Inca Trail Day 5 - Machu Picchu and Wayna Picchu

Inca Trail Day 5 - Machu Picchu and Wayna Picchu

Mon, 08/07/2024 - 10:00
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Machu Picchu

Machu Picchu

Activity: Inca Trail 5D/4N Alpaca Expeditions

Hike: Wayna Picchu peak : 2.81 km in 2hrs ( 266m of elevation - hike detail at the end ) 

Night: Pirwa Colonial Hostal

Day 97

We are aiming to be at Machu Picchu before 7 am. We regroup after breakfast at 6am and as we approach the bus stop in Aguas Caliente it’s a huge queue that welcomes us. It’s almost the entire village long. Thousands of people are already there. The bus start at 6 am. 

A very small portion of the queue at Aguas Caliente
A very small portion of the queue at Aguas Caliente to Machu Picchu

Alfie ( I don’t know how ), as already booked our bus and we skip the entire queue to climb into the second bus departing to the site. Amazing. 

We arrive in Machu Picchu and have at least 30min with the site in the early hours of the morning for (almost) ourselves. We are doing the circuit number 3, which takes about 2hours to walk through the site. Alfie is sharing information and brings us into smaller room to explain so we don’t have too much people around us – he also knows the right photo spots. We have a good experience during this visit. 

Machu Picchu
Famous 3 windows
Famous 3 windows
Architecture detail
Architecture detail
Condor temple
Condor temple: the big rocks at the back are the wings, front is the body with the head.

But when I look at the other circuits, some of them look uber crowded. We did the panoramic circuit yesterday, walking down from the Sun gate – and today we do the inner city. I think it’s a great way to visit the site. You can navigate easier away from the crowd. 

It’s very humbling to walk through narrow passageways and see the remains of an entire city and it’s much larger than you think. There are so many architectural elements that are fascinating. 

After our tour of the Machu Picchu – 3 of us are going up Wayna Picchu. The big mountain at the back of the site. The others will have a free time in Aguas Caliente. 
Wayna Picchu is UBER steep. It’s a good hour up and another hour down. Some portions have handrails to help. Many portions are to be climbed on all four. I didn’t know that a section has actually been dubbed the stairs of death. There are along a terrasse at the very top and have extremely narrow stairs, open ground vertigo inducing views. Luckily the top of the mountain is a one-way circuit and you only climb up that portion. I would have panicked if I had had to go down those.

Up staircase
Wayna picchu stairs up
Wayna picchu stairs up

The view of the Machu Picchu from above is beautiful. We find ourselves a corner of a Terrasse and enjoy our snacks while taking it all in. 

View of Machu Picchu from Wayna Picchu
View of Machu Picchu from Wayna Picchu

The way down is a struggle for our knees, especially after the last 2 days of mostly downhill trail. 

We are greeted at the bus station by another exceptionally long queue of people waiting to go down. But they have this organization down to a T – in barely 20min, hundreds of people have been loaded and transported downhill.

The group is waiting for us at a restaurant in town and we join them for lunch. We chit-chat and have a good time. About 30min before our train back to Ollataytambo we pick up our duffel bags from the hotel and get to the station. Time to say goodbye to Alfie and Philip who will remain as they have a later train. 

The rest of us make it just on time for the departure of the train. It’s 1h40 to destination and quite comfortable. Along the way, we spot a lot more Inca ruins right by the river.
In Ollantaytambo we pile up into a bus from Alpaca tours and are driving to Cusco. It’s a long and too hot bus ride. We are very sleepy. Plus, it’s still Corpus Christi celebrations and there is a lot of traffic as we near the town. Yes, more than 1 week of celebrations! We can hear fireworks. We arrive at the hotel at 8pm exhausted. 

We take a heavenly hot shower and unpack some of our gear. Preparing the truckload of laundry for tomorrow. We don’t fancy looking for a restaurant, but we are hungry. Luckily, we have been hauling around since New-Zealand two packs of dehydrated meal “just-in-case”. Well that was the time to use them! 

Wayna Picchu garmin