One week in Peru: Cusco and Machu Picchu
January 1, 1970
by Angelica Torres
I had an amazing experience in Peru, a country full of culture and colours that will take you back in time to discover the marvellous Inca world. I had a week but I get to know and do so many things. In this article I will tell you my experience travelling to Cusco and Machu Picchu. I arrived in Lima, and right after I took a bus to Cusco, going by bus takes 22 hours but buses are very comfortable, they all have huge seats with personal screens serve food and have a fine toilet, the bus doesn’t stop so you have to use it. Going but road you get the chance to see Peruvian Andes, the bus goes very up into the mountains and you can even see snow. These buses have tow levels the ground level is more comfortable the seats turn into beds, so I advice you to get the tickets in advance, I used Cruz del Sur and it was pretty good.
Arriving in Cusco there are many hostels and hotels (depending on your budget) and in low season it’s easy to find good hostels without any reservation so you can get to see where you are going to stay and select the best option. Cuzco its a beautiful city with ancient architecture, perfect for walking around although its height is 3.399 m, so it is better to take rest as soon as you come because this can affect your health, if you feel dizzy and tired, in the pharmacies you find pills for this feeling cause by the altitude, the most popular is called “Sorochin” you can also have some coca tea and you will feel better.
If you are interesting in having some local food there is an excellent restaurant in the City, this is a non truistic place so the prices are great, the restaurant is called “El Orégano” to get there and as you are probably staying in the centre, you have to take a taxi and go to Avenida La cultura next to the Colegio Garcilazo. Once there don’t miss the “Anticucho” even if it’s not attractive is so delicious also try the “Chicha Morada” which is a traditional drink made of purple corn and in this place it’s very tasty!
If you like having drinks after a good dinner, I went with my friends to a place named: El museo del Pisco which is a bar with live music where all the menu is based on Pisco (National peruvian drink) they have a large menu so you have so many options and all of them are delicious, I loved this place!
Heading to Machu Picchu
After an amazing time in Cusco we continued our trip to the next destination Aguas Calientes (Machu Picchu town), as we were four persons we pay for a taxi to take us to Ollantaytambo where the train that goes to Aguas Calientes departures, the train also leaves from other places but this is the closest one. There are public buses that go as well, but if you are in a group is quite cheap taking the taxi. Once in Ollantaytambo we took the train that we booked in advanced (just google train to Aguas Calientes) the return ticket is around $80 USD in economic class if you have a larger budget you can get a higher class that includes food and cultural performances. If on contrary you are traveling on a budget there are more options to get to Aguas Calientes by public buses, you also can take the Inka pathway and go by bike or walking (this can take 3 days and will need a guide). The way on the train is really nice, trains have panoramic view (glass celling) for you to enjoy the stunning landscape, decorated by snow mountains and a river.
In Aguas Calientes (Hot waters in spanish) as well as in Cusco if you go in low season you can find hostel really easy and with good prices. People go to stay in this town because is the closest to Machu Picchu so you can have some rest before the long walking to the “Old Mountain” (meaning of Machu Picchu in Quechua). As its name says, in Aguas Calientes there are spring waters so don’t forget to pack your swimming suite!! .. After a relaxing dip you might get really hungry, there are a lot of places for having some food and chill out, I would suggest not to expect too much from food here, as this is a very touristic place the quality of food is no the best and is a bit pricy compered with the other cities.
The ideal day in Machu Picchu starts early in the morning in order to see the sunrise. You can ether walk up to the entrance (30 – 40 min) or take a bus. The price of the bus is around $20 USD. But I recommend to take the bus because you will walk a lot, so you won’t get to tired at the beginning. You find these tickets in Aguas Calientes easily, and you can come back walking or if you aren’t sure you can find tickets in the entrance of Machu Picchu.
You should get the tickets in advance before going there. There are different packets, Huayna Picchu is the big mountain behind the city, this tickets have a limit of entrance per day that’s why you should buy it with anticipation (If you are afraid of heights do not buy it because it gets pretty scary up there and a lot of people panic) there is another packet called Mountain where you can see the city from a higher distance. For this packets you have to begin the tour by the Mountain or Huayna Picchu because they close the entrance early so if you start with the city you won’t have enough time to make everything therefore you will lost it. If you want a guide tour there are many that you can arrange in Aguas Calientes before getting there for very convenient price. here you can get the tickets: http://ticketmachupicchu.com/
Take comfortable shoes, take water, and some food but Please do not leave any trash!! You can also stamp your passport at the entrance so take it with you. This is an amazing place so worth to visit, take the most out of it and enjoy it!!
I hope this article was useful for you, in the next part I will give you tips that I got from the rest of my trip to Peru.
“We travel not to escape life, but for life not to escape us.” – Anonymous.