Undoubtedly, this is what most people associate with Peru first when approached in Peru. Of course it is one of the highlights that tourists have been visiting for a long time. Machu Picchu is one of the best preserved ruins in the world, although in the meantime with Choquequirao a ruin city twice as large as Machu Picchu was found. Machu Pichu is currently better accessible to the general tourist. At the moment there are no roads leading to Choquequirao, so only a multi-day trekking tour leads there.
The Inca city and temple complex Machu Picchu was built in the middle of the 15th century under the rule of Inka Pachacútec Yupanqui. It lies exactly on the ridge between the two peaks Machu Picchu and Wayna Picchu (translated from the language Quechua is called the “Old Mountain” and “Young Mountain”.
Machu Picchu was named a World Heritage Site World Heritage Site in 2007 and has been one of the “7 New World Wonders” ever since. The facility is located at around 2,000 meters above sea level. and also has the epithet “lost city of the Inca”. Most of the pictures published by Machu Picchu usually show the surrounding terraces and the mystical view of Wayna Picchu, the neighboring summit.
There are sights and even these rare places in this world that are not just great, but absolutely fascinating and unique. Peru has some such places, many of which can claim to be among Peru’s attractions – the ancient Inca city and Machu Picchu temple complex is definitely one of them.
The ways to Machu Picchu
There are several ways to get to Machu Picchu. Particularly noteworthy here is the so-called Inca Trail. This is a path that the Incas have already used and for which you have to calculate about four days. Here one can lend all the luggage and the necessary equipment of tour operators and be carried by carriers or a beast of burden. You just have to run yourself. This popular Inkatrail has meanwhile become very expensive. You have to expect a cost of about $ 760 per person. There are certainly cheaper deals, but then usually the comfort is saved. One must not commit the Inkatrail alone!
The vast majority of visitors opt for the certainly most comfortable, but also more expensive way to travel by train from Cusco or Ollantaytambo to Aguas Calientes. The train costs from Cusco back and forth per person from about $ 129 upwards and then takes about four hours. Since the train is relatively expensive, the mostly trekking-oriented travelers opt for a combination of car ride with a taxi or collective text (Colletivo) and the train ride, or they go from the intermediate destination “Central Hidrolectrica”, which belongs to an outskirts of Aguas Calientes , The rest of the route is then a 2 to 2.5 hours lasting walk along the track system.
We can recommend the train ride, you have to leave only very early in the morning to get to the station and then start with the first train. The train journey goes through very vivid terrain and leads mostly through the valleys past smaller villages. If you have that over, you should plan an overnight stay in Aguas Calientes, and then start the climb to Machu Picchu strengthened at 4:30 am the next morning.
How to get up to the mountain
The alarm clock for the next morning you have to set very early. So most of the alarm clocks in Aguas Calientes ring already between 3:30 am and 4:00 am! – Yes, you read that right! It is still all black outside like the night! However, the hostels and hotels are completely prepared for this and they are happy to offer you breakfast on their roof terraces at this time, where they will meet the other tourists who also want to make their way to Machu Picchu.
The last part of the ascent from Aguas Calientes can be done in two different ways: on foot or by bus. The bus takes about 15 minutes and costs $ 24.00 per person for the round trip. You will receive the ticket at the valley station Av. Hermanos Aya at Aguas Calientes or you can also do it in Cusco at CONSETTUR on the Av. Infancia 433, Wanchaq or just make online reservations.
The ascent on foot is free and lasts between 40 minutes and one hour depending on the individual’s constitution. But think it over well, because most locals will hardly point out that the path is actually mostly an extremely steep staircase that leads upwards in about two kilometers. Who of you has ever done such a kind of morning exercise and climbed stairs for 40 minutes?
Getting up early now has a big advantage on top. You can experience the dawn in a fascinating way. When the cloudy veils or often light clouds of the Morning Mist dissolve, this is an absolutely remarkable spectacle.
The absolute peak of beauty
At about 2,350 m above sea level you can see the Urubamba Valley. After the arrival of the Spanish conquistadors who fortunately overlooked the Machu Picchu, the city was abandoned by its inhabitants at the end of the Inca empire and forgotten. Only a few indigenous inhabitants of the region had thereafter a residual knowledge about the existence. The story is usually told as follows: It was not until the American archaeologist Hiram Bingham with an expedition funded by Yale University in 1911 in search of an ancient Inca city named Vilcabamba happened to be made aware of the site by an indigenous boy he is on the very overgrown city and she comes back to the public. Today, in many places throughout the facility and throughout the year distributed further restorations and hedges, as well as exposures of the structures made. It can be expected again and again that part of the entire system can not be publicly committed.
Now that you have passed the entrance and see the ruins for the first time in all its glory, you know that these efforts have not been in vain. The sight of this venerable old city in the middle of the Andes is simply fascinating. The views into the valleys and the other surrounding mountains is great. And when, in the further course of the morning, the sun throws its warming rays on you, the fog rises, then gets caught with its remnants on the surrounding mountain slopes and repeatedly torn up in different places, the mythical moments of this summit come to life. These are exactly the prospects that will surely stay in your mind for a long time to come.
Of course, you can join a guided tour to visit the complex. That takes a little 2 to 3 hours. Guided tours are also offered by long-time living in Cusco or Aguas Calientes German immigrants in our language. But also (almost) all possible languages of the world are spoken here.
In the late afternoon you should then go back, be it you want to spend another (already pre-planned) day in Aguas Calientes and the Machu Picchu. Otherwise it’s about 16:00 o’clock or 17:00 o’clock on the way back to Ollanbtaytambo or Cusco by train.
The daily number of visitors has been further regulated in recent years. Thus, every day about 2,500 visitors are admitted to the Macchu Picchu. Visitor flows are regulated by the necessary pre-registrations via the Internet. The Boleto Machu Picchu (entrance ticket) is available online via this link or here.