With only a ten day trip to Peru, we did not have time to hike the Inca Trail and see the rain forest. Wanting to hike a little around Machu Picchu, we decided to avoid the bus system and hike up switchbacks from Aguas Calientes up to Machu Picchu. We wanted to beat the crowds to see the sun rise to light up the Inca ruins.

After doing research, we knew to have our passports with us to cross, along with our tickets we purchased in town. We then started our 8 km hike. Following a trail almost straight up the mountain while crossing the main road the buses switchback up, we hiked through the trees.The approach to Machu Picchu only took an hour and fifteen minutes even though the guidebooks estimate two to three hours.

Machu Picchu 2010

The sunrise was amazing with beams lighting up sections of the ruins slowly highlighting the amazing effort it took for the Incas to build such an infrastructure. We sat and watched nature as we took in the surrounding views of the Andes mountain ranges. The mountains were extremely steep sloped covered with large green trees. Definitely an image that will stay in my memory forever.

Machu Picchu 2010

I set up the tripod and laid on the grass as my camera captured the tourists moving through the ancient ruins. I tried to stay cool by chilling out in the shaded areas at times. Andy explored while I waited with my camera.

Panorama of Machu Picchu 2010

Andy and I explored the ruins apart from Chad to avoid similar photos. I enjoyed watching the alpacas graze. It is nice they provide is free landscaping. Some had babies with them, which were cute. We also came across some lizards along some of the structures.

The Landscaping Crew in Machu Picchu 2010

a new friend in Machu Picchu 2010

While walking around the ruins, we decided to head down to the base to get some great angled shots. I am amazed with how well the structures have survived the tourists and weather over the years. With many new ancient ruins being discovered, it is only a matter of time that they will deteriorate.

Machu Picchu 2010

Machu Picchu 2010

I tried to picture what it would be like to live as the Incas did. One section actually had a roof constructed for a replica.

Taking a Different Perspective of Machu Picchu 2010

Walking through old hallways between different rooms was interesting. I even tried to catch some information when passing the guided tour groups. If these rooms were actually roofed, most people would have to squat to fit into these rooms since the average height of the Incas were roughly 5 feet or less.

Looking into rooms of Machu Picchu 2010

The structures in the below picture shows the detail of engineering that went into constructing this city. I just love the Andes mountains in the background. It truly is an amazing destination to visit.

HDR Machu Picchu 2010

The sun was beating down on all of us making us hungry and thirsty. The prices were extremely expensive for souvenirs and food compared to everywhere else in Peru. We decided to pay the prices anyways since we did not have many options. After we ate, we looked for Chad.

We finally found him after walking around. He made his way up to the Gate of the Sun and had amazing pictures overlooking the ruins. After the long day of exploring, we decided to call it quits and take the bus back down to Agus Calientes.

Machu Picchu Time Lapse

Would you travel to a developing country to see ancient architecture?

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