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The Amazing New Adventures of Larry and Mark - Peru, Land of the Incas

Chapter 46

 GETTING TO MACHU PICCHU

 
Winter dry season is from June to August.  We saw no rain, just the morning fog. 
But earlier in the year and later can bring heavy clouds and rains.  A few months
after we went, there was a terrible flood which I will go over in an upcoming
chapter.   Traveling to Machu Picchu from Ollantaytambo requires travel
through valleys surrounded by steep peaks.
 
 
You can only get to Machu Picchu one of two ways: by train or by foot
along the Inca Trail.  Travel by the Vistadome train will get there in a
couple of very pleasant hours.
 
If you are into heavy-duty, high-altitude experience, then hike the restored,
31-mile Inca Trail from Cusco to Machu Picchu.  This hike lasts several days,
and if the beauty doesn’t  kill you, the hike will.   If you hike, you get to see
other archeological sites along the way, like Qorihuayrachina. 
(Not my photo.)
 
As you descend, you will notice the change in vegetation
as you approach the jungle and the temperature rise is remarkable.
Many small bridges will cross along the river, many of which have
foundations built by the Inca.  I am sure a lot of these were looking
a lot more risky when floods happened.
 
 
Night camping facilities for the hikers.
 
 
Many hikers would prefer not to carry all of their equipment, and hire
young, strong  porters to lug their stuff along the Inca Trail.  Many of
these porters will advance to become guides someday.
 
 
Some hikers, once they have reached their goal, will luxuriate
at the mountaintop Machu Picchu Sanctuary Lodge. 
 
 
It is very pricey, but only those who stay there can get photos of sunset
and sunrise, with everyone else off the mountain.  I wish I had had a
chance to do this and do some early/late photos, but here is one image:
 
 
 
There have been proposals for additional luxury hotels, and even a
cable car to the summit, but environmental concerns and worries of
increased visitor traffic have prevented any “improvements” like that. 
If you are hiking, you can come up the Inca Trail through the Sun Gate,
or come straight up from Aguas Calientes.
 
 
 
We took a full afternoon, and the following morning to scout out the site. 
With what research I have done now, I wish I had seen even more things. 
But at that time, I felt that I had seen most of Machu Picchu.  How much
time you will need depends on how fast you want to move around the
ruins.  And if you plan to climb Wayna Picchu, that will take half a day
and will cut into your exploring time.  Our afternoon and the next morning
were two totally different experiences.
 
 
Since we were part of a tour, our entrance tickets were already paid
for our group.  But if you are traveling by yourself, be aware that the
entrance tickets are not sold at the entry to Machu Picchu, but down
in the valley in Aguas Calientes at the Cultural Center.
  
Entrance ticket is around $40.00, valid for one day. For students
there is 50% discount. Students have to show ISIC card, any other
student ID other than a ISIC card will not be accepted there.  If you
are planning a second visit, you will need to buy another ticket.
 
 
 

You may reach me with comments:

Laurence Reich

auburndocreich@aol.com 

 

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