Day 6 – Machu Pichhu, Aguas Calientes
This was the morning I have been waiting for. This was the day when I will be in Machu Pichhu. With all the excitement and enthusiasm, I looked down the window of my hotel room, which was located on the main street, to see this long line leading up to the bus station! In a bit of panicky mode, I rushed to the rooftop of the hotel for an early breakfast and head out at the back of the line.
[Line to catch the bus going to Machu Pichhu]
Fortunately, they have multiple buses running at the same time so the line moved fast and within 15 minutes, I was on the bus that takes about 20 minutes through a winding road, up to the entrance of Machu Pichhu.
There are a lot of online resources on how to get Machu Pichhu tickets, so I will not cover that here. But it is important to get your tickets well in advance considering the fact that only a certain number of people are allowed in a single day.
With the seamless process of entry, you will be in the site in no time.
It was a sunny day with rains predicted later in the afternoon, so we spent about 5 hours walking around the entire structure – The Sun Gate (Inti Punku), Sun Dial, the actual village. We did not walk up to Huana Pichhu (Wayna Pichhu). And started to walk out by about 2pm.
A promotion going on the Peru Rail train ticket (from Ollantaytambo to Aguas Calientes) included a free snack at the Belmond Sanctuary Lodge restaurant, located right outside the entrance of Machu Pichhu, so we stopped by for some sandwiches and drinks (which are not included in the free snacks promotion).
[The guard huts at the entrance]
[Panorama of Machu Pichhu]
[View of Machu Pichhu from Inti Punku or Sun Gate, with the winding road from Aguas Calientes to Machu Pichhu]
[At Inti Punku or Sun Gate]
[Selfie with a Llama!]
Right when we were heading down in the bus to Aguas Calientes, it started to rain heavily!
And upon reaching the town of Aguas Calientes, we heard a band playing local music around the bus station. Upon inquiry, we were told that it was the 105th anniversary of finding of Machu Pichu and there will be celebrations and parades in the central square beginning 7pm.
So after some afternoon siesta, we were out in the evening for the celebrations. All the local tribes form teams and line up at the school’s playground to start the parade, from where they walk over to the central square (Plaza de Armas) where the tribe’s king performs the ceremonies.
[Teams gather and line up in the school’s playground before heading to the central square]
[Other teams line up on the street to parade through to the central square]
[Teams parading through the streets of Aguas Calientes leading up to the central square]
[Tribal King performing the ceremonies]
[Teams dance in front of the king]
[We got a photo opportunity at the end of the ceremony]
After the ceremony ending at around 9:30pm, we stopped by a restaurant for dinner and headed to the bus station for some more dancing with the locals on the main street.
This day couldn’t have been better – an amazing experience visiting the ‘top of the world archaeological site’ and then celebrating the founding of one of the most visited and most sought after places in the world.
Note: All values in USD, unless otherwise mentioned, are approximate and based on the exchange rate of USD 1 = PEN 3.30 at the time of publishing. Each cost is for one adult.
|Machu Pichhu Entrance||$40||One-day entrance fees to Machu Pichhu only.|
|Train tickets||$138||Ollantaytambo-Aguas Calientes return, includes snacks at Belmond Sanctuary Lodge.|
|Bus tickets||$24||Aguas Calientes to Machu Pichhu return.|
|Snacks & water||$15.15||PEN 50.|
|Coffee at Aguas Calientes||$2.42||PEN 8.|
|Dinner at Quinua Restaurant||$21.21||PEN 70.|
|Laundry at hotel||$4.85||PEN 16.|
|Total Costs||$245.63||Per person|
|Overall Costs||$1,825.22||Per person|