Thursday, September 5, 2019

Peru Recap :: Day 3 :: Machu Picchu

Our full itinerary
Day 1 - Cusco
Day 2 - Sacred Valley
Continuing with my Peru recap. The next stop on our agenda was Machu Picchu. Hiking the Inca Trail and seeing Machu Picchu were on our bucket list for years. I've seen millions of photos of Machu Picchu on the Internet. However, being there was truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience! I could hardly put my camera away. There was so much beauty at every turn! Our day started at 5:00 a.m. From the hotel, we walked to the bus stop and waited in line to get on a bus. The buses are leaving as soon as they get full (only one bus at a time). The first bus leaves at 5:30 a.m. The second starts boarding after the first leaves and so on. There are enough buses for everyone. A round-trip bus ticket costs $24. It's about a 30-minute bus ride up to the entrance of Machu Picchu, waited in line to get into Machu Picchu. Then it'll take around 20 minutes to walk to the entrance of Wayna Picchu. Outfit details: Backpack | Jacket | Hiking pants | Hiking boots | Sunglasses

The entire site is called Machu Picchu. It is located between the Andes and the Amazon jungle. The landscapes are really impressive. Inside Machu Picchu, there are 2 hikes. One is called Wayna Picchu (where the arrow is) and Machu Picchu mountain. The hike up to Wayna Picchu is the limited ticket one. Only 400 people per day are allowed on Wayna Picchu. 200 people at 7:00 a.m - 8:00 a.m and another 200 people at 10:00 a.m - 11:00 a.m. We reserved the 7:00 a.m entrance time 6 months in advance. There were only 62 spots left at the time. I'd strongly suggest you do the same. You have to be at the entrance of Wayna Picchu between 7:00 a.m - 8:00 a.m. If you miss that window, you miss the hike. Wayna Picchu is a mountain within Machu Pichu area where the Incas built a trail going up its side to the Incas built temples and terraces at its top. The peak is 8,835 ft above sea level. The trail going up is extremely challenging, steep in parts and not for the faint hearted. At 7:00 a.m, we started hiked up Wayna Picchu as one of the very first people. As we were getting closer to the top, we had to take frequent breaks due to the thin air. While the oxygen percentage remains the same, the air is less dense. Each breath you take essentially contains less oxygen than what you're used to. 2200 steps later, we made it to the top! Hike is strenuous and not for those with fear of heights. Make sure you bring enough water and snacks. There is no food within Machu Picchu. We got up to the very top around 8:00 a.m. The climb itself takes about an hour to ascend and approximately 45 minutes to descend. Everything seems so small when it was once so huge. The weather changes quickly there so be prepared for anything. One hour it could be warm, the next hour, it gets cold. The views from the top are absolutely incredible and offer 360-degree panoramic views of the whole of Machu Picchu. There is no time limit on your experience at Machu Picchu. We arrived at 6:00 a.m and left around 11:00 a.m. We hired a private tour guide and that was the best decision! Our tour guy was so patient, kind, and knowledgeable. He taught us so much about the history of the Inca people and the places we visited along the way. He was proud of his heritage and passionate. He articulate and thoughtful in his presentation of the facts and theories. We are grateful to have him with us that day. I did film a little bit and will share the footage in a later post. It definitely showed that he loves what he's doing. Machu Picchu is very organized. There is a stamping station outside the entrance that you can stamp your passport. Pretty neat! While sitting on top of Wayna Picchu, we just can’t help but give ourselves a little pat on the back. Not only have we made it to the top but also have such an amazing perspective of how incredible and truly intricate Machu Picchu is. How could I sum the experience? It was everything I dreamed it'd be and more. We were truly moved by the experience. It was definitely the highlight of our trip to Peru!
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