Machu Picchu is that good

Hola Friends. It has been quite a week since our hike to the Choqequirao ruins, but I guess I will continue where Jase left off. After getting back from the trail we had one BIG thing left on our list of Peru musts….Machu Picchu. The true mecca to all Peruvian travelers. We were up to the challenge of getting there on a days notice, which proved difficult.

From Cusco, the very popular tourist town, you have to take a train 3 hours (very expensive) or get a taxi half way and then catch the train that takes you to the town the Machu Picchu is closest to (Auguas Calientes). We opted for the cheaper route of a taxi half way, and then a train. We left Wednesday afternoon and by Wed. night we were in Aguas Calientes. We were told that if we want to see the real Machu Picchu, we better be ready to wake up early. So the next morning at 3:30am, we woke up and set out for the hour and a half hike up to the main entrance of Machu Picchu. No, you can’t just go there, it actually costs a bit of money. For a one-day pass into the ruins, it costs about $50 US dollars per person, which in Peru is a lot of money. We wanted to get our money’s worth, so we were prepared to get there at 5AM.

Ok, the real reason to get there early is not just to get your money’s worth. It’s to hike up the famous peak you always see in all the pictures of Machu Picchu called Huayna Picchu. They only let 400 people per day up the top and you have to get there early or it won’t happen. We were determined to be able to get a bird’s eye view of Machu Picchu. In the pitch-black darkness and fog we started hiking straight up a trail/set of stone stairs for the gates. As we started hiking, we saw headlamps from the hundreds of other people who all had the same goal of getting there early for the opening at 6am. It was hot and sticky as we climbed but we knew if we stopped we would be passed by tons of people so we trucked on all the way up to the top. The best part of this dark hike was that when we started, we were eating dry cereal and I happened to give a little bit to a stray dog that randomly was walking with us from our hostal. About 15 min. into our hike up, I noticed an extra set of “footsteps” behind me. Sure enough, the dog had started hiking with us! I had no food out and told him to leave repeatedly but he was happy climbing with us. He escorted us all the way to the top… an hour and a half! He even took water breaks with us and sat next to us when we reached the top. We think he was an Inca God that was guiding us to his ruins.

So we reach the top and are thrilled to find out we are in the first 15 to arrive. Victory! We then wait for an hour for the park to open and then another hour in line for Huayna Picchu. After that, we climbed with the assistance of thin wires to the top, just as the fog was clearing and the sun was breaking through the clounds. The view was worth every step and gasp for air. The white stones glistened in the sun and stood out against the green grasses. Every inch perfect in design and reason. It really took my breath away. We sat there for an hour, just watching the ruins come alive in the daylight. As we watched people streaming in to explore, it was so easy to imagine the incas, going about their daily lives within those very same ruins. Everything made sense and was beautiful. They even have llamas that live on the lawns that add to the magic of the ruins.

We spent the rest of the day, exploring and climbing, relaxing and admiring. By one o’clock, we were tired but satisfied. We decided to leave Machu Picchu and hike back into town for a late lunch. On the hour hike down into town I marveled that not that long ago Machu Picchu was a full running city of people who thankfully, were never found by the Spanish.

4 Responses to “Machu Picchu is that good”

  1. J and A says:

    Hey Barbara,
    Glad to hear from you. We were just talking about how wonderful it was to stay with you in Costa Rica. We spent 10 min. last week in the Costa Rican airport and thought of you the whole time:) When we get back to the states you need to come visit us for sure.-Ash

  2. J and A says:

    Hey Aunt Linda! So great to hear you are following our blog. Its so great to hear from you. That little dog that followed us continued to make his way through the park throughout the day and we saw him just before we left. He didn’t walk down with us but we think he makes the same trek everyday because friends of ours read our blog and said they saw the same dog! How is your oscar doing? There hasn’t been any more tornados in IL since I left have there? Love, ash

  3. Linda Corriero says:

    I am blown away by your journal. I feel as though I am there seeing everything with you.
    Hopefully, you are going to publish this when you return. What a wonderful journal it woould be to share with many. I too look forward to each and every entry.
    One question —- what happened to the little dog who followed you? Did he walk back with you or find some other person to feed him?
    Stay well. Aunt Linda

  4. Barbara Rojas says:

    Hi Guys! Finally this form is letting me write on it! I’m really enjoying your journal, keeping up with you all the way. What a wonderful trip. I’m so thankful you were wise enough not to persist in that long hike to Choquequirao when you realized your information wasn’t correct. It is very reassuring to see that you have heads screwed on straight!
    I was in Macchu Picchu in 1973. I’m sure the trip there and the system for handling tourists and all have changed enormously, but it sounds like it’s still beautiful and the ruins are well cared for. It’s a good thing you had already adjusted to the altitude.
    I’m looking forward to the next chapter in this amazing trip.
    Cheers! Barbara

Leave a Reply