Machu Picchu is a once-in-a-lifetime hike that everyone should do. The bulk of the ruins are easy walks that can be done with toddlers or parents, and there hikes for the more adventuresome as well. There are a million blgoposts detailing the history of Machu Picchu. Go read them. I’m going to describe our amazing day here .
We woke up before dawn to take the train to Agues Calientes, a truck stop town, and the only entry to Machu Picchu if you’re not hiking the Inca Trail.
Once there, we bought bus tickets to climb the mountain, then waited in line for over an hour to actually do it. Luckily, we had no dreams of watching the sun rise over the park.
The entry to the park itself felt like that of an amusement park. Lots of excitement. Lots of nerves. A few entitled assholes who just couldn’t wrap their heads around the fact that Bertrand and I were trying to stay in line together.
Finally, we made it in and immediately set off for the Sun Gate. What a beautiful (and long) walk! There are some ruins at the halfway point and I was bitterly disappointed to discover that they were only the halfway point.
The long walk, however, was worth it. Amazing views. Amazing hiking. And a good spot to sit and grab a bite to eat.
After the Sun Gate, Bertrand wanted to see the Inca Bridge. Another terrifying walk along sheer cliff faces later, we could see the bridge, but not walk across it ourselves.
After those two hikes, my ankles and knees were killing me (note to self: minimalist trail running shoes != hiking boots), so we walked out of the park to pay for a ridicuously expensive (but delicious) lunch. Turns out, we’d packed about half as much food as we should have. After downing a lot of water and food, we re-entered and explored the main site.
Had we opted to climb one of Machu Picchu’s two mountains, we might have needed a second day to explore; however, one full day was perfect considering the two morning hikes we undertook.