If you're looking to get some inspiration or tips for hiking up Machu Picchu, then I'm afraid this post is going to be a big disappointment. I conquered Machu Picchu in the laziest way possible. Seriously, if an alpaca was available to hire, I would have paid an exorbitant amount of money to have one of those furry things carry me on their back while walking around Machu. That's how tired I was.
If you've been following my blog, I'm hoping you'll understand why the prospect of hiking one of the wonders of the world after just finishing the Ayahuasca retreat was more daunting to me than exciting. My energy was drained, my stomach was empty (I lost about 3 kilograms from pooping and purging) and all I really wanted to do was lie down and let my bed consume me.
BUT. I really am not one to let an opportunity pass, so exhausted as I was, I managed to book a day trip just to SEE Machu Picchu at least, and take the obligatory photos.
See, ordinarily, people take the Jungle Trail or the Inca Trail -- which are 4 - 5 day hikes that end up in Machu... I hear it's supposed to be fun and beautiful and blah blah blah... And I'm sure it is... But then to be completely honest, even if I didn't do Ayahuasca previously, I wouldn't have booked any of those tours either. I just feel like I'm all hiked out this year, you know? After hiking all the villages of the Cinque Terre in one day, I think I did enough hiking than I am capable of in a lifetime.
Besides, I've done a few more smaller hikes here and there throughout the year, and I just lost the will to subject my legs to any more climbing if I don't have to. I'm tiiiired!
ANYWAY... so... What I did was book a bus from my hostel in Cusco to Pisac, took a Train from Pisac to Aguas Calientes, took a bus up to Machu Picchu from there, and voila! I was greeted by the guide (which was included in the booking) took me and my new tour group in and around Machu Picchu for a few hours, I stayed for about a half an hour more after the tour, and I left! (Tip: Don't forget to get your passport stamped once you enter the gates. It's free, and the stamp looks so cute on your passport!)
** TRIVIA... Did you guys know that the famous photos we see of Machu Picchu - isn't ACTUALLY Machu Picchu, but a mountain called Wayna Picchu? You are taking the photo FROM Machu Picchu - but you're looking AT Wayna Picchu. (Photo above is an example)
Oh and the mountain is shaped like a face! Facing up! Do you see it?
Mind blown. O_O
I then took the bus from Machu back down to Aguas Calientes, took the train from there down to Ollantaytambo, and took a collectivo (sort of like a posher version of a bus) back down to Cusco!
I started my day at 6 am and got back to the hostel at around 8:30pm! All of this, including transportation and entrance fee's, cost me around $230 USD.
It's EXPENSIVE, but there's no way around it. The trains to Machu are costly... and the entrance fee alone costs more than $50 USD... Foreigners have to pay almost twice as much as the locals do too, so the prices really add up.
However, when one is in Peru, one really must not pass up the opportunity to visit the 5th Wonder of the World, so no matter what the cost - I think I would have gone anyway. This would have made me visit 4 out of the 7 wonders this travel year alone (Petra in Jordan, Colloseum in Rome and Christ the Redeemer in Rio are the other 3)! Busy year! Amaaazing year! :)
Machu Picchu is beautiful... It looks and feels exactly like you would expect it to from the photos. It is unfortunate that I didn't meet any alpacas or llamas though, but I did have a good time all the same. And because I have nothing further to say on the topic... Here are the obligatory photos :)