After three long, yet unforgettable days of trekking through the isolated and beautiful Lares Valley, and one somewhat unrestful sleep in some backwater hostel Aguas Calientes, we finally reached our destination and perhaps the highlight of our South American trip – Machu Picchu (rightfully considered one of the must-see wonders of the world). We arrived early in the morning, taking the bus from Aguas Calientes at 5:30am – thankfully we opted for the bus option, as opposed to walking up the mountain – I didn’t realise that Machu Picchu was situated 2,500 metres above sea level and a 500m uphill from Aguas Calientes! So I’m glad we decide to take the bus. We arrived at the site just after 6am, making us one of the first few people through the gates that day, and were lucky enough to experience Machu Picchu without the onslaught of the thousands upon thousands of tourists who visit each day.
Located at the top of a mountain and surrounded by tropical jungle, it’s not difficult to see how this city was ‘lost’ for so many hundreds of years. There is still much historical debate on what the site was utilised for, was it a sacred religious site, the estate of an Inca emperor, a prison, an agricultural testing ground, as well as other plausible and contestable theories. Although we may never know was it’s intended purpose was, we are still able to marvel at it’s beauty, be in awe of its grandeur and scale, and take in its serene and calming atmosphere while inhaling the refreshing Andean air.
Words & Photography by Jade Spadina