As good as it gets: visiting Machu Picchu

Machu Picchu has been on my bucket list for a long time. When I was finally travelling to Peru I wanted to plan everything so my visit to the Inca’s city would be perfect. After doing some research, it was obvious that going to Machu Picchu by yourself is possible, however difficult. We had limited time, so we wanted to see it in one day with a trip from Cusco. This is why, after researching different agencies, we chose to do the tour with Kantu Peru Tours and it was the best decision possible. They arranged everything for us, visited us in our hostel the night before the big day, gave us all the tickets and explained the trip in detail. We were all set for a marvelous adventure!

Before sharing how this amazing experience looked like, let me answer your most common questions:

So, is Machu Picchu really a must see?

Absolutely! There is no words that can describe the feeling you get when you see the city for the first time. It just takes your breath away, you can’t believe how the Incas were able to built such an amazing place in the middle of the mountains. Machu Picchu is in reality even more beautiful than on the photos. Once you are walking around it, amazing views open, the llamas walking around make everything even more picturesque and getting to know the history of the city makes it even more special. It is an expensive trip no doubt, but it’s worth it.

Machu Picchu Cusco Peru Latin America

 

Is there a lot of people visiting?

We visited Machu Picchu on May 1st, which is at the end of the low season, so there were around 2000 people visiting at the time. It was a lot of people, but the place was not crowded and you could make photos that had no people on them. 😉 In the high season – June to September – there is a limit set for 5000 visitors a day.

Machu Picchu Cusco Peru Latin America

 

Should I do the booking in advance?

In the high season definitely, in the low season you could book the trip in Cusco or Aguas Calientes, however, we booked it a few weeks in advance, as we didn’t want to take any chances and miss this site.

Machu Picchu Cusco Peru Latin America Vanja Vodenik Klemen Krulec

 

So let me share how my Machu Picchu day was:

Train ride from Ollantaymbo to Aguas Calientes

Our day started early, as the driver picked us up in Cusco at 4 am. He took us to Ollantaymbo where we embarked the luxurious Inca Rail train »The Voyager Machu Picchu Train«. With big windows the train offered amazing views of passing Sacred Valley’s landscape. Serpentine river, high peaks, some covered in snow, waterfalls, fields with different crops, the outside vegetation was slowly changing to green jungle with lots of trees and other plants. While enjoying the sights we also got delicious coffee (or other hot drink by your choice), cookies and chocolate.
Our train got a bit delayed, because some other train got broken-down and we had to wait for it to get repaired. There is just one rail with a few points for meeting, so if a train gets broken all the traffic stops. Once we got to Aguas Calientes a guide took us from train station, which is in the middle of the village, to the bus stop.

Inca Rail train trip to Machu Picchu Cusco Peru Latin America

Inca Rail train trip to Machu Picchu Cusco Peru Latin America

 

Experiencing Inca’s “lost” city of Machu Picchu

Bus leaves you in the front of entrance to the Machu Picchu. This was also the spot were we met our guide Erich and the rest of the group. We were only seven in the group, with Kantu Peru Tours you can be sure to have nice and small group. First on was the guided trip around incredible site of Machu Picchu. We found out the story behind Hiram Bingham’s discovery of lost Inca’s city, which was actually never lost for the locals, we got to know the Inca’s way of life, culture, architecture, religion and history. It is truly a breath-taking site that has to go on every traveller’s bucket list!
Then we had time to explore Machu Picchu on our own. Firstly, we revisited all the best photo spots, which Machu Picchu is full of! Then we decided to do a short 30 minutes’ hike to the Inca’s Bridge. The hike takes you along green narrow path with amazing views of the surrounding mountains and the valley. At the end you can see a wooden bridge that was build by the Incas and served as the secret entrance to the Machu Picchu.

Machu Picchu Cusco Peru Latin America

Inca's Bridge Machu Picchu Cusco Peru Latin America

 

Useful information to know before visiting the site:

  • With your daily ticket to Machu Picchu you get multiple entrances to the site. Inside the archaeological site it is not allowed to eat, there are also no toilets inside.
  • There are a few other rules at the site: no jumping, no running, no selfie sticks or camera tripods, no walking sticks and others.
  • As Machu Picchu is situated in the high jungle, on 2.340 meter above sea level, it can get very sunny and hot. So don’t forget to bring sun screen, hat and sun glasses. A lot of mosquitos also love it here, so do bring a repellent. The weather at Machu Picchu is known for changing quickly. We were lucky and only got few raindrops, however, be prepared and bring raincoat and lots of layers, as also the temperature can drop or rise in minutes’ time.
  • Also have good walking shoes on as the terrain is mostly different types of stones and grass.
  • Before going home don’t forget to stamp your passport with free Machu Picchu stamp! You can get it in front of the toilet.

Machu Picchu Cusco Peru Latin America Vanja Vodenik

Machu Picchu Cusco Peru Latin America passport stamp

 

Exploring Aguas Calientes

After amazing visit to Machu Picchu we cached a bus back to Aguas Calientes. This little village, tucked between mountains, mostly serves as the starting point to Machu Picchu. This means here you can find a lot of restaurants, bars, hotels, shops, souvenir market etc. We walked around the narrow streets, visited main square with little church Virgen del Carmen, had to watch out for the train, as the train rail goes directly through the village, we passed many bridges, because also river goes through Aguas Calientes. We had some alpaca steaks and drank coca tea before we embarked the train to get back to the Ollanytambo. If you have more time in Aguas Calientes you can try out the hot springs which are also in the village.
Our nice driver waited for us in Ollanytambo and safely delivered us back to our hostel in Cusco.

Aguas Calientes Machu Picchu Cusco Peru Latin America

Aguas Calientes Machu Picchu Cusco Peru Latin America

 

On a trip like Machu Picchu of course you make a million photos. So I am sharing more amazing captions in the gallery.

This blog post was written in collaboration with Kantu Peru Tours, however, all views are always my own and I really recommend this tour to everyone who wants to visit Machu Picchu.

© of photos Klemen Krulec, Vanja Vodenik

2 Replies to “As good as it gets: visiting Machu Picchu”

  1. Marko Vodenik says: Reply

    The feeling there is really something special. One day is short to see site from all corners. If someone is adventures and doesn’t have high fear, I recommend climbing on Wayna pichu for the best view on the site.
    Good post, some good memories of my visit there came out.

    1. Marshmallow Travels says: Reply

      Thank you! 🙂

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