Having just finished 4 days on the inca trail, days 1 & 2 here and days 3 & 4 here, arriving at the Sun Gate was such a proud moment. We arrived well after sunrise but based on the fog still lingering I don’t believe anyone saw it anyhow. The first view is crazy, Machu Picchu is still so small and so far away. We took in this moment for a few minutes. Some tears were shed and it was really special. At this point we were still only surrounded by fellow Inca Trail hikers as we were too far from the Main Entrance for daily patrons to have made it. It was even more special having this moment with only people who were feeling similar emotions. After some quick pictures before the fog moved in, we started our trek down the stone path to Machu Picchu.
We live for moments like these!
We were still beaming with pride and a bit giggly as we were walking down the path listening to people huff and puff up the path. Like to see them on Dead Women’s pass!
When we finally arrived to the main photo point of Machu Picchu it was overwhelming. The crowds were crazy. We were instantly missing the isolation of the inca trail and now even more grateful than before to have had the experience. Technically you’re not allowed to have hiking poles inside and we had to use the restroom so JR took us through the maze to the exit so we could freshen up.
While we were freshening up, JR put on his official Machu Picchu guide outfit and we all had a little laugh at him. He took us through the normal entrance like all the other normal people and just like that were back in society just like everyone else and just quite a bit stinkier!
Our Guide To Peru, You can read all about that here.
JR told us the history of Machu Picchu and all about Hiram Bingham who is credited with discovering it. Most of the history was lost on us as we were still in awe of actually being here. As he talked we were happy for a short break to sit and to take some pictures.
He walked us through all the different areas and told us of the different theories and techniques the Incas used in construction. When you think about the time period the entire thing becomes that much more inspiring. It’s amazing what can get done with you eliminate the need for permits and inspections.
Part way through the tour the crowds were making us a bit anxious and we were nearing our time to hike Huayna Picchu. JR was nervous for us for this part because he would have to part with us for the first time in 4 days. That’s all for a separate post.
After Huayna Picchu we still had to get out of Machu Picchu, catch a bus and track down JR in Aguas Cliente where he was waiting for us for lunch. Trying to exit Machu Picchu after so much exercise and so little sleep was a bit like a nightmare. Every way we would turn would lead to a dead end of a crowd. After several twists and turns we finally made it out and in to the line for the bus!
After lunch, JR had to run and again we were left to our own devices to find the train back to Ollantaytambo. Moments like these were where we really understood how spoiled we were by our guide and porters. We had to weave through a market and followed a stampede of other inca trailers to the train station. At least we were all the same amount of dirty at last, back in our comfort zone.
The train to Ollantaytambo was the best train ever. Glass ceilings wonderful views and full of stories of the inca trail. Ash and Jess fell asleep right away but I stayed up and just eaves dropped on other people experiences. I felt really bad for the stewardess on the train but I assume they’re used to the smell at this point because we were all very dirty. The train ran very slowly but that was okay, we were the only ones getting of at Ollantaytambo and thanks to that angel Victoria, our name was on a sign and we had a driving waiting for us to take us back to our hotel and our nice hot showers.
We had pasta and wine delivered to our room and spent the night scrubbing the dirt off ourselves and missing Donato’s cooking.
- Hire Crossing Andes and they can work out your entire Inca Trail adventure and team.
More Peruvian Fun Below: