The day reserved for Machu Picchu began in Ollantaytambo, a small village in the Andes. The group did a walking tour of the city and learned about the Incan canals built 600 years ago along its primary streets to offer sanitation to its residents. Glacial streams still feed these canals today with fresh water that runs continuously through the village.
We reached Machu Picchu by midafternoon, after a train ride from Ollantaytambo to the city of the same name. From the city, a coach ride up the mountain led us to the citadel itself, where our group had a couple of hours to walk the grounds.
The “lost city of the Incas” is one of the world’s most acclaimed heritage sites and was discovered by American explorer Hiram Bingham in 1911.
The following day, we made our way back to Cusco and were joined by dozens of local volunteers in working to restore the Mercado Central de San Pedro marketplace in the city center. Various work teams cleaned and painted park benches, street lights, structural walls, kiosks and other features of this busy site.