Machu Picchu in Peru, the ancient city of Incas, one of the world’s seven wonders. What to expect?
How to get there?
First of all, Machu Picchu is easily reachable for all. You can choose one of the famous treks like Inca or Salkantay or less famous Jungle trek to reach the destination or travel in the comfort of a train from Cusco. All the (rail)roads lead to Aguas Calientes, a small town down the mountain from Machu Picchu.
Even though easily reachable, moving around Machu Picchu can be a challenge for people with disabilitys.
To go to Machu Picchu, there are two options available. Either walk up the mountain or taking a bus. We chose the first option and had our alarms on before the sunrise. It is a rough morning exercise to follow the steps up the mountain so be sure to bring some breakfast with you. It took us an hour and a lot of sweat to reach the entrance. But since we already spent 4 days to trek to Aguas Calientes, it would have felt like cheating to grab a bus now.
The steps are old and partly huge so mind your step as you go. If you have slightest knee problems or similar disabilities I wouldn’t do the hike up.
Machu Picchu through my eyes
Machu Picchu is magical, it was like I always dreamt of it. The mountains, wrapped in the morning mist, created an incredible surrounding when the view we know from the postcards opened in front of our eyes. It is so well preserved that it is easy to imagine the historical stories alive. I highly recommend doing a tour with a guide to understand the history and value of the place.
Being such a popular destination, it does get packed during the day. We got in early and had the “city tour” straight away. When the masses started really pouring in, we started climbing the Machu Mountain for better views. For this (or Huyana Mountain) you need an additional ticket. Climbing up took about an hour. The steps are steep and don’t suite for fainthearted. I don’t considerate myself of being afraid of heights but few spots caused my heart to skip a beat.
The view from the Machu Mountain was worth all the sweat and tears. But the steps are steep and the way up is long.
In the area with a short half an hour walk, there is also Sungate and Inca Bridge to see. They both offer also some magnificent views and especially the route to the bridge was less crowded than the main area. Overall the amount of visitors dropped later in the afternoon and we could stroll around the ruins without a hassle and snap nicer pictures.
Pack your lunch and snacks and enjoy Machu Picchu to the fullest. We easily spent around 6 hours in total to discover everything it has to offer.
The lamas, which are very used to the tourists, run around the area freely. They really add to the atmosphere but they can be little cheeky as well. Watch after your food and give them way on the narrow streets and staircases.
Good to know
Entry rules have changed in the past year so that you have to purchase a ticket to a certain timeslot. This is done to limit the number of visitors and so fore protect the irreplaceable site, which is suffering from being too popular. Please respect the rules in the destination and choose reliable operators when you visit.
A dream destination reached. Machu Picchu is a combination of culture and nature and it truly matched my expectations. Definitely one of the pearls of South America!