Hiking the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu
Audrey and I both have visited Machu Picchu in the past long before we even knew each other. To visit for a second time we wanted to make the experience more unique. With that in mind we signed up for a tour to hike the Inca Trail. Our journey began from Ollantaytambo where we boarded a train for a period of time before being let off to begin our hike. Along the way we saw many archaeological sites including Wiñay Wayna. The trail itself was challenging at times. It’s not a simple mountain hike as you’re dealing with altitude, heat and humidity – especially in the beginning stages. We stopped frequently along the way for small snacks and to guzzle water. The reward was eventually reaching the Sun Gate where we had clear views of Machu Picchu. Considering it rained heavily for three days straight prior to us doing this hike, we felt extremely lucky to have had excellent weather conditions the entire day.
Travel Video: Hiking the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu
If you have trouble viewing this video click here: http://youtu.be/GVh3jbWj9oE
So we’re off the train and this marks the start of the Inca Trail.
So I guess we should explain that we aren’t doing the traditional Inca trail. Normally you can do a four day walk or a 10 day walk. We’re actually only doing a two day walk. We’re not really lazy it is just kind of how it happened. Come on we are. Maybe, maybe just a little bit. We crave our comfort. So basically we’re going to be hiking for a full day and then we’re going to get to our Aguas Calientes and stay in a hotel. We’re not staying in tents. And then the following day we’ll be touring Machu Picchu with a guide and like learning the history of the place. So I guess really it is only one day walking the Inca Trail but we’re going to say two to feel a little better about ourselves.
So within five minutes of walking we’ve already reached our first Inca site. This is amazing.
More than five hundred years ago there were so many people hiking on the Inca Trails to get to Machu Picchu. This is because Machu Picchu was a holy city for them.
Pachacuti is the famous person here. We consider to him as Alexander the Great of the Andes.
So I think at this point we’ve probably been hiking for an hour and a half or two. How are you feeling? I’m hot, I’m sweaty and we’ve been going uphill almost the entire way. So I’m looking forward to hitting the lunch point and then going downhill all the way to Machu Picchu. Same here!
Sam is really getting into his photography over there. Coming? How is the walk? I’m still tired. Still tired? Still sweaty? Oh, yeah. But we’re still walking. Still going at it. Still walking in desperate need of a shower at the end of this. And maybe ice cream? Maybe ice cream. More like a hot springs.
So we are half way done the hike. What is something that has really surprised you so far? I guess maybe how the vegetation keeps changing. Like when we first started out the trek it was green. Sure. But like now as we’re getting deeper into the mountains and like closer to waterfalls and rivers it is really lush and there is lots of moss. And the temperatures is actually a bit cooler. Like before I was sweating and it was really humid but now the temperature is starting to drop which is really really nice.
We’ve almost made it to the archaeological site that we can see off in the distance. Wiñay Wayna. Straight ahead!
This place is divided into three parts. Okay. So it is similar to Machu Picchu. The only difference is that Machu Picchu is much much bigger than this.
In this area where the terraces are those people find the remains of the coca plants. You know coca was one important plant for the Quechua for the Inca people. Oh yeah. They used coca as the currency. They used coca for medicine purposes. They used coca for religious purposes.
It looks like beans to me. But it is llama poop.
So what we’ve encountered the monkey steps. I think this is going to require climbing on all fours. Let’s go.
Do the monkey. Do the monkey. That’s not very monkey like. Well, it is not very monkey like. So what!
So we’ve reached Intipunku and this is where we’re going to get our first view of Machu Picchu. And considering how long we’ve walked I think we’ve earned it. Intipunku. This way.
Triumphant! Where did we make it to? We it to the Sun Gate. Barely. Barely.
Machu Picchu! Machu Picchu! We made it. How are you feeling? I know. After that long hike. It is amazing. And we’re so lucky to have views like this because apparently it was raining for three days before we did this hike. I know. And we have sunshine and blue skies and the lost city is waiting for us. Just over there.
Going for the Llama selfie. Going for the llama selfie. Hi llama. Hi llama. Let’s be friends. Or ignore me.
So that is a wrap from Machu Picchu. We finished the hike and tomorrow we’ll be back to actually explore the lost city. Yeah, we have two days to do that so that is awesome. We can’t wait.