Peru South America Travel Guides

Inca Trail: Day 4

Hiking to Machu Picchu on Day 4 of the Inca Trail

Today was the day, the last day of the Inca Trail. A bucket list item being crossed off. Knowing that we would see and experience Machu Picchu.

A 2:45am wake up call did dampen our spirits but as we drank tea, we gathered excitement. Along the Inca Trail, there is a campsite that everyone camps at before heading to Machu Picchu (about 500 people). Our guide made a point for us to be the first ones in line at the gate to enter the Machu Picchu area; hence our early morning.

The 5 of us headed towards the booth where they stamp your passport again (exiting the Inca Trail) and a gate that leads to the ruins. We arrive and 3:15am and are the first ones there! Then our guide informs us that the booth doesn’t open until 5:30am. So we got up and ready to wait for over 2 hours- talk about torture by excitement.

The line behind us starts to get longer and longer until people are laying/sitting everywhere. It felt good to be able to be the first ones into the park then.

5:30am rolls around and the person working the booth is late. They show up 10 minutes later to have forgotten their keys. Awesome.

Inca Trail Day 4 Machu Picchu

Waiting (impatiently) at the booth

Once we get through the gate- it is a full on sprint. It is an hour hike to the Sun Gate, which is where the first views of Machu Picchu are had. It is also the place that the sun shines through and hits Machu Picchu perfectly on the Summer and Winter solstices. Those two dates are the most important days in Inca culture which made standing in the Sun Gate even more special. I wish we would have been able to see that, but we were a 2 months early for the Summer solstice.

Inca Trail Day 4 Machu Picchu

Amazing stairs along the way

The hike from the campsite to the Sun Gate was rough because we essentially had to climb straight up again. Luckily our legs were used to this treatment. Below is a picture of the incline. Literal stairs.

Inca Trail Day 4 Machu Picchu

Quite the incline with Eddie waiting for us at the top

That morning, it was foggy. Most mornings are foggy because of the location (Amazon Basin). The picture below is from the Sun Gate facing towards Machu Picchu… Can’t see much. From the Sun Gate to Machu Picchu is another hour hike. Our pace really picked up at this point.

Inca Trail Day 4 Machu Picchu

The mist at the Sun Gate

Inca Trail Day 4 Machu Picchu

First sighting of Machu Picchu

Along the way, Eddie (our guide) tried to teach us things along the way- but the 4 of us were not having it and just wanted to arrive. Below is a picture of a sacrificial slab where the Incas would often sacrifice animals.

Inca Trail Day 4 Machu Picchu

Sacrificial slab

As we were approaching the final stretch, we begin to see tourists walking about. Here we are- looking ragged and carrying bags. In the elementary Spanish that I have, I heard one woman walk by us and say “Pobrecitos. Camino de Incas.” Which roughly translates to “Poor things, the Inca Trail.” Were we that obvious? 🙂


Finally. Machu Picchu. The clouds lifted and all was right with the world. 

Inca Trail Day 4 Machu Picchu

The perfect Machu Picchu

This was a honeymoon to remember. Tired, sore, and undoubtedly messy- we made it.. together. Such a good beginning to our marriage. Machu Picchu shook me to my core and it was experienced with my soulmate.

This is the face of a #1 dream being realized.

Inca Trail Day 4 Machu Picchu


Inca Trail Day 4 Machu Picchu

More Machu Picchu

Inca Trail Day 4 Machu Picchu

Too excited in the mountains

Inca Trail Day 4 Machu Picchu

Llamas were a highlight

Inca Trail Day 4 Machu Picchu

Machu Picchu in its glory

Inca Trail Day 4 Machu Picchu

The mighty Andes

There are many more Machu Picchu pictures and stories to be featured in another post. Stay Tuned!



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  • Reply
    The Liebster Award! – The Passport Pair
    November 23, 2016 at 5:50 am

    […] more special. We don’t think that we would have appreciated the history and the gravity of Machu Picchu without seeing everything along the trail. To fully get the experience, one needs to hike the Inca […]

  • Reply
    January 19, 2017 at 12:14 am

    Hey Leeann! I loved reading your posts about your experience on the Inca Trail! I’m actually heading there to do the same hike the beginning of April. I was just wondering if you did any sort of training before you went? And how heavy your pack was? If you can’t tell I’m quite freaked out by the whole thing (especially altitude!). Thanks so much!

    • Reply
      The Passport Pair
      January 19, 2017 at 12:18 am

      Hi Amylee,

      I’m so glad you liked it! To be honest, the hike was quite grueling, but with appropriate preparation and giving yourself enough time to acclimate to the altitude you should be fine.

      Our biggest mistake was only spending 12 hours at altitude prior to starting the hike. I would recommend at least 2 days in Cusco before you begin.

      Hit the stair stepper at the gym and do some cardio as well. That will help a lot.

      My pack was about 10 lbs, but because of the constant stairs up and downhill, it made it seem much heavier.

      Let me know if you have any other questions!

      The Passport Pair

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