Hi, it’s me Marimonda. Continuing my previous post <Aguas Calientes>, today I’d like to introduce you a must place you should visit in Peru <MACHU PICCHU>.
If you like to see the whole journey of this trip, click here.
Taking a bus to Machu Picchu
Spending a night at Aguas Calientes, I woke up about 4 a.m. in the morning. Previous night, I reserved a pack of sandwich to bring for lunch. The first bus heading to Machu Picchu leaves at 5 a.m. Thus, I thought it would be enough to be at the bus stop around 4:50 a.m.
When I arrived at the bus stop, however, I found out a big crowd lining up to catch the first bus. To be honest, since the number of people who can get into Machu Picchu in the morning is limited, I thought it wouldn’t be that crowded. Well… WRONG. 🙁 I could take the bus after sending 3-4 buses.
The bus takes about 30 mins from the town to the entrance of Machu Picchu. Surely, you can walk up to save bus fare ( it costs $12 for one-way and $24 for the round-trip). I wouldn’t recommend it, especially on the way to this masterpiece of the Inca Empire, because walking inside the ruins is also physically demanding. The archeological site is pretty vast, and you can’t take a break for long time to look around it carefully.
Purchasing Machu Picchu Ticket
One of the most important thing to prepare before visiting here is probably purchasing the ticket on the date you want. Considering this is an internationally well-known touristic place, people from all around the world visit here. Which means, it’s always popular touristic destination all year around. You can get the tickets via a third-party (e.g. travel agencies), or just directly book it from its official website.
Bear in mind that due to the COVID-19, Peru has extended its State Emergency till end of July, thus you can’t visit the park now. Normally, you should choose the following options : date, time (morning / afternoon), and combo ( Machu Picchu, Machu Picchu + Mountains, or Machu Picchu + Huayna Picchu). The last combo is the most popular one, thus you need to book it ASAP if you’d like to hike Huayna Picchu.
Entering the Ruins
When I visited there (April, 2017), I didn’t need any guide to get in. However, it seemed like they made new regulations. You need to hire an official guide to enter into this magnificent place. At the entrance, many official guides will be available. Thus, you can negotiate the price and hire someone among them. Don’t forget to bring your ID! At the entrance, they check your ticket with your ID. The place opens at 6 a.m.
Machu Picchu + Mountains (Machu Picchu + Montaña)
The combo I purchased was Machu Picchu + Mountains. It was about $30 – $40 back then as far as I remember. But it seems like they raised up the price. If you’re from Andean countries : Colombia, Ecuador, Bolivia, and Peru, you get a national rate, which is about 40% cheaper than price for foreigners.
My ticket allowed me to enter mountains from 10 a.m., thus I talked a bit with my cousin and then we splitted up. There’s another entrance where you should present your ticket and ID again. Then, I was asked to write down on a guest book my name, nationality, and ID number from passport. I need to check again when I leave the site. That’s how they check weather everyone leaves the site or not before closing the monument.
The mountain trail was in a good condition. The only concern was weather. The sky was pretty cloudy and it started rain in the middle of hiking. The road got slippery, and after walking up about 2 hours I had to give up climbing due to the rain. It was raining cats and dogs. I couldn’t see further, thus for the security reason I had to come back to Machu Picchu. I was told that the mountain course was designed for about 2 and half hours to go up and one and half hour to come down. In total, it would take roughly 4 hours when everything goes well.
Heading back to Machu Picchu, the rain started ceasing. At first, I couldn’t see well Machu Picchu because it was too foggy. Though, it was amazing with the fog and a bit of humidity… I felt like I were in the heaven. Luickly, the sky cleared up in the afternoon. Since it’s located in high place (2,430m), the weather changes drastically. I would recommend you bring a raincoat or an umbrella.
No words can be enough to describe this place. I’ve travelled some places in the world, and Machu Picchu is the second place I was surprised by its size. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. How can they get all the rocks to build this giant place? I was speechless.
Things to Remember
There are few things to remember when you visit Machu Picchu. The first thing is that there is no restroom in the site. You should get out from the archeological site to go to the restroom. The public bathroom is located next to the main entrance. To be honest, it was pretty uncomfortable. But, this is a necessary measure to keep the place clean and better. Also, you can re-enter with your ticket upto 2-3 times.
Another thing to remember is in the site, you can only go one-way. Now, you need a guide thus this won’t be an issue anymore. That means, you can’t go back to the previous place directly. It’s to fluid the circumstance and prevent a bottleneck. There are some intersections or shortcuts where you can join to the previous alley or toward the exit. I wasn’t aware of this, and tried to go back to go out. And one officer came to me and told me I wasn’t supposed to come back. This can interrupt others’ way.
I hope you enjoyed the virtual trip to Machu Picchu with me. Next post will be about <Cusco>. Take care everyone and see you soon 🙂