The Lost City of the Incas
Trip Start May 20, 2010
195Trip End Sep 05, 2011
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Day : 303
Temperture : 17 degrees
Weather : See for yourself!!
Some info for those planning on visiting Machu Picchu if not doing the the Inca Trail.
Most hotels / hostels in Cusco, and many more travel agencies will offer one or two day tours for prices varying from $150 to $200. Day tours, which I personally would not recommend, leave at 6am, arrive in Aguas Calientes (or Machu Picchu Town) approximately 4 hours later. The shuttle bus which runs every 10 minutes or when full leave from 5.30am until 5.30pm and take 20 minutes to reach the entrance gate
On a two day tour, you will have a choice of train times to Aguas Calientes. You will spend one night in Aguas Calientes. The following day you can either sleep in and make your way at your own leisure up to Machu Picchu, or you can get up ultra early and try to be one of the first 400 visitors at the entrance gate whereby you will be given your free ticket to climb Wayna Picchu. In order to be one of the first 400 visitors, there are two options. 1). Start queueing for the first few buses which depart at 5.30am. You will need to start queueing at 4am. 2). Start walking up to Machu Picchu on your own. In order to do this you will need to start walking at around 4.30am so as to be at the bridge for 5am when it opens. Once the bridge opens you will have around 45 minutes to reach the top before the first half a dozen buses arrive....easier said than done, it's a tough old climb!
It was with much reluctance that I agreed with Kev to walk up to the top. If I were to do it again I would most definitely get the bus and save my legs for the climb to Wayna Picchu. As it turns out, by the time we reached the entrance we were both absolutely pooped, because it really IS a race against the buses! We were one of the last 50 people to get the tickets to Wayna Picchu, and by then we didn't have a choice of the 7am climb or the 10am climb. We were given the 7am climb, and so upon entering Machu Picchu at around 6.30am we had to race across the other side of the ruins to reach Wayna Picchu. Once word of advice, take plenty of food. Our hotel promised us that our breakfast boxes would be ready for us at 4am, and finally we left at 4.20am without them...nobody turned up to give them to us, and we couldn't get a hold of any hotel staff
As the darkness lifted it soon became apparent that the ruins were completely and utterly shroweded in cloud. You could barely see 30 metres in front of you. Still, we were up for climbing Wayna Picchu, hoping that the cloud would clear. We signed ourselves in at the gate, something that everyone who climbs Wayna Picchu must do. The narrow path wound it's way around the mountains with some incredibly precipitous drops at times. In order to negotiate these areas with my dislike of heights, I had to face away from the drop off so I couldn't see the half a kilometer drop to the river below, hold the vertical cliff wall next to the path and slowly edge myself step by step round the corners...fighting off the nausea!!
The path then becomes a scramble over bolders and steps holding onto the steel ropes when they were available. It is exhausting work, made harder by the fact that our legs were already wobbly from the race up to the entrance from Aguas Calientes. As we neared the top not only were we still surrounded by thick cloud and fog but it also started raining. We clambered our way up to the rocks on the very summit wondering why on earth anybody would build something all this way up here?
If it had'nt started pouring down we would have stayed up there longer, but after an hour and a half and no apparent improvement in the weather we decided to head back down, feeling cold, tired, hungry and very thirsty. We made our way back down on very wobbly legs and walked back across the ruins which were still shroweded in cloud, and exited the entrance gate, making our way to the adjacent snack bar which was thankfully under cover. There, we met with Kirsty and Sanjee, a British couple who have been travelling for over a year. We spent several hours, and a small fortune there, drinking hot chocolate and eating snacks until finally, at 2pm, some 10 hours after we started walking up to Machu Picchu, the first blue patches of sky became visible. Slowly, over the next half an hour the mist and cloud visibly started lifting up from the valley floor and soon the sun was shining brilliantly in the sky!
With no time to waste we ventured back inside Machu Picchu. What a difference a few hours can make. We now had the most glorious views of the ruins, the mountains and the spectacular valleys below. The next 2 hours we spent wandering around, marvelling at the sight. Then suddenly, as quickly as the cloud had lifted earlier, the clouds came down and the ruins were gone once again............how lucky we were with the weather for those few hours.