Aguas Calientes, Machu Picchu
As is noted above, the train gets into Agua Calientes, and then you walk through the bazaar for a few hundred metres before you catch the bus to MP.
The bus travels through a long forest before it gets there. The guide gave us a brief description of the locations and various aspects of the ruins before leaving us alone.
There is much to see , so i broke off from the group and changed my ticket to return the next evening . Stayed the night ( many hotels and few hostels )
because i wanted to climb Wynna Picchu the next day. The train leaves for Cuzco every evening about 6/7 pm.
Back when i went , and hopefully now too, there are no rstaurants,cafes,shops.Take a small pack and water and snack. It is truly stunning.
In cuzco you can arrange a tour of the sacred sites ( like saqsaywamen & ollyantambo) for a day while you acclimatise to the altitude with cups of "mate" Have fun
Fondest memory: The sound of the Urubamba river crashing down through the night ....the clouds above Wynna Picchu..the view , the bazaar of quechua indians selling their wares in colorful costumes,corn sticks massive !..the pipe music in the cantinas in Agua Calientes
Favorite thing: Machu Pichu is not juste a site its all the ambiance you put in it who make it an magic experience. If I can give you juste an advice it's to climb Machu Pichu by the stairs! It's hard but it whort it!! I am not in shape and i'm a smoker;I was not shure to do it but I did and am going to do it again when I'll go back. You realy feel like finding your way to an unknown world. And the best is that is free. Second advice you bether climb it realy urly in the morning around 5:00 am so when you finaly arive on top the sun juste start to rise. It's urly but the view is magnific. (: bring a flash light there is no light in the way :)
Machu Picchu is on the top list of a lot of travellers. Its certainly one of my lifelong memories. Inside Machu Picchu and visiting the site is great! Being able to walk the ruins, see the craftmanship, learning about the history, hiking up Huayan Picchu,... all fantastic. Priceless as they say.
Actually getting to Machu Picchu and all the surrounding aspects of traveling to Machu Picchu, not so magical.
I don't want to be a pessimist in any way and I trully believe anyone who wants to visit Machu Picchu should go. But I was surprised I did not find any posts in VT about the "other hassels". So I will write it down.
Everything about getting to Machu Picchu is rideculosly inflated and feels like hungry sharks waiting to prey on unsuspecting "tourists". Considering that arriving to Cuzco, taxi drivers are pushing each other to get to you, salesperson offering you a packaged deal for unbelievable "all inclusive" prices. Then the train to Agua Caliente: Up to $105 dollars for normal fare. Compare that to normal fare in the rest of Peru at 15-35 soles ($10 dollars).
Then the lodging in Agua Caliente cheap at $50 a person, compared to $7 dollars a person in Puno or even Cuzco. Then there are the special "tourista menus". Like its a good thing and a great service they are providing, selling you to eat at their restaurants with these special menus in English. I wonder for the same food without touristas around if it wouldn't be the normal 15 soles instead of the printed "tourist value price" of 80 soles and up.
I don't blame the locals. Hey, they see the demand, they see their gold, feel free to mine it. Just, tourists beware of the image you are portraying. Don't be the prey.
I don't mean it to be negative but just informative.
Fondest memory: I love that there is nothing for sale INSIDE the actual Machu Picchu ruins. Just you and the ruins, just like in your dreams! To endure the rest to have those moments, those pictures is worth it. And don't get me wrong, to people who don't see what I'm talking about as a negative, all the bliss to you my friends.
Machu Picchu is awsome!!
I suggest that you stay a night to see Machu Picchu. Just being a day tripper is a big mistake.
The train will not get there before 10:30 so you will only get in to the site by 11:00. Hoping that its a sunny day you will be able to see the whole site and will have to leave by 2:00 P.m. to catch the 2:30 train back.
You cannot get many pictures will tonnes of tourists in every frame. You will not also have enough time to climb Una Picchy and the other big peak (Vanyaya Pichu I think)
Fondest memory: How the site becomes slowly visible as the fog clears in the early morning and reveals this mysterious lost Inca City.
Favorite thing: Although Aguas Calientes is every day crowded by hundreds of Machu Picchu tourists the village saved it´s beautiful flair.
Favorite thing: Aguas Calientes, the place to stay a night after visiting Ruinas Machu Picchu, the place to relax in the thermal bathes and the place to start the way back to Cusco.