After a 4-hour train ride from Cuzco, we arrived in a small village called Aguas Calientes. Besides being the gateway to Machu Picchu, there is not much else going on in this little place.
As we walked around, we were always approached by locals who tried to entice us to eat or drink at their restaurants with promotions. Prices are so ridiculously set for tourists that we got specials like 4 drinks for the price of 1 or half off for food. Just remember to look at your final bill and the additional service charge written is not required.
A few pisco sour drinks later, we had to call it an early night for our ascend to Machu Picchu at dawn.
Having to wake up at 3am for anything is never nice and being welcomed by the rain, makes it even harder to get up. However, we got out of the hotel as planned and began our hike. About twenty minutes later, we arrived at a locked gate to learn that it doesn’t open until 4:45am.
By the time the gate opened, there was about twenty of us waiting in the pouring rain. It was uphill the entire way. Surprisingly, we reached the gates of Machu Picchu in an hour or so.
As we made our grand entrance with soaking wet clothes and grey cloudy skies above us, it all didn’t matter anymore when we were standing in front of the famous Inca ruins. We have seen so many pictures of this one spot, but in person, it was priceless.
The point of waking up so early is that they only allow a maximum of 400 people a day to have access to Wayna Picchu. This is a strenuous uphill hike that is supposed to give the best view of the valley. When we reached the top, the views were stunning even though the weather didn’t get any better. The only problem was we couldn’t really see through the thick fog that was covering up the ruins.
I was optimistic that the weather was going to change so we hung out on the top of the mountain for some time and to dry off our clothes. At 10 am exactly, the sun started to come out and we could see a little bit of the ruins as some of the fog moved away. At this point, we were all very happy that we were going to have some decent photos. About 30 more minutes, Mother Nature did her magic and the fog was all gone. It was just amazing to be staring down at this ancient Inca village and all of its grandeur. As we stared on for another hour, I tried to understand why this ancient city is so much more popular than the others as it is not the largest. I guess because of its unique location on top of a mountain and being surrounded by large peaks and its terrace landscape, it made it more gratifying to the eye.
We then made our way to the smaller and closer Wayna Picchu. When the view couldn’t get any better, we had a dead on view of the ruins.
We left the tour of the ruins for last. As we walked around, it seemed like the lamas were set there on purpose to entertain the tourists.
Despite the rain, the tourists, the early wake up, we were very impressed by the sight of Machu Picchu and had an awesome day.
|What We Paid:||Peruvian
|– Roundtrip Train From Cuzco To Aquas Caliente
(Backpackers class; 4-hours one-way)
|– Private Double Room with private bathroom||40||14.20||10.80|
|– Entrance To Machu Picchu||126||44.80||34|
|– Bus From Machu Picchu To Aguas Calientes (one-way)||20.50||7.30||5.55|
|– Lunch In Aguas Calientes||12||4.25||3.25|
|– Dinner in Aguas Calientes||10||3.50||2.65|