Machu Picchu and Huaynapicchu

The culmination of the Inca Trail hike is the arrival at Machu Picchu, listed by some as one of the seven modern wonders of the world.  Built around 1450 by the Incas, it was “discovered” in 1911 by Hiram Bingham.  It really is an incredible site located, as it is, in the remote mountains overlooking the Sacred Valley.  While my Sun Gate photo of the site was cloud covered, here is what it can look like from that same vantage point on a clear day.

Machu Picchu from the Sun Gate

Machu Picchu from the Sun Gate


Once we completed the descent into MP from the Sun Gate, the weather had started to clear and I was able to get several shots that give a sense of the place.

After a 90 minute guided tour of the area, I set off for my hike up Huaynapicchu.  This is a separate ticket – I think it costs $65 USD from my outfitter – and only 400 people are allowed to go up each day with 200 allowed in each designated time window.  This hike is basically straight up with over 1,000 in vertical climb right up the side of the mountain.  At places, there can be traffic jams between those ascending and those descending as their is not enough room to pass each other.  It takes a little over an hour to get to the top and it requires some hand over hand climbing, at points.

Unfortunately, the clouds were still not cooperating with me but I did get a couple of glimpses on the way up and once I got to the summit.

Machu Picchu during the axcent of Huaynapicchu

Machu Picchu during the ascent of Huaynapicchu

Brief glimpse of Machu Picchu from the summit of Huaynapicchu

Brief glimpse of Machu Picchu from the summit of Huaynapicchu


After the steep descent, I found my way to the entrance and caught the shuttle bus that takes you down to Aguas Calientes for a last lunch with my fellow hikers before taking the train back to Ollantaytambo.  From there, the outfitter had a shuttle back to Cusco and got back around 8:00 p.m.  Again, Alpaca Expeditions did a great job and I feel really lucky to have been able to do this hike and see this site.  After a short night’s sleep, it was time to move on to Ecuador..











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