Seven wonders of the World | Machu Picchu
This article has been sitting here on my desk for two months looking at me knowing that it has been written, rewritten, ripped, deleted over and over again. But it’s impossible! You can find some pictures that can vaguely give you the idea, but Machu Picchu is much, much more, it’s one of the seven wonders of the world! History, architecture, engineering, nature and legends that come together in the most secret heart of the earth, accessible only to real hikers, backpackers who can explore the nature voting to keep it intact.
Is there a good way to describe the most amazing landscape ever seen in your life? How can I convey to you the scent of the wet jungle, the damp hair, being breathless for walking, the greener green and the craziest sight that appears on the horizon at the end of the path?
What is MACHU PICCHU:
One of the seven wonders of the world, it is an Inca archaeological site located in the Urubamba valley in Peru at about 2430 meters above sea level. Defined as one of the most instagrammable places, it offers genuinely one of the most breathtaking views of our planet. Many legends are told about this work of fine civil engineering hidden in the jungle, but no one knows for sure what it was destined for and why it was left to itself until the early 1900s when it was discovered by various teams of archaeologists. In addition to being under UNESCO protection, the whole area was elected among the Seven Wonders as it is the third largest archaeological site in the world.
How to get to Machu Picchu:
PHASE 1 – TO REACH CUSCO:
The best airport logistic-wise would be Cusco, a picturesque Peruvian town and the capital of the Inca empire, nestled in the Andes at an altitude of 3399 meters. However, starting from much lower altitudes (practically everywhere in Europe) it could be difficult to avoid altitude sickness so if out of practice it is essential to talk to your doctor before embarking on this journey. You could consider organizing the trip starting from the capital Lima and slowly acclimating to the various altitudes.
However in one way or the other, at some point you will have to go to Cusco to reach Machu Picchu and we hope you are ready! My adventure partner and I are quite trained at walk at high altitudes or other crazy trips, but it was not easy to get used to the lack of energy and breathlessness. If you do feel unwell, please go to any pharmacy saying that you have soroce (altitude sickness caused by the Andes in the local dialect) or talk to any local who will be happy to offer you excellent old remedies, still very effective. Just do not to ask for ingredients, especially in herbal teas!
STEP 2: Budget
This part of the journey depends solely on your budget and time available. Visiting this part of the world is generally very expensive but with a few tricks, some spirit of adventure and a lot of patience you could save a hundred dollars.
Here are the various options we have been able to identify:
– Breathtaking views
– Extremely expensive
– Very few trains available per day
Arriving at Cusco airport, you must book a taxi or take a bus to reach Poroy station, where you will find a train that departs every hour going to Ollataytambo and then from Ollataytambo to Aguas Caliente that is departure station for all the buses to Machu Picchu or for the walking trails. The total cost is around $ 300 and increases every year…really prohibitive for some people! The main advantage however, is the speed of the journey and the exceptional view it offers. The train travels on a track behind cliffs, streams, between the thickest vegetation you can think of and the most amazing nature. Personally, it has been the most exciting journey of my life!
2) Bus & Hiking:
– Easier to make friends with the locals
– Cheaper option in terms of quality-price
– Not ideal if you travel solo or do not speak Spanish
– It takes many hours
– The return is dangerous with stretches of hiking close to deep cliffs
You have to buy a ticket from Cusco to the hydroelectric power station (Hidroelectica bus stop with the Peru Hop company) from where you will find a very flat and light path that leads to Aguas Caliente. About 3 hours of light walking will lead you to the most visited Peruvian town in the last 4 years.
– Breathtaking views
– Intense and adrenaline-filled experience
– Different route options based on your level of training
– It takes much longer, from 3 to 4 days of intense walking
– You have to be fit and with the right equipment
– A tour guide is fundamental
It is less expensive than the train option but the prices do not fall below $ 200. If you take the most traveled route it can get up to $ 1500 for the permits!
But this is a lifetime experience and who wouldn’t want to tell their grandchildren that they did trek 4 days like a true explorer in the jungle through one of the seven wonders of the world?
Machu Picchu | The main routes are 4 (in case you want to google them and dream with me):
– The Classic Inca Trail: it is most famous trekking route in the world
– The Inca Jungle Tour: for real sportsmen, it includes stretches of rafting and amazing canyon crossing
– The Salkantay Trek: if you have ever dreamt of climbing a glacier or even just pass very close to it, it’s for you. It is such a high peak that an Inca legend tells says it is the guardian of Machu Picchu
– The Lares Trek: for anthropology-geek and local tribes passionate, to discover real Andean villages and witness the production of super colored fabrics.
PHASE 3 – TO REACH THE ARCHAEOLOGICAL SITE:
The most important thing before reaching the site is to make sure you have the tickets to enter. Being one of the most visited sites in the world, the Peruvian government imposed a maximum number of daily visitors – 2500 in 2019. UNESCO would like it to be much lower, but better not to enter into foreign policy topics …
There are essentially two ways to get there:
– ON FOOT: especially if you arrive from the trekking routes it is the most natural way
– BY BUS FROM AGUAS CALIENTE: around $ 25 with departures options every 15 minutes
STAGE 4 – THE ARCHAEOLOGICAL SITE:
Here we are after this very long journey we finally can cross the threshold and start walking in the lost city of the Incas … what a view! Terraces, llamas eating the grass, many urban ruins full of secrets. I strongly advise you to have a tour guide with you because the maximum time you can stay is 3 hours only and there is so much to discover: every corner is the result of the most advanced engineering precision, every shadow, every rock and almost every blade of grass is carefully studied and positioned with precise meanings. It feels like being real explorers in the jungle and you almost don’t realize you are surrounded by a crowd that feels the same emotions!
Machu Picchu, where to stay :
The advice of any tourist guide online would be to reach the little town of Aguas Calientes and spend a couple of nights in some sort of hostel, maybe even a few hours in the natural thermal baths. It’s a great option, but if you’re looking for a more authentic experience, you’ll soon realize how much of a tourist trap it is: Western prices for everything and millions of really suspicious expensive souvenirs when everything else in Peru is much more cheap. The most local style economic alternative is Ollantayambo city where there is much less choice but also more “true Peru”, local food, old people sitting in the town square and young ladies weaving colorful scarves.
If you are looking for thrills, considering the journey of a lifetime or you simply want to be completely amazed, Machu Picchu is definitely the destination for you. The emotion of having been hikers and explorers will never leave in the years ahead.