Peru: The magnificent Machu Picchu

By Cubie - January 29, 2019

As I mentioned in my previous post, I booked the 6:00 entrance to MP, which translated to I needed to wake up fairly early. On top of that, I was also worried that I overslept, I didn't have a very restful sleep, unfortunately. To make things slightly worse, I woke up with a mild gastric pain. I popped an antacid for prevention but it was no help. I then remembered that it had passed the expiry date so many not be very effective so I took 2 more but the dull ache lingered. At this point, I wasn't sure if it was an indication of food poisoning since I ate at a random food stall in Pisac market the day before and the food was pre-cooked. So I took a dose of imodium even though there wasn't any other symptoms. I am usually not this prompt in downing so many pills in such short span of time but I was determined to avoid battling gastric pain and gasping of air when I hike up Huayna Picchu. The ache finally went away, I wasn't sure if it was food poisoning because that was all I had, thankfully.

After a very small breakfast (didn't want to aggravate the tummy), I walked out to get the bus. (Please remember your printed out MP tickets, bus tickets and passport!) In my backpack, I also carried water, a couple of muesli bars, camera, raincoat and some random stuff like hand sanitiser and tissue (I am not so organised and don't have all this stuff on any random day).

It started raining when I was in the queue to get in to MP, it was heavy enough for me to take out my poncho, and yes, HP was still opened for hiking. After entering MP, I made my way towards Huayna Picchu entrance. There are many signs around so noob like me won't go missing.

On entering the check point to HP, I had to pen down some details which are the usual of name, country of origin, but it also includes age, date of entry, etc. The wait to get in was quite long despite the queue wasn't. The guard joked that it took so long because many people has issue penning down their age. Luckily the rain has stopped while I was in the queue to enter HP.

HP was easier than I expected, most likely because I am very good in scaring myself. There are some narrow paths where there is no way anyone can bypass anyone else, very high steps but I got to the end in about an hour. I didn't have any training prior because work got in the way (ahem: I was lazy too). It started off where I would walk up 7 floors to where my work station is but after awhile the office building locked the door to the staircase if access from ground floor so I stopped even the little training that I started.

The bit that I was worried the most was the section called "Stairs of Death". They are rock steps of about 183 metres long.

I guess going up isn't as scary but what goes up must come down, so one needs to go down this too even though there are parts that you don't go down the same way. Not this set of stairs though. Many people wrote that the hike up HP isn't hard but don't attempt it if you suffer from vertigo or fear of heights. My friend commented why do I worry since I am not acrophobia. Well, I don't have phobia towards heights but I have fear of falling, hence I always end up standing by the pool side for ages before jumping in.

As fate has it, a doggie decided to jump in in front of me as I was about to climb up. Gave me a little fright due to surprise when the dog appeared bypassed me but of course I let the dog go first.

As you can see, it could be foggy in the early morning. I stayed a little, so did the others so it could get a little crowded at the top as people lingered to wait for the fog to clear. I waited for about half an hour but the best I view I had was like this.

It got a little warm on my way down but the fog didn't clear. On reaching the ground again, I followed the arrow sign and it brought out to the exit! I don't know how to back track to the entrance and possibly I can't because of the one way direction that we are supposed to follow. However, as my ticket included HP climb, I was allowed one re-entry. Upon my first exit, I dropped by the toilet again (there is no toilet in MP grounds) before re-entering.

After re-entering, I picked the upper circuit trail to the Caretakers Hut. If you are up for another hike, you can also do the hike to the Sun Gate. At that time, my view was like this. I was quite prepared that all I could see was a foggy MP albeit a little disappointed and hopeful that the fog would lift.

For the next 20 minutes of so, it remained like this.

So you can see I stood around the Caretakers Hut for awhile despite all I could only see glimpse of this famous Inca ruins. Then this happened.

There is no words to describe the feeling of seeing Machu Picchu at its home, when the fog finally lifted, revealing the Inca ruins. Seeing this unfolding right in front of me is just magical. I might not take the best picture versus the one I can find online but seeing this in real life is simply incomparable. Definitely worth the journey.

I continue hovering around the Caretakers Hut and took 1234123 (yes, I made up the numbers) photos but many photos were taken so even though I lost all my pictures taken using my camera, I still have many on the phone... haha.

I did walk the rest of the grounds before going through the exit again. Remember to look for a little table on your left after you exited to stamp your passport! I visited on 29th October 2018 and the table was just after the exit.

Here are some timing if you are trying to gauge how long things are.
05:25 - started queuing for bus
05:44 - got on a bus
(forgot to record how long was the bus ride but I think it was about 30 minutes)
The longest wait was actually the queue to get in MP itself and to get in HP.
The washroom (SS.HH - servicios higienicos) fee outside MP is S/2. The most expensive I've paid for any public toilets in Peru that I've been.
06:45 - walked to Huayna Picchu from entrance
06:54 - queued to enter HP
07:26 - entered HP
08:28 - reached the top of HP
08:54 - started to hike down
09:38 - reached the bottom of HP
12:28 - started queue for bus to get back to Aguas Calientes
12:40 - got on a bus because the bus that was departing was short of 1 person so I got on the bus but I wasn't at the front of the queue yet.

Side note: The luxury train to MP is named Hiram Bingham, after the explorer who made public the existence of Inca citadel of MP in 1911 with guidance of local indigenous farmers. 

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  1. I was happily following the narrative until the part about "I lost all my pictures taken using my camera" ...

  2. yea.. my camera along with the sim card inside was stolen :(
    So it was all my photos taken in Peru... didn't happen in Peru though, in Australia!

    1. Ouch! I can feel your pain.

      I lost my camera with all the pictures inside for about 5 minutes when transferring from a bus to JR in Japan. And it felt like eternity. I was lucky it was Japan though.