May 27 (Wednesday): Machu Picchu Hike
Here comes the main highlight of our trip...the much anticipated visit to Machu Picchu!! As noted in my previous blogpost, the first 2 days of our trip was pretty uneventful. And after a good night's rest (we were KO-ed by 6pm...lol!), we were all set to rock and roll!!
We thought about watching sunrise from Machupicchu but after second thought, we decided to take our time to hike up since the chances of seeing a nice sunrise is rare anyway. We woke up at 5am, had breakfast at the hotel, and started our walk/hike in the dark at 5.30am. From the main plaza, we just walked along the river and followed the direction the buses were heading to. It was already bright (6am) when we got to the 'Puente Ruinas' bridge, where the big sign of Machupicchu is.
We could have taken the bus for $10/way, just like what most people do, but instead, we chose to do it the 'ancient' way and hiked all the way up. To be honest, the trail is not dangerous or scary and there are clear signs so it's hard to get lost, but it's pretty tiring coz it's a steep hike with stairs all the way. But the effort made us appreciate more how the Incans used to carry all those stones up there to build an entire city.
Glad that we started our hike early when the temperature was still cool and nice. Stopped a few times along the way for pictures and hubby accidentally photobombed my selfie with the best expression to describe our hike...hahaha!! =P
Our hike took slightly longer than expected coz we stopped quite a lot to enjoy the sceneries and take photos...refuse to admit that we're not as fit as we thought....haha!!
After walking/hiking for 1 hr and 45 min, we finally made it to the entrance of Machu Picchu at 7.15am! For those who plan to visit Machupicchu, remember to buy the tickets beforehand as they don't sell the tickets at the entrance. We bought our tickets online for 133 soles/$43 per pax and collected it in Aguas Calientes the day before. You'll also need to bring your passport as they'll check the name on the ticket to your passport.
First glimpse of Machu Picchu...absolutely BREATHTAKING!!
We stood there for awhile just to take in this scenery. It's hard imagine how the Incans managed to build all these on top of such high mountains in the old days. Must have taken a lot of effort and time for Hiram Bingham to find this place in 1911...haha!!
Even though the ruin is huge, we somehow always end up taking photos with the same background...lol!!
The famous postcard pic of Machu Picchu. We were lucky that it was a clear day. =)
Admiring the Inca architecture and stoneworks. Inca architecture is widely known for its fine masonry, which features precisely cut and shaped stones closely fitted without mortar. Jigsaw puzzle at its best...lol!!
The llamas are like the official 'mascot' of Machu Picchu. They just chill around and enjoy the beautiful view of the mountains...how nice right! Btw, it looks like both of them are smoking while enjoying the view...lol!!
The llamas at MP are so tame and chill, they just sit there and let tourists take photos (and selfies) without moving. They were very cooperative 'posers', until some stupid people we saw accidentally stepped on them, then they slowly moved away from those idiots.
View from a higher point. This was one place we found that was more tranquil, without hordes of tourists. We sat there for quite awhile enjoying the amazing view, while waiting for an annoying couple who was posing for photos (as if she is a model) at the same exact spot for 10 minutes...OMG how many photos do you need??
Took this jumpshot right before a random tour guide told us 'No jumping, no jumping!' So apparently, you're not allowed to jump in Machu Picchu??
Time to explore the ruins up close. Unlike most other tourists, we didn't hire a tour guide and chose to wander around the site ourselves. We'd much rather go on our own pace and take photos whenever and wherever we like. It's already difficult enough to take photos without senseless people walking into your frame, and the last thing you want is to get stuck with a big group of people.
We spent only about an hour walking around the ruins and by 10am, we were getting tired of the heat and the crowds flocking into the site. Well I shouldn't be complaining about the heat coz the weather forecast said that it was supposed rain. We couldn't have asked for a better weather! =)
After spending 3 hours walking around the site, we decided to head out. One last glance of this Lost City of the Incas before starting our hike downhill. We thought we were gonna spend more time walking around so we brought more granola bars and water than we needed (basics for budget traveling). =P We were also a lil' over-dressed coz it was cold in the morning but it didn't take long before we started sweating.
The commemorative Machu Picchu stamp in our passports as souvenir.
The hike down was much easier and faster (only a lil' more than an hour). We made it back to Aguas Calientes at 11.30am. It's not even noon yet but we've already been on our foot for the past 6 hours. This was indeed a good workout coz our legs were sore for the rest of the trip...lol!!
Cusqueña (Peruvian) beer to reward ourselves for successfully hiking up and down Machu Picchu! Btw, food in this town is quite overpriced...and I'm 'impressed' that the garlic spaghetti literally came with just garlic and spaghetti...hahaha!!
We went back to our hostel and rested at the lobby for the whole afternoon. Had pizza and a local beer for dinner leaving Aguas Calientes.
Took the Expedition train ($61/pax) at 6.35pm from Aguas Calientes to Ollantaytambo. Goodbye Machu Picchu...next stop...Ollantaytambo!!