Jaza's World Trip

Dawn sprint up to Machu Picchu

There are three ways up to Machu Picchu (that I know of): the 3-day Inca Trail hike; the shuttle bus from Aguas Calientes; and the walking path that more-or-less follows the road up, from Aguas Calientes. We chose the latter option. Started at about 5:30am (up at 4am), and the quicker among us (myself included) were at the top by 6:15am. They estimate that it takes about an hour. Boy, it feels good when you get to the top, all hot and sweaty, and you see the sun rise over South America's most famous landmark.

The road up to Machu Picchu is a giant zigzag, that makes its way up the mountainside slowly and ponderously. The walking path, on the other hand, cuts straight up through the zigzag, making it much more direct, but very challenging.

The road and the walking path up to Machu Picchu.

It's a pretty intense walk. When I reached the top, I realised what a long and steep walk I'd just done, and how quickly I'd done it; and I couldn't believe it was possible. To tell the truth, I don't think I could have made it, were it not for the 4 days of hiking we'd just completed. The Salkantay hike was about the best preparation we could have asked for.

As we ascended in our sprint up to Machu Picchu, the day became fuller and brighter, and the view became higher and grander. Towards the top, the view of the surrounding mountains really was spectacular.

Mountains silhouetted around us as we ascended.

The only complaint I had, was that when we reached the top, we had to wait outside of the ruins themselves, because Feliz still had our entry tickets. This meant that by the time everyone was up, and we got inside, the sun had already well and truly risen. But really, this didn't make it any less spectacular when we finally did get inside.