Machu Picchu has been names one of the 7 new world wonders and I now know why. This place was magical. It was built in the 1400’s on top of a mountain with sheer drops on two sides and taller mountains on the other two. Traditionally there was only two ways into the city, which had agriculture sectors, residential, religious temples, and royalty.
The agriculture was done on terraces going down the steep cliffs and the religions center was in the middle of the city with a central plaza right in the middle (a side note, there are now lamas that graze in the grassy plaza. The residential houses are packed close with narrow streets and almost seem to be on top of each other.
In order to get to the site you have to hike 2 hours or take a 20 minute bus for $12 per way. To me this was a no brainer and when the bus dropped me off I was awestruck. With my ticket I purchased entrance to Machu Picchu Mountain (or Montana), which is the highest mountain in the site but most people prefer to go up Hauyna Mountain due to there being several city building there. I started the hike up at 7am and it took just over 2 hours to get there and lucky for me I met an Egyptian guy and then A Spanish lady and we all keep motivating each other as we climbed to over 10,000 feet. Once we got to the top all the pain and hard work faded as we soaked in the absolutely amazing view looking down on the city. One note is that once I got down around 10:30am the line to go up was a 20-30 minute wait to get on the trail, so go early if you want to do either hike.
After coming down I spent the afternoon walking the circuit through the city which took everyone through all the interesting stuff and showed off as much of the city as possible while still having the traffic flow through the narrow streets in a timely manner. The last thing I did was hike out to the Sun Gate, which is the first thing you see if you hiked the Inca Trail to the city as the ancient Incas did. This hike was about 45 minutes at an incline, but nothing compared to what I did in the morning.
By the time I got back on the bus for the ride down I had spent 10 hours hiking around this 600 year old city that was abandoned and not found again until 1911. I can tell you that it can not really be over hyped and was well worth the effort and something I will remember for a lifetime.