Visit world wonder Machu Picchu
Wonder of the world
Visit Machu Picchu
Last week we discovered the surroundings of Cusco. From there we travelled on to Aguas Calientes where Machu Picchu is located. Curious to see our experiences? You can read it here!
Finally, it was time to leave for Machu Picchu. This wonder of the world has been on ourbucket list for so long that we couldn’t wait to get there. To be honest, the journey to Machu Picchu is quite a hassle. You think you are close to Cusco , but nothing could be further from the truth.
First you have to take a bus or taxi from Cusco to the train station of Ollantaytambo. This is an hour and a half’s drive from Cusco. Then you take the train (Incarail) to Aguas Calientes, the village where Machu Picchu is located. The train takes one hour and forty minutes. You can then hike from Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu but this is a steep climb of several hours. You can also choose to take the bus. It will take you to the top of the mountain in 25 minutes. We also chose that option. So definitely consider the travel time when you want to explore Machu Picchu. The unique train ride from Ollantaytambo to Aguas Calientes is one you will never forget. It’s a unique experience.
We stayed in Aguas Calientes for three days and noticed already on the first day that the weather was against us. It rained during our entire stay. Sometimes heavy and sometimes a little less, but it has never been really dry. Also on the day we visited Machu Picchu. We got up at five in the morning and already heard the clatter of rain against the window. Not exactly the best medicine for a good mood. Nevertheless, we did not let it get to our hearts and, fully covered in rain ponchos, got ready for the day. A lot of people were already waiting at the bus station in the pouring rain, but we were not allowed on the bus until 6.30 a.m. We finally walked into the archaeological site at 7 a.m. sharp. You buy the tickets in advance and choose the day and time you want to go. You may then stay on the site for a maximum of four hours, but there is actually no one to check it.
in Machu Picchu
High in the mountains lies Machu Picchu and when we reached the top for an amazing view – we thought – it started pouring. Foggy clouds covered the entire landscape and we could not see further than a few metres. I can still vividly recall the deeply disappointing feeling. Did we come so far for this? And even more so: have we endured so much misery (the altitude sickness of the first week) and wasted so much money on this?
As we spoke these words, the foggy clouds began to move and visibility became slightly better, and a few moments later much clearer. Only then did we see the beauty of this place. A sunny visit to Machu Picchu is like winning the lottery. We have heard this from several people and it is true. We decided to wait, in the pouring rain, until visibility improved. You have to maken an effort! The clouds followed each other in rapid succession, but once in a while we were lucky and saw the beautiful scene of Machu Picchu. Magical!
The Surreal View of Machu Picchu
We made the most of the few moments when it stopped raining to take photos and walk through the landscape. It is certain that we have never seen such a place before. The steep green mountains reminded us a bit of those in Asia. But Machu Picchu itself cannot be compared with anything. It is a surreal sight. And the fog made it all the more mysterious. So we certainly enjoyed this place. Soon we will list all the advantages and disadvantages for you and we will make a cost overview so you can plan your visit to Machu Picchu yourself or not and you will know exactly what to expect.
After our three days in Aguas Calientes, we returned to Cusco. You have no other choice. You take the train back to Ollantaytambo and from there you go back to Cusco. As soon as we stepped off the train, we felt that our breathing was different again. We thought we would be used to the altitude by now, but nothing is further from the truth. Again, our bodies were protesting against the altitude (Machu Picchu is a lot lower than Cusco) and we were getting nauseous and experienced headaches. Fortunately, we only stayed here for one day and then we went back to Lima.
The last days of our trip through Peru , we stayed back in the capital Lima. Since we came from higher grounds, our bodies had to adapt to the lowlands for a day this time. So there is such a thing as low altitude sickness too, but in a milder form than altitude sickness. But still, it is no pleasure to be nauseous and tired, a couple of complaints we had. That’s why we took it easy the first few days, we worked on our website and social media and we looked for some nice places to have an extensive lunch. Lima has so many fine restaurants that it is difficult to choose!
Adventure or safety
To fill our last two days, we looked up a neighborhood half an hour’s drive from Lima , called Callao, where there are several beautiful street art and colorful buildings. Ideal for photos, we thought, but our Uber driver strongly advised us not to go there. We kept on saying that this was the place we wanted to go. In the end, our driver pulled over the car and said it was a very unsafe neighbourhood. He was serious.
Then we decided to drive back to Lima city. We don’t feel unsafe easily, but if a local advises something, we usually take it seriously. We didn’t really feel like doing anything on the last day of our stay either. Safety is still more important than adventure. Thank you to all the attentive and friendly Uber drivers who take us safely from location to location and make sure we can travel with peace of mind. With beautiful memories of a beautifully varied country we travel back to Belgium .