the interest of those who have yet to visit the citadel, as well as those who have experienced it many times before. Find out for yourself!

Why did you publish a guide on Machu Picchu?

Machu Picchu is an archaeological site that is surrounded by spectacular geography. It has always struck me as a photographer, which I’ve been doing for over 15 years. It’s not only the archaeological sites that interest me but also the colorful biodiversity that exists in the surrounding area as it is a historic sanctuary ranging from 1,700m to 6,271m at the summit of Nevado Salkantay. These various ecological zones of the sanctuary make it very attractive for me to explore. I’m an andinista and I like to know not only comfortable places, but also where to climb and look for the best positions for a great photo.

Sound like a lot of time to invest!

Time flew by, actually. When I noticed that I was nearly done completing my book I decided to write and design it and I saved the last photos to take in November 2013.

Why is this guide different from those published in the past?

To my knowledge, I have not yet seen a publication like mine. Fifteen years taking the best pictures that can be taken on the Inca citadel, capturing the landscapes and animals most representative of the sanctuary; these images really have made the guide so nice and colorful.

It seems like you have a connection to Cusco that runs deeper than most.

As my mother is from Cusco, she has always told be about her beloved Cusco and the places where she visited when she was younger. Therefore I’ve been traveling to Machu Picchu since I was 20 years old, when I bought my first camera, and started using it in these kinds of destinations.

Is the process of taking such great photos as easy as it sounds?

If you really want to take great photos, it’s not easy. The historic sanctuary is surrounded by very vertical mountains with paths and trails that take you through very steep places, so you have to be prepared to trek and climb walls that can put you in danger. So I’m proud of this publication, it was difficult to capture photographs of the sanctuary and its biodiversity. As for the ruins, text and photographs are presented, step-by-step, through these beautiful buildings of the Inca citadel that is bigger than one would think.

Any stories that happened while making the guide or taking the photos?

In 2007 I was working for the hotel chain Inkaterra, in fact directly for the owner, Mr. Joe Koechlin. And he asked me to be in charge of managing the work they were doing for the New 7 Wonders group. This group was staying at the Inkaterra Machu Picchu Hotel to film the citadel of Machu Picchu for the worldwide contest for the 7 wonders of the world at that time. I personally picked them up from the Lima airport and drove them to Cusco and Machu Picchu. In the guide that I have published there is a perfect photo in the moment when Bernard Weber, the director of New 7 Wonders, was presenting the Inca citadel to the people that voted online for Machu Picchu into the first seven wonders. That day Machu Picchu was ranked 11th, and Joe and I had proposed a bet that Machu Picchu would be among the first places. And finally we got it.

Born and raised in Lima, Peru, Juan Luis Tord is an accomplished editor, photgrapher, and writer, among many other talents. He is the first Peruvian to have conquered the peaks of Huandoy Este and el Churup, of the Cordillera Blanca. A Guide to Machu Picchu is currently available on


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