Machu Picchu is one of the most amazing places I have ever been in my life! Being there makes you speechless and we had the opportunity to go during the 100 year anniversary. It was such a memorable trip and not just because Danny proposed to me there.
We only had a few days in Peru so we took the train instead of hiking the Inca Trail. We took the first train from Poroy which left at 6:45 am and we had to arrive thirty minutes early. Poroy is a small town about twenty minutes by taxi from Cusco. The train ride was a little slow it took roughly three hours and cost about $80 a person, but they did serve us a meal on the train. The return train ride was about $60 a person and took closer to four and a half hours. The train ride starts in Poroy takes you through Sacred Valley and ends in Aguas Calientes. During the train ride you will notice the closer you get to Machu Picchu the cleaner the air gets, the river widens and becomes more clear, the vegetation becomes a lush jungle with mountains soaring into the sky. In Aguas Callientes we had to pay $31 for two round trip tickets to Machu Picchu. The bus ride took twenty minutes and went up an incredibly steep narrow roads full of switchbacks. Bring a soda and some gum, both help with altitude sickness and helping you adjust to the higher altitude. On the road you can see a few ruins believed to be where they had their crops. Once you get off the bus it is a short walk to the entrance of Machu Picchu then another brief walk up a hill that goes to the part of the mountain that will lead you to the overlook that looks over Machu Picchu. The view is breath-taking. You aren’t able to see any of Machu Picchu until you are on top of the hill. The above photo is your first view of Machu Picchu and the best view you can get, we recommend when you go, go up the hill so this is your first sight of Machu Picchu it is more spectacular to see the ruins all at once and looking down onto it.
Looking out on Machu Picchu is amazing, looking out over these ancient ruins a top these insanely high mountains gives you this overwhelming sense of peace and awe. There isn’t another city or ruin that you can see. We spent a good half hour just sitting there in amazement of just how sophisticated the Incans had to be to build this amazing city and laughing about the random llamas that are all around. (Llama’s are allowed to roam the ruins to keep the grass short).
At the top of the hill you can walk down to the ruins of Machu Picchu or follow the Inka Bridge Trail. At the beginning of the trail to the Inka Bridge you have to write your name, age, country, and id or passport number in a book. This is because the trail is pretty narrow and there is a five or six hundred feet cliff drop off. The Inka Bridge Trail takes about fifteen minutes and is really pretty, also for me a little nerve wrecking. Danny didn’t mind but the drop off made me a little nervous. The trail is not all cliffs. There are parts where the trail is wide and there is not a drop off next to you. You will get near where the Inka Bridge use to be, however it is no longer there. There is a wooden board where the bridge was, but you can’t walk across it. It is just for looks. It is believed that the Inka Bridge was a draw bridge and the Incans would pull it up to prevent people or enemies from entering the city. The part that the bridge is at, is even more narrow than the hike and is more of a steep drop off. Even though the bridge isn’t there we still thought it was worth it to do the hike, so that we could see every aspect of Machu Picchu.
After viewing the bridge we hiked back around the mountain and entered the city. You are only allowed to walk on the designated trails in Macchu Picchu. The highest part of the actual city is the sun room. In the sun room there is a sun-dial, it is believed that the sun-dial is the most sacred stone. At one point you could get right next to the sun-dial, however, you can no longer go close to the sun-dial because it is roped off. A few years back a crane was dropped on it when filming a beer commercial, the crane chipped the stone and now they don’t let anyone near it. After looking at the sun-dial we walked down the steps and across the grass to where the locals believe the city originally was, here they reconstructed two huts. You can see the llama’s even hang out in the hunts, they have a free reign.
Near the huts there is a huge vertical rock slab. The locals believe that if you stand shoulder width apart and place your forehead on a certain side of the slab with your hands parallel to your head you will receive clarity and energy. You aren’t able to try because this rock also is roped off. Near this area is a trail that when we were there most of the tourists didn’t take. We hiked down the trail and came to what we thought was probably housing.
This area was extremely isolated, which is a nice change considering they let a thousand people into Machu Picchu every day. Danny took a picture of me in the housing area and then got down on one knee and proposed to me. This area obviously instantly became my favorite area of Machu Picchu because it meant so much to me, here I knew I would be marrying my best friend. Danny admits he wasn’t sure where he wanted to propose but knew once we got there and were all alone this was the perfect place, because we were able to share this moment privately without any on lookers. Of course then I was extremely excited and shared the news with the first passing English-speaking tourists.
After this momentous moment we walked to what is believed to be the prison of Machu Picchu. One of the “cells” even had part of the rock roof still on it. We then hiked up all these stairs to the moon room. The moon room consist of a giant rock leaning sideways against a stone wall. This area also was roped off but inside you could see three “pillars” in the room that sort of are sticking out of the wall. We overheard one tour guide say that they believed they represented the sun, the moon, and the earth. (We did not take a tour of Machu Picchu but they do offer guided tours through the ruins). Some people believe it to be a representation of the holy trinity. Near the moon room is the water room. Machu Picchu was not only an extremely carefully calculated city but an advanced one too, it is believed they even had a drainage system. The water from the bath house would run out of the city into the fields, so that no one was washing in dirty water. After the water room we walked every where we could except for Huayna Picchu. We really wanted to hike it but they only let the first four hundred people climb it. I believe you can buy tickets in advance but you have to be there for the designated hike times and you cannot make it by taking the train the day of, you will arrive too late. After we stamped our passports with the hundredth anniversary stamp we took the bus down to Aguas Calientes. Here we bought some local food which was trout and potatoes, it was okay, kind of bland and really expensive. We then went souvenir shopping and browsing. Aguas Calientes has tons of souvenirs. Below are some of our favorite pictures/places from Machu Picchu.