The citadel of Machu Picchu is located on the ridge between the mountains Machu Picchu and Huayna Picchu in the middle of exuberant cloud forests at 2,430 meters above sea level. Extraordinary for its isolation and beauty, is surrounded by vertiginous cliffs 450 meters high that form the narrow canyon of the Urubamba River that glides like an anaconda at his feet. The Incas could not have picked a more strategic site for its secret citadel that this; perfectly hidden and totally impregnable from any threat. It is located 80 km northwest of the Imperial City of Cusco and about 13 degrees south of Ecuador.
Today Machu Picchu is protected within the Historic Sanctuary of Machu Picchu, a natural and archaeological reserve covering 32,592 hectares in the department of Cusco. Preserves many archaeological treasures linked by the Qhapaq Ñan, the Inca Trail and stunning scenery and diverse ecological floors that are the natural habitat of numerous important species of flora and fauna. In just twenty linear kilometers its territory reaches snowy peaks above 6,000 meters above sea level to the warm jungle at 1,800 meters above sea level.
Conserve parts of the two major sub-basins of this region, link the Andes to the Amazon, and with them the tops of Wekey Willka or Verónica (5,750 masl) and Salkantay (6,271 masl).
There have been registered ten life zones and two different ecoregions within the sanctuary. Among these, the most ecologically important are the high Andean grasslands, high dwarf forests, and the high forest (or yunga), including cloud forests and eyebrow mountain. This immense diversity of habitat, in turn, has led to an amazing diversity of flora and fauna. In fact, the sanctuary has more biodiversity in compared whit the ecosystems surrounding it and a lot of native species that deserve to be protected.
As an indication of the great diversity of flora that exists in the sanctuary, in their forests of eyebrow jungle there are about 90 different species of trees per hectare while the average for such forests are only 50 species. Furthermore, within the sanctuary they have been cataloged 200 species of orchids, which represented 12% of the total number of species that exist throughout Peru.
The diversity of animal species is equally impressive, the sanctuary is home to 423 species of birds, 352 species of butterflies, 41 species of mammals and 13 species of river fauna. Among the most remarkable animal sanctuary have the cock of the rock (rupicola peruviana, national bird of Peru), the spectacled bear (Tremarctos ornatus), puma (Puma concolor), the quetzal high (golden-headed quetzal), otter neotropical (Lontra longicaudis) and sachacabra (Pudu Mephistopheles).