Machu Picchu Trip
I wanted to share one of the best experiences thus far, and that was our trip to Machu Picchu.
We hired a taxi driver where as some people take “collectivos,” which are small busses/taxi vans that hold about 10/20 people. It’s a much cheaper option to take a collectivo, but we wanted to be more comfortable as it was a two-hour drive to Ollantaytambo.
We had packed our day bags the night before, but I didn’t get to sleep until 11 p.m., but for me that is early. Alan and I are super night owls, since that’s when we are the most creative (we dabble in the design industry). Alan didn’t come to bed until about 1 am, but we weren’t going to let the lack of sleep dampen our day.
At 3 am we were picked up at our hostel, you can only imagine how dark it was outside, since the sun doesn’t start peaking out until about 4 ish. So we get in our drivers’ car and head out “on the road again.” When we get there we were talking with our driver who ironically was named Santiago and he tells us that if we want to be picked up at 11:30 p.m. to arrive back around 1:30 am he would charge us 150 soles which was 50 more soles than he charged us to go…… Just so you get an idea the 100 soles = to $29, we ended talking him down to 120 soles to come back, which = to $34. It is quite a bit when you compare it to the collectivos which are only 10 soles per person each way. That would have only cost us $11.42 round trip versus the $63 we paid, but the way we justified it, was….it’s not everyday we travel to Machu Picchu.
We arrived with an hour to kill so we had some breakfast while waiting for our train to arrive. We were supposed to be there a half hour before our train was to arrive, and that we were. It arrived at 6:10 a.m. on the dot and we got to Agua Calientes two hours later. The train was actually really nice, similar to an Amtrak, but bright inside and with windows all around you, even above so you can enjoy the beautiful scenery. You will see beautiful snow capped mountains, a river with white rapids, and lots of wildlife, those are just a few of the wonderful things we got to enjoy. The train ticket also included a snack and a drink which was lovely as well.
You can only imagine how many little stands they have selling touristy things when you get off the train, such as hats, gloves, picture frames, sweaters, many things made by artisans, but they are all practically selling the same things….
Also, when you get to Aguas Calientes you have two options you either hike about a hour and a half up a huge mountain to get to Machu Picchu or you can take a bus up. We had spoken to some girls at our hostel prior and they recommended us to take the bus, unless we wanted to get up to Machu Picchu drenched in our sweat. So we decided to bus it of course. Our bus tickets were $24 a piece round trip (since we are tourists & adults) the prices vary though. This is something you get when you arrive, it’s not something you can purchase a head of time, for all of you planners out there. They have over 24 busses that run all day long going up and down the mountain picking and dropping people off.
When you get to the top, the view of Machu Picchu is just breath taking. You see all of these pictures throughout your life and they just don’t do it justice until you actually are there and see it for yourself. It is one of the world’s greatest wonders after all.
Alan and I knew ahead of time that we wanted to hike up to Huaynapicchu/ Waynapicchu, (which is one of the most difficult hikes, it may not be the highest point, but it’s definitely the toughest at Machu Picchu), not everyone knows they have an option when they purchase their tickets so they end up losing out, but we knew. When you purchase your ticket you have a specific timeframe for when you have to get through the gate to climb up the mountain, our timeslot was 10-11am (as we didn’t want it to be cloudy and hazy), so we got there about 30 minutes early and just patiently waited while catching some rays.
Let me tell you that the hike up Huyanapicchu is no joke, but our 4/5 hour hike up Cajas was much worse. There are stairs for you to go up, which is nice when you are climbing/hiking, which makes it easier. When you get close to the top, the stairs are straight up and down at a 65 degree incline, it’s tough though, I am not going to lie! Put your treadmill on the highest setting and make it a little higher and that is what it was like for an hour. We had an amazing time as you can see we have some beautiful pictures for you to see! We were finished with our time at Machu Picchu by about 2:30 p.m., but our train didn’t leave for Ollantaytambo until 9:30 pm so we had A LOT of time to kill.
So we ended up taking a bus back down to Aguas Calientes. We had a lovely lunch at a restaurant that was recommended by Zilpa & Santiago’s daughter called Toto’s House which overlooks the river and of course the rain held out for us until we started eating. Luckily we only had sunshine while at Machu Picchu! We were exhausted and so tired from hiking, that we even tried to change our train tickets to leave earlier, but they told us that we were give a “promotional price” and that we would have to pay $94 each to leave a few hours earlier, we said thanks, but no thanks. So we killed lots of time by sitting in a café (no we didn’t have our computers, so we couldn’t work), walked around the small little town, and had dinner later in the day.
All in all, we had an amazing time and recommend making the trip to visit Machu Picchu one of the 7 Wonders of the World! I hope you enjoy our pictures! Let me know if you have any questions about anything from our awesome adventure in the comments section!
“Better to see something once than to hear about something a thousand times.”