Hiking to Machu Picchu had been on the top of my bucket list for as long as I can remember. As the trip to Peru was decided only two weeks before, unfortunately I was way too late to hike the Inca Trail. Both in regards of limited access, but definitely also lack of training.
As a compromise, I decided to at least walk from Aquas Calientes to Machu Picchu instead of taking the bus.
Waking up to the sound of rain was not the perfect start of the day, but I was determined. From Panorama B&B, it was 20 min quite fast walk along the river, before crossing the bridge and start climbing. The stone steps goes straight up, occasionally crossing the road bends on its right turns. It is a quite steep path, but in the beginning I thought that “this was not that hard!”. I soon realized I was mistaken. My legs started to get heavier, and my breath shorter. But I was determined to finish what I started! That was before the really heavy rain came pouring down. The ponds were everywhere, including inside my shoes. About half way up, I came to what I called “the point of no return”, meaning where my path would no longer cross the road, and the buses were out of reach….
I left all my principles behind, admitted defeat, and gave up. The problem was, I soon figured that was no option… The first bus I tried to stop, drove passed. I thought maybe he did not think I had a ticket, so I found my ticket and waved it when the next bus came. No luck. “Ok, maybe it was full”, I thought and decided to try once more before continuing my hike. No luck there either. While trying this, I lost 10-15 minutes. Or got the same amount of minutes rest, depending how you see if. For me it definitely felt more like loss of time, and I had to walk faster the last part.
Along the way I did not meet a single person, until I was almost at the top, where I met two Peruvians resting in a small hut, seeking shelter from the rain.
I reached the top only 1 minute after 7.00, more or less exactly one hour after I started the climb. My face was all wet. From the heavy rain, although it might as well have been tears of happiness…
Would I do it again? I don’t think so. If I would recommend others to do it? Honestly, I am not sure. If you are fit and used to walking steep terrain it is no problem. I consider myself quite normal fit, but I was not able to enjoy the hike, as I constantly was thinking I would be late to meet for my hike to Huayna Picchu. I remembered just a little too late that the entrance was valid between 7-8, not 7 sharp… But as long as you plan a little extra time, you will be fine.
To be able to hike to Huayna Picchu, you have to book the tickets in advance, as only 400 persons are allowed to hike during the day.