This picture basically sums up my life from ages 26 to 33. I used to just trot around wearing exactly the clothes you see on my back in that photo, with nothing else with me but that little black satchel I’m carrying. Good times.
In this picture I’m sitting at the Intipunku entryway to Machu Picchu. This is where the Inca trail ends. To get there, go to the main entryway of Machu Picchu and take a left (hike up the hill…there’s only one road).
It’s because of places like this Intipunku gate that it takes forever to see Machu Picchu. It’s probably…oh I don’t know…an hour, hour and a half walk from the entry to the place. I think a lot of people come to Machu Picchu and they have the idea that they’re there to see the ruins and do nothing else. Well, sure! Spend four or five hours in the ruins, but when you get tired of that, just go hiking around for the love of God! It’s awesome to just be hanging out in the Peruvian jungle.
From Intipunku (makes me think of Aston Kutcher for some reason) you get a pretty spectacular view of Machu Picchu. Intipunku also has the added advantage that you don’t have to go through a little control check gate and sign your name (I’m always leery about giving anyone my true name). You can just hike up there and be left alone (don’t recommend doing this though!).
As I say in my expert itenerary, plan at least two days for Machu Picchu and spend your time checking out things like Intipunku. It’s awesome.