Llamas Llamas Everywhere; Machu Picchu

Visiting Machu Picchu I had hoped to see some wildlife while walking the trail up to the Sun Gate.  I didn’t realize that Llamas were domestic when visiting the Machu Picchu site, so I was able to see plenty of Llamas. Not only did I see them I was able to pet a Llama!  Our guide told us the day before that the Llamas were used to keep the grass cut around the Machu Picchu area.  Tourists feed the Llamas chocolate, not good for them or us, so when they hear plastic crinkle they come running up to you.  They make funny little noises when you pet them and were very sweet.  One of my most enjoyable moments and a chance to take a break on climbing up to the Sun Gate

We had booked a trip through our local travel agent (Roseborough) link below to visit Lima, Sacred Valley and finishing in Cusco. I totally advise you to book through a travel agent, because they take care of all the necessary permits, paperwork needed to visit the restricted tourist areas now over run with way too many tourists. We decided to pay the extra to have a private guide (highly recommended)  Our guide took us through the over crowded Machu Picchu site the first day, took our photos and gave us a lot of history.  The second day we were able to visit the site on our own, with a lot of useful info from our guide the day before.   We decided to hike to the Sun Gate, the end of the four-day Inca trail that the younger folks take. Be prepared many older folks undertake the journey, few succeed with the limited time to make it all the way to the top.  With the over tourism at Machu Picchu our self guided tour limited us to only four hours.  Our guide on the previous day said the hike to Sun Gate takes approximately 2 hours total, that is the guideline for the young.


This is what part of the trail looks like, as you near the top the trail becomes more narrow and steeper.   As I was passing the young people, who were coming down from a four-day hike they told me “Good Job”, my significant other “Good Luck”.  He was struggling with the heat and humidity, and soaked with sweat once reaching the top.   We both made it to the top but a little drained.  Although we went in Sept. the end of Peru’s winter,  the morning venture was still very humid. Wanting to keep our journey light we only brought along one bottle of water each too!


After about two hours we both made it to the top.  Above picture, my significant other recovering from the uphill climb.   The feeling of accomplishment, view at the top were well worth the climb. We were able to appreciate how fit the Inca’s were building their empire and just everyday life.  Would we do the last part of the Inca trail again?  You Bet?  Would we attempt the four-day hike, camping and climbing in the high altitude?  We will leave that for the younger folks.


We did not make it up early enough to see the sunrise through the gates in the first picture like the Inca’s did, but the view was still amazing.   The second picture shows what Machu Picchu looks like from above, how far up our climb was.  In the picture you can see the switchback road the bus took on the climb up to Machu Picchu’s entrance.   A positive thing for making it later in the day our view below was not covered in morning mists and clouds.  Relaxing and smiling at the top are one of the requirements needed after making the climb to the top.  Some helpful hints and hindsight below.

  • Make sure you take enough water
  • Use the bathroom before going (women have to pay, men are free at the entrance gate)
  • Take protein snacks for energy
  • Bring a change of clothes or at least a clean shirt, be prepared to get dusty
  • Wear proper shoes or hiking boots, the stones on trail are sharp
  • If you are older allow enough time for the climb up and to relax at the top.
  • Remember the view from the top is worth the climb



Watch for more posts on our journey through Peru, another high-light of the trip was the foodie tour.   What is your favorite memory or trip?

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