Day four had a very short hike from the Hostel to Machu Picchu. It was only a level or downhill 2 hour hike through the jungle to cover the last 8 km to reach the ruins of IntiPuncu -- the last ruins before Machu Picchu. IntiPuncu is called the Gateway to the Sun, because it is located in a notch in a ridgeline which allows the first morning light stream into Machu Picchu. It is from here we had our first look to the ruins of Machu Picchu.
Sunrise at the "Gateway to the Sun" - Inca Trail Hikers get their first view of Machu Picchu at Intipuncu
It was a short one hour hike down to the ruins of Machu Picchu, with the view improving at every turn. We reached the entrance around 9 AM. At the entrance, we submitted our admittance passes ($17 US), signed in, and were required to check our backpacks. We still could take day packs into the site. We had a tour of the site which lasted an hour and a half. Our guide told us that Machu Picchu was 80% original and 20% reconstructed. All structures were constructed from white granite rock found on the mountain.
After the tour, we were free to wander, ponder and explore the ruins on our own for the rest of the day. Below are some photos from that fine sunny day, high in the Andes Mountains.
Our group's meeting place was.3 pm in Agua Calientes (at the base of the mountain next to the river). The 3 brazilanos and I walked down the hiking trail rather than taking the winding tour bus, with its 17 switchbacks.
View of the lower section of the Central Plaza
View of the Agricultural Sector's terraces
Temple of the 3 Windows
Machu Picchu's year-round residents
The author poses for that classic shot
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