Finally, I arrived in Cusco. This region is the most visited by foreign tourists, so it can get a bit overwhelming. Be patient, in my next post I’ll suggest an alternative to conventional tourism in the area.
Machu Picchu lies in such an isolated place that even getting there isn’t straightforward. The only alternatives are joining a trek (like the famous Inca Trail) or taking a train. So to get there I took 2 combis, a train and a bus from Aguas Calientes up to the site. If you want to go on a day trip from Cusco, you need to wake up early.
It’s somewhat irritating how everything is so overpriced here. Entrance to the site sets you back 128 soles (just for benchmarking, tickets for Kuélap, the most comparable, cost 15 soles). It is unconceivable that such amount of money, multiplied by the huge number of people who visit the site, would need to be spent in the preservation of the ruins. Another example: the bus to get from the village to the site costs 21 soles one way (10-15 min), while the trip between Puno and Cusco (8 hours) had cost me 20 soles the day before. And so on.
However, once you get there and gaze at the amazing view, you suddenly forget about all that and get open-mouthed. I introduce you to Machu Picchu:
At first sight, Machu Picchu is just spectacular. The ruins are not as impressive as the whole setting. Awesome!
Machu Picchu is one of those places that are much more impressive in person than seen in photos. You need to get the 360° perspective to fully appreciate its beauty, with mountains in every angle.
You immediately ask yourself how could the Incas build such a wonder in an isolated place like this and on top of a mountain. Certainly, their houses had one of the best views in the world. I can imagine the feeling of waking up and seeing this amazing landscape of the Sacred Valley through your window.
In 2007, Machu Picchu was chosen as one of the 7 Wonders of the World. The only one of the others that has impressed me more is the city of Petra in Jordan.
Nearing closing time, the ruins were quieter, with less tour groups. There were some llamas walking through the ruins too, which was colourful enough. Who knows? They might be descendants of those that lived alongside the Incas 5 centuries ago.