My Adventure to Machu Picchu
Machu Picchu is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and known as “The Lost City of the Incas”. The ancient Incan city sits at 8,000ft above sea level and was never discovered by the Spanish conquistadors when they came to Peru. This incredible site is a must-see when traveling throughout Peru.
*Purchase ALL tickets(except for bus to Machu Picchu) in advance*
*Bring your Passport*
*Cover up by wearing a long sleeve and pants. There are sandfly insects flying around and you won’t feel them biting you. When we returned to the hostel, our friend was covered in insect bites*
Video of Machu Picchu > https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ztiA6zswMKA&t=13s
How do you get to Machu Picchu? There are 3 steps to follow:
Getting to Cusco, Altitude Sickness, & Where to Stay
Getting to Cusco:
You’ll need to catch a flight from Lima in order to get to Cusco. You can also take the bus, but if you’re on a tight schedule, flying is the best option. I was in Iquitos when I decided to check out Machu Picchu. I booked a one-way flight to Lima,($115 USD) via Avianca. I then booked a round-trip ticket to Cusco because I was planning on spending some time in Lima afterwards. LC Peru had a great special at the time and my flight was only $70 USD.
Once you land in Cusco, you will encounter some altitude sickness due to its elevation - sits at 11,000ft. I had it pretty bad and felt it as soon as we landed. There are two ways to fight it, Soroche Pills and Coca Tea. Soroche is made up of aspirin and caffeine - it didn’t work for me. Coca tea is a herbal tea made up of raw and dried leaves from the coca plant. I know what you’re thinking, but having a cup is not doing cocaine. The dose is very little and the stimulants help fight off altitude sickness. Most hotels and hostels have it available 24/7.
Where to Stay:
I was in Cusco for 2 nights before heading to Machu Picchu. It’s a great city to explore and the nightlife is pretty good. I recommend you stay at the Pariwana Hostel, under $12 USD/night. It features a giant courtyard with ping-pong tables and bean bags spread out, a lively bar with happy hour specials and drinking games, a restaurant serving International and Peruvian dishes, and train/airport transportation is available. Check them out!
Getting to Aguas Calientes from Poroy and Where to Stay
Getting to Aguas Calientes from Poroy:
Trains to Aguas Calientes are very expensive. You can also hike(Inca Train, 3-4 days I believe), but I ended up taking the train. I purchased a round-trip ticket through IncaRail and came out to $158, $73 there and $85 back. It can either come out to be cheaper or more expensive than $158 depending on what time you want to leave and how in advance you purchase your tickets. The train station is located in Poroy, a small village located 20-25 minutes from Cusco. I was with a group of 5 people and our hostel coordinated the taxi for us and the cost was 40 Soles($12.30 USD). The train from Poroy to Aguas Calientes is about 3.5 hours.
Where to Stay:
It’s highly recommended you spend a night in Aguas Calientes(which we did) in order to experience Machu Picchu to its full extent. It’s a very small town at the bottom of the valley that’s walkable and only caters to tourists. That being said, it’s basically a tourist trap. Restaurants and gift shops have their prices through the roof and touts are out in full force. I stayed at the SuperTramp Hostel, under $12 USD/night and a 2 minute walk to the train station. It features a rooftop bar with board games available and its wall murals are awesome to check out.
Tickets, Bus/Walk to Machu Picchu & Machu Picchu Ruins
Purchase tickets only through here > http://www.machupicchu.gob.pe/
There are 3 options:
Machu Picchu Only - 152 Soles($46.70 USD) - Only access to the main grounds.
Machu Picchu + Montana - 200 Soles($61.45 USD) - Entry to climb the taller mountain and a longer climb than Huayna Picchu. There are two time slots, 7am-8am and 9am-10am.
Machu Picchu + Huayna Picchu - 200 Soles($61.45 USD) - Entry to the shorter mountain and entry to the Temple of the Sun. There are two time slots, 7am-8am and 10am-11am.
Bus/Walk to Machu Picchu:
The bus from Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu takes about 30min and it’s $24 USD round-trip. These tickets don’t need to be purchased ahead of time. They can be bought at the Cultural Centre and requires your passport. You’ll see several buses lined up outside the office. You can also walk to Machu Picchu, takes about 1.5 hours and it’s free. I ended up buying a one-way ticket($12 USD) to Machu Picchu and decided to walk down to Aguas Calientes after exploring the Incan ruins. It’s faster and the scenery is beyond incredible - the towering mountains and the sun peeking through the clouds makes it magical.
Machu Picchu Ruins:
Machu Picchu is one of the most popular and largest attractions in the world. We walked around for about 3 hours exploring the ruins. We also climbed Huaynapicchu for the incredible view of Machu Picchu. The pictures below will explain the ruins for itself.