Machu Picchu has been a dream of mine ever since I was a little girl. Well, finally a month ago, the timing was right and I was ready for my long awaited journey to the Land of the Incas!
In addition to exploring the citadel during the day, I had decided years ago that sun rise over Machu Picchu was a must. What I learned in my research was that since the park opens at 6am, there are three ways to experience sunrise at this magical place on earth:
- One is to hike the Inca Trail and arrive prior to 6am. There are packages for hiking the entire Inca Trail for 4 days or part of the Trail for less time. Friends of mine have done this and loved it even though it was difficult at times. This was out for me since I’ve had 6 knee surgeries with lots of years of physical therapy!
- Take the first bus from Aguas Calientes and arrive at 5:40am after a 25 minute ride up the windy road to this historical site.
- Reserve a room at the Sanctuary Lodge Hotel which is the only hotel located adjacent to the ancient citadel. We decided to splurge and stay at this hotel with a total of 29 rooms just steps from Machu Picchu!
It was truly an amazing experience staying at Sanctuary Lodge Hotel. After our tour of the citadel during the day, we walked through the garden and then enjoyed a soak in the outdoor hot tub gazing at Machu Picchu. After relaxing in our outdoor chaise lounges, I had a delicious gluten free and allergy free dinner at the Tampu Restaurant at the hotel. Although the awareness of gluten free diets and food allergies was high with the restaurant staff, I still used my Spanish gluten free cards combined with the phrases from the Spanish allergy free cards to communicate my dietary requirements. My friends loved their meals too!
The next morning, after getting in line at the park entrance behind 14 hikers from the Inca Trail, the gates opened promptly at 6am. Taking the main path rather than climbing up as high as possible, we were able to see Machu Picchu as shown above without any people! A short time later, baby and mama llama even came to visit! Then I went back to the Tampu Restaurant for a delicious gluten free and dairy free breakfast with my friends!
Temperatures in early July are 35 – 40 degrees Fahrenheit at night and 70 during the day so be sure to dress in layers!
Life is truly incredible standing at the Temple of the Sun watching the rays of the sun come up over the mountain in front of you. One of the most magical days of my life!
Regardless of which option you choose, I hope you enjoy sunrise and this historical site of the Inca Empire sometime very soon – visit UNESCO World Heritage Center for more information.
Share with us your adventures at Machu Picchu!