One of the main highlights of our South America trip, MACHU PICCHU (: Can’t believe we were there a year ago now, seems like just a couple of months!
We definitely recommend doing the 2D1N Inca Trail option as you get to see Machu Picchu not once but twice! In order to trek the Inca Trail, you’ll need to go with a local guide which we also found beneficial as we were given a detailed history lesson and realised how smart and strong the Incas were.
The day started very early. Our guide Yom drove us from Cusco to Ollantaytambo, and we had some yummy local breakfast at the train station before taking the train (about 1.5 hours) to the start of our trek.
Once we got off, Yom presented our passes at the entrance and from there, it was uphill all the way. We spent a couple of hours walking up up up!
Along the way, we stopped by some ruins and were given a small preview of what Machu Picchu looks like.
Soon we reached another checkpoint where we had a short break for lunch.
We continued on our journey for awhile more. Do dress appropriately as it was wet, humid and also cold at times. You can see us taking our jackets off and putting it back on throughout our hike.
At one point, you can see the whole of Machu Picchu in a distant. That gave us a wee boost of energy to quickly complete our trek. Mind you this was the second longest hike we have ever taken in our lives. First was in Patagonia for 4 days and this was for 5 hours.
We completed our trek at the top of Machu Picchu and sat there for a bit watching the clouds cover and uncover the ancient ruins below us.
By the time we made our way down closer to Machu Picchu, it was already late afternoon and the crowds were starting to disperse for the day, so were able to really enjoy the place. But we saved our detailed tour of the place for the next day.
On day two, we took the bus up to Machu Picchu and Yom gave us a history lesson. The place was probably used by royals, there were various temples as well as rooms that may have been used for schooling and housing.
When you look around, you’ll notice that the Incas spent a lot of effort building up the place, the stone walls are perfectly straight and smooth. It really is quite a special place, especially with the wondering Alpacas 😉
On our way back to Cusco, we got off at Ollantaytambo and as we had to wait for Yom, who was travelling on another train, we were able to check out the old defence fortress there. It was still interesting, though not as grand as Machu Picchu!
Top Tip: Definitely book your Inca Trail with Chaskana Travel. Yom was extremely friendly, helpful and informative. We really enjoyed our time with him! It gets pretty confusing with the various hiking options, day trips, passes and rules, so definitely do your research and book early.