As one of the new seven wonders of the world, Machu Picchu is one of Latin America’s top touristic destinations. The ruins that are more than 500 years of age, represent a monumental architectural and engineering design of the Incas. The city served for religious, agricultural and ceremonial centre to name a few, and was built in an isolated mountain ridge where the Spanish conquistadors never found it.
There are a few ways to get to Machu Picchu and most travel agencies will provide all options. If you are not limited with time, the famous Inca Trail (4-day trek) could be your best bet. Jose and I did the 1-day tour with Inka Travel agency for 200 USD. The tour included; bus transportation, train tickets and entrance to Machu Picchu with a 2 hour guided tour.
The day started around 4:45 am when a bus came to pick us up from our hostel. Then, there was a 2-hour bus ride to Ollantaytambo station. For train schedules or if you decide to go on your own, you can find info in Peru Rail.
The train ride to Aguas Calientes is about 1 hour and a half. Is a nice train ride where we looked at beautiful mountains in the surrounding areas and ate some snacks (included with the ticket purchase).
Machupicchu Pueblo or Aguas Calientes is the last stop before reaching Machu Picchu. There area plenty of restaurants, shops and hotels in Aguas Calientes. After arriving here, we took a bus uphill for about 40 minutes where we finally reached the ruins. Our tickets were included in our tour package and at the entrance, you can get a stamp of Machu Picchu on your passport!
Our tour guide gave us an introduction of Machu Picchu, how the city is believed to have a population of less than 1000 people as well as the history behind the Yale professor who showed Machu Picchu to the world. Jose and I decided to split up and we did a 40-minute walk to Puerta del Sol (is a trek that was part of the Inca Trail). Once you get to the top, you’ll see a view of Machu Picchu that is worth contemplating for a while.
Before walking around inside the ruins, we took a moment to take some classic photos of the majestic Machu Picchu!
In the afternoon, we were able to join a guided tour in English. The tour guide walked us around the homes of the ruling elite, the giant walls as well as terraces that served for agriculture and their water distribution system.
If you have the time, you also can climb Huayna Picchu, the mountain that rises over Machu Picchu. You’ll need to book tickets in advance. For us, 5 hours was enough to cover many important places of the site.
That’s it for Machu Picchu amigos! It’s a truly magical place that’s definitely a must when visiting South America!
Next stop: Copacabana and Isla del Sol.