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Hikes from Machu Picchu
Hikes from Machu Picchu Review
If you come by train, you can take a 45-minute walk on a gentle arc leading uphill to the southeast of the main complex. Intipunku, the sun gate, is a small ruin in a nearby pass. This small ancient checkpoint is where you'll find that classic view that Inca Trail hikers emerge upon. The walk along the way yields some interesting and slightly different angles as well. Some minor ancient outbuildings along the path occasionally host grazing llamas. A two- or three-hour hike beyond the Intipunku along the Inca Trail brings you to the ruins of Huiñay Huayna, a terrace complex that climbs a steep mountain slope and includes a set of ritual baths.
Built rock by rock up a hair-raising stone escarpment, the Inca Bridge is yet another example of Inca engineering ingenuity. From the cemetery at Machu Picchu, it's a 30-minute walk along a narrow path.
The Huayna Picchu trail, which follows an ancient Inca path, leads up the famous sugarloaf hill in front of Machu Picchu for an exhilarating trek. Limited to 400 visitors daily at two entrance times (7-8 am and 10-11 am), tickets must be purchased at the same time as your entrance tickets for Machu Picchu (combined price S/152, S/128 for Machu Picchu plus the S/24 for Huayna Picchu). The arduous, vertiginous hike up a steep, narrow set of Inca-carved steps to the summit and back takes between two and three hours round-trip. Bring insect repellent; the gnats can be ferocious. An alternate route down from Huayna Picchu (at least 1½ hours to 2 hours down and back over to Machu Picchu) takes you to the Temple of the Moon/Great Cave (Templo de la Luna/Gran Caverna). It's not an easy venture, but well worth the opportunity to be in nature without the crowds. Give yourself 5 hours for the whole route.
Hiking up Machu Picchu mountain is another possibility. Tickets for this must also be purchased at the same time as the entrance to the site itself (combined price S/142). Entrance is allowed between 7 am and 11 am.
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