Day 4 of the inca trail was Machu Picchu. Our guide woke us up at 3:30am to get ready and have a quick breakfast. After breakfast we walked down to the control point (or entrance into Machu Picchu) and there we waited 2 hours for the gates to open. The reason for this is because there are 200 other hikers all wanting to get there first. The park only allows 500 people on the trail each day. 200 hikers and 300 porters. We were the second team at the gate.
After the gates opened we hiked 2 hours to the sun gate. The sun gate is where everybody waits for the sun to come over the mountain and light up Machu Picchu. In the pics you can see the beam hitting the city first. Once we arrived at Machu Picchu there were already people there from the bus tours and what not. I think most people take the train and then a bus to Machu Picchu. They can do that in a day. Lots of people do the inca trail as well but the experience is different. In all honesty the highlight of of the trip was the trail itself. MP was amazing, it just felt a little like Disneyland when we got there. Or maybe it was the fact that we’d been hiking alone for four days and we were just overwhelmed by the people there.
Our appreciation runs extremely deep for MP and the inca trail! Although in the end MP did feel like icing on the cake.Wayna Picchu on the other hand was absolutely amazing. Wayna Picchu (1,180 ft above Machu Picchu) is the large mountain you see within Machu Picchu. There are ruins on top you can’t really see and the stair case is pretty much vertical. It took an hour to go up and an hour to come down. Just about when you think you can’t hike anymore, Wayna Picchu stares you down for one last quad burner. The views from WP are uncanny and here you can see the entirety of the city.
After MP we took a bus down to aguas calientes to meet up with our guide for lunch and say our farewell to him. We had some celebratory drinks and jumped on a train for 2 hours. Made it back into cusco around 9:30pm and that was that.
All in all we hiked for 4 days, 26 miles, and about 16,500 ft in elevation changes including Wayna Picchu.