The country is big, the mountains are massive, and so is the number of tourists. But Machu Picchu, Peru’s largest and most important temple and Inca ruins, is one place where trying to conquer the vast site by yourself is rarely possible.
From around 2000, tourists have been allowed to hike to the ruins, but it isn’t possible to be there without hiring guides to teach them about the proper etiquette for both navigating the site and enjoying the panoramic views from the base.
Now, a Japanese man has conquered Machu Picchu, all by himself.
Akoshi Saito, 29, traveled from Ueno, Tokyo, to the Peruvian ruins with four friends. Five months after he started planning his trip, Saito hit Peru and prepared for the 20-day trip in late July.
Saito made his first attempt at Machu Picchu on Oct. 4, and while he didn’t pass through the Catacombs and Queen Maia’s chambers, he was able to obtain passes to explore the more unique corners of the site. During his time with the guides, Saito found seven equally cool spots in which to relax.
Peru is known as a place where ancient culture and society — along with centuries of farming, ranching and log-fishing — is celebrated. The massive Andean cities are littered with relics of the past and the government has a whole section dedicated to promoting culture and preserving the area’s unique ancient history.
On his last full day in Peru, Saito said he arrived at Machu Picchu on the Peasants’ Way. He began his exploration of the ruins by walking from the main square, Quinta de Terre, over a gondola with access to the Quinaculture and Plaza de Armas.
Saito, a keen traveler, has a long list of other places that he hopes to visit and continues to look for different adventures. Although he said he had fun while visiting Peru, Saito hopes to continue exploring foreign lands.
“My hope is to experience different cultures and traditions. This is the best way to connect with different people,” he said.