Machu Picchu Machu Picchu Machu Picchu Machu Picchu Machu Picchu Machu Picchu Machu Picchu Machu Picchu Machu Picchu Machu Picchu Machu Picchu Machu Picchu Machu Picchu Machu Picchu Machu Picchu Machu Picchu

Then came the day the whole trek had been about. The big one. Seeing Machu Picchu. Our guide tried his best to tell our group of four that a bus ride to the top would be better, we would have a long day ahead of us and hiking the 600+ steps might mean we were too tired to enjoy the day. In our minds bus ride = cheating.

So, determined to hike up to Machu Picchu we started walking at 4.30am with perhaps a few hundred others. There’s no lights along the path, nor up the steps to Machu Picchu so everyone relies on head torches and the sun waking up.

We reached the top, and joined the queue made of people who had got the bus to the top. Only 2500 people a day are allowed in to Machu Picchu, so while there’s still a lot of people about, it doesn’t feel crowded – which is good.

When something is talked about so much you almost wonder if seeing it in real life will be a bit of an anticlimax. Machu Picchu is not one of those places. It really is as breathtaking as people say.

After getting lots and lots of photos, and having a tour from our guide we were free to explore for ourselves. We’d booked a ticket to climb Huayna Picchu (the big mountain you see towards to back of Machu Picchu mountains). It’s a big climb to the top, almost completely vertical in some places, but you do get some great views. The mistake we made was going to find the caves, I didn’t realise this would mean walking pretty much the whole way down the mountain, and then having to climb up again, before going back down to be level with Machu Picchu city. Needless to say my legs ached for a few days afterwards: steps are no fun, especially when uneven…

Relive the adventure of getting to Machu Picchu by the Salkantay trail. Read part one here and part two, where we zipwire across the mountains here.

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