Day 5: Aguas Calientes, Exploring Machu Picchu

Day 5: Aguas Calientes, Exploring Machu Picchu

We woke up early Friday to head to the train station which was about two minutes walk from our hotel. We boarded on to Peru Rail, Vistadome train - which just means it's got fancier, larger windows! 

Thankfully there was room in our train so we were able to move around and situate ourselves by the window, in the same direction our train was moving. 

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The train ride was about an hour and a half, but the distance wasn't actually that far, it was just the train was moving slowly enough for us to take photos. Also, this was really close to the spot where the Inca Trail would start. So, aside from the train, you can take a bus or car, or hike your way to Machu Picchu from Ollantaytambo. Of course, we were going for a fairly easygoing trip so we took the train, haha! 

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Finally, we arrived in Aguas Calientes. From this town, you had to take a bus to go to Machu Picchu. We had bought bus tickets before, so we just lined up. This line was notorious for being long! We were stuck in line for 45 minutes, and on our way back, the line was about an hour long. Absolutely crazy - it's only this one bus company that is allowed to go up the mountain road, plus it was $24 USD roundtrip. 

Once we got to Machu Picchu, we met up with our guide there. Our tour company already bought our Machu Picchu tickets way ahead when we booked in May, so we just brought the tickets + the passports and headed in. 

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And finally we're here! It was such a stunning view. It's crazy that we drove up in a bus from down the valley there, to this beautiful work of architecture. I can't believe that they built all of this on top of a mountain. The amount of work to bring all of these up the mountain, is just incredible. 

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Our tour guide, Victor, took great lengths to tell us all about the history and the different parts of Machu Picchu and their purposes, which was really interesting. It appears that this place was abandoned before the Spanish came. Thankfully the Spanish never discovered this place, hence it was never destroyed. This day the sun was shining down and it was quite warm, and my poor C got attacked by sand flies and had 40 bites within 20 minutes! We had sprayed bug spray on, but he had worn shorts that ONE DAY! Urk! 

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Of course, it appears most inhabited areas in Cusco have terraces, and here we have some well made stone terraces that have stood the test of time. 

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The weather here is a little different - warmer and more humid, definitely more tropical than the dry and dusty Cusco. 

Finally, we waited about 1 hour for the bus ride and we came down to the little town. So pretty! It reminds me honestly of the onsen towns in Japan. We walked around and went for pizza lunch (LOL) it was honestly delicious and had a nice brick oven! It was called Incontri del Pueblo Viejo.

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Finally, we headed off to our hotel and rested, and the next day we were going to hike Huayna Picchu, that mountain behind Machu Picchu for a cool view of the place! 

Love, C&K