Day 162: The Mighty Machu Piichu

Days: 162  -   Date: 2FEB  -   Itinerary: Ollantaytambo to Machu Piichu and back  -   Miles: About 55 (via train)

Another day that I have been looking forward to for a long time.. exploring Machu Piichu; one of the 7 World Wonders. To get there isn’t exactly simple or cheap. The easiest way and also unfortunately the most expensive way is to take the train from Ollantaytambo to Aguas Calientes and then a bus (or hike) up the mountain. The other option is via a 6-7 bus ride or moto/car ride to the very small town of Santa Teresa. From there it’s another 2-3 hour hike to Machu Piichu. Since there’s no road to Aguas Calientes, the only options are train or bus then hike. I decided to take the train round trip, which cost me a whopping $130. Not cheap but I’d say it’s the most enjoyable.

Train station in Ollantaytambo
On the train to Aguas.. everyone was excited. People from all over the world.

After a comfortable 1.5 hour train ride to Aguas Calientes, I set off to buy my entrance ticket to Machu Piichu. The government of Peru regulates the number of people who can enter the park to only 2,500 people per day. During the low/rainy season (now) getting a ticket isn’t a problem but from June-August, you need to buy your tickets weeks in advance. The tickets aren’t cheap either at $55/person.

A few photos from around the small town of Aguas Calientes. No roads lead here. Everything has to be brought in via train. The only vehicles are the busses that bring you up the mountain to Machu Piichu.

PE_02Feb14_002 PE_02Feb14_003 PE_02Feb14_004 PE_02Feb14_030

After getting my park entrance ticket and buying a bus ticket, I got onboard for the bumpy 15 minute ride up the mountain. About 3/4 the way up, everyone had to get off the bus and hike a short distance to another bus since a recent land slide had closed off a portion of the road.

Changing busses


Area where the land slide was
Looking back to where we all came from
Looking back to where we all came from

And now for a million photos of Machu Piichu:

PE_02Feb14_Panorama_2 PE_02Feb14_008 PE_02Feb14_009

PE_02Feb14_015 PE_02Feb14_016

The weather changes quickly up on the mountains. The below picture is what it looked like 2 minutes after the above photo. Gotta take’em while you can.

PE_02Feb14_017 PE_02Feb14_025

I think llamas are my new favorite animal.. no idea why but they’re just awesome. Lots of the them roaming around the park. I call them Incan lawn-mowers.

PE_02Feb14_018 PE_02Feb14_020 PE_02Feb14_021 PE_02Feb14_023 PE_02Feb14_024

I explored the park for a few hours and then hiked back down the mountain to Aguas Calientes. It’s a solid hike and at this elevation would smoke you if you hiked up. Going down was a breeze, just gotta watch your footing on all the damp slippery rocks.

The Machu Piichu lodge. The only hotel/lodge located inside the park and it costs a staggering $900/night!
Hiking trail
The Urubamba river.. this thing is fierce!

Machu Piichu was more amazing than I had imagined it would be. I initially figured it would be like any other ruin that I had explored before like Palenque or Tikal, but this place was absolutely spectacular. The simple fact that it’s built at the top of a very very steep mountain and is set amongst the clouds makes it literally breath taking. Machu Piichu will certainly rank in the top 5 places I visit on this trip. Highly recommend everyone visits it at least once in their life.



Leave a Reply