Machu Picchu

The rumor is that it is very hard to take a bad photo in Machu Picchu. Personally, I think the very best photos are the ones without tourists! By staying overnight at the Sanctuary Lodge, we were able to be the last ones out in the evening and the first ones in in the morning and take advantage of the lighting. Over 1000 of our photos were from Machu Picchu ... the opportunities were endless:

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We hiked to Intipunku, the Sun Gate, where we had hazy views of the Citadel, Una Picchu and Waynapicchu:

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Very few tourists remained in the late afternoon and the Llamas were out at the Caretaker's House:

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Mark purchased the night time entrance ticket. Only 12 people were on site and the other 11 were doing some kind of sacred ceremony so Mark had most of the site to himself:

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We were some of the very first people on the site in the morning. In the first hour, dozens of photographers arrived to stake out their special spots.

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We took a morning hike up Waynapicchu to see the buildings at the top and the view. The hike begins with a narrow path with sheer drops on either side in the saddle between Unapicchu and Waynapicchu. There are ropes and cables to help in the steeper switchbacks. The view from the top is spectacular; the last picture has captions that identify locations.

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Our last views of Machu Picchu included the Llama's in the central plaza and on the agricultural terraces:

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Was our night at the Sanctuary Lodge worth it? Absolutely! The lodge is just outside the main gate and you can go back and forth as much as you want. In the middle of the day, when the site was filled with one-day visitors, we took respite at the lodge and did not feel frantic about squeezing every last minute out of our visit. The food was top rate both in the lunch buffet and in the breakfast/dinner restaurant.