Peru – Visiting Machu Picchu
A visit to Machu Picchu, one of the seven wonders of the world; is a once-in-a-lifetime experience, so you should plan it properly, to make it perfect.
Some travellers choose to take the train from Ollantaytambo, while others choose an Andean trek from Cusco; Both will arrive at Aguas Calientes, before making the final ascent to Machu Picchu.
Aguas Calientes is a small town, at the base of the mountain where Machu Picchu is located. It is reached by train from Ollantaytambo. People who take the Lares or Salkantay treks, will spend the night in Aguas Calientes, before heading up to Machu Picchu on the last day of their trek.
Aguas Calientes has plenty of restaurants and some cheap places to stay, but it is more of a stop-over than a destination. Those who decide to stay longer, or have some extra time before their train, might visit the nearby hot springs, or small butterfly farm.
Getting to Machu Picchu and Huayna Picchu
Visitors have the choice of walking up to Machu Picchu from Aguas Calientes, or taking the bus; The former takes 1-2 hours, while the latter takes about 20 minutes. Those who want to do the optional climb to Huayna Picchu mountain, may want to take the bus up to Machu Picchu, so they are not too tired for the extra climb.
A long line forms by 5:30am for the buses in Aguas Calientes, so it is important to get there early, to be among the first into the ruins when they open. There is a fee for the bus ticket, but some tours will provide the ticket, although usually one-way only.
Those wishing to climb Huayna Picchu mountain need to get tickets, although free-of-charge; as soon as they enter the Machu Picchu complex. These tickets are handed out at the base of Huayna Picchu, on a first-come first-served basis: visitors can choose either a 7:30 or 10:00 time to start the hike.
Once these tickets are in hand, visitors can finally relax, look around, and take in the beauty of Machu Picchu. Early in the morning, there is usually a thick cover of mist and fog; making it difficult to see very much. However when the fog starts to lift, the scene is indescribable.
Taking a Photo of Machu Picchu
The most popular spot for a picture of this amazing city, is from the guard house; not from Huayna Picchu. When viewing the city from this spot, the mountains resemble a face looking toward the sky, with Huayna Picchu as the nose. Those who miss this spot in the morning may want to try again in the late afternoon, when most visitors have gone for the day.