Finally to Machu Picchu. If you stay in Machu Picchu Pueblo, I implore you to skip the van ride to the ruins and hike to them instead. The hike is about an hour long and almost entirely uphill, and it’s steep, but it’s worth it. Be sure to hydrate well for several days before your hike, and bring more water and snacks than you think you’ll need, as the food and water up at the ruins cost twice as much as in town.
Started my hike from Machu Picchu Pueblo to the ruins before dawn.
Crossed the Urubamba River on my way up to the ruins. What about the surrounding valley and the river itself prevented civilization from sprouting up using the Urubamba as its lifeline? Would you like to have to up and down these mountains everyday? Is there a good place to farm? Would you like to swim or take a boat down the river? Why or why not?
The shuttles drive up the black, hikers go on the green, straight up. This sign just past the entrance to Machu Picchu says that Hiram Bingham made the “scientific discovery” of the ruins at Machu Picchu. The government and the people of Peru make a clear distinction between the scientific discovery and discovery of Machu Picchu. Hiram Bingham is credited with the former, but there were several families living at the ruins
The first glimpse of the ruins . . .
The path up to the top of Machu Picchu mountain. Another steep hike to the top, but worth it for the view (or so I’m told, as it was cloudy the day that I went). Even without the view, it’s another challenging hike and fun just to be able to say to yourself “I did it.”
There are two mountains overlooking the ruins which you can climb. Machu Picchu and Huayna Picchu. Machu Picchu is higher and more difficult, so 95% of people choose Huayna Picchu. That alone is a great reason to choose Machu Picchu instead of over-crowded Huayna Picchu. Only 200 people a day are permitted to climb each mountain and while tickets for Huayna Picchu run out months in advance, you can generally get a ticket for Machu Picchu the day that you go. Avoid the crowds — hike Machu Picchu.
Above are some Llamas, just chillin’ at the ruins 🙂
I hope to have my Machu Picchu scar for the rest of my life!
All the way up.
Your dorky correspondent
The classic Machu Picchu photo that everyone takes . . .
Huayna Picchu through the doorway. Do you see the terraces in the foreground?