Machu Picchu | Part I

Friday, March 27, 2015

Day 4 of the Inca Jungle Trek. We finally made it to Machu Picchu.

We woke up at 4:00am, ate a very mediocre cold breakfast with a bunch of other half-asleep people at the hostel, and sped down to the entrance at the bottom of the mountain so we could get in line before the others. We were at the entrance around 4:45am and in the darkness, there was already a long line of eager hikers who beat us.

You can pay for a bus ride from Aguas Calientes, the city we stayed in, to Machu Picchu. That would really defeat the purpose of a 4-day trek, so we chose to hike up.

It takes about an hour with 1,280 feet elevation gain to get to Machu Picchu by foot. Most of the way up is irregular stone stairs, illuminated by flashlights/phones. We were hiking pretty much single file, with a whole lot of people trying to get to the same place at the same time, to see the sunrise. Along the way, there were clusters of people taking breaks and shedding layers along the way, and passing them up made you feel like a winner for a second. At the top was an even bigger line at the entrance, where the hikers and the bus passengers merged. Sigh. That's what happens when a place gets listed as one of the New Seven Wonders of the World.

Once we were inside, the area is large and people scattered. It was such a relief to be away from the crazy crowds. Our Inca Jungle Trek group reconvened for a short tour around the ruins with our guide, and then we were set free to roam around. There actually wasn't much of a sunrise because it was overcast, but I think the fog drifting through the mountains and ruins was even better.

We love nature and hiking, and we also love history and learning about other cultures. Machu Picchu really satisfied all these loves, and we were pretty darn impressed by the whole thing.

We have one more post to share from Machu Picchu, with photos from the top of Machu Picchu Mountain (not to be confused with Machu Picchu itself).

- Julia


We spent most of the day with some friends we made during the 4 day trek from Switzerland and Sweden.

24 comments :

  1. I love seeing the photos from your Machu Picchu trip! Nature and hiking are two of my interests as well. Gorgeous as always!

    https://itsjpei.wordpress.com

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  2. Your photography is amazing! Machu Picchu is one of the places on my bucket list and this post makes more even more determined to go there.

    Sarita xx

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  3. When I went we stayed at a hostel in Aguas Calientes and we had to get in line at 3am for the buses. We wanted to be some of the first ones up there so that we could get stamped in to hike Wayna Picchu. At that time (5 years ago) they only let 200 people hike that particular trail. Did you get to hike it? I'm not sure what the rules are about that now, if they have a limit. We did get to see the sunrise over the mountains, which was awesome, but your pictures with the clouds and mist are soo cool. It really adds to the mystery and eeriness of the place. Love your pictures, as always! Thanks for sharing!

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    1. Hi Julie! Yes, there is still a limit. Wayna Picchu was sold out, which is why we hiked Machu Picchu Mountain instead. You can buy tickets for those in advance now, so you don't have to go up at 3am. That sounds awful! I bet a sunrise over those mountains is insane.

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  4. As always beautiful pictures! www.eatallovertheworld.com

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  5. Beautiful images - I'm so desperate to see Peru. It's such a shame to hear Machu Picchu has so many tourists these days. We were able to see Angkor Wat on Christmas day this year - I was hoping that might mean less visitors but I was definitely wrong. Still the number of people can't take away from the splendour of these magnificent ancient master pieces.

    But how did you find the number of tourists in other parts of Peru during your visit - did you manage to do any less-discovered localities? Tips would be most helpful.

    Rachel

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    1. Hi Rachel, Machu Picchu was definitely the most touristy place in all of Peru. There were plenty of tourists all over, but it was similar to traveling in other countries. You're right though—it didn't take away from the splendor of the place. It was still all it's cracked up to be.

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  6. This is on the top of my bucket list! Your photos are absolutely breath-taking, I can't wait to make the trek myself now! xoxo
    Katelyn // Relatively Offbeat

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  7. I was going to make the same question as Julie Arthur. During my trip to Machu Picchu I especially enjoyed the Wayna Picchu climbing, even if it was lightly raining...it was a big emotion to arrive upstairs!
    Great photos, made me feel nostalgic about Peru :)

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    1. Hey! Yep, there's still a limit. Wayna Picchu was sold out, unfortunately, which is why we hiked Machu Picchu Mountain instead. You can buy tickets for those in advance now, but we've never been ones to plan ahead. Light rain during a hike is so refreshing!

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  8. Wow what an incredible place! hope to be able to make it one day . Loving your pictures

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  9. Stunning pictures. I agree the clouds are very atmospheric. I would love to see Machu Picchu one day soon.

    Jennie // Scarletscorchdroppers

    x

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  10. Ahh this trip is seriously my dream! I am hoping to be able to take this exact same trek one day too. There's just something so much cooler about being a hiker than taking the bus up. Makes the experience that much more special I think! :)

    ExploresMore.com

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  11. I can't believe you had the energy to walk the trail up to Machu Picchu, and THEN walk through it all day! We took the bus up and were so glad we saved our energy for the hike up Huayna Picchu, and even then our legs were about to give up on us. :) You are much more hardcore than us, haha. Beautiful photos, I can't wait to see the next post!

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    1. Hi Jessica. Haha!! Well we came there for a 4-day hike, so we had to go through with it. Don't worry, we were pretty beat up by the end of it. ;)

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  12. wow such an amazing experience!

    www.thefernwehwolf.com

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  13. OMG this is gorgeous! I've always wanted to go there, and your amazing photography makes me just want to book a trip right now! <3

    www.coquettishmish.com

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  14. Beautiful photos and seems like an amazing trip!
    Best, Albert | Palming Pebbles

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  15. stunning... you guys make me dream I could travel always.

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  16. had the chance to see Machu Picchu twice last summer, and I'll never forget it. The mist and low-hanging clouds in your pictures are to die for!

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  17. I've wanted to do the hike to Machu Picchu for some time now and these post is making me want to do it even more. What absolutely beautiful images you have captured here. Thank you for sharing them :D

    Jake
    www.travelfoodfilm.com

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  18. I always want to see Matchu Pichu. I'm glad finding this blog post. The pictures are so beautiful

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  19. Wow, the pictures are just amazing!

    I adore places like this one, they are so mysterious and they give us an insight of how the civilizations before us lived. It's just so much history in one place and you can learn a lot, but in the same time admire the remains of the stunning architecture. I would love to visit this place one day, it is just incredible!

    http://thebackpackers.net

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