Wiñaywayna is a very impressive archeological site, partly because of its breathtaking setting. Its name means "ever young" and is used for a local flower as well. We were unable to spend too much time there looking around, mainly due to Kathy's not being able to keep up a very good pace on the steep climb leading to it. There was a deadline we were dealing with because we had to enter the Machu Picchu reserve gate by 2:30—evidence of the tight regulations maintained for the Trail and Machu Picchu. But even a short stay was enough to see some amazing scenery, as these two photos attest:
We also had time to eat a welcome lunch (that our tour operator in Cusco had packed for us and that Hernán carried up for us), catch our breath, and recover from the strenuous climb, as well as take a brief look at the beautiful site. Here is the sign telling us we were almost there, and a shot of our weary but happy group at the Wiñaywayna hostel. Notice the different spelling of Wiñaywayna; you often find w's and h's interchanged in indigenous place names in Perú. I arbitrarily picked the Wiñaywayna spelling on the Inka Trail map we were given in Cusco.
The buildings of Wiñaywayna were the most beautiful and well-preserved that we had seen to this point.
One of the most impressive elements are the terraces, but the way the buildings fit with them is also quite lovely.
Our knowledgeable guide did have time to give us some history lessons at Wiñaywayna:
Here are three more photos of this site, to this point our favorite archeological area.
And two more...
Here is the trail leading away from Wiñaywayna's terraces, heading toward the entrance to the Machu Picchu reserve, that we just barely made by the cutoff time. Here you can see Hernán taking care of our paperwork at the gate.
Although we were loathe to leave Wiñaywayna after such a brief visit, we knew we had even greater sights awaiting us. And we found that before we even got to Machu Picchu we saw some of the best scenery on the trail. You can see it, too, on this page which takes you to the next section of our hike.
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All photos, unless otherwise credited, are © by Henry J. Amen III. Please do not use without permission