Peru: Machu Picchu & Huayna Picchu
Updated: Apr 23, 2019
Thursday May 3, 2018: Hike Day 6 - Machu Picchu (The Sacred City of The Incas) & Huayna Picchu (2430m or 7972ft)
Finally the day we've been waiting for! We get to see the famous Machu Picchu! We had to be up at 4:15AM. We packed only the minimum items in our backpacks and left our duffel bags at the hotel. Javier picked us up at 5 at the hotel and down we went to the bus station to line up. It started to rain!
I couldn't believe our luck! There was a massive line up of people and then the buses started coming-one after the other. Hoards of them. It was craziness.
We got on one of the buses around 5:40AM and up we went. It was all steep switchbacks all the way up. Took about 1/2 hour. When we got off it was pouring rain! What a huge bummer!
We stayed under a hotel porch for about 15 minutes waiting for the rain to subside. Finally we lined up to go to the gate as we had no choice. There are so many people that come through each day that groups and buses are assigned time slots. We started walking to the main view of the terraces and Huyana Picchu in behind but you could barely see anything due to the fog and clouds. I was so bummed. Here is the famous view but you can't see Huayna mountain behind us.
We got soaked even through our ponchos. We took some photos and then walked over to the Inca bridge. That was insanely wild. The pathway to the Inca Bridge was literally across a sheer rock face with a 2000ft drop and the Inca's would use this path to keep invaders out or to get to the Amazon Jungle if they ever had to escape. They would lift the board so that the invaders couldn't follow. There was a gate here obviously and was closed to tourists.
Here we had a direct view of the campsite that we stayed at yesterday morning - directly across the valley. That was really cool and it cleared enough for us to be able to see it. We walked back and finally the rain stopped. Then we continued around the ruins and Javier was giving us all the history about the houses. Machu Picchu was a site for royalty and for military and also for the Chaskas (the runners or couriers). They worked from ages 18-32 and after that they became part of the privileged.
My camera was full of condensation from the extreme humidity from the rain. I was not impressed at all as I only had my iPhone to count on for photos. It finally cleared as we were about to climb Huyana Picchu but due to rain and my camera issues I did not get the Machu Picchu shots I was hoping for. I was seriously upset by this. Three weeks in Peru and today it had to rain! Regardless, it was still beautiful & surreal being here.
Our final group photo along with our two great guides, Javier and Marciel.
Finally at 10:35 we started the climb up Huyana Picchu. Only me, John, Jerry, Justin and Kaylee did the climb. Javier came up with us too.
It took us exactly 1 hour to get to the top. It was crazy but not as bad as I thought. My legs were not sore anymore and I wore my light weight walkers so I found it pretty easy.
There were over 2000 uneven steps, some very high and some very short and shallow. You really had to watch how you stepped. Some sections had a steel cable to hold on to. When we got to the top, it was crazy. There were only a few very large & steep stones, scattered around the top of this mountain with a ton of people trying to take photos of themselves. It was rather stupid and dangerous but if you have no fear it seemed rather no big deal.
The zigzag's behind us below is the actual road that the bus takes. This gives an indication of just how high up we are :)
Coming back down I thought it would be scary but surprisingly it felt like no big deal. My footing was great.
At least I got my "backwards" photo - from the mountain I couldn't see earlier and looking down at Machu Picchu city where we were standing wearing the ponchos.
And we finally did it! Back down on somewhat level ground & managing the Stairs Of Death unscathed! I was so proud of all of us!
We did a dash back across Machu Picchu as we were running late and had to line up for the bus back down. Everyone gets an assigned time for the buses which take you back down to Aguas Calientes.
Our bus was at 1:40PM. We met up with Stephane and Alex at a restaurant in town. They only had until 2:30 and had to leave. We said our goodbyes to them while Marciel was kind enough to run up to our hotel rooms and grab our duffel bags. We had a quick drink and then finally said goodbye to our two guides, Javier and Marciel. Thanks guys for a wonderful and safe experience with you!
We had to board our train at 2:50PM as it left at 3:20PM direct to Poroy. The train was awesome. It went slow and had huge windows all around and on top so you can see all the views - which was great for photos. It took about 3 hours and 40 minutes but I really enjoyed the slow ride with the beautiful views and finally being able to relax. They served all kind of beverages including wine and beer. Of course we treated ourselves! It was definitely time to celebrate!
We got in around 7pm at Poroy station where we got picked up by our funny previous guide, Ruben Sandwich (as he refers to himself). Got to Cusco around 8:30PM but we were so tired that we couldn't bear the thought of going out on the town. We unpacked our stinky clothes, showered and then crashed.
We spent the next two days doing more tours around the area - no rest for the weary! Had to squeeze in every bit of what there is to see and do in Peru so that we can finally scratch off another dream off our bucket list!