Machu Picchu

ISA Peru Trip 2024: part 3

One of the many reasons to book your trip through a travel agent is that they, and their local, on-the-ground tour operators, can more effectively sort out any potential issues that may arise.  This is true anywhere in the world, and no less so in Peru, where personal relationships are crucial for problem solving.  Although there was a train strike during our general manager’s tour there, the local team was on the case.  Once they received news of the strike lifting, they re-arranged his Machu Picchu entrance tickets that very same day for the following morning!  Impressive – and not something even he could have done so last-minute, Spanish-speaking or not. 

Machu Picchu Ideal South America

The train to Machu Picchu is an experience in itself, especially if the Urubamba River is full and raging.  It was clearly the rainy season!  Even without a more coveted window seat, one passes by a great variety of changing landscapes.  Mountain or cloud forest jungle?  Yes!  His daypack including passport, money and cards, rain gear, sunglasses, hat, phone, snacks and water kept him ready for all eventualities, but the (hot) drink and snacks included on the first-class train were most welcome in any case.  It helped make the just under two hour journey all the easier to enjoy.

After being met by the local guide upon arrival in Machu Picchu town, formerly called Aguas Calientes, he joined the line for the half hour bus up to Machu Picchu itself.  With no restrooms inside the Citadel itself, it is best to plan ahead and go in town (change required).  The option at the entrance isn’t ideal!  Soldering on, they navigated the crowded entrance and initial walk, to finally emerge with some views of this unique place.  As the fog lifted, more revealed itself.  How massive the complex is – and what a setting!  Looking from various point of this large ancient city, across the mountains, down to multiple valleys at the same time, it truly felt like nothing ever seen before. 

Machu Picchu Ideal South America

In addition to the classic upper circuit exploring the more recognizable part of the Machu Picchu citadel, there are some options for additional exploration – “side hikes” – which usually require a separate ticket.  “Montana” is considered the longest and most difficult, while Huayna Picchu or Wayna Picchu is the most popular – but not easy either.  And not for the faint of heart with respect to heights and vertigo.  A more comfortable but still interesting option recently opened – Huchuy Picchu. It is significantly shorter, doesn’t require as much as difficult climbing and is more friendly to those wary of heights and narrow spaces. And as you’ll see below, the views of Machu Picchu are fantastic as well!  Hopefully you have the chance to experience Peru and Machu Picchu yourselves one day soon.

Machu Picchu Ideal South America

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