Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Peru: Exploring Machu Picchu

The ladies of our group... :o)

Welcome to Peru week on Pro-Soup Propaganda! In case you missed it, this week I'm talking about my recent volunteer vacation to Peru with Conservation VIP and REI! Monday of next week I'll cover Jonathan and I's week on Easter Island.

Today I'm covering our travel to and around Machu Picchu! It was so exciting I could hardly stand it. Yesterday I covered getting to Cusco, meeting my new group, and our first explorations together, but today we made it to the big MP.

We got up early in the morning and met in the hotel lobby. A mini-bus was picking us up to take us to Ollantaytambo to catch the Peru Rain trail to take us to Machu Picchu. The train ride was a little over two hours long and when we got to the train station we were all thrilled. We walked the few blocks to our hotel, waited a bit to check in, and then got our rooms. We stayed at the El Mapi by Inkaterra and it was beautiful. We got ourselves settled and found out that happy hour was at 5:30pm every night, something that we were determined to keep, and life was good.

The next morning we got up, ate breakfast, packed our lunches, and headed to Machu Picchu. Seeing the beautiful sight that I have seen for years in photos was absolutely amazing. Knowing that we were going to spend a lot of time in the area was pretty great. We hiked a little bit and then talked about what we would do while we were staying at Machu Picchu Pueblo and then some of us had to get ready because we were going to hike Waynapicchu.

What IS Waynapicchu, you ask?

Waynapicchu is the tall mountain behind Machu Picchu. It is a 2720m mountain that legend has it was the residence of the high priest and the local virgins. These days it is a very steep hike up Inca trail that sometimes requires the use of steel cables to pull oneself up. It took our group a little over an hour to climb and we frequently had to stop and rest and let others by, but the views...the views were totally worth it! We ate lunch up there and snapped a few photos and then it was time to head back down. Only 400 people are allowed up the mountain per day and we needed to get back by 2pm.

After we got back we continued our sightseeing. Hearing about Machu Picchu from Dr. Bill the archaeologist and Santiago, our local guide, was SO interesting. I feel so very thankful that we had both of them there to tell us all about MP! When the park finally closed at 5pm we loaded into the buses back to town, very thoughtful with everything we'd learned, ate a delicious dinner, and headed to bed, as we had a very exciting and long day ahead of us the next day, although we didn't know it yet...

At a viewpoint on our way to the train station

Rainbow over the Urubamba River

Beautiful Inca terraces! See those zig-zaggy floating stairs on the left?

Made it!!

Oh, YEAH!!

View from the hotel room of Putucusi

Our first Inca stairs! Beginning to hike part of Putucusi...

Machu Picchu Pueblo is a beautiful little city!

Frank is at Machu Picchu!!

Listening to Dr. Bill

Nikki's almost to the summit of Waynapicchu! Last little cave!

A well-earned sandwich!! Best lunch view ever!

These ladies were amazing!

Our little group who climbed! So proud of us!

Machu Picchu from Waynapicchu looks very small

We could have done Huchuypicchu, a beebee mountain, but why not go big?

Ancient storehouses

Baby alpaca!!

Beautiful Inca wall!!

Cutey biscacha!

Funny, Waynapicchu doesn't LOOK so high here...

Past posts:
Monday: Exploring Cusco and Sacsaywaman

Check out the rest of my photos from my trip here!

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  1. Please tell me you smuggled that little creature back home?!?
    These photos are stunning ... I would LOVE to see that view in person, one day!

    1. You have to go to Machu Picchu someday! You would love it!

  2. your trip looks wonderful! ps. love that newton quote.

    1. Thank you! The Newton quote made me smile. One of the other rooms we saw had a Louis Pasteur quote, but I wish I could remember which one it was!

  3. So beautiful! And I love llamas...always have. It's kinda weird, I know.