|Subject: Macchu Picchu|
We stayed at the hotel that is actually at Macchu Picchu. At the time, we were told that the only way you could reenter the ruins at night, after closing, was by paying an extra fee on entering and by being a guest of that hotel. I was there in October, 1997. It was an incredible experience. During the day, the place was crawling with people. That night it was perfectly quiet and, fortunately, perfectly clear. Only about ten people went back with us. Because it is dark (DUH!) we were not comfortable climbing much, but we still were able to go far enough to see the entry levels.
As far as visiting Macchu Picchu, I hope you will have more than the day that many people have arriving by train from Cuzco and returning the same day. It is too vast and interesting to see in just a few hours. Although the altitude is lower than Cuzco, I am pretty sure that parts of it are as high as 9000 feet. We did not suffer the shortness of breath that we did at 12,000 feet, but we did suffer muscle fatigue that I think was related to lower oxygen level in the blood. My point is that it takes longer to get around than it would closer to sea level. There are many different levels. The view you see in most photographs is, of course, from one of the highest levels. Also, we did not hike in, but it is possible to hike up to the gate that marks the entrance from the Inca trail. It was amazing to see people actually arriving that way with their backpacks.
I know I just saw an article about Macchu Picchu in some magazine I subscribe to. I will find out which one and let you know.
Feel free to ask if you have any questions. Lisa in Chicago