In August 2022, Earth’s Edge content creator Arianna took part in our Machu Picchu expedition. In her Machu Picchu Diaries series, she recounts her time in Peru in amazing detail, telling you everything you could possibly want to know about journeying to the ancient Inca city.
This week on the Machu Picchu Diaries, the group finally reaches Machu Picchu, and Arianna reflects on the truly incredible experience overall.
The Majestic Machu Picchu
Day 12: The morning sun rose early, as did we, eager to catch the bus to Machu Picchu. Setting foot in this remote and historically rich location felt surreal – to be walking around in a place so remote and steeped in the mysteries of the past. It was a truly special experience. Under the watchful eye of William, our knowledgeable tour guide, we explored the various buildings that comprise Machu Picchu. The remarkable stone masonry left us in awe, a testament to the enduring strength of these ancient structures. Our journey through the site included a visit to the Temple of the Condor, featuring a massive stone carving resembling this species of vulture, a creature of immense importance to the Incans, as it symbolises the heavens and spirituality.
The precision of the stone masonry, the intricacy of the terraces, and the architectural brilliance of the temples and buildings were a testament to the ingenuity of a bygone era. The panoramic views from Machu Picchu are nothing short of breathtaking. With each step you take, a new vista unfolds before you – the sweeping Urubamba River below, the lush Andean valleys, and the dramatic peaks of Huayna Picchu and Machu Picchu Mountain in the distance.
But it’s not just the physical beauty of Machu Picchu that makes it so remarkable. It’s the intangible sense of spirituality and connection to the past that permeates the air. The Incas believed that this site was a sacred place, a connection between the earthly realm and the heavens above. Standing in the heart of Machu Picchu, you can’t help but feel a profound sense of reverence and wonder.
The site was awe-inspiring, a testament to human ingenuity. Witnessing Machu Picchu in person is one such extraordinary experience that has the power to captivate and inspire beyond words.
After our tour of the site, we began our ascent of Machu Picchu Mountain. We climbed up steep slabs of stone overlooking the Machu Picchu site as we ascended. The heights were at times dizzying as the drop below us was steep, forcing you to be mindful of where you stepped. As we reached the summit, the narrower path rewarded us with panoramic views of the surrounding mountains and the historical marvel below.
Upon our descent and return to Aguas Calientes via bus, we took some well-deserved rest, indulged in some shopping, and shared a memorable meal together at a local restaurant. Our culinary adventure even led us to try alpaca pizza, a truly unique experience!
Back to Cusco and Homeward Bound
Day 13: Unfortunately, our plans to take the train were thwarted as a strike disrupted the rail services. Instead, we retraced our steps along the train tracks, fuelled by a playlist full of ABBA classics blaring from a small speaker. We eventually reached the bus that would transport us back to Cusco and, upon our return, celebrated with a meal at the splendid steakhouse, Pachapapa, where the city’s exceptional food continued to delight us. Live music and reminiscing about our trekking days added to the festivities.
Day 14: Our final day in Cusco was a leisurely affair, as we savoured, for the final time, the sights and sounds of Peruvian life. The evening brought cocktails at a bar overlooking the city lights. We enthusiastically embraced karaoke, showcasing everyone’s beautiful singing voices and creating cherished memories. We chose to spend this day resting, but the option to take a day tour to the fascinating Rainbow Mountain, or Vinicunca, is available – it’s truly a sight that needs to be witnessed in person!
Days 15 & 16: Our journey back home began, this time in the company of friends rather than strangers. The layover in Amsterdam replaced the familiar stopover in Paris, making the return journey a bit more exciting.
Reflections on Journeying to machu picchu
Peru holds a special place in my heart, and I would return without hesitation. The vibrancy and colours of this country, the delectable cuisine, and the sheer variety of experiences make it an unforgettable destination. Wandering through Cusco’s winding cobbled streets, indulging in artisanal restaurants, and exploring boutiques with unique offerings ensure that boredom remains a distant concept.
This trip is a true cultural immersion, offering not only a glimpse of the beautiful city of Cusco, but also an opportunity to delve into traditional Peruvian cuisine, partake in the art of crafting Peruvian coffee, soak in natural hot springs, and marvel at two of the Inca’s most magnificent architectural creations. Not to mention getting to experience the beautiful wilderness of the Andean landscape!
I can’t praise our guides Edgar and William enough for their knowledge of the trails, mountains, and plants we passed by each day. They couldn’t have been more helpful, anticipating our needs before we did, greatly enhancing our trekking experience.
Our group created friendships and bonds that to this day still thrive. We laughed, we cried and supported each other every step of the way, making it a very special expedition for all of us. We were a diverse group of individuals from different backgrounds, brought together by a shared desire for adventure and exploration. We learned about each other’s achievements, fears, and aspirations. We celebrated birthdays and milestones together, creating special memories that will forever bind us.
Our shared experiences, both joyful and challenging, united us in a profound way. This truly was an incredible trip and one I will never forget!
If you’re seeking adventure, culture, and natural beauty, consider embarking on your own journey to Machu Picchu with Earth’s Edge. The breathtaking landscapes and rich history of Peru await, promising the experience of a lifetime.
If you’ve been inspired by Arianna’s Machu Picchu Diaries, why not have your very own Peruvian adventure? Visit our Machu Picchu expedition page here to book!