Tucan Travel - Machu Picchu, Peru.

machu picchu, tucan travel500 people are allowed on the Inca trail every day (with 300 of those spots going to porters etc.) The Inca trail, is classed as a typical tourist thing to do and I have seen words such as ‘overcrowded’ being used to describe the trail. For me, the word overcrowded could not be further from the truth! It was rare I saw anyone on the trail, occasionally crossing paths with some people (or those from my own group who went at a slower pace) and only ever seeing people at rest points and at campsites. The final walk to Machu Picchu is probably when I realised how many others were on the trail. We woke up early, around 5am to be ready and waiting at the final control (which I think opened around 7am.) We were one of the first groups sat waiting in the cold and dark to be let through. I went to the toilet and one point, almost getting lost but finding my way back due to this long que of people.  

It was cold and misty, and it felt like hours before the control border opened. It was still dark and used out headtorches to guide us over a rocky, uneven path. Out of all the trail, it was here that I almost slipped several times. The last hike though, almost felt like a race, everyone competing to be the first ones to get to Machu Picchu. There were so hikers even getting aggravated by others on the trail if they overtook them or got in the way… I am not sure I saw the point in racing to get there, we were all going to see Machu Picchu despite who gets there first, but with everyone rushing it made me increase my speed. I could feel the sweat building up on my skin, followed by breathlessness and the need to have a drink (although I was so ready to drink water that did not taste like toilet water…) The fun part of this hike was the monkey steps, gaining the name because you pretty much climb the steps because they are so steep! The steps were a challenge, but lead you up to the sun gate which is or should have been our first viewing point of Machu Picchu.

Unfortunately for us, we were greeted with a cloud covered Machu Picchu. However, we did not let this get us down, we were all so proud of ourselves for completing the hike! Our group had separated along the way, we waited here for everyone to arrive, had snacks and water before heading down to Machu Picchu.

Our look around Machu Picchu was split into two parts, our guide would give us a tour around Machu Picchu pointed out points of interest, afterwards we would have to exit Machu Picchu then re-enter, so we could walk around by ourselves. Our guide was so knowledgeable on Machu Picchu, telling us so much information about Machu Picchu, most of which I cannot remember. Machu Picchu was still covered in thick, heavy cloud (which is evident in the photos) as we walked around. The temple of the sun, was one of the first sites we were shown, semi-circular construction which has been built over a rock of granite, mummies are said to have been worshipped here and it is considered a place of great energy. The temple of the Condor, was another amazing example of Inca stonemasonry, the Inca’s shaped this rock to look like a condor in flight, located on the floor is the condor’s head and neck which completes the 3D image of the condor. Under the temple a small cave was found that contained a mummy. Intihuatana, also known as the Inca sun dial is a rock which is associated with astronomy, it is aligned to sun’s position during winter solstice. Machu Picchu for me, was so much more than I expected, I did not anticipate how huge Machu Picchu was, the grand scale of the buildings, the sophisticated architecture.
machu picchu

As the time came for us to exit (picking up Machu Picchu stamps in our passports) and re-que, the clouds had disappeared, so our main objective was getting the classic photo of Machu Picchu. It took us a while to find the perfect angle, and not completely packed full of other tourists. Afterwards, we then made our way down to catch the bus into Aguas Calientes and the train and bus back to Cusco where the first thing I did was take a well needed shower.

Hiking the Inca trail and seeing Machu Picchu was such an incredible experience, and I am so grateful I got the chance to see such a beautiful site. Walking for three and a half days may seem grueling but the reward at the end was worth it, along with the incredible satisfaction feeling I got after putting my body through something I didn’t think it would be able to cope with. 
machu picchu inca trail

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