After our hikes in Ollantaytambo and Pisac, the entrance to the Sacred Valley, I planned another hike as preparation for the Inca Trail the next day. This scenic day hike took us from the colonial village Maras to Moray where we visited the mysterious circular terraces of the ancient Incas, then back to Maras from where we continued hiking to the famous Salt Mines and then all the way down to the Urubamba river. Moray is located on a plateau at an altitude of 3500 meters, so this turned out to be a great acclimatization hike through stunning landscapes.
Many people dream of hiking the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, arriving the last day before sunrise at Inti Punku the Sun Gate and seeing the mysterious ruins of the "lost city" Machu Picchu appear beneath them. It has been on my bucket list as well for ages ... till I finally decided to just go for it. I started planning my trip in January 2013 and hiked the Inca Trail in May 2013. It was the trip of a lifetime. I hope my tips and info will help you to have your own amazing Inca Trail experience.
It's only 3 am but I'm wide awake and filled with anticipation cause today is the day I have been looking forward to for so long ... after a relaxing start on Day 1, a difficult Day 2 and a long Day 3 of the Inca Trail ... I will finally get to see Machu Picchu. We have a quick breakfast and arrive at the last check point just before 4 am. Although the check point only opens at 5.30 am, there are already 2 groups waiting when we arrive. Everybody - including myself - wants to be the first to hike the last 4 km to Inti Punku, the Sun Gate. I'm getting really nervous now, will Machu Picchu live up to my expectations?
I'm pretty sure that tents will never become my favorite travel accommodation. For the second night now, I'm having difficulties falling asleep. Every now and then I nod off for a little while but most of the time I'm awake. Even with the thermal sleeping bag, it's very cold so I put on some extra layers. Who's idea was it again to start the Inca Trail, knowing that the second camp site will be at an altitude of 3600 meters? Yeah, I have to blame myself for this :) The morning ritual on Day 3 is identical to the one on Day 2 of the Inca Trail except that we are ready this time at 6 am.