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Polaroid of the week: Machu Picchu, The Lost City Of The Incas

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polaroid of the week peru machu picchuWhen we set off on our travels in April 2010, Machu Picchu was one of the top destinations on our list. Who knew it would take us almost four years to actually make it here!

Last week we arrived in Cuzco and immediately started researching options for hopping on the traditional Inca Trail trek, which is usually sold out months in advance. In reality, we found several agencies with spots open with just a few days’ notice. Our research led us to the Salkantay Trek, a lesser known, less crowded alternative to the Inca Trail. We spontaneously decided to sign up for that 5-day trek instead of the 4-day Inca Trail – our first ever multi-day trek! Even though the trek was strenuous – 73 kilometers (45 miles) up and down the Andes, with up to 10 hours hiking per day, it was the absolute best way to arrive at Machu Picchu.

You see images of Machu Picchu everywhere, and we were worried that being at the actual site might feel almost anticlimactic. There was no need to worry – we were blown away by the majestic city. Set on a steep mountain top, over 85% remains in tact after 500 years! Just to reach the site from Aguas Calientes was humbling: one hour straight of climbing steep steps at 5am. As if that wasn’t enough, we climbed even steeper steps for another hour even further up to the top of Huayna Picchu, the huge mountain that prominently features in most Machu Picchu images. From there, we had the best views over the ancient city in its entity, even though the climb along narrow and uneven steps cut into the rocks was terrifying!

The five-day trek and Machu Picchu itself are huge highlights of all our travels, and we can’t wait to share more details about both soon!

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16 Comments

  1. I’m so envious right now! Like you Machu Picchu is on top of my list and has been there for years. I really hope that this is the year I will get there and I will definitely be looking into the alternative Salkantay Trek.

    Thanks as always for the info!
    sarah recently posted..Staying Fit While Traveling

  2. Awesome! Machu Picchu was so beautiful and worth the trek. There is something spiritual about seeing the city through the mists at the Sun Gate! I didn’t climb Wayna Picchu, but looking at this shot, maybe i should have!

    1. Thanks, Peggy! Sadly it rained very hard when we arrived at the Sun Gate – I wish we could’ve seen Machu Picchu from there. The Wayna Picchu views made up for that though 🙂

  3. Snap! It was pretty amazing! It was our first trek too. On the whole, I think Bob enjoyed the whole trekking experience more than I did. But he likes that sort of thing. I couldn’t manage going all the way to the top of Waynapicchu because I was shit scared (made it to the first terrace) and also had a problem with my hip. After what Bob told me what it was like, I am glad I didn’t go further. I give you ladies a lot of credit for going all the way!
    Arlene recently posted..Highlights of Iquique, Chile

    1. Arlene – first of all: congrats on finishing the trek!! Second: we weren’t big fans of the camping! Just not our thing. The trek itself though was amazing and we really enjoyed the walking. Could’ve done without the rain though 😉 We were actually shocked to discover how steep and dangerous Wayna Picchu was when we climbed the mountain = and that there were no warning signs at all!! While we made it up to the top without any problems, it took us forever to get back down and we were so scared!!

  4. Hiked the Inca trail this May. Absolutely incredible! One of hard things I’ve ever done and the most incredible expriences I’ve ever had. I highly recommend G adventures for the trail. Macchu Pichu blew my mind! Such an amazing place.

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