Your adventures to Machu Picchu will most likely start in Aguas Calientes (read our post ‘STAY LONGER IN…AGUAS CALIENTES’ for more information about how to get here and where to stay) It’s extremely easy to get to Machu Picchu from here. If your feeling adventurous hike up, or if your legs aren’t up to it there is a bus which leaves every half an hour between 6am and about 4pm, and costs 12 USD for a return.
To find the trail head follow the road where the buses go to get to Machu Picchu. The trail head starts on the other side of the bridge that crosses the Vilcanota river. There are guards by the bridge who you will need to show your ticket for Machu Picchu, visa and ID to. The hike took me 1 hour and 15 minutes and I am reasonably fit and healthy. If you have any joint problems or are asthmatic I don’t recommend hiking. There are a lot of steps, some of which are about a foot high. Wear proper walking boots and take plenty of water! Although this isn’t the easy option; its free, causes no pollution (as long as you pick up your litter!) and is a great workout! Trust me, it is worth it for the experience of hiking through the jungle covered andes and the breathtaking views when you come to a clearing in the forest!
Machu Picchu has got to be one the the best things I’ve ever seen in my life. You see pictures of it in books and online but none of them compare to actually being there. The photos do not do it justice how infinite the landscape is!
Whilst I was at Machu Picchu I hiked Huayna Picchu. Another inconceivable experience! I bought my ticket 6 months before, online. (I love buying my tours online-saves so much time when you arrive at a destination when there is so much to see and do!)
Below: Huayna Picchu in the distance.
The view of the top of Huayna Picchu from Machu Picchu. (Taken with my Nikon 55-200mm)
Huayna Picchu has a 400 person a day limit due to the narrow steps and tretchurous cliff edges, apparently one of the worlds most dangerous hikes! 200 people are allowed in at 7am-8am then another 200 between 10am and 11am. It took me 1 hour 45 minutes to go up and back down (with a lot of encouragement from others who were doing the trek!)
The view of Machu Picchu from the top of Huayna Picchu.
This is an experience that will change your life forever and you will never forget that magical moment when you walk over the brow of the hill and see the historical site for the first time. So go on, get your hiking boots on!