Travel Post: Machu Picchu in Peru

5:30 PM

This blog is apart of my Peru travel post series. Read my previous posts about the Amazon rainforest and Sacred Valley!

Day 5 - Aguas Calientes / Machu Picchu

We decided to leave Sacred Valley to take a train to Aguas Calientes for the night. Aguas Calientes is the town right below Machu Picchu, and staying overnight there allowed us to get more sleep before visiting the biggest highlight of our trip: Machu Picchu! And because we stayed overnight, we got to avoid the big crowds coming to Machu Picchu from Sacred Valley or Cuzco by train in the morning.

From Aguas Calientes, we woke up at 4 am to line up for the buses that would drive us 25 minutes to Machu Picchu. I thought there wouldn't be a long line at that early of an hour, but boy, was the line long. However, we only waited about 30-45 minutes to get onto a bus to Machu Picchu.

I also want to note that you need tickets in order to enter the Machu Picchu ruins. They only allow a certain number of visitors per day, so be sure to book your tickets in advance to avoid any disappointment! We booked our tickets months before on Peru's Ministero de Cultura (a government page). You also have the option of hiking up either Machu Picchu or Huaynapicchu mountain, and have to buy the specific ticket for those options as well. Huaynapicchu mountain has a more limited amount of tickets than Machu Picchu mountain, so those run out quicker. (We chose to hike up Huaynapicchu - it offers a different view of the Machu Picchu ruins.)

You also need to purchase your bus tickets to the ruins before boarding the buses. We bought ours the night before, when there was no line, to save time. You also have the option to hike down the mountain, which is roughly an hour.

I was SO EXCITED to finally achieve one of my long-awaited dreams! I was careful about what I ate too, as the last thing I needed was to suffer food poisoning and not be able to visit Machu Picchu.

There was not many people when we arrived at Machu Picchu around 8 am, and thank goodness! I got to revel in the wonderful slight of Machu Picchu. Machu Picchu was every bit as beautiful as I thought it would be. I actually shed tears when I saw it in person. :')

I really could have stayed there for hours, just staring at the mountain. My friends and I took a bunch of pictures before all the other hordes of tourists came. We even saw llamas, and encouraged them to take pictures with us by offering them bananas! It was extremely fun, and we left when the guards came to shoo us away. Thus, we made our way to Huaynapicchu for our hike.

Hi llama friend!

Huaynapicchu was an extremely hard hike. Not only was I still feeling the effects of altitude sickness (and had to stop and pant heavily every 10 feet), HP was a very steep hike in general. At some parts of the hike, I had to use my hands to climb up rocks, and climb through small holes. If I had to do it all over again though...I definitely would. It took us around 2.5 hours to climb up and down the mountain, and we even sat and ate lunch on the mountain.

View of Machu Picchu ruins from Huaynapicchu

After exploring the Machu Picchu ruins a bit more, we headed towards our bus to catch our 4-hour train ride to Cuzco. I was very sad to leave Machu Picchu. 

Read about Cuzco, Peru here!

*We have my friend to thank for these beautiful pictures throughout the next couple of posts. A few of these pictures were taken on my GoPro, but most pictures were taken by my friend, Alex Botao Wong. 

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