Because of a wide range of altitudes in the Machu Picchu region, there are many microclimates that support an impressive array of animal species and a variety of bushes, ferns, mosses and trees.

Encircled in mists and surrounded by emerald, forested slopes, the long-ago Inca city of Machu Picchu in Peru wears an even heavier cloak of mystery.

Although this World Heritage site, built on a mountaintop in the Andes, was discovered more than 100 years ago, archaeologists have yet to unravel the reason for its existence. Machu Picchu does tell us that the Incas were world-class builders; at the height of the Inca Empire (from approximately 1438 to 1532), the citadel was probably the most astonishing urban creation in the world. Its enormous terraces and labyrinthine paths and ramps seem as if they have been naturally sculpted out of contiguous stone, with no evidence of any mortar to hold them together.

In Machu Picchu, the mysterious past intertwines with the natural beauty of the present. ©From the video “Machu Picchu and Peru in HD,” ©Stephane Thomas

Watch the high-definition video below, titled Machu Picchu and Peru in HD, created by Stephane Thomas. You’ll virtually experience the biodiversity-rich Upper Amazon Basin and walk through the incredible Machu Picchu, feeling a sense of awe at following in the footsteps of true American ancients and feeling their presence around the bend of every superbly crafted, rock wall.

There are no accounts of Machu Picchu in any of the much-studied chronicles of the Spanish invasion and occupation, so the one thing that is clear regarding the site is that early European adventurers never discovered it. There is nothing in the records to document that it even existed at all, let alone its purpose. But like Leonardo DaVinci’s “Mona Lisa” or the Great Pyramids of Egypt, the perplexing Machu Picchu has been seared into our collective consciousness, no matter what continent we live on or spot we call home.

After viewing this video—which I highly recommend you do in full screen—you’ll feel the call of Machu Picchu, even if you’re a bit “cloudy” regarding the why.

Here’s to finding your true places and natural habitats,