Our hotel clerk at the Santuario Hotel recommended Putucusi mountain the day before we were suppose to go up to Machu Picchu. He said it would be an easy 1 hour hike. Just follow the train tracks that run behind the hotels in Aguas Calientes to find the stone steps that lead you up. The hike was steep and it required that you climb up 6 wooden ladders withought a harness to protect you. This was a little scarry and exciting at the same time. We had a light drizzle in the middle of our climb that made parts of the path very muddy and slippery. The view of Machu Picchu across from us was worth the 1 hour and 20 minutes it took us to get to the summit huffing and puffing. I strongly suggest you start the climb before 3:30 pm to give you time to enjoy the view and descend before night fall (6pm). Don't forget to carry your water bottle, camera, and anything you need in a backpack (so it does not fall when you go up the ladders). I highly recommend you bring a snack to prevent leg cramps on the ladders.
If you decide to spend a night in Aguas Calientes, you´ll probably have the whole afternoon to explore the city. But, to be honest with you, exploring Aguas Calientes won´t take more than an hour. And you´ll still have the whole afternoon...
A good option is to climb the Putucusi Mountain to get a different view of Machu Picchu. The hike takes around 1h30min (just to go up, and another 1h30min to go down) and is even more exhausting than the Huayna Picchu´s, but the view is worth it. Check the pictures!!!
Most of the tourists take the train from Cusco to Aguas Calientes and then straight the bus to Machu Picchu. It is perfectly possible to do this and maybe a good option if you are short on time. If you are not, I recommend you to spend the night in Aguas Calientes.
The city itself doesn´t have much to offer, but it´s a nice place to relax for a day and you get the chance to wake up early and take the first bus to Machu Picchu, avoiding the crowds that start to arrive after 11AM.
The city has many restaurants, bars and street stalls selling local craft. Obviously it´s all overpriced, but not more than Cusco. It´s up to you.
On top of Huayan Picchu, right after climbing thru the cave, look to your right towards the cliff. You will see a building with three levels. The building is built overhanging the cliff!
The amazing part is (look at the photo), there are stairs stuck to the side of the wall of the building and it looks and feels like you are walking on air (or in our fortunate case, walking on the clouds). It's a great adventure and feeling but make sure not to stumble or you will fall off the stair, directly off the cliff.
Across from Machu Picchu is Putukusi. this is a tough climb, much tougher than the well worn trail up Machu Picchu but the view at the top is amazing. you look down right at Machu Picchu, beautiful.
This climb is not for the weak, there are climbs up clifs on little wooden ladders and the path of stone steps are not easy to scale.
Walk away from town on the Railroad tracks, look for the path to the right
South America has some the world’s most exotic species of Orchids; its name comes from the Greek and means –Testicle!! , Personally I think it’s a load of B*ll*cks
Orchids anchor themselves to other plants, trees, rocks etc
The air above Machu Picchu is filled with beautiful butterflies that are unlike any that we have seen in other parts of the world. While the main attraction is, of course, the ruined 600-year-old city, don't forget the natural beaty that surrounds Machu Picchu.
One of the more interesting insects we encountered was the scissors bug -- at least that's what we figured out must be the English name after listening to it in Spanish. It is the kind of bug you would have expected to see in the cinema if "Edward Scissorshands" had been about a mutant insect rather than a challenged person. The locals advised that we stroke it gently right behind the neck, which will alert it to open its pincers and remain aroused. We were also told that it packs a powerful bite -- one maintenance man at the hotel recalled getting picnhed on the hand and bleeding severly. So, cuidado when handling these insects.
I know all the work that went into creating Machu Picchu is impressive, but so is the industriousness of the local leaf cutter ants. You can see them as soon as you walk through the entrance gate, marching up and down one of the wooden supports for the last overhang. Or, you can see them right next to the ground by the long staircase on the main square leading up from the Arisans Wall. Just look closely for small moving pieces of leaves.
Machu Picchu in Quechua means "ancient peak" and Huayna Picchu means “young peak”.
Huaya Picchu is in fact that large peak forming the backdrop to the ruins. It’s a bit of a steep trek on a stony path (there go those Incas again with their stones!), but the view from the top is absolutely worth it. You’ll be treated to a completely different perspective of the ruins and their layout.
Try to make enough time to do this hike up Huayna Picchu, as it will take about an hour each way to climb up and down. If you can, take a small pair of binoculars with you.
You’ll find there aren’t too many people climbing Huayna Picchu - I think many are intimidated by it. There’s a “guest book” that you must sign before you cross over from the vicinity of the ruins into the area that frames the foot of Huayna Picchu. Be sure to leave evidence that you "vini, vidi, vinci".
I have seen little mention of these carved rocks, which mirror the mountains behind showing how little the scene has changed over the years
back to puerta del sol, after the "church" on the left.... go and have a look on where they were growing vegetables....
Av. Hermanos Ayar Mz 1 L-3, Aguas Calientes, Sacred Valley, Peru
Good for: Business
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