Before we left Toronto Danny and I debated whether or not to do the Inca trail hike. After much thought, we decided that the hike would not make sense for us since we would have to book permits months in advance and we had no fixed travel schedule and didn't want to commit to any dates. I was a little worried that Machu Picchu would be not 'as great', seeing as how hiking the Inca trail is basically synonymous with seeing Machu Picchu. But I can say now, even without doing the hike, Machu Picchu was still pretty spectacular!
We took the train to Aguas Caliente the night before. The morning of, we woke up to huge fog cover which eventually turned into rain. Oh no, this was definitely not how I envisioned it. I will admit, I was slightly disappointed (ok a lot disappointed) but hey what can you do...after all, it IS the wet season.
We eventually met up with Danny's tour guide from his trek on the Inca Trail a few years ago. Jose, who started his own tour company Cusi Travel earlier in 2012, was finishing the Lares Hike that day with his group. By the way, for those of you who are reading this, if you're looking for an awesome guide for Machu Picchu and some of the adjacent hikes who is fluent in Spanish, Quechua, and English, Jose is the man! Danny and I both highly recommend Cusi Travel! Jose is native Quechua, and hence very knowledgeable about Machu Picchu and the Quechua culture. For more info, check out his website: http://cusitravel.com/
We did a walk around the site - the fog was so thick we couldn't really see anything. We decided to walk to the Sun Gate to wait out the fog, but nope the weather didn't clear up. Undeterred we walked back down and found a spot overlooking Machu Picchu to have lunch in hopes that the sky would clear...and so we waited...
And sure enough, the sun eventually broke through the clouds! The next couple of hours were spent taking a gazillion shots of Machu Picchu at every possible angle haha.
Perurail and snacks
Broken window caused by falling rocks during our ride! I guess taking the train can also be quite the adventure haha!
Train delay due to fallen tree ahead
...and finally, Machu Picchu (not quite the way I envisioned it haha)
but patience...the sun finally came out!!
Danny was determined to see a llama and would not leave until we found one haha
For the record, the matching Peruvian beanies was Danny's idea haha :P