Machu Picchu – May 24th to 26th
One of the Seven Wonders of the World & a UNESCO site, Machu Picchu, is truly one of the most magnificent things we’ve seen on this trip. Machu Picchu means “Old Mountain” and it was used as a sanctuary and resort for the Inca leader. Appropriately, we stayed in the Belmont Sanctuary Lodge which is just steps from the entrance to Machu Picchu. We would highly recommend staying there – the best location, wonderful service and food. It was nice to have several days to go in and out of the archeological site.
Our first morning we were excited to meet up with our hikers, who got up at the crack of dawn to come through Sun Gate and come down to the entrance. We all went back in together with their guide, Evert, to explore and learn more about Machu Picchu. We walked around for a few hours before heading back to the lodge so our weary hikers could take a break, clean up and eat lunch.
The site was open until 5:30pm and since we were staying at the resort we decided to come back into the complex later in the day to take advantage of less crowds. I really liked going back in to explore on our own without as many people. We stayed to the very end closing time and got a lot of great photos.
The next day we returned to the site with another guide and worked our way over the the Inca Bridge. This is a little off the regular path so it wasn’t as crowded, which is nice. The bridge is no longer open for people to cross but it had some good views and you could see how quickly nature would take over a path.
For our return trip to Cusco we booked tickets on the Hiram Bingham Train. A classic historical train from the 1930’s with white glove service and dinner. It was a cool way to come back but because it was at night the hikers missed the rivers views that we had on the way up in the Vistadome train. That was okay because the train itself was an experience with the bar car and music, etc.
We had one night back in Cusco at the 5 star Belmont Montessori Hotel. Not really enough time to enjoy it but still nice. The next day our extended group split apart with transfers back to the states for Tim and Ben, and a long bus ride for the intrepid 6 (Dora, Rocco, Haven, Ed, Heather & Madeline) as we made our way to Puno and Lake Titikaka!