MACHU PICCHU – is it truly that expensive to get there once you are in the country? Continue reading and you will find out much more than this.
It was my „DAY D“– day when my lifelong dream was about to come true. Day when I was about to experience the magical atmosphere of one of seven wonders of the world – Machu Picchu!
First of all, I want to mention that there are hundreds of possibilities of getting to MAPI – as locals call Machu Picchu. From famous and truly expensive “Inca Trail trekking” organized by many tourist agencies and booked months before coming, through one day trips organized by local tourist agencies to going by yourself spending hours in different types of means of transportation and walking more than 10km. Try to guess which way I chose… 😛
One place is common for everybody who wants to reach Mapi – CUSCO – place from where everybody starts its journey to MAPI. Cusco is one of the most beautiful cities of Peru which is located close to the Sacred Valley of the Incas. I spent four amazing days in this city admiring charming historical centre, cathedrals and churches, meeting incredible people. Cusco is located at the altitude of around 3,300m, therefore, some people may suffer from the altitude sickness, also called “soroche”. In order to relieve from strong headaches and feelings of fatigue it is recommended to chew “hojas de coca” – leaves of coca tree and to drink its tee.
On the second day of my stay in Cusco I went to buy the tickets for MAPI as I decided to go by myself, without help of any agency. Again, I don´t know if it is because of my famous luck but the guy selling the tickets gave me 50% discount (my price for entrance to MAPI was only 66 soles – around 18 euro) because of my temporary Colombian ID card! Therefore, my new Colombian nationality was written in my MAPI ticket which allowed me enter this amazing place as COLOMBIANA who together with other South American nationalities officially pay only half of the ticket price!
HOW TO ACTUALLY GET TO MACHU PICCHU by yourself without any agency and expensive trains:
1. Take a local bus from Cusco to village Santa Maria (from 4 hours bus ride it can be actually 5,5hrs with a price around 15 SOLES = 4 euro, bus full of locals)
2. Take a small van from Santa Maria to the village Hidroelectrica with a price around 15 SOLES = 4 euro, journey takes less than 2 hours but the road between these two villages lack of concrete, looks pretty dangerous and is surely uncomfortable – van adjusted for 9 people, we were 10 inside – Peruvian way of transportation
3. After getting to famous Hidroelectrica, you have two options: one option is to take pretty expensive train which will get you to the village Aguas Calientes within half an hour or option number two is to walk around 10 km along the railway track in Peruvian jungle during when you are able to observe breathtaking natural landscape and clean rivers and meet other crazy people who decided to reach MAPI by themselves – journey takes between 2 and 3 hours
4. After getting to village “Aguas Calientes” (which will be probably in the evening hours) find some hostel or hotel to stay overnight, the best at least two nights – no necessary to book anything in advance, you can find something directly on spot (my choice was the hostel Caminantes with a price of 20 SOLES per night = 5,5 euro)
5. After getting some hours of sleep, start walking from your hostel in Aguas Calientes directly to the entrance of MAPI which is less than 2 hours walking from the village. It is actually steep mountain hiking but is reachable for everyone who does not have any medical problems. Those who are not willing to walk, there are buses which go directly from village to the entrance but costs around $15 per ride
6. If you get to the entrance before 06:30am, you will be able to avoid extremely long waiting in queues
7. At entrance present your ticket (bought already in Cusco or even in the village Aguas Calientes) and start your dream coming true 🙂
I arrived to MAPI entrance before 06:30am, met two amazing Ecuadorian women with their private tour guide who invited me to spend the whole MAPI tour with them. Could I be luckier? Our tour guide Persy was very experienced and explained us all of the details of MAPI history, about lives of the Incas, how they worshipped their God “Wiracocha”, mother nature “Pachamama”, and much more…
I spent full 9 hours admiring this magical ruins of the Incas and I was really happy I didn´t come with any agency as many others did and had to rush to come back down to Aguas Calientes. In the evening I returned back to hostel, stayed overnight and early in the morning walked back to Hidroelectrica. From there I bargained the price with one local who gave me ride directly to Cusco with two other tourists. No more mini vans or buses. 🙂
To sum up, you can get to Machu Picchu easily and cheaply and adventurously at the same time. The only thing you need is to get out of your comfort zone, ask locals for advice as much as possible and be determined in a way you want to do it. My visit of Machu Picchu (all transportation from Cusco to MAPI and back to Cusco, 2 nights at hostel in Aguas Calientes, entrance ticket, food and even guide) cost me all together around 80 euro! Everything can be done, you just have to want it!
So my lovely readers, I hope I gave you some inspiration and useful tips how to reach one of your dreams without using expensive agencies and how to experience some adventure.
Go and travel! 🙂