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  • Konrad Tillman

Hiking Machu Picchu: Incredible, Expensive & Touristic

Intro


My fourth world wonder is a terrific one at that. For those unfamiliar with Machu Picchu, it is located in Peru, specifically in the small town of Cusco. After a terrific flight onboard Avianca from Bogota to Cusco, it was time to take the long day trip to Machu Picchu. I wasn't quite sure what to expect after visiting Angkor Wat, The Taj Mahal, and The Pyramids Of Giza in the past 4 months.


The answer: Breathtaking.


Let's get into it!


How I Booked


A day trip to Machu Picchu is going to cost you, and there are no two ways to get there. This is because you need a return train, return bus tickets, transport to the train station, and the actual ticket to enter Machu Picchu. Technically, you do not need a guide, but I would recommend one if you are going.


I booked my tour through GetYourGuide for a total of 329$ all in. This included everything listed above and free water!


There weren't many options online regarding a single-day trip, but on your GetYourGuide you can find one company.


The Day Before


The day prior to my tour of Machu Picchu, I arrived in Cusco and someone from the company came to the hotel to meet me with the tickets. He went over tomorrow's plan and let me know the company would pick me up at 3:45 in the morning! Yes, you heard that right.


Getting To The Train Station


Getting to the train station requires an hour and a half drive in each direction. Sure enough, the van picked me up right on time at 3:45 am.


After picking up all the other passengers, I went straight back to sleep for an hour and a half.


Transport to the train station

We arrived about 30 minutes before the train's scheduled departure time, which meant one thing: COFFEE. It was needed badly.


If Coffee was ever needed, now was the time

There was a man at the gate who checked your tickets (this would be the first of a thousand checkpoints for tickets).


Soon enough, it was time to board this beautiful train.


The Outbound Train


There are plenty of trains up to Machu Picchu, but I was on the earliest train. I plan to go back soon and try the Belmond luxury train, but Peru Rail ain't bad. On your boarding pass is the carriage number along with your seat assignment. I headed over to my carriage, F38.


Beautiful morning

Once again, the agent checked our tickets and confirmed that we were eligible to be on the train (ticket check 2).


Well worth the 110$ round trip included in the whole price

The interior of the train is stunning. The seats are comfortable, and free water is provided. Snacks, beer, and coffee are available for purchase at decent prices. A cup of coffee is about 3$ USD, while a beer is 5$ USD.


Comfortable

Thankfully, I had a free seat next to me. This meant I was able to get some quality rest for about an hour and a half, while the remaining 20 minutes was spent gazing out at this beautiful scenery! There are also toilets on the train by the way!


Surreal

The Bus To Machu Picchu


Our train ride on the way out was relatively short, clocking in at a mere 1 hour and 45 minutes. Upon arrival, it was raining, and I purchased a raincoat for 2$ USD from a local seller. This brings me to my next point: what to bring:


  1. A raincoat or waterproof gear

  2. A small backpack

  3. Portable charger if you use your phone a lot

  4. Snacks

  5. Some water

  6. Make sure to use the toilet before going inside MP

  7. A willingness to be startled

  8. Tickets and Passport


Everybody from the train was ushered into a waiting line, and we were sent to the back. After a 15-minute wait, we were allowed onto a bus for the 25-minute journey. Not before they checked our tickets, of course, 🤥 (ticket check 3).


Weather can change rapidly here

Machu Picchu


Finally, we get to the good part: Machu Picchu. At this point, it is 6.5 hours since we departed to the hotel and we finally arrive at the entrance. Enter ticket check number 4... Bathrooms are located here, and only on the outside. GO BEFORE.


You need your passport to enter Machu Picchu, so DO NOT FORGET IT. We showed our entrance ticket and passport and were finally inside the ancient Incan grounds.


Jam packed

It's about a 15-minute hike to get up to Machu Picchu. It shouldn't be much of a struggle for anybody. Thankfully, it had stopped raining but the clouds were still covering much of Machu Picchu.


Get ready with your camera as weather changes rapidly

Finally, the guide took us a little closer and the clouds broke! What a special place! Part of the tour was heading inside for about 45 minutes as the guide told us the history. Side note: This guide was top-notch and truly incredible!


Finally !

Lunch


We took the bus back around 12:30, of course with the mandated ticket check 5 to the town of Machu Picchu. I joined a bunch of people I met on the tour as we sat around eating Alpaca and drinking beer/pisco sour.


The beer is class here

Someone from the tour agency brought around the amazing Machu Picchu stamp for your passport! There's one stamp I will never forget!


My new passport looks so lonely

The Journey Back


We were booked onto the 4:43 pm train back, meaning we had a couple of hours to kill in Machu Picchu. After enjoying some food and coffee the journey back was upon us.


It started with a train that took about 2 hours and 15 minutes this time. The train is identical to the outbound one but the only thing different was my level of beer consumption😂.


On the road again....

Apart from I was awake for this ride! The views out of the window are incredible! I had a wonderful conversation with a woman from my tour group as we embarked on the journey back to Cusco. If you get motion sickness, bring tablets incase!


Could you imagine the Incans hunting in the waters??!

The skylight aspect of the train was beautiful as well!


Stairway to heaven

Once off the train, the final part of the journey was in order. Another hour and a half drive from the train station back to Cusco. Thankfully, I was able to get some good sleep and woke up with 20 minutes remaining to Cusco.


All in all, I got back to my hotel at 9 pm, 17 hours after departing. It was a long day but well worth it.


There are other options for those wondering, such as staying in the town of Machu Picchu for a night or two, but this is what best suited my travel plans.


Final Thoughts


Visiting Machu Picchu was a dream come true. While it was a long 17-hour day, this tour made it as comfortable and as beautiful as possible. The guide was sensational every step of the way offering to take pictures and videos on my phone which turned out incredible! While it is crowded, it also is a world wonder (not as crowded as the TAJ).


Here is the link for how I booked, no I don't get any commission I just want to share!

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