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Turn Right at Machu Picchu: Rediscovering the Lost City One Step at a Time

3.78  ·  Rating Details  ·  8,293 Ratings  ·  1,035 Reviews
What happens when an adventure travel expert-who's never actually done anything adventurous-tries to re-create the original expedition to Machu Picchu?

July 24, 1911, was a day for the history books. For on that rainy morning, the young Yale professor Hiram Bingham III climbed into the Andes Mountains of Peru and encountered an ancient city in the clouds: the now famous c
Hardcover, 333 pages
Published June 30th 2011 by Dutton Adult (first published January 1st 2011)
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Apr 22, 2013 Librariasaurus rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this book. And now I want to go to Machu Picchu.
You can definitely tell this was written by a journalist, but Mark Adams had fun writing this book.
As with many adventure travel stories, you can feel yourself going along for every step of the journey. Adam's writing makes you sympathise. You can feel every bead of sweat, every ache of sunburn, you can taste the coca and you know exactly how it feels to get blistered toes because you forgot the rule of mountaineering: Always wea
Sep 24, 2013 Rose rated it really liked it
Recommended to Rose by: Erma Aker
What a fun filled, laugh out loud romp through history as travel writer mark Adams follows the footsteps of the so called discoverer of Machu Picchu. Mark Adams quits his day job, hires some very interesting, characters and sets out to hike to Machu Picchu. His travel guide is an Australian survivalist, Jon, who very much resembles Crocodile Dundee. A very scrappy interesting man who I would love to see write his own book on his life time of adventures in places people would only dream of ever s ...more
Grace Komjakraphan
Jan 14, 2014 Grace Komjakraphan rated it really liked it
Machu Picchu was ON the list, but after reading this book, THE INCA TRAIL is on the list.
Oct 20, 2015 MaryG2E rated it really liked it
I greatly enjoyed this well-written travel adventure by Mark Adams. A New York resident, Adams worked for many years in travel publishing, and his writing style reflects his journalistic skills. Turn Right at Machu Picchu is a warm-hearted, funny and entertaining account of Adams' journeys in a remote part of Peru to retrace the steps of Hiram Bingham III, the 'discoverer' of the Inca ruins at Machu Picchu. It is also an affectionate portrait of a remarkable man, John Leivers, the Australian ex- ...more
In Turn Right at Machu Picchu Mark Adams interweaves his own adventure treks to important Inca sites in and around Machu Picchu - under the expert guidance of Australian John Leivers (and, on the Incan Trial, Ephrain Valles) - with Hiram Bingham’s Peruvian expeditions and controversial discovery of Machu Picchu as well as with the history of the Incas both before and after the Spanish invasion.

With a light, and often humorous touch, Adams covers over 500 years of Incan history, major Inca sites
Gerry Claes
Jan 09, 2012 Gerry Claes rated it liked it
For most of my life I have been fascinated with Machu Picchu and have always had a desire to hike to this famous lost city of the Inca's. My daughter who is 33 years younger than me hiked to Machu Picchu a few years ago and the two of us have a competitive history of visiting the most locations. I have her beat in states (48 to 46) but she left me in the dust a number of years ago in number of foreign countries visited. I decided to read this book to live my daughter's hike vicariously and perha ...more
Sep 26, 2012 Susy rated it liked it
At the suggestion of a friend who said she "was LOLing" while reading this book and praised it as being written in the manner of Bill Bryon's A Walk in the Woods, I decided to be an armchair traveller to Machu Picchu. Adams does have the same self deprecating style as Bryson; he's an ah shucks writer about his own lack of skill, but let's face it - he made it to all the sites supposedly discovered by Hiram Bingham whose travels of 1911 he decided to follow. Along for the trek and leading the way ...more
Jenny (Reading Envy)
Mark Adams decides to trace the journey of the man who claimed to "discover" Machu Picchu, Hiram Bingham, and takes a very strenuous hike through Peru. This book chronicles that journey, as well as a return trip he took to hike the "Inca Trail."

If Adams had only written about his own journey, I'm not sure it would have been that interesting. He has worked in travel writing, albeit more as an armchair editor than a traveler, for years. He had connections to help him prepare, research, and advise
Sep 04, 2013 Jim rated it it was amazing
Shelves: travel-guides, peru
Most travel books tend to be rather mediocre: There is no sense of wonder, no reason why anyone would envy the traveler and dream of following in his footsteps. Turn Right at Machu Picchu: Rediscovering the Lost City One Step at a Time is a welcome exception to that sad rule. The author, Mark Adams, spent much of his life writing for outdoor magazines, but never had caught the travel bug himself ... until he decided to visit in person and on foot the Inca cities clustered north of Cuzco.

It help
Mar 21, 2013 David rated it really liked it
Turn Right at Machu Picchu: Rediscovering the Lost City One Step at a Time by Mark Adams is an adventure travelogue, a history of Peru, Machu Picchu, & various expeditions, and an investigation of allegations against explorer Hiram Bingham III.

