Peru 2018: Machu Picchu

Day 6:

Machu Picchu; the sacred place of Peru where 5,000 people visit per day. No visit to Peru is complete without Machu Picchu. It’s probably the most important archaeological site in Latin America, built in the 1400s.

If you’re in Cusco like I was, then your Machu Picchu day tour will start at 3:30am. The most important thing to bring is your passport; you cannot enter Machu Picchu without it. It is about a 2 hour drive to Ollantaytambo train station. The train ride from Ollantaytambo to Aguas Calientes town is quite scenic beside the Urubamba river surrounded by the mountains. If you’re not half asleep, look outside your window (on the left side where the river is).

DSCF5478DSCF5480

This train ride is also about 2 hours. Then after all that, you’re finally at the last stop; Aguas Calientes town.

DSCF5468DSCF5469

From here, follow the crowd to the buses which transport you to uphill to the Machu Picchu entrance. A lot of transportation right. This is the bus ride that will give you you’re first glimpse of Machu Picchu. That image that you’ve seen in all the photos. Boom, you’re actually going to stand there with llamas. But, not without effort, there are big stone steps everywhere. Be prepared to climb stairs, lots of big stairs. Machu Picchu is bigger than I thought it would be. And also, it is a perfect place for photos with all the green hills in the background.

DSCF5355DSCF5348DSCF5337DSCF5367DSCF5357DSCF5380DSCF5370DSCF5402DSCF5412DSCF5369DSCF5410DSCF5383DSCF5381

The ruins themselves are really nice too.

DSCF5392DSCF5400DSCF5390

And let’s not forget the llamas.

DSCF5457DSCF5351DSCF5352DSCF5353DSCF5445DSCF5446DSCF5451DSCF5455DSCF5458

If you were one of the lucky ones to book months in advance, then you can go to the top of Huaynapichu; the small mountain in the background of the typical Machu Picchu photos. Only 400 people are allowed per day. As an alternative, you can climb the much higher Machu Pichu mountain. If you’re looking for the Huaynapichu description, then this post isn’t for you. I tried to reserve it, but 2 months in advance was still not good enough. So after my walk around the ruins, I proceeded to summit Machu Picchu mountain. Its pretty much the monster moutain when you turn your body 180 degrees from Huaynapichu.

DSCF5396

My legs never get a break. I took my time going up the endless stone steps to the top; about an hour or so. There are several viewpoints along the way. Make sure to bring enough water since it gets really hot.

DSCF5443

Once you’re at the top, you’re so high that the ruins look like a spec within the vast green hilly landscape.

DSCF5419DSCF5422DSCF5423DSCF5427DSCF5429

Descending this mountain is tough because the steps are really steep. Just take it easy on your knees.

Once you’re ready to go, keep in mind that 1000s of people will be taking the bus back down to Aguas Calientes. Get ready to wait in line for at least 30 minutes. Before you leave, make sure to put that Machu Picchu stamp on your passport right at the entrance/exit. You’ll be hungry after all those steps in the sun and Aguas Calientes has enough restaurants to serve 1000s. I walked for a few minutes until I saw the word ‘buffet’, and that is where I stuffed my face. As before, its 4 hours to Cusco. Enjoy the scenic train ride back and eat dinner a good dinner at Cusco.