Machu Picchu – Getting There is Half the Fun

There are two main ways to get to Machu Picchu with variations on each. You can hike for four-five days along the Inca Trail or you can take the train to Aguas Calientes followed by a bus ride or a moderately challenging 90-minute trek to the sanctuary.

View from the train to Machu Pichu
Excuse the reflections and Admire the Exquite View from the Train!

After three days in the Sacred Valley, we opted for a hybrid route. We took the train  from Ollantaytambo to the prosaically named  Km 104 station (so-named because of its distance from Cusco).  If you blink, or nod off, you could definitely miss it!

IMG_1596
Bridge Across the Urubamba River at Kilometer 104

We crossed the Urubamba River, registered at with the rangers and were on our way!

Machu Picchu Marching Orders
Ruins at Chachabamba

A short walk took us to the ruins at Chachabamba, an Incan site believed to have two purposes: a religious place to worship water and a checkpoint for those heading to Machu Pichu.  Machu Pichu Looking Back from Where We CameWe then commenced the six-mile hike that climbs 2600 feet and winds through semi-tropical rain forest – a stark contrast to the Sacred Valley’s arid climate. Parts of the trail are exposed with remarkable views back along the river.Machu Picchu OrchidsBright orchids, a species of lupine and other wildflowers added bursts of color. There are reputedly over 300 types of orchids within the environs of Machu Picchu.Machu Pichu WaterfallWe stopped to catch our breath and enjoy some coca tea by this wonderful waterfall.

Machu Picchu Terraces
Terraces at Wiñay Wayna

Just around the halfway point of our hike, we reached the incredible terraces and ruins of Wiñay Wayna, a name that translates as “forever young.”

Wiñaywayna Terraces with Buildings
View from Above of the Ruins at Wiñay Wayna

I don’t know how many steps we climbed to the spot from where the shot above was taken – suffice to say we worked off our amazing picnic lunch.

View from the Sun Gate Inti PunkuAnother few miles of fairly continuous climbing and we reached Inti Punku – the Sun Gate – just before sunset.   Stay tuned for an close and personal virtual visit of magnificent Machu Picchu.

 

10 thoughts on “Machu Picchu – Getting There is Half the Fun

  1. Hi Maggie!
    Wish I did know about this ‘hybrid’ solution…. did you have to have a guide? We just walked from Machu Picchu pueblo, but had I known about KM104 there’s no way I’d have passed it… Nice memories of a lovely place!
    Fabrizio

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you Maggie for explaining KM104. I’ve read stacks of materials about the variety of ways to access Machu Picchu, but your description was the most concise and helpful. I’m heading there in April and am definitely requesting KM 104!

    Liked by 1 person

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