BEST BOOKS TO READ BEFORE TREKKING TO MACHU PICCHU. One of the most essential items for any traveler to bring on a trip abroad is a good book. Reading books about Peru helps you truly immerse yourself in its history, culture and make sense of what you’re seeing and experiencing as you travel. Machu Picchu is much more than just an adventurous hike through challenging trails, heart-stopping vistas and ancient ruins set in nature.Take the time to prepare for the trip of your lifetime here are some good books to help you get through those long, winding bus rides through the Andes.
There are a number of excellent guidebooks that can help you plan your trip to Machu Picchu and the rest of Peru. A few titles to look out for include:
“Royal Commentaries of the Incas and General History of Peru” The Comentarios Reales de los Incas is a book written by Inca Garcilaso de la Vega, the first published mestizo writer of colonial Andean South America. The Comentarios Reales de los Incas  is considered by most to be the unquestioned masterpiece of Inca Garcilaso de la Vega, born of the first generation after the Spanish conquest. He wrote what is arguably the best prose of the colonial period in Peru.
The Great Inka Road: Engineering an Empire This compelling collection of essays explores the Qhapaq nan (or Great Inca Road), an extensive network of trails reaching modern-day Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Chile, and Argentina. These roads and the accompanying agricultural terraces and structures that have survived for more than six centuries are a testament to the advanced engineering and construction skills of the Inca people. TheQhapaq nan also spurred an important process of ecological and community integration across the Andean region. This book, the companion volume to a National Museum of the American Indian exhibition of the same name, features essays on six main themes: the ancestors of the Inca, Cusco as the center of the empire, road engineering, road transportation and integration, the road in the Colonial era, and the road today. Beautifully designed and featuring more than 225 full-color illustrations,The Great Inka Road is a fascinating look at this enduring symbol of the Andean peoples' strength and adaptability.
Tipon: Water Engineering Masterpiece of the Inca Empire Tipon: Water Engineering Masterpiece of the Inca Empire reveals the beauty and the ingenuity of this little-known jewel of the Inca Empire. Located down the Huatanay River Valley by the Inca capital of Cusco, Tipon is a 500-acre, self-contained, walled settlement that served as an estate for Inca nobility. This historic agricultural site, which has been farmed and partially irrigated for more than 450 years, is a stunning civil engineering achievement by the Inca, who were masters of irrigation and hydraulic technology. They designed buildings, waterworks, and massive structures to be visually and functionally in harmony with the natural environment. In planning a place that would integrate water, soil, agriculture, and topography, the Inca created a virtual water garden that impresses all who visit.
The Conquest of the Incas by John Hemming The account of how a small flock of cheeky Spaniards conquered a mighty kingdom deep in the Andes reads like a fairy tale. John Hemming’s impressive scholarship, attention to detail (that causes the book to be almost 700 pages long) and outstanding storytelling skills, turn the story of the bloody contest into a spectacular read. Hemming’s story covers 40 years, starting from the initial invasion of Francisco Pizarro’s cruel band of 168 men, until the death of the last Inca emperor Túpac Amaru in 1572.
Ice Maiden: Inca Mummies, Mountain Gods, and Sacred Sites in the Andes Johan Reinhard's discovery of the 500-year-old frozen body of an Inca girl made international headlines in 1995, reaching more than a billion people worldwide. One of the best-preserved mummies ever found, it was a stunning and significant time capsule, the spectacular climax to an Andean quest that yielded no fewer than ten ancient human sacrifices as well as the richest collection of Inca artifacts in archaeological history.
The Last Days of the Incas Kim MacQuarrie lived in Peru for five years and became fascinated by the Incas and the history of the Spanish conquest. Drawing on both native and Spanish chronicles, he vividly describes the dramatic story of the conquest, with all its savagery and suspense. This authoritative, exciting history is among the most powerful and important accounts of the culture of the South American Indians and the Spanish Conquest.
The Secret of the Incas: Myth, Astronomy, and the War Against Time In the 15th century, the Inca priest-astronomers read the sky and saw signs of an apocalypse. So the Incas took a desperate gamble: If events in the heavens could influence those on Earth, perhaps the reverse was true. In The Secret of the Incas, Sullivan shows that the Inca rituals of warfare and human sacrifice were nothing less than an attempt to stop time, to forestall the cataclysm that would sweep away their world. This is a work of rare erudition and imagination that will reshape our understanding of the past.