Mark and I traveled to Machu Picchu in January which is the low season for tourists. But even in the off season remember Machu Picchu is the most visited location in Peru, so be prepared for large groups of tourists. We did not take a guided tour. They were available at a cost. Instead we kind of cheated. We took a self guided tour, but allowed ourselves time to listen to some of the information the guides were sharing with their groups.
Most people traveling to Machu Picchu do a lot of research in advance. After reading all of the books and internet sites, after studying the history, take some time to put all of that aside after you arrive. Put the books down, get out our camera, take some photos, and then just take your time to look, experience, and absorb all that Machu Picchu offers. When you get back home, look at your photos, pull out the guide books and reread the history. But don't get so into the story that you miss the experience while you are ther.
Not everyone who visit Machu Pichu climb Waina Pichu as most of them are unaware about this other hill and most visitors are informed only when they reach the peak of Machu Pichu.The fact that they will be a little tired by this time most people do not attempt to climb so i presume it will not be too busy at the top of Waina Pichu.
The climb itself will take you about 1 hour and i suggest you go for it straight away after you finish the Machu Pichu tour with your leader...enjoy
This monumental masterpiece is a sight to behold! I am extremely happy to have finally seen this world wonder. Take in as much as you can visually, emotionally and spiritually. It is a GREAT travel experience.
One hiking trail from Macchu Picchu takes the visitor to the Inca Bridge, an old bridge constructed of a stone arch and topped by a wooden walkway which has since decayed. The path to the bridge is beautiful, with tropical flora surrounding the trail that overlooks the valley below. A stone wall protects the hiker from falling to the valley floor at several points, and beautiful mosses, fungi, and other tropical plants grow in the cracks of the wall.
If you arent visiting the ruins at Macchu Picchu as part of a guided tour then there are a few things you need to know:
You need to get your tix before you get there. You can either go to the INC office in Cusco or Aguas Calientes but I would recommend the former as its bigger so better able to handle queues if its busier. As at Sept 07 it will cost you S/-120.50 (payable only in soles)
When you get up to Aguas Calientes you then need to get bus tickets, these cost USD$12 for a return (payable only in USD) The ticket office is on the main street in AC (you cant miss it), right beside where the buses leave to go up to MP. The bus goes up a VERY winding road to MP and takes about 30 mins.
When you get there hire a guide, there are no handy signs telling you what you are looking at and the map is rubbish. I was quoted S/-100 for a personal guide or S/-25 to join a group, the tour took about 2hrs.
I highly suggest that you go out to the ruins twice. I went the first day in the afternoon, after the trains have left, and was surprised at how beautiful, peaceful, and intimate it felt up there. I got photos of the ruins with no one else in the photo! The people who end up staying that long are typically relaxing and soaking in the beautiful scenery. The next morning, we got to the gate once the park opened up. It was still still way busier than the afternoon before. The lighting at both times of the day was different, yet beautiful. We spent the morning doing a self-guided tour (there's a good book that provides excellent details and takes you off the beaten path where organized tours may not take you.)
Not that the Inca Trail was hard enough, but I had my heart set on climbing the mountain that sits next to Machu Picchu.
Putukusi is a tough, steep mountain that starts by the river in Aguas Calientes. What makes this an even tougher climb is the lack of shade after the first 20 mins.
It took 1 hour for me to climb, and about 30 mins to get back down.
What makes this so famous is the view from the side on angle of Machu Picchu. Oh, and the vertical ladders that you need to climb to get to the top.
Forget the long line and wait for Wyna Picchu, get yourself up Putakusi instead. far more rewarding!
When you take the bus in Aguas Calientes to go up to Machu Picchu take a seat on the left side of the bus. The view is beautiful and those who sit in the other side don´t get the chance to see it much.
If you stay in Cusco, the train is four hours each way, leaving you only about three hours at the ruins. This is enough to see everything, but it won't leave you time to just sit down and "take it all in." We took the train, and I felt that I did not really have time to appreciate the site as much as if I had some quiet time to stop and reflect.
The alternative is to stay one night in Aguas Caliente, which would give you a pretty full day at the site.
Pasear por Machu Picchu y ver su "piedras" es algo que no se olvida
(Puertas con jambas y sin jambas , ventanas trapezoidales verdaderas y falsas , los sillares tallados y las grandes piedras... )
To walk by Machu Picchu and to see its "stones" is some thing that you will not forget
(doors with and without edges , Trapezoidal false and real windows , the carved stone (sillares) and the big stones...)
Machu Picchu está en un sitio realmente inaccesible con el río Urubamba a sus pies y grandes montañas a sus alrededores
Machu Pichu is in a place really inaccessible with the Urubamba river at his feet and big mountains surrounding
El Intiwatana o "lugar donde se amarra al sol" está en la cima de la "Colina Sagrada", formada por varias terrazas y andenes, adonde se llega subiendo 78 escalones
El Intiwatana cumplió dos funciones: medición del tiempo (solsticio y equinoccio) por efecto de luz y sombra y como piedra altar
The Intiwatana or "place to tight the sun" is in the top of the "Sacred hill" that is formed by several terraces and were you arrive climbing 78 steps
The Intiwatana had two functions : time measuring ( solstice and equinoxe ) with the effect of the light and shades and as an altar stone
El templo del sol se edificó en honor del Inti o Dios Sol es una construcción semicircular que está sobre una roca maciza y en su interior se aprecia una piedra labrada a dos niveles en forma de altar
Sólo los sacerdotes y el Inca podían usar este templo
The temple of the Sun it was built for the God Inti or Sun God is a semicircular building that is over a solid rock and inside you may see a carved stone in two levels with the shape of an altar
Only the priests and the Inca could use this temple
The Ceremonial Baths (the only building with coverage) is right beside the Temple of the Sun. Like almost every building in Machu Picchu, historians are not sure about its purposes, but its location and structure indicate that it was used for some sort of religious ritual.
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