Today we woke up in the Sacred Valley and went to Machu Picchu. The train station was just around the corner from our hotel. We rode for an hour and a half to Aguas Calientes. The train ride was awesome! We went through the countryside to reach our destination.
It was amazing how the climate changed from arid to wet.
When we arrived, we left our luggage with the porter and went straight to the bus station to ride to Machu Picchu. The journey up the mountain was a beautiful 25 minute ride. We arrived and went to the restroom before entering the actual site. It was one Soles to use the restroom and three squares of toilet paper was given to you outside when you paid.
Some highlights at Machu Picchu include:
- Small water pools were used to see the stars
and sun. By looking into the water, you can see the reflection of the sky.
- A sundial allowed the Inca to know when it was the summer and winter solstice occur
- There was a rock perfectly pointing north like a compass and one shaped like a condor.
- An adorable Andean chinchilla was nestled in between two rocks
After the tour we were able to explore the site on our own. There was a couple with us from the United Kingdom. The gentleman and I climbed to the watch house, while my mother and his wife stayed below. The climb up was a little hard, because we got lost. We winded up walking up the trail that goes to the top of the Machu Picchu mountain via the Inca trail.
The view from the watch house was beautiful. You could see all of Wayna Picchu and the ruins.
Once we climbed down, we rejoined my mother and his wife and took the bus back to Aguas Calientes for lunch. After lunch, we made it to our hotel and checked in. It was a lovely hotel with extremely comfy beds!
Later in the evening we went to dinner where we saw a couple from our past hotel. The restaurant was just across from the hotel and had amazing food, including a dish that came with a bird made of carrots as a garnish.
After dinner, we went to bed to prepare for our 4 am wake up to see the sunrise.
Hotel : El Mapi Inkaterra
Reflections and tips :
- Dress in layers : Throughout Peru, and even just between Aguas Calientes and Machu Picchu, the climate varies greatly. You will start off the day in a cool dry place and could end up in a hot and wet environment by mid-day. Having several thin layers, including an outer waterproof layer, is a must. Two of the best pieces that we brought with us were NorthFace rain jackets and a pair of waterproof pants that slipped over your regular pants.
- Take the Vistadome Train : Even though it costs a bit more, I would spring for the Vistadome train. The glass roof allows you to see not just out the windows, but also up. This is amazing as you are traveling through the valley and up towards Machu Picchu and Aguas Calientes.
- Invest in your Aguas Calientes hotel : Out of all of the hotels to spend a little extra money on, your Aguas Calientes hotel is at the top of the list. No matter how you get to Machu Picchu, you will probably have a stop here. If you have hiked, you will be tired and want some place nice to rest. Even if you don’t hike, exploring Machu Picchu is amazing but tiring. The altitude is lower than Cusco but still high enough to physically exhaust you. A good night’s sleep is a must, especially if you plan on getting up in the morning to see the sun rise over Machu Picchu.