Machu Picchu Hikes

Posted by on May 25, 2012 in Blog, Peru | 2 comments

If you squint, you might see the hikers ascending Huayna Picchu

The mountains were sacred to the Inca, and named as deities called “apus” (insert Simpsons joke here). A visit to this region of the Andes leaves little doubt why the peaks inspired such devotion. Besides their belittling beauty, the mountains divert and gather clouds while capriciously influencing the weather every hour.

Machu Picchu itself sits on a spit of flat land between two peaks, surrounded by dozens of other peaks. The best way to appreciate the severe landscape? Take a hike.

The very popular Inca Trail is a multi-day hike that has to be booked in advance by at least three months. We missed out. But you can hike to the Sun Gate of the trail to see the first view of the citadel for ancient pilgrims. And if you’re at the park in the morning, it’s fun to watch exhausted groups of hikers descend into the city.

Machu Picchu from the Sun Gate; note the switchback ride that the bus takes

A bit more zoomed in; see how Machu Picchu sits on a saddle between Macchu (old) & Huayna (young) Picchu

To climb Huayna Picchu, you need a separate ticket that lets you in at one of two times. It’s a popular climb for an astounding view of the valley. If you want to leave the crowds, take the backside path to the Temple of the Moon. We saw no one for over an hour and got to channel the Hiram Bingham spirit along this quiet path.

A view of the Urubamba River carving mountains out of stone

The terraces and structures that cap Huayna Picchu

A profile of Huayna Picchu

Quite a view from the very top

Some say Machu Picchu was intentionally built to resemble a puma or alligator

The backside hike involves rickety ladders and solitude

The overgrown top of the Temple of the Moon

The Temple hides under a gigantic rock

A better look at the Temple of the Moon

Meticulously carved niches in the rock wall

From the backside of Huayna Picchu, you can see how precipitiously Machu Picchu sits on a cliff

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  1. These photos are breathtaking. How are you guys uploading again?

    • i tried to power on the netbook after letting it sit for a week and it worked! from reading online, i think there was some type of major static buildup that paralyzed the motherboard which made acer give me the bad diagnosis. we were super surprised and probably abit too happy when it worked again.

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