As an adventure travelogue, Turn Left is highly successful due to Adams' insightful, clever writing, based on meticulous research, and his subtle, self deprecating humor. The short chapters keep the tale moving along, as do the honest portraits of the
Jason Golomb
Mark Adams' "Turn Right at Machu Picchu: Rediscovering the Lost City One Step at a Time" is a book that's a bit hard to classify. All at once, it's a serious (and seriously funny) travelogue; a smart and tightly written history; and an investigative report into the greatest archaeological discovery of the last century.

Author Adams spent time writing and editing for the now defunct National Geographic Adventurer magazine and despite working with and alongside some of the world's hardest core adve
Jun 12, 2013 Fanficfan44 rated it it was ok
Shelves: read-book-club
I read this book for a book club I belong to that is currently following a travel theme. The book follows Mark Adams as he retraces the steps of Bingham, the explorer/adventurer/professor who “discovered” Machu Picchu, on the 100 year anniversary of the discovery. This should have been a great travel adventure but there were some issues with the book. Mark Adams tells his present day story interspersed with Hiram Bingham’s original tale and then with tales from Pissaro and the Conquistadors. The ...more
The best thing about this book, besides the cover, is the fact that Adams, paradoxically, manages to demystify Macau Picu while making it an even powerful symbol of mystery and discover.
IT’s a wonderful travel log, interspersed with history. Adams has a great since of humor.
Jul 11, 2016 Caroline rated it liked it
Recommended to Caroline by: Susan
Shelves: history, summer2016
I was expecting to read about a first-time hiker's experience on the Inca Trail. Instead, I found myself in the middle of a 300-page bromance. I liked hearing about Mark's trip, and getting to know John, and learning about Hiram Bingham, and hearing how Mark met his wife, and reading some of the theories about Macchu Picchu's significance, but maybe not all in the same book.

An accurate summary: "Intrigued by tales that Aurita had told me of even greater wonders along the Inca Trail, my friend a
Jun 11, 2012 Deidre rated it really liked it
Recently out in paperback, Turn Right At Machu Picchu is a uniquely charming travel tale. When Mark Adams, a travel editor in New York city decides he needs an adventure of his own he doesn't start small. Instead he heads to Peru to trace the path of Hiram Bingham III, the explorer famous for the discovery of Machu Picchu. Adams, a mostly desk-bound sort, faces the epic journey with charmingly told trepidation. He begins the book by interspersing tales of Bingham's life with sections of personal ...more
Connie Greenleaf
Mar 17, 2013 Connie Greenleaf rated it really liked it
Mark Adams’ Turn Right At Machu Picchu was a temporary lapse on my part from my decision to read only Indian writers this year, or books written about India. Whatever, I bought it at an Indian bookstore, so that counts, right? This is one of those books that is so delightful and funny that you find yourself walking around your home following a person who you are reading aloud to. Then you laugh again, and get back at it. But it’s not JUST funny. It’s one of the most approachable books with a ver ...more
Apr 15, 2012 Cleffairy rated it really liked it
Reviewed at: Library of Lights
Review date: 15 April 2012
Review link:

I’m a huge fangirl of the fictional archeologist cum adventurer, Indiana Jones. And when I requested this book ‘Turn Right at Machu Pichu’, I was expecting something like Indiana Jones to be written within the pages. But boy, was I wrong. There’s nothing like Indiana Jones in there, but I was not disappointed. It was the other way around.

This book is an absolutely delightful read with plenty of quir
I have always had a love of ancient (and not quite so ancient) civilisations as well as a dream to travel the world. Machu Picchu has always been near the top of my list to places to go and, knowing that, my wife gave me this book.

