The honeymoon tour continues in Peru with the amazing Machu Picchu. Not only is Machu Picchu one of the few UNESCO World Heritage sites in the world, it is also considered one of the seven wonders of the world. It’s an amazing piece of history with so much culture that has been carefully preserved for decades. Machu Picchu is above the Sacred Valley and part of the Andes Mountains.
This was our first time going to Peru and our first time visiting Machu Picchu. For the both of us, Machu Picchu has always been on the top of the list to visit and we were so happy that we were able to accomplish our goal!
Getting to Machu Picchu
Before coming to Peru, we made sure to read online the steps and processes to get to Machu Picchu. We found that purchasing your Machu Picchu tickets prior to coming to Peru was a very good idea. In-fact, the earlier the better. This is because there are limited spots (around 600) per day. If you come during the peak season, it can be very difficult to get tickets. This goes for the train tickets and any other entrance tickets you need if you plan to do a trail at Machu Picchu.
You’ll also need to decide whether you want to do the famous and popular Machu Picchu Inca Trail, which takes 4 days to complete. We didn’t opt for this as we had limited time in Machu Picchu and planned instead to go on a 4 hour trail up Mount Montana. This way we still get the experience of doing a trek but limit the time and money spent.
There are no direct flights to Machu Picchu. So if you plan to travel other parts of Peru, be sure to look at a map of Peru to find the best route for you. For us the best way to get there was to travel to a city called Cusco, followed by a train ride the following day run by Peru Rail to Aguas Calientes.
The train ride was an experience in itself! We enjoyed the whole trip, from being able to view the landscapes and eating free Peruvian snacks with our Inca Kola drinks. Even the announcement to board the train was magical. It felt like we were about to enter the Willy Wonka factory. You could feel the excitement in the air as we were welcomed on the train with a grand entrance. Needless to say, we were super excited!
Aguas Calientes is a small town and when we say small, we mean tiny. You can basically walk the whole town in less than an hour. Upon arrival at Aguas Calientes, we made our way to the main bridge of the town and below this bridge there was a small ticketing booth selling bus tickets. It’s not hard to find at all and is situated next to the river.
This is the only bus service available that will take you directly to Machu Picchu from Aguas Caliente. Make sure you purchase a two-way or return ticket to save time and money. The bus runs from the early morning up until about 2pm in the afternoon. If you intend on purchasing tickets for the following day like we did, you need to line up no earlier than 2pm of the previous day. We purchased our tickets after lunch on the day before we went to Machu Picchu in order to stay overnight in Aguas Calientes and get some rest before our big day in Machu Picchu. It also gave us time to go around and explore the town of Aguas Calientes including the beautiful markets.
The next morning, we left bright and early at 6am as the bus starts moving at 7am but when we arrived at the bus stop, there was already a long line. Luckily the line moves fast. Going early in the morning provides enough time without that many tourists in your view and in your epic photos. We also decided to go early because we planned to climb Mount Montana, which has select opening hours. We also decided to go in the morning to avoid the heat from 12pm onwards. We caught a bus which takes about 20 minutes to get to Machu Picchu. Leaving the bus, we immediately needed to line up at the gate, waiting patiently for our turn to go in.
The highlights of Machu Picchu
Upon entering the gate, we walked a few minutes up the path and found the famous Machu Picchu right in our view. Living in Chile, we’ve seen the Andes Mountains but not like this. The Chilean view is often covered with brown dirt or covered with snow, whereas the Andes Mountains view in Peru was more green and bright. It reminded us of the sacred valley in the old school kids movie, Land before time. Known as the Lost City of the Incas, Machu Picchu is really a monument of the Incas’ history.
There weren’t that many people at this time and it was perfect to take some photos. Walking up the steps gives you a good overview of the place. We enjoyed exploring the area to get the best view of Machu Picchu. We took a moment to take it all in.
We spent most of the morning climbing Mount Montana and then came back to the main event of Machu Picchu and explored the area. The weather was great but super hot and the panoramic views were so beautiful, it was worth the bug bites and sweat. By the time we came back to explore Machu Picchu, the clouds which cast over Machu Picchu in the early morning cleared up and it was not beaming hot.
We brought our own packed lunches and snacks with us for the day because we read that there was only one place to have lunch there. It was a buffet which costs $40USD per person. We decided to skip this because I’m a vegetarian and would most likely get very little selection eating there.
When we started to explore the area, there were llamas and sacred inca ruins all around us. Besides the view, one of the most impressive parts of Machu Picchu is the dry-stone walls and structures that date back in the 15th century. Although beautiful, there was a lot of steps up and down the whole place, so make sure you take time out and rest because a lot of people that were there either threw up due to the altitude or were looking dehydrated. Machu Picchu is 7,970 feet above sea level, making it very difficult for most people to breathe.
We were so tired by the end of it that we didn’t end up visiting all the other sites that were on the map. Looking back, we made the right decision, particularly because we went all the way to the top of Mount Montana which took at good 3.5 hours to complete. The other sites on the map entailed a lot more climbing and with the heat, bugs and hunger against us, we decided to call it a day and have a big celebratory meal back in Aguas Calientes.
Overall the experience was awesome. It definitely goes into our top list as one of the most spectacular views we’ve seen ever. The day was long but filled with so many good memories and moments that it was all worth it. If you ever get a chance to go to Peru, one of the first places you need to make sure you go to is Machu Picchu. This concludes the Machu Picchu honeymoon tour. Follow us on the next adventures into the Amazon rainforest!