We finally made it to Machu Picchu! If you missed any of my posts leading up to Machu Picchu, click here to view them.
Half of our group hiked from Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu and the other half took the bus. I was one that took the bus to conserve my energy for the day’s adventures. We got in line super early for the bus and saw it grow very quickly! Luckily, there were a ton of buses shuttling people from the town to the peak, so we didn’t have to wait too long! The bus ride was very intimidating and I’m glad I wasn’t driving! You can see in the picture below the zigzag path that the buses took to get to the peak.
We wanted to get to Machu Picchu early enough to see the sunrise and to get in line for our Wayna Picchu hike. They only allow a certain number of people on Wayna Picchu in a day, so if you want to go, make sure you book your ticket well in advance. I should note we had purchased our Machu Picchu and Wayna Picchu tickets months in advance since there’s a limit to the number that can enter Machu Picchu in a single day. Here are some pictures of Machu Picchu early in the morning without all the crowds:
We paid for a tour guide later in the day and he called these llamas, “Machu Picchu models.”
We headed to Wayna Picchu and started our hike to the top. The hike was similar to our Putucusi Mountain hike from the day before, without the ladders. Our legs were pretty tired and sore, but we managed to make it to the top. The view of Machu Picchu from the peak was incredible!!
After we made it to the peak of Wayna Picchu and saw Machu Picchu from afar, we walked down the backside of the mountain to check out the Temple of the Moon. We were a little too ambitious and didn’t realize we’d have to walk back up the steps to exit the mountain. Honestly, the pictures below are all we saw and our group consensus was the effort it took to get there and back wasn’t worth it. We would’ve rather spent more time exploring Machu PIcchu than the Temple of the Moon.
After we exited Wayna Picchu, we grabbed some lunch. There’s a buffet outside the entrance that some of our group went to. It was ~$40 a person, so I opted for the concession stand. They had hot dogs, ice cream, etc. for pretty cheap. After lunch, we hired one of the tour guides standing outside the entrance. We were able to haggle with the guide on a price for all 6 of us. I was thankful we spent the extra money on a guide because otherwise, we would’ve wandered around the ruins not knowing what we were looking at. He answered our questions, took group photos for us, and also showed us some of the areas we probably wouldn’t have ventured to on our own.
Once a year, the sun shines through the “sun gate” that’s a 2 hour walk away from Machu Picchu. As the sun shines through the gate, it then aligns perfectly to shine through this window… crazy!
The Inca’s toilet – a hole in the ground!
A 3 week old baby llama! So incredibly adorable!!!
This tree marks the spot where they found a gold bracelet.
This is an altar where the Inca’s sacrificed a bunch of llamas and alpacas!
I of course had to take the traditional Machu Picchu photos. They turned out so great, I actually got a canvas print made of one to hang on my wall!
What a day! Machu Picchu was everything I had hoped for and more! That evening, we took the train back to Cusco. It was nice to spend the evening on the train, resting from the exhausting two days we had.
- Bus vs. Hiking – If you’re feeling ambitious, go for the hike! Half of our group hiked up and took the bus back down.
- Wayna Picchu – Definitely a must! Make sure you purchase your tickets in advance since there’s a daily limit. The view of Machu Picchu from the peak was definitely worth it! There were people of all ages making the hike up to the peak, but it is pretty strenuous!
- Temple of the Moon – Not worth it in my opinion. It takes a lot of effort to get there and back to the exit and the ruins weren’t that exciting.
- Tour Guide – Definitely get a guide. They aren’t too expensive (you can haggle the price) and having someone to explain what you’re looking at was nice.