I recently wrote about how to get to Machu Picchu. This blog is about the place itself. Quite possibly one of the most incredible places I’ve ever been. I know that’s a lot of superlatives in one paragraph, but it really is.
I decided to visit the comfortable way. A number of friends have done the four day Inka trail hike; I took the train itself and stayed at the Inkaterra property, booking one of their three day (two night packages).
In terms of visiting the archeological site itself, we met the day before to discuss with the guide what to do. Visiting in late April, it was shoulder season, so not too busy and the end of the rainy season. Our guide said that at dawn it can be very busy, so suggested leaving the hotel at 11.00 meaning a lie-in and relaxed breakfast, but then staying till almost closing time. Never one to down down a lie-in and accept a local’s recommendation we agreed.
Travelling with my friend Ian, we had our private guide making it just the three of us. Having that level of personal attention made such a difference in terms of the time we spent, being able to ask questions and not have to wait for dawdlers.
At 11.00 we met in reception at the hotel and then walked over to where the buses departed for the drive up to the site. If you’re afraid of windy roads, this isn’t for the faint hearted! The other option is to walk up, which I did ask about, and the staff did their best to dissuade me from doing!
Arriving at the top, we walked through the gates and up some steps. Being at 2800m one gets out of breath pretty quickly.
We first got shown what I guess is the “money shot”; the view over the entire site. You know what, it’s a good and impressive as it looks.
They have some llamas there to keep a control of the grass, as well as some regular gardeners.
We next wandered down to get another overview of the site.
Before entering the site itself with a walk around. Some of the technology that the Incas employed when building Machu Picchu was mind-blowing. The entire site essentially sits on bed-rock. The walls are all angled between 8° and 11° to ensure structural integrity.
Their awareness of the solar system was fascinating. One of the rooms contains two circular stone dishes, each slightly differently shaped. They’re both perfectly designed to reflect the light from the sun, and the moon.
After a full tour of the site, I decided to walk up to the Sun Gate, which is about 45 minutes further up, to get a view of the entire. If you decided to do the four day Inka trail trek, this is actually where you get your first view of the entire site itself. The walk up nearly killed me, but was absolutely worth it!
It was an incredible day out; I really can’t recommend making the trip there highly enough. However the final photo is just a little reminder that you’re still in the Cloud Forest and there’s native wildlife everywhere. This was apparently a medium sized visitor!