Machu Pichu, a picturesque place that are on many bucket lists around the world. This Inca site is all over Instagram, Pinterest and almost every travel blog I have seen. There are many different types of routes and treks to get there from the famous 4 day Inca Trail to just a day trip on the train depending on your budget and timeline you can find the person route for you. I opted for something not so expensive that was a 3-day, 2-night tour for $95 USD by a small van. There are 100’s of tour agencies all over Cusco and that is why I highly recommend to not book any trek or tour in advance. The only one if you want to book in advance would be the Inca Trail other than that most tours and treks you can book just two-three days in advance. If you book when you get to Cusco you have room to barter with the salesperson and the prices will always be cheaper. The tour I chose was a package deal that included transportation to Hydro Electric, 2 free breakfasts, 1 free lunch and 1 free dinner and the entrance fee to Machu Pichu with a two-hour guided tour. There are so many tour agencies around Cusco that all offer the same packages just at different costs. Don’t feel like what agency you chose matters because when you get in the tour bus everyone else in the bus will have bought tickets from different agencies. The meals included were very average and bland but the experience itself was truly incredible. My boyfriend Matt did the 5-day Salkentay trip for $180 USD (that included an extra night to also spend the full day with me at Machu Pichu). He had an incredible time and only booked that trek two days in advance and was able to barter it down. We met a girl at one of the hostels that prebooked the same trek matt did and spent $400 on it. So I repeat DO NOT BOOK IN ADVANCE!
Our three day tour started very early in the morning and it was a 6 hour drive to Hydro Electric with a quick stop for lunch along the way. Once you get to Hydro Electric it is a two-hour walk to Aqua Caliente, which is the town that is the entrance point to Machu Pichu. You will get quite confused once you start the walk the two hour walk because it is along a train track the entire time. The train is something people prebook in advance if they are too tired or lazy to do the walk but it is extremely easy, flat and quite beautiful so it should not be missed. Once you get to Aqua Caliente you will see it is a tourist town full of restaurants that sell pizza, beer and zero Peruvian food. Make sure to head to the small fruit market in the middle of the town the day you arrive to stock up on fruit and veggies and snacks for the full day ahead at Machu Pichu. There are loads of places in Aqua Caliente that have “happy hour drinks” but be prepared that every restaurant has a “sit down fee” and you won’t be notified ahead of time. (Usually is 10% more on top of your bill).
The next morning at 4am we woke up to start our hour and a half trek up all stairs to the entrance of Machu Pichu. It is pitch black outside to make sure to bring a flashlight and get ready for a great leg workout. It was raining on the morning walk up but once we got to the entrance the rain subsided for the rest of the day! Just a note when you are at Machu Pichu you are only allowed to leave the Inca site three times during your visit. The bathroom is outside and you will have to pay 1 sole every time you go so don’t drink too much water while there! Get ready for all of the tourists trying to take the perfect picture just be patient and enjoy it mentally as well. When you get to the top of Machu Pichu you will see a huge lawn of grass that overlooks the entire place. Bring a blanket or use your poncho as one and just spend a few hours relaxing with your friends taking in the glorious place that you worked so hard to get to. We were there for a total of 8 hours and I highly recommend everybody to spend at least two nights in Aqua Caliente so you can spend loads of time at Machu Pichu. Many people just do one night and have to rush back down to take the bus back to Cusco at 5pm! Don’t do that. Spend the extra night in Aqua Caliente. I can’t even tell you how incredible it was in words. I recommend just checking out the video above to see it all played out. Hope everyone visits this 7th Wonder of the World as it is a place you will remember forever.
5) Rainbow Mountain, Cusco, Sacred Valley
6) Machu Pichu
1) Copacabana and Isla Del Sol
2) La Paz
1) San Pedro De Atacama
4) La Serena
5) Puerto Iquazu
6) Buenos Aires