The 4th day of the Inca Jungle Trek brought us to our final destination: Machu Picchu.
And my personal destination: llama land.
The Incans began construction of the site for its rulers around 1450 but abandoned it a century later due to the Spanish Conquest. Machu Picchu was not known to the Spanish at this time, and thus the site remained relatively intact.
The Incan site was first brought to international attention in 1911 by an American, Hiram Bingham, and later in 1983, UNESCO declared it a World Heritage Site. Today, this “Lost City of the Incas” is considered one of the New Seven Wonders of the World.
As mentioned in my previous post, there are many different ways to get to Machu Picchu. Whether you trek or not, all that matters is you get here!
Once in Aguas Caliente, you can either climb the stairs from the base to entrance (takes about 60 min) or take a bus (approx $10 and 30 min).
We were ready at 5am when the bridge opened to allow visitors to begin the hike up the site entrance. We arrived at the entrance around 6am just as the sun started to rise over the site.
Our guide met us at the entrance and gave us an introductory tour of the main highlights.
Following the tour, I headed to do another climb up Wayna Picchu, which means “Young Peak” in Quechuan (as opposed to Machu Picchu which means “Old Peak”).
I originally had not planned on doing a trek, and so I had bought my own Machu Picchu ticket earlier online. This is advisable if you want to do an extra climb up Wayna Picchu, which rises up over Machu Picchu so it provides awesome aerial views of the site.
The number of daily visitors to Wayna Picchu is restricted to 400 so you need to book this ticket in advance. Check this link to learn more about how to purchase tickets.
The climb up Wayna Picchu is much steeper than the hike up to the entrance of Machu Picchu. It gets quite narrow and slippery in certain areas, but there are steel cables to assist in the tough areas. It takes about 45-60 min to climb to the top, and there is also a Temple of the Moon and caverns to explore.
After my extracurricular climb, I met up with some of my Inca Jungle Trek group to chase after llamas. This was the best part of all!
Llamas were roaming all over the terraces, chilling out or engaging in some awkward llama lovin’.
Sadly, I had to part from the llamas to catch my train to Ollanyantambo. Most tours will automatically book you on the latest return train from Aguas Caliente at 9:30pm which will bring you back to Cusco after 1am. However, I requested an earlier 1:30pm train so I could spend some time visiting the Ollantaytambo ruins before it closed at 5pm (and use that frigggin’ tourist ticket).
Ollantaytambo is a beautiful Incan town surrounded by impressive stone fortresses. This is where Manco Inca retreated after his defeat at Sacsayhuamán.
I hung out at the site to watch the sunset and relax after all my climbs that day.
After visiting the ruins, I grabbed some dinner at the restaurant located right at the train station, El Abergue. Fellow travellers had commented on the delicious the food there so I decided to reward myself for finishing the trek with a fancy alpaca steak. It was incredibly tender with a sweet Peruvian elderberry sauce. I also had some delicious Peruvian mini causas that were divine.
After dinner, I caught the bus back to Cusco and was back by 11pm.
Return to the Peru Main Menu.