The day had finally arrived . . . a day of knocking one of my top “bucket list” items off my list. The day I would be seeing Machu Picchu with my own eyes. It was a very early morning for us, we were up and (slowly) moving around at 4am. If you want to get beautiful pictures of Machu Picchu before the hordes of tourist arrive, you need to start the day early. We had a delicious and fortifying breakfast at our hotel (Inkallpa Hotel) before boarding a bus to take us to the train station.
Our bus ride was a 20 minute ride to the train station. We were catching the 6:30am train to Aguas Caliente (the town at the base of Machu Picchu). As soon as you arrive to the train station, there are woman waiting to sell bug spray to you. My tip to you is: don’t buy the bug spray (at least if your there in September). Save yourself the 20 soles. We didn’t have to wait long before boarding the train, and it left right on time. The seating is assigned, if you want to get good pictures of the Inca Trail on the way to Aguas Caliente; you need a seat on the right-hand side of the train.
After arriving in Aguas Caliente, we caught a bus that took us up to Machu Picchu. The roads up the mountain were very windy and there were times I was worried about going over the edge, especially when we had to back up for a bus coming the other way to pass us. Nevertheless we arrived at the top in one piece.
You have to have your passport and entrance ticket in order to get past the gates. The views are so beautiful all around you. We hiked up to the overview of Machu Picchu, for that famous postcard picture of Machu Picchu. It is a little bit of a hike up lots of stairs, and the altitude will slow you down. But the view . . . it was worth every step.
Luckily, we were there early enough that there wasn’t a massive crowd of people. I was so happy to get great, uncluttered photos. We took pictures for awhile before we hiked around.
It was amazing to just take a moment, and realize that I was actually standing at Machu Picchu; surrounded by some of the most beautiful views I had ever seen. We hiked around for several hours, and listened to the history of Machu Picchu. There are additional hikes you can do, but we didn’t do any- some have to be book in advanced, and we spent a lot of time wandering around on our own. I still can’t believe how massive Machu Picchu is! Or how they were able to get all the supplies up the mountain. Honestly, I thought I knew what to expect from pictures, but its completely different actually being there and experiencing it yourself. Visiting Machu Picchu was definitely a once in a lifetime experience, and this entire trip will always hold a special place in my heart.
You could definitely spend an entire day here, hiking around. We left shortly after 1pm to take the 20 minute bus ride down the mountain for lunch. We had an early afternoon train ride back, before heading to Cusco for a couple days.