One Day in Machu Picchu
Getting to Machu Picchu, one of the New Seven Wonders of the World, is no easy feat. However, the journey is definitely worth the hassle. One can chose to do the Inca Trail or go by different modes of transportation (like I did because it was the rainy season and the trail was closed).
I stayed in the center of Cuzco and woke up at 3am in order to start my journey. I took a taxi to Ollantaytambo, which was about 90 minutes and cost $30. From Ollantaytambo, I took the train, Perurail, to Aguas Calientes. This is the train station at the bottom of Machu Picchu. From here, you need to buy a bus ticket ($9 each way), in order to get to the entrance of Machu Picchu. The bus takes a total of 20 minutes to go up winding roads and cliffs. You feel like the bus is going to flip off of the cliff. However, the bus drivers know what they are doing because they somehow zoom up the roads with ease.
Once you get to the entrance, simply just show your ticket and passport. You can pick up a tour guide outside if you want someone to explain in depth about the Incas. Once inside, you will be able to climb the 3,000 stone steps that link it’s many different levels. There are many different trails to explore, some cost money, but others are completely free.
I strongly suggest buying an entrance ticket with Huayna Picchu and doing the later time so that the fog has lifted. I brought food and had my lunch at the top of Huayna and enjoyed the view overlooking all of the ruins.
The Inca Bridge Trail (a free trail,) is where you can see an ancient grass rope bridge that the Incas built. The trail is easy, with steep cliffs to the side. You do, however, have to sign a waiver before you go on this trail.
You must not miss climbing the Sun Gate trail; it will take around 3 hours round trip to complete. It is an easy trail that gets a little tougher the last mile or so. The views are absolutely amazing and you will be so high up, Machu Picchu will look so tiny and insignificant. You should do this earlier one in the day, so that you have time to get back to the entrance before dark. A lot of people up here that I saw had brought drinks in order to celebrate the climb to the top.
My favorite thing about Machu Picchu is the llamas that are everywhere and are so sassy. They will block trails, eat all the grass, and spit at you if you get too close. I even had one follow me the whole trail on the Inca Bridge.
Even though it is a tiring, long day if you decide to do Machu Picchu in just one day, it is totally worth it. The view when you first get there is completely breathtaking and by far one of the most amazing things I have ever seen in my life. Words can never do this place justice. It is the time to travel there now, since it is one of the cheaper wonders of the world. It shouldn’t be missed!