24 Gen Discover Cusco, Machu Picchu
After a long journey, I arrived to Cusco. I found a cheap hostel for myself and went there. I was already too tired. I decided to rest and look for my options to visit Machu Picchu and ask my friends who visited it before.
To go to Machu Picchu, you have lots of options. First of all, Machu Picchu is six-hours-bus-drive away from Cusco. To visit it, you have to go to Aguas Calientes which is the closest town to Machu Picchu. You have two options to go there: taking a bus, arriving to closest place and walking for two hours or taking a train from Cusco going there directly. But unfortunately the train is very expensive. If you are a low budget traveller like me, you have to choose the bus. There is no road to Aguas Calientes. So you arrive to Hydroelectric and later you have to walk 11 kilometers by following railway till Aguas Calientes. The road is long. But it passes by the wonderful mountains of Peru. Even if you get tired, you never get bored.
When you arrive to Aguas Calientes, you’ll only have enough energy to eat something, buy the entrance of Machu Picchu and find a place to sleep. Next to Machu Picchu, there is another mountain called Wayna Picchu. If you want to visit this one too, you have to buy another entrance. To climb to Machu Picchu from Aguas Calientes, you have two options. You can climb the stairs in Inca Trail or you can take a bus. Once you reach there, you can spend the whole day in the city.
If you wish, you can visit it with a guide. And if you don’t want to stay in Aguas Calientes one more night, you have to catch the bus at 15:00 in Hydroelectric to go back Cusco. It means you’ll have 4 hours to spend in Machu Picchu. But if you do expensive options or if you want to stay one more night n Aguas Calientes, you’ll have more time.
Let’s talk about money. Round trip by bus to Aguas Calientes is 60 Sol. Just the entrance of Machu Picchu is 152 Sol. If you want to see Wayna Picchu, the entrance for both is 200 Sol. To go to Machu Picchu by bus, one way ticket is 38 Sol. Climbing the stairs for 2 hours is free. Yay! I don’t know the prices of train. As it was expensive, I didn’t even check them. If you wish to do this with a tour, the price is 90 USD. Round trip of bus, lunch, one night stay hotel, entrance and a guide is included in the tour. But basically, with or without a tour, you are doing the same thing.
After the general info, I am turning to my story. I chose the cheapest options that I wrote above. After speaking with my friends, I thought I could do this on my own. I bought my bus ticket from my hostel. Everybody was telling that Aguas Calientes was so expensive. So I went to supermarket to buy some food. I got bread, cheese, some fruits, water and crackers. I spent 20 Sol. I made sandwiches for me. So that I wasn’t going to spend money for food in Aguas Calientes.
Because I had lots of food in my backpack when I hit the road. On the bus, I met with a Chilean girl who was going to be my company of Machu Picchu. The road to Aguas Calientes is tough. We were going around the mountains, making curves always. We saw a few buses stopping because of someone puking. And I was watching them while eating my sandwiches. Because I hate to waste my food by puking. If I eat it, it should be stay right in its place. 🙂
When we arrived after 6 hours, we were already tired. We started to walk by following the railway and waving to the rich people passing by on the train. When we arrived, we bought our entrances for Machu Picchu and found a place to stay.
Later we tried to find a place to eat. Aguas Calientes is really expensive. We paid 30 Sol for a family size pizza which wasn’t family size actually. But we were tired and hungry. So we needed it. After eating something, we returned back to hostel and slept directly.
The other day, we had to take the bus at 15:00. And seeing sunrise in Machu Picchu is the thing. So everybody goes there really early to catch the sunrise. We woke up at 04:00 am and start to walk at 4:30 am. The entrance opens at 05:00 am. Everybody that I talked before told me the hardest part was the stairs. They were so so true. When we climb two floors, we complain. Imagine! We climbed the stairs for 2 hours. My Chilean friend was almost dying!
We arrived to the top at 06:30. So we entered to the city. I was just shocked. The view was breathtaking. I was there where I was dreaming to be in for years. I always watched Machu Picchu in documentaries. I dreamt a lot about it. And I was finally there. The city was laying down under my feet. The sun had started to rise and shine over this amazing place.
We started to walk around in the city. Taking thousand photos, of course. Some fact about Machu Picchu: They don’t know why the city was built here. They have some guesses about it. For example, they believe it was built for noble ones and the men of religion. But actually building a city on the top of mountains is really weird. Especially when building it on riverside was so easy. They carried all the rocks from riverside. Most of them are huge and perfectly shaped. When Spain conquered the whole continental, they couldn’t find the city because of its hard-to-find location. So the city stayed like first days of it.
After a long time, an English investigator discovered it. UNESCO chose it as one of the modern World Wonders. As it stayed without destruction, it gave us a lot of information about the life of Incas. We don’t know its actual name. It is called Machu Picchu. Because this means “High Hill” in the language of Quechua. In the city, there are 11 llamas walking around freely. They brought them here to make them eat the grass and prevent tall unwanted plants. All llamas have an earring being written their names on it. Outside of the city, there is a Machu Picchu stamp which you can use it on your passport.
After visiting Machu Picchu for 4 hours, we went down to Aguas Calientes in half an hour. We had lunch in the center and hit the road to catch our bus. When we arrived Hydroelectric, we were really tired. Everybody was sleeping on the bus. I decided to stay in Cusco for a few days more. But it was raining too much and I was still tired. So I didn’t go out a lot and I spent time in the hostel. I stayed in Inka Wild Hostel. I highly recommend this hostel if you’ll go to Cusco.
I was lucky to see the food fair being on Sundays in the center of Cusco. I had some cheap and delicious food there. And it was some kind of festival that day. Everybody was throwing water balloons each other. I tried to escape. But I got totally wet while I was eating my lunch. The weather was cold. But I was happy. I did something that I wanted to do for years: Seeing Machu Picchu in real life!
You can read more by Hazal Avci on Casuallifehacker.com