Machu Picchu, Peru_The Sky City

Machu Picchu in Peru. One of the most well-known World Heritage Sites. Overwhelmed with emotion as walking along the Inca Trail and arrive at the sky city.

A world heritage site in Peru. It was a city of the Inca Empire and is known as the city floating in the Sky. No people live there. It is just a ruin. It is a well-known and popular place among the World Heritage Sites.

The location is further in the interior of Cusco. To get there, take a train to Machu Picchu Town at the foot of the mountain, then take a bus up the mountain or walk there. Trains also leave from Cusco, but for some reason, most trains leave from a station called “Ollantaytambo”, which is far from Cusco. It would be easy to get there by train from Cusco, but many trains leave from Ollantaytambo station, so it is necessary to drive from Cusco to Ollantaytambo.

People cannot visit Machu Picchu on your own. It is necesasry to arrange a guide. Therefore, I participated in a tour by a travel agency. I joined a local tour. There are many types of local tours. Machu Picchu locates at the end of the mountain road called the Inca Trail. Therefore, there are tours that allow to walk along the Inca Trail.

There are tours for 2 days, 4 days, 7 days, etc. For example, 4 days means walking the Inca Trail for 4 days (3 nights) from a certain point before Machu Picchu and then entering Machu Picchu. The Inca Trail cannot be climbed by individuals, guide requires. Additionally, there is a limit on the number of people who can enter the mountain, so depending on the situation, you might not be able to participate.

Tour company participated

Well, I walked the Inca Trail for a day and took a tour to see Machu Picchu. We got off the train just before Machu Picchu and entered the mountain. The point where I got off the train was on the track called “km.104”, where there was no platform and from there I started walking an unpaved mountain road. By the way, the train has a retro feel. The speed is very slow because it runs on a winding mountain road. The maximum speed looks like 30km/h.

The Inca Trail has a maximum altitude of 4200m. The tour I participated in started from a point past the highest altitude, so the maximum altitude was 2700m. The mountain path is basically easy to walk, but there are some tough uphill slopes at times. I think a certain level of physical strength requires.

The tour I participated in starting to walk at 8 a.m. and arrived at Machu Picchu around 3 p.m. I could oftenly take breaks, but the climb in the middle was quite steep. Since it was my third day in Cusco at a high altitude, I was breathing heavily, probably because I was not used to the high altitude yet. It was a mess and I had a really hard time.

The highlight of this trail is the “Sun Gate” where Machu Picchu suddenly appears right in front of you. This point is a scenic spot where can see Machu Picchu in the distance from the hill. As walking along the Inca Trail, I came across steep stone steps, and after climbing the steps for about 5 minutes, I could suddenlty find a spectacular view in front. I had been walking for about 6 hours up to this point, including some breaks, so when I saw this spectacular view, I moved to tears.

From this point I could see the bus road that leads from the foot of the mountain to the ruins of Machu Picchu. Don’t miss the sight of this winding road. A gentle descent continues from this scenic point to the ruins. I found alpaca on the side of the road.

One of the most famous scenes in Machu Picchu is the view of clouds passing in front of a sharp mountain in the background. When I stand in front of this landscape, I feel like it is not an existing space. It was a scene often seen in the media, but the real thing had a bigger impact than I imagined. This mountain is “Huayna Picchu”. It is not “Machu Picchu”.

One thing I did not expect was that there were so many people. When I take photos, people always appear in the scenery. Personally, I had the impression that it was a more isolated place with a limited number of visitors. Additionally, the walkways within the ruins were very well maintained, which was also different from what I had imagined.

For some reason, the sound of the Inca Empire intrigues me. This is because they had outstanding architectural technology and advanced astronomy. However, this empire flourished between year of 1200 and 1500, which is surprisingly recent. In Japan, it is from the Kamakura to the Muromachi period, so it may be similar to the feeling of visiting temples and shrines from this period.

Machu Picchu mountain

Personally, I do not have much interest in ruins, so my purpose was to see with my own eyes the places I see in the media. I took a 5-6 hour walk to Machu Picchu. I feel that the process of entering this place elevated the uniqueness of this place to a new level.

Nowadays, it is easier to go to famous sightseeing spots, but I think that emotion can be amplified by devising the process of getting there.

By the way, the tour guide was a quiet and kind man who symbolized a mountain man. She showed me a photo of a letter that said “I love you” written in Japanese, which he had probably received from a Japanese female participated onto tour, and asked me, “What does this say?”. Even from my point of view as a man, he was the kind of person I would fall in love with as a person of the same man, so I understand very well.

Lastly, I met and talked with a woman selling souvenirs in a plaza in Cusco, and she said, “Machu Picchu? I’ve never been there, because it is too expensive. It is a place where tourists go”, she said. Indeed, there seemed to be a large number of visitors from overseas to the ruins of Machu Picchu. Cultural heritage may be damaged or culture may change if more people than locals visit tourist spots. It makes me think about the pros and cons of this, but I feel that it is at least to have the etiquette for visitors to respect the locals.

Visited in 2019

Basic Information

​■ Name : Machu Picchu
■ Address : Machu Picchu, Peru
​■ Homepage :
■ Other
・There are two mountains in the ruins that you can climb. One is “Huayna Picchu” and another is “Machu Picchu”. In fact, the famous mountain you see in the photo is “Huayna Picchu”. “Machu Picchu” is the mountain at the back side in case standing at ruins and seeing “Machu Picchu” mountain in front. It is possible to climb both mountains, but reservations requires. “Huayna Picchu Mountain” is particularly popular, so it is necessary to reserve a tour well in advance and apply for the option.

Machu Picchu mountain trail

・At the foot of the Machu Picchu ruins, there is a town called Machu Picchu. This town is the starting point when heading to the ruins by bus. This town is a relaxing place with Japanese hot spring town-like atmosphere, lined with restaurants, hotels, and bars. I recommend staying here and wandering around.