Machu Picchu day 4 and we made it!
A very early start at 3.30am on the Machu Picchu trail which enabled us to be one of the first groups at the check point at 4.3oam for the 5am opening. This last part of the trail from Winayhuayna takes about 1.5 hours and is clearly marked, we were trekking in the dark so head lamps were required by all of us, some sections were also quite narrow. To be honest, it was harrowing for us with little light to guide us. We traversed a lush cloud forest of giant ferns which lead us to an almost vertical ascent of about 50 steps to Intipunku, the Gate of the Sun, at 2,719m.
Our guide Victor all through the trek had a catch phrase – ‘you made it, good job’. He greeted us all as we arrived with of course – ‘you made it, good job.’
Suddenly, all our efforts, the steep steps, the tough climbs were all forgotten as we waited for the mist to clear and to get our first glimpse of Machu Picchu. This morning the mist was quite thick and Victor made the decision to move on, we should see glimpses as we headed down the last part of the trek which took us 1.5 hours. Only 200 are allowed to trek the Inca Trail on any one day (this includes guides and porters as well); at 7am the first train load of tourists arrived at Machu Picchu and these numbers can swell up to 2,500. Our rite of passage for trekking the 4 days gave us a distinct advantage, arriving before the crowds.
As we trekked the last part of the trail, she showed her magnificence as the mist cleared briefly. Around the last corner and there she was. It was a very moving sight and one that brings you to tears. All our tiredness disappears as we just stood there gobsmacked. It is one of the most beautiful sights we had ever seen. We were emotional. Our group became one as we stood there in awe, knowing that we had together trekked a very spiritual path that for years was forgotten and recently discovered in 1911.
As part of our Tour, Victor guided us through Machu Picchu for two hours, explaining the use of each temple and building and the history of the Lost City.
After our guided tour we could either opt to stay and wander around the site or head down into the town of Aguas Calientes. Our passports are stamped showing that we completed the trek and we headed towards the office before we caught the bus down the mountain.
A few of us were to collect our bags in Aguas Calientes from the Inca Trail office which is located in the local restaurant – Pizzeria El Ayllu. We decided to meet the group there for pizzas and well earned beers throughout the afternoon till our train departed at 6.45pm for Ollantaytambo.
The train journey took 1.5 hours to Ollantaytambo and a bus transferred us to Cusco arriving at 10.30pm.
Arriving back at Tikiwasi Hotel, we welcomed a hot shower and a comfy bed.
Check out the rest of our Machu Picchu trek:
- Day One Machu Picchu
- Day Two Macchu Picchu
- Day Three Machu Picchu