Planned 6 months out from departure... Visiting Peru, exploring Cuzco and Machu Picchu (then on to Santiago Chile before exploring Easter Island). The mountainous destinations are where altitude can leave you breathless but so can the landscape. *sigh* It's beautiful here. (altitude preparation is strongly recommended as noted here in the chlorophyll gels released into my water)
October. Spring time. Exceptionally way more mild than I had anticipated. Arrived in Cusco, next day took the train from Poroy Station to Aguas Calientes (AC).
P.S. it's impossible to sleep on the train ride here ...there's way to much to see and take pictures of.
Arrival Day: We arrived around noon to AC. Checked in to our hotel (great view, friendly hosts, in town centre and super close to the train and bus). Settled, ate and explored ...made it to the hot springs to enjoy the sights and sounds (20 soles per person). Bought our return bus tickets from AC to Machu Picchu for the following morning ($24 USD).
Day one: awoke at 5 a.m. to the world's largest line for a bus lol. Arrived in line at 5:30 a.m. hotel provided a bagged breakfast. Line moved fast.
Thirty minutes by bus to the entry of Machu Picchu (road incredibly windy and narrow). Entered before 7 a.m. and made our way to the Huayna Picchu, start (tickets with passport required, only 200 people permitted), wasn't well signed, but lots of guides around to help direct you. Our tickets stated 7-8 a.m. entry. Climb took 1.5 hours. View from top was amazing.
Some parts were hard; narrow steps, guide wire rails to help pull yourself up or cling to on the way down...and crawling out the tunnel while at the top to make your way down the exit was pretty cool (total time 4 hours). Bus ride back was easy.
Celebratory eats and drinks and massages ($25 CAD for an Inka Massage...well worth it). Picked up another return ticket for the bus from AC to MP for tomorrow. Offered free pisco sours at Happy Hour (enjoyed those) and again an early night. Our guide for tomorrow stopped by to give us instructions...thought that was awesome of him.
Day two: up at 5 a.m. to see two of four of us off to their next adventure via the train station. Another bagged lunch from our friends here at the hotel. Made our way for coffee and a rest before getting into the long line for our return to Machu Picchu and our guided tour of the grounds.
Ticket time for our 2nd day inside was from 6 am until noon included a guide and a pass to the museum after (which is NOT on site...easy to get to as the bus will drop you off, but a hike to get back from there on foot to town). Foggy / cloudy start and then amazing, clear views and so many people. So much history here. A visit to the Sun Temple and Inca Bridge plus a few hundred pics of so many things. What an experience.
Plans for the rest of the day...siesta, repack our bags, market browsing again and perhaps rest up for our return to Cusco tomorrow.
Cusco .... what a gorgeous place nestled in the mountains.
PS: don't forget to take 2 soles with you to MP ...you'll need it to enter the washroom there. :)
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~ Holiday Heidi