Hiking to the destination is the dream of many, but even with the reduced altitude along the Inca
Trail, the chilly nights and rough terrain were not something we wanted to tackle. Buses leave from the terminal in Pueblo to head up the zig-zagging road at 6 AM, and depart every 5-10 minutes until 4 PM. Lineup for the buses starts around 4 AM for those wanting to arrive in the park for sunrise. Or you can walk to the entrance, which takes 1.5 to 2 hours. We decided to sleep in, and joined the line at a more reasonable 7 AM, and still waited about an hour. Arriving at the park a few minutes later, we still beat most of the heavy crowds created by tour groups, which arrive at 10 AM and depart by 2 PM. Spending several hours walking over the ruins, we snapped hundreds of photos, because every view was phenomenal. We did not sign up for the hike of Huayna Picchu, the peak next door. Restricted to 400 hikers a day, and requiring a separate ticket, this destination also provides outstanding views (from photos we've seen) but it's a strenuous climb and we never seriously considered it. But we covered virtually every other aspect of Machu Picchu, including the walk to the Inca Bridge. This stone path cut into the mountain cliff, rises 1900 feet above the valley with a 20-foot gap, which was historically "bridged" with tree trunks. The bridge is actually closed, which is a good thing, it was scary enough just walking out to the edge.
|Looking across to Huayna Picchu|
|Alan even made it out to the final narrow walk before the Inca Bridge|
|On the cliff, just before the Inca "bridge"|