Once you have had an opportunity to explore the citadel with your guide, you probably will be considering some of the incredible stories that you just heard. Because there is the absence of any writings during the Inca period, historians have been challenged with what really happened in this beautiful spot. Some guides are known to fill in the blanks by offering their own fantastic interpretations, sometimes without any real basis. While there are parts of the Inca history that are well-documented, and guides are trained to present certain uniform information to their clients, you can be sure that at least some of the information will be accurate. However, it is preferable to have a Machupicchu guide who can offer you well-reasoned, thoughtful interpretations of Incan history, so that you can decide for yourself which makes more sense to you.
After your Machupicchu tour, you will have plenty of time to go on a serious hike in the area. There are four hikes available. Two of them do not require a reservation or extra payment, the other two involve planning. As described below, all of them are interesting hikes.
Intipunko, the Sun Gate in Quechua, is an hour walk that involves a 1000 feet elevation gain, through a wide stone path that’s rolling in the hill side while traversing a stunning cloud forest.
The Bridge is another extraordinary example of the Incan’s ingenious building skill. This trail leads to the west, where you will have a close view of the Bridge but won´t be able to cross it for security reasons. The sheer cliff trail and the opening, where there used to be a wooden bridge, is an impressive site. The 25-minute hike, with its narrow passages, will give you a thrill.
Huayna Picchu Mountain
The Huayna Picchu hike must be booked in advance as there are only 400 tickets available per day at 7 and 10 am. This hike is steep and challenging and well worth the one to two-hour effort. The views of Machupicchu from the top of the mountain are breathtaking and unmatched.
This hike, which also must be booked in advance, is even more challenging than Huayna Picchu. It is a 2,000 feet elevation, and on a clear day will allow you to look down on Machupicchu and see Salcantay, a sacred peak known as the mountain protector, or the Angel of the Andes. Legend has it that the very path up Machupicchu Mountain was constructed for the Incans to see Salcantay. See it for yourself!