What can I possibly say about the famous Inca ruins that haven’t been said already? It is on so many people’s bucket lists that you can find tens, if not hundreds, of blogs with the title ‘dream come true’ connected to exploring Machu Picchu. The internet is filled with all the information one might need when thinking to visit the Peruvian citadel. And somehow my experience was a bit unexpected.
I have just a few tips regarding Machu Picchu, especially if you decide not to hike your way to the ruins. First and foremost you need to remember the name of the little village where you are most likely to stay overnight is called Aguas Calientes, the name coming from the thermal baths you can enjoy while there.
Before getting to Aguas Calientes
- Make your entry reservations as advance as possible
- Try to book with local agencies – international ones are most of the time more expensive
- Be very careful when booking your train/bus ticket and make sure when you get into the bus it actually takes you where it should
- Stay a few days in Cusco to get yourself accommodated with the high altitude
- If you have time and your budget allows it, spend two nights in Aguas Calientes so you can enjoy the thermal baths or maybe do other hikes
Machu Picchu during sunrise
I arrived there early morning, probably around 6 am, and it was one of the most beautiful sunrises I have ever seen. In my entire life. You can spot the difference in the light touching the ruins little by little.
My favourite part was actually getting lost through the ruins. So beautiful, so serene, just perfect. And I took my sweet time because I did not want to rush this part. Nor did I want to go with a tour guide, being stuck with a group. It was just me and the lost ruins. Nothing else mattered anymore.
I actually went out and had to get back in because I wanted to make it to the Sun Gate (Inti Punku). It is the end of the Inca Trail and it gives you an amazing view from afar of Machu Picchu and the surroundings. Plus I got to do a tiny bit of hiking.
On the way back, a ‘little’ friend showed me the way.
I decided to walk all the way down to Aguas Calientes because I felt I missed out the day before taking buses and trains. That is a story I get into on the podcast episode. It’s all about taking the bus instead of the train and getting so sick that I scared all of the other people on the bus. Peru really got me sick in general, unfortunately.
Machu Picchu – Cusco by train
And finally, the following day I took the train back to Cusco. It was quite a shaky ride but continued the very beautiful landscape we were passing through. But the train was really shaky. Didn’t get sick this time, so I totally recommend taking the train.
After getting to Machu Picchu/Aguas Calientes
- Expect the food to be pricey
- Go early in the morning because the clouds tend to gather in the second part of the day
- Bring layers and a lot of water with you
- Expect to spend there at least half a day
- Bring your passport with you if you want to get a Machu Picchu stamp on it – you will find it on your way out
- If you want to do any of the hikes within the area, do it after you have spent time inside the actual ruins
- Don’t worry if you have to go out, you can go right back in
- Please please please DO NOT litter – so take everything back with you to the village
- It was an incredible experience that started in the worst way possible and it ended so perfectly.
Listen to the podcast and tell me what would you have done in place? Let me know in the comments below.
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