It just hit me literally for not having blogged anything related to my South America backpacking trip which I did it almost exactly a year and a half ago! The fact that I kept reminiscing the trip so often it really doesn’t feel like time has gone. Being said, my memories are still fresh to blog and share some of my little experiences that might help you save loads of dollars for your Machu Picchu trip!
As a backpacker, my ultimate goal is to travel with relatively little money. I looked up for millions of ways to reach Machu Picchu, and my calculator did his job showing me which one to take.
Most of the blogs and ads from tour agencies will quote a $$$ if you take this Machu Picchu trail, I read the comments and definitively for people who have the time and money, it sounds absolutely rewarding. But that just wasn’t for me. I started to look up at doing the trip all by yourself and doing it with a local agency, after making the calculations actually the pricing does not differ much, talking about a couple of dollars difference that goes to arranging your logistics. So I opted for the later one.
So, USD 100 for Machu Picchu 2 days 1 night, everything included was indeed my thing, and it’s EASY to get it done.
After arriving Cuzco, 90% of the travelers would make themselves to Plaza de Armas, a.k.a the center of the city. You’ll find lots of money exchange and banks around, also a couple of tour agencies one to each other offering good deals on travel packages – 2D1N Machu Picchu, 1D Sacred Valley, Pisac, and Ollantaytambo, etc. But do remember to compare the pricing before you go with one, or even try to “negotiate” to a reasonable price before realizing you got ripped off.
As for 2D1N Machu Picchu, the package includes:
- Transportation by mini-bus.
- One night hotel in Aguas Calientes (Machu Picchu Town)
- Meals all included
- Machu Picchu entrance ticket (not included Huayna Picchu)
- Tour guide
Cuzco (Plaza de Armas) > Hidroeléctrica > Aguas Calientes
The trip starts around 8 am from Plaza de Armas, Cuzco, where you will expect to join in a group of 16 people sharing the mini-bus all the way to Hidroeléctrica. This is a long leg. A stop will be made for lunch. After lunch, you will continue the journey until you reach Hidroeléctrica. And that’s where the real fun part begins. From Hidroeléctrica you’ll walk along the railroad tracks to get to Aguas Calientes, a.k.a the Machu Picchu Town. Expect to be there by 5 pm and later the tour guide will escort you to the hotel and get ready for dinner!
Photo: A stop before we go on…
Photo: Walking along the railroad tracks.
Aguas Calientes > Machu Picchu > Aguas Calientes > Hidroeléctrica > Cuzco (Plaza de Armas)
This is one of the few days you will wake up before the sunrise. Around 5ish, the entrance of Machu Picchu should be crowded by people. Headlamps all set marching the way towards the Inca Empire. It took me about 3 or 4 hours to reach to the top of Machu Picchu. Some take less. If you don’t feel like doing it, the bus is available but the ticket for such is not included in the tour package. Upon arriving, you’ll enjoy one of the best moments of the trip. It’s glorious. A guided tour would be done first, then you’ll get to enjoy your own free time until 1ish. I recall I came down from Machu Picchu to Aguas Calientes and had an average lunch by myself before walking back to the hotel, get my stuff and again back to Hidroeléctrica. Is a long ride back to Cuzco again, either you just fall asleep or stare at the window and reflect on the day. Absolutely rewarding.
This quick sneak peek of how to make yourself to Machu Picchu is just to show an idea of how affordable and easy this trip can be. Don’t complicate yourself too much. So,… I shall stop here before you get the spoilers of how amazing the site is!
Small update, as of July 2017, all visitors entering Machu Picchu must be accompanied by the official Machu Picchu guides or licensed tourist guides.
Do you know that there’s a hidden man inside the picture? Of course, I’m not talking about myself.
Should definitely check the site yourself! *wink