Machu Picchu and Huayna Picchu
We woke up around 5 in the morning because our ticket for Machu Picchu and Huayna Picchu was at 7. We bought our ticket online before this trip.
There was already a line for a shuttle to Machu Picchu from the town at 5:30. We had to buy a bus shuttle ticket which is $12 one way and $24 round trip, which was quite expensive. Some people were hiking up there and hiking down, but it looked gnarly. I could imagine it takes approximately 1hr to get there and come down. We kind of thought about hiking down after seeing all the Machu Picchu, but there was no way we could hike that after we hiked Huayna Picchu…
We got on a bus around 6:30 and got to the entrance before 7. It was cloudy and super foggy but it cleared up later on. There is a map at the entrance but super confusing and hard to follow, so we didn’t even use the map.
There were Alpacas hanging out everywhere in the ruins. They seemed like they were used to be around people and we could get pretty close. First time seeing Alpacas in Peru.
Ruins itself was really pretty as well and we were wondering how those Inka people built all these in old days. Very impressive.
I might like Machu Picchu with some fogs. It is really pretty without any fogs of course but I liked this mysteriousness when it was covered with some fogs. And I guess this is why Machu Picchu is called “city in the sky”.
The mountain weather is super easy to change, so if you wait 10min, fog is more likely to be gone and Machu Picchu that you have known from pictures and TV will appear.
We spent like 1.5hrs here to explore Machu Picchu. We also had our Huayna Picchu ticket so we headed over there around 9.
Huayna Picchu ticket has a certain time to enter
So we encountered a huge problem and it made us super pale. So our Machu Picchu ticket said entrance time at 7:00. And it was a half day ticket so we had to get out by 12. So we thought we can go to Huayna Picchu whenever we can during this time. However, it turned out that we had to get to the Huayna Picchu gate 7:00-8:00. So the guard was there when we get there at 9, and he told us if we want to change the time, we had to go back to an office in Cusco. NO WAY…
We tried hard to negotiate with him and he was nice enough to charge us 50 soles a each for the penalty and let us in to the Huayna Picchu. We think that 100 soles ( we paid was going to the guard’s pocket money but it was totally fine with us, we paid over 200 soles ($65 ish) for the whole Machu Picchu ticket so better than buying another ones.
Climbing Huayna Picchu and grant cave, the gnarliest hike
When we entered, the guard told us about Grant Cave. The normal round trip to the top of the Huayna Picchu takes 3 hours and if we come down through Grant Cave route, it takes total 4 hours. And we ended up making the worst decision in this trip…
The hike was really tiring. So many steps and the high altitude made the hike even harder. I was out of breath but the view was breathtaking.
It took us 45min to climb to the top of the mountain. We started this hike way too later than the others so there was less people when we got there and more chances for taking pictures
We could see Machu Picchu mountain right in front of us and we appreciated the nice weather that day. We heard it rained hard the day before and people couldn’t really experience beautiful Machu Picchu.
And yes we decided to take the longer route to head back instead of going down the same route, which was not the move..
To the grant cave, it goes the other side of the mountain. So we were the back side of the Huayna Picchu where you can’t see from Machu Picchu mountain side.
This route is more low key and going through jungle. More adventurous. We also encountered a few rudders, which was pretty exciting.
It took us about 45 min to get to the Gran cave. It was all down hill until the cave. The cave itself wasn’t that attractive to be honest. We were not sure if this hike was worth it… because it took us another 45 min to go up and get back to the entrance of Huayna Picchu. My legs and my knees were already collapsing and this hike made me walk like grandma for next 3days.
Although we don’t want to do this hike ever again, I’m glad we took this longer route so we could experience the whole Huayna Picchu. Again, the view was really breathtaking.
We made it in 3 hours for this whole hike, so we actually did pretty well.
After the hike, we got out of the Machu Picchu ruins right on time at 12pm. We took a bus to the town, and went back to our hostel to rest our dead legs. Seriously, this hike killed my legs and I suffered next few days and had hard time walking and going up and down stairs. The gnarliest hike I’ve ever done.
Exploring Aguas Calientes
After we settled in, we went to a waterfall and hotsprings both recommended by ladies from Argentina at our hostel. The Machu Picchu town is called Aguas Calientes, means hot water. So it is known for hot springs in the first place.
It was only 5 min walk from our hostel. The waterfall it self is kinda small but we enjoyed it
Josh was climbing this waterfall with flipflops. I wanted to go follow him but my legs were shaking from the hike so I stayed and ended up getting bitten by buntch of mosquitoes.. it was a little cool spot that you can visit in this little town.
Since our legs were dead, we decided to go to hot springs to heal our body. We had to walk up the hill for 10min. The entrance fee was 20 soles. I’m from Japan and I’m so used to really good and clean our traditional style hot tysprings, but couldn’t complain things at this point. Their temperature was low but it worked out well because it was hot out side.
When we had a chat with a lady fronArizona, she told us that her friends’ $400 was stolen when they left their bags at the locker, which we had to drop off all of our belongings to get it the hot springs. So be careful, don’t bring something worthy.
We encountered a heavy rain when we were about to leave. It was sunny but rained hard for 20min. The mountain weather.
Local Mercado in Machu Picchu
For the dinner, we went to a super local Mercado, called Mercado De Abastos. We were the only tourists and most of them didn’t speak English. We ordered whatever they recommended and it was the good move. It was only 6 soles each plate. Less than $2, and super tasty and delicious. In Machu Picchu, so many restaurant for tourists and a bit over priced. So we were glad we found this local place with really good local food!
That was the end of the night and the whole Machu Picchu! We took a Peru rail to Ollyantaytambo the next morning at 5:30. Machu Picchu was absolutely beautiful and now we know why it keeps attracting people. We got lucky with the weather, people, and everything! Thank you Machu Picchu and already looking forward to coming back there again.
The next few days are about the most beautiful city of this trip, Cusco!