Machu Picchu- New 7 Wonders of the World
Our first major stop on our world tour was Machu Picchu. We started in Cusco, Peru to get acclimated to the altitude. Cusco, Peru sits at about 11,000 feet above sea level and Machu Picchu sits at about 8,000 feet. We had heard altitude sickness can get you pretty quickly and ruin your trip if you don't give yourself time to acclimate. So we gave ourselves three days to get used it the altitude before making the journey to Machu Picchu. It was a good thing because we both had our own issues when we arrived. We managed to work through it after a few days and then off we went on our adventure to Machu Picchu.
We booked our train tickets aboard the Vistadome on Peru Rail to Aguas Calientes, the small town at the base of Machu Picchu. We decided to upgrade our tickets for the 3.5 hour train ride to include better seats, food, and entertainment which was a smart idea. The Vistadome was on time, comfortable and the large windows on the sides and ceiling gave us awesome views of the Andes.
There are two ways to enter Machu Picchu. You can walk up the mountain for free and a good hour or two of your time or you can buy a $24 USD round trip bus ticket to the entrance. Let me tell you, passing the poor souls walking along the side of the road I know we made the right choice with the bus ticket.
At the entrance of Machu Picchu there are tour guides selling their service. Based on our prior research we knew that a 2 hour tour with one of these guides should be around $30-$50 USD. We were approached by Paulo and spent some time getting to know him and finding out his experience level as a guide. He did a great job of showing us around and answering all our questions.
To call Machu Picchu amazing is an understatement. I knew it was going to be a sight but didn't realize the magnitude. It was massive, plush, unique, and all around fascinating. The moment you walk through the entrance and see the ruins it just stops you. It's really unbelievable. Our pictures don't do it justice.
We spent a few hours hiking the ruins with our guide then took off on our own to make the climb up to the watchtower. We were told the best views were from the top of the watch tower. While the hike up winded us and we had to take a few breaks the views were worth it. This spot gave you a full view of the ruins.
Important things to know before visiting Machu Picchu:
1. Pee before you go inside as there are no facilities inside the ruins. Also have a sol handy as you have to pay to pee.
2. Use bug spray. The hard stuff like with deets. Spray your body. Spray your clothes.
3. Wear pants if you can. The sand fleas are brutal all over Aguas Caliente and Machu Picchu. It's been 4 weeks since we were there and I still have reddish dots covering my calves.
4. Pack a water bottle and a snack if you are going to spend all day. There are no vendors inside the Ruins. You can leave and reenter once.
5. Bring your passport with you and as you exit you can get a Machu Picchu passport stamp. Super cool.
There are a lot of ways to visit Machu Picchu: on your own by train, with a tour group, or even hike there with a small group on a 2-4 day hike. All three take proper planning as there is a restriction to the number of visitors each day. If this is on your bucket list, now is the time to start planning. Contact us today.