When the Spanish invaded in the 1500’s, they tried to find all of the secret Inca towns and cities in the jungle and in the mountains. The Inca people tried hard to defend these places because they didn’t want fighting and they didn’t want to change the way they lived.
They weren’t too successful, but one extremely important Inca city managed to stay a secret. It wasn’t until 1911 when an American explorer called Hiram Bingham heard a rumour about a secret city and he finally found Machu Picchu. It is one of the biggest and most well hidden old cities, found in the middle of a valley between many tall mountains.
Only very important Inca people used to walk from Cusco to Machu Picchu and they used to walk along one very special route called the Sacred Inca Trail. The important people would be people like priests or priestesses, Inca royalty or wise teachers and leaders.
Luke and I decided we wanted to know what if feels like to be a special Inca person so we made the four day trek to Machu Picchu along the Sacred Inca Trail. Only 50 people a day are allowed to begin the Sacred Inca Trail, as Peru wants it to remain special. It takes four days to walk to Machu Picchu along the sacred trail. We were in a group with 13 other people, as well as our guides Percy and Ernesto. Percy and Ernesto love the history of Peru and the Incas, and they both still believe what the Incas used to believe – that nature is the most important thing in the world. There was lots of nature to see along the way.
We had to camp in tents at night time along the way. We had to wash in a river and we had to carry lots of our camping equipment on our backs.
It was EXTREMELY hard work! I like to think I do lots of exercise and stay active and healthy. But I was so exhausted and my legs were hurting and aching every day.
We walked up and down three tall mountains, the tallest was 4200m high. The Sacred Inca Trail is not a straight line though, and on the second and third day there were thousands of steps that the Incas had built to make the walk easier. Well, honestly, there was nothing easy about it. We walked through the rainforest, along the Urubamba river, and even through a cloud forest.
Although it was tough, it was such an incredible experience. Percy and Ernesto taught us lots about the Incas and helped us to learn more about nature. We spotted lots of wild llamas and alpacas, spiders and hummingbirds. I am so excited to tell you all, especially year 6, that I saw a toucan!! I couldn’t believe it! I was so busy smiling (and almost crying happy tears) that I didn’t manage to get a picture. But the black feathers and bright beak were unmissable. We were all so delighted to see such a special rainforest bird.
On the fourth morning we had to wake up at 3.30am to walk until 5.30am to get to a place called the sun gate in time for sunrise. This is where you can see the sun rise up and light up the beautiful secret city. Check out our view!
Yes, what a shame. It was very misty and cloudy and slightly raining. All of that walking to find this! I was devastated. We walked to the main entrance where they have built real toilets and some of my devastation disappeared as it had been four days since I had used a real toilet. Luckily, by the time we had all excitedly used the nice toilets, the clouds slowly started to drift away.
Here is the view of the whole secret ruined city. What a sight!
Percy walked us around the city showing us the different parts. There were four temples near each other called the temple of wind, the sun temple, the temple of the earth, and the water temple. These four natural elements were very important to the Incas. As you can see from the pictures, many mountains (or guardians) surround the sacred city. One of them is called Happy Mountain. I like that one the most.
There were also a few wild llamas roaming through the city. One of them even managed to photobomb us!
The Sacred Inca Trail and Machu Picchu was one of the most special adventures I have ever been on. I will always have so many wonderful memories of walking the special trail that many Incas walked years before me, as well as memories of the clouds lifting to reveal the beautiful secret city that Peru and the guardians managed to protect for so many years. If you choose to travel to South America in your life, I seriously recommend you take the trek and see Machu Picchu. I know that there is at least one other teacher at St Columba who has also been here… Can you find out who?