Frequently called as "Trip of a Lifetime" by one too many publications, Machu Picchu
has many of the typical things bucket lists are made of. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site,
being one of the rare archaeological sites left untouched by the Spaniards and relatively left
intact upon its rediscovery in 1911 by Professor Hiram Bingham. Set in a mystical cloud
forest high up in the Andes, there is no shortage of historic relevance and natural
beauty, as well as engineering and architecture, given that the Incas - despite the
sophistication and greatness of this empire - did not have wheels or iron tools.
The image of Machu Picchu is ubiquitous; it's recognizable to anyone curious about
history and travel (and anyone with an Instagram feed, for better or worse). But there
is not substitute of seeing it in person. Photos just don't do it justice.
So my one big travel tip is: GO.
SOME USEFUL LINKS
Peru Rail (Tip: if you can, get tickets to a Vistadome train. Those cars are surrounded by windows.
Light refreshments are served. If you travel during the middle of the day from Aquas Calientes, tickets are cheaper.
If you just take the train from Ollantaytambo, then take a colectivo back to Cusco, you also save more money.)
Tickets to Machu Picchu Site
Stay at the Rupa Wasi Lodge in Aquas Calientes for comfortable beds and a hot shower -
perfect after days of hiking! Breakfast is substantial and free - ideal for folks like us who left for
Machu Picchu before daybreak.
If you decide to stay elsewhere, at least have dinner at the Tree House. It's fabulous.
I didn't realize how I missed pasta so much so I had the ravioli with goat cheese
and it was the perfect comfort food.
And because I can and I'm a tree-hugger, bottled water is so bad for the environment.
With the amount of tourists in Peru, it is a burden on them to dispose of your single-use plastic bottles.
Please consider packing your own water purification stuff to just avoid using plastic bottles altogether.
We used the SteriPEN Ultra which worked great (and we can take this when we travel elsewhere), but
you can also use water purification tablets. There's also a super useful guide from REI here.
Happy travels and please send me a postcard when you go!