It is about a long-time travel writing editor who finally decides to go on a journey of his own. He settles on Machu Picchu as it, and it's American "discoverer", was back in the news, as well as his wife and her family being Peruvian. But instead of just visiting the
Oct 01, 2011 edj rated it it was amazing
One hundred years ago on July 24, 1911, explorer and Yale lecturer Hiram Bingham excitedly cabled the US from Peru about his discovery of an ancient site, potentially the “lost city of the Incas.” That site was Machu Picchu, or “the old peak” in the local language of Quechua, a city of architectural grandeur and ancient temples. Now in 2011, his claim is disputed, and he is accused of stealing historical artifacts and trumpeting up a “discovery” of something that was never actually lost. But the ...more
On paper I should love this book but it captures me and loses me. It feels scattered and covered too many topics related to #machupicchu Incan history, conspiracy theory, commentary on tourism, scholars, his trip, equipment but it didn't have a specific train of thought. There were parts I loved. Like his guide, John. I want to read a book about him. The result? I do think adventurists will love this book as well as history buffs. I guess I needed a different structure
Nov 20, 2014 Marisa rated it really liked it
Shelves: reviewed
This is a book that couch- and world-travelers alike will enjoy. Adams does a fantastic job weaving history with his personal experiences in Peru. When wanderlust strikes, even the most unprepared are willing to start a new adventure – often with hilarious results. I particularly enjoyed reading this novel in advance of my own trip to Machu Picchu. There were many things on my trip I remembered from the book and it was neat to see contrast of the old/new. I had learned a little about Machu Picch ...more
Yuko Shimizu
Mar 29, 2016 Yuko Shimizu rated it really liked it
I am not an outdoorsy type, so I wasn't sure if I was up for 300 pages of hard-core hiking. But I flew through it, feeling 20 imaginary pounds lighter, with lots of imaginary blisters all over my feet, and a bit of real stomach muscle ache from laughing so hard from the start to the finish.
While I enjoyed the imaginary hike the beaten paths, I also familiarized myself with the history of the Incas, life of Hiram Bingham, and those proud Andeans who make our visit to Machu Picchu fantastic and m
Jul 28, 2014 Sherri rated it liked it
My friend had some books she was giving away and this one seemed interesting. After several weeks of not wanting to pick it back up and seeing it just sit there on my Good Reads currently reading list I had to just give up on it. I enjoyed it when I was reading it most of the time but I found going back into the history so much became boring to me. I learned things I did not know and wish I could have stuck with it but I have way to many other books to read. If you like travel books, a lot of hi ...more
Mar 24, 2016 Lindsey rated it liked it
3.5 stars because it's a nonfiction book that I actually finished.
This author was really funny and he turned some historical parts that could have been stuffy into entertaining sound bites.

I found this book overwhelming, sometimes, with facts. It felt like it took 15 minutes to digest a page in some places, especially since I don't know very much about Peru or Machu Picchu. It wasn't bad- it was just difficult/time consuming.

The ending was kind of weird to me. It felt like the book should hav
Harriett Milnes
Feb 17, 2016 Harriett Milnes rated it really liked it
Although I personally know five people who have been to Machu Picchu, I didn't think I would like this book. Mark Adams presents Machu Picchu, in all its glory, as well as a history of its rediscovery starting in 1905. He also gives a sometimes humorous story of his own trip to Machu Picchu. Fun fact: "In 1780, a rebel leader who had taken the name Tupac Amaru II led an unsuccessful indigenous revolt. when captured, he was made to watch the executions of his wife and son in the Plaza de Armas, a ...more
Mary Mcbride
Aug 10, 2015 Mary Mcbride rated it it was amazing
A rollicking good yarn. Turn Right at Machu Picchu combines good scholarship with boots-on-the-ground observations from a longterm editor at Outside Magazine and National Geographic Adventure. The author retains his humor through an extremely rigorous toe-killing expedition. He revisits the sometimes contradictory chronicles of early exploration and, from them, distills a picture of the organic whole of the Inca empire. With each step the Inca narrative becomes more enigmatic. For those who hav ...more
Apr 14, 2015 Kay rated it liked it
So I'm mostly reading this because I'm planning a vacation to Peru. This is a helpful guide to the history of the trail, though probably less so for planning the trip. Still Adams does a great job of diving into Hiram Bingham's exploits (literally -- the Peruvian government is still trying to recover artifacts he took), who served up some of the real-life inspiration for Indiana Jones. Adams does a great job of giving you a feel for the hike and the connection with the local people. His guide wi ...more
Oct 18, 2015 Ash rated it really liked it
I heard about Machu Picchu and saw its picture for the first time only after it was declared as one of the new seven wonders of the world. I then read "The Motorcycle Diaries" by Che Guevara and that was when I first learnt something about this marvelous place. I also got to read about the Inca empire and its decline thanks to that wonderful book. After reading that book, I got so intrigued about Inca empire and Machu Picchu that I had to watch couple of documentaries and read some articles onli ...more
John Orman
Feb 27, 2014 John Orman rated it liked it
This book really brought back some wonderful memories of my 1989 trip to Machu Picchu!
Though the book is written in a pretty dry and academic style, not really delivering the excitement of Hiram Bingham's major 1911 find, nor does the book make Adam's subsequent adventurous trips retracing Bingham's steps look very challenging either.

The book does describe Peru, the Inca culture, and the mysteries of Machu Picchu, showing that Adams is at least a diligent researcher. The train ride along the Uru
John Frazier
Sep 05, 2012 John Frazier rated it liked it
This is essentially an adventure about an adventures, wherein "outdoor" writer Mark Adams attempts to recreate the steps taken in 1911 by explorer Hiram Bingham, who laid claim to "discovering" the lost Incan empire of Machu Picchu. I saw Adams months ago on The Daily Show hyping this book, and part of what appealed to me at the time was his admission that he couldn't actually remember the last time he slept in a tent. (How this lands him a job as an editor of an adventure magazine may be anothe ...more
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