Views 10 Ene The Classic Inca Trail to Machu Picchu: Day 3 + 4
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After having hiked for two long days (see here my travel story) we were already half way on our trek to Machu Picchu.

Day 3
By the traditional route, day 3 is the longest day and it also has the most optional detours to see different ruins. So instead of staying in Wiñay Wayna, the traditional end-point of the third day, we decided to take some of these detours and enjoyed these greatly preserved ruins at regular intervals during the day, breaking up the 1000m descent into the cloud forest. On the other hand we got into Machu Picchu a bit later on Day 4, since we had further to walk.

Dejà-vu struck first thing in the morning, as we had to climb out of the valley in which we had spent the night. The 400m climb that you could see from day 2’s descent kicked off a long day. The group got to the top without a problem, but from there it was still a long haul to lunch on the top of the third and final pass; you could almost hear a chorus of stomachs rumbling as we came through the mist and arrived at lunch.

Inca Trail to Machu Picchu

Lunch also marked the end of any significant uphill walking on the Inca Trail, which was a nice feeling! With careful baby steps we came down to the campsite for a relatively early finish, and that night, somehow, we played football with Simón, Lino and the porters. This was a really nice way of showing our appreciation for their astonishing support on our journey. After the game we had a small presentation ceremony where we gave each person a token of our thanks.

Day 4
The big day we had all been looking so much forward to. All were hoping and praying for good weather, and we got it. In fact, for the wet season we were extremely lucky and only had a few hours of rain each day. Our views weren’t overly impeded and due to the rain, we didn’t overheat on the trail as cloud cover protected us from the sun.

Further Inca steps heading down to around 2,700masl took us to the usual campsite, where we went through a checkpoint and headed for Inti Punku – the Sun Gate and traditional entrance to Machu Picchu. The last steps we crawled up on hands and knees – not because of exhaustion but due to the ridiculous size of them. How small Inca runners or ‘chaskis’ got up that flight of stairs having run the trail I have no idea!

Inca Trail to Machu Picchu

We had the Sun Gate all to ourselves as we arrived and admired the view over Machu Picchu. Only once down in the archeological site itself do you start appreciating the sheer size of the place, as from the Sun Gate the citadel appeared distant and small.  

Simón conducted our guided tour of Machu Picchu in the same way he had operated the trek and explanations en-route. He was unflappable and extremely good fun throughout the trip, making us feel like a very special group. Together with Lino and the porters he made the trip truly unforgettable and extremely informative, giving cultural and spiritual insight about current indigenous and Inca life. He also commented on the unique flora and fauna en-route.

Inca Trail to Machu Picchu

His tour around Machu Picchu was the icing on the cake, and we left him understanding much more about the site and able to put much of it into context. So we learned while climbing up Huayna Picchu, that the construction of Machu Picchu was being directed from here, in order to build the city in the unmistakable shape of a condor, one of the 3 sacred animals of the Incas.

After this we descended to Aguas Calientes to enjoy a large lunch and celebrate with a few drinks. The return leg to Cusco was smoothly organized and we then enjoyed a wonderful night’s sleep back in our own respective beds! I would like to thank Simón, Lino and the porters for their support on the trail, as well as Dos Manos travel agency in Cusco for organizing everything, and allowing everything to run like clockwork throughout the trip. It was the trip of a lifetime!

You can contact Dos Manos here and find out more about the inca trail on this webpage! Happy hiking in Peru everyone!

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One Response

  1. 1
    Nienke 

    I love to read all the information, experiences and tips about Inca Trail on this blog. Thanks a lot for writing!

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