This time I won’t say much about how stunning Machu Picchu is or not. All the others will let you know about this. I’ll just write about what you should know when you visit it or wich possibilities do you have.
The starting point for Machu Picchu is normally Cusco. There you can book several tours. Hiking there on the Inca Trail (which you have to book far in advance), Hiking there on an alternative route, go there while biking, rafting and hiking or just go there by bus or by train. The latter is quite expensive!
As we we wanted to save some money we decided to just go there for one night by bus. If you do so you can book a full package at almost every agency in Cusco. The best offer we got was at 95 USD. However, we decided to book just the bus there and sort everything else out on our own. For the bus there and back we had to pay 80 Sol which are at about 25 USD. In Aguas Clients (the place next to Machu Picchu) we found a place for 60 Sol (20 USD for two Persons) and for the entry to Machu Picchu we had to pay 40 USD. (Students get 20 USD discount if the can show their International Student Card) However, it is important to bring the student card also to Machu Picchu as they asking for it again. If you pay 5 extra USD you can gain access to Huayna Picchu, which we would absolutely recommend. So if you go on your own you get the package for at about 75 USD. The only we didn’t have compared to the package from the agencies was a guide. We would anyway recommend to go without one. Why?
-There are enough other groups with guides so you can just listen to those
-The first hour is the best for taking photos – so walking around with a guide would really be a waste of time
If you go there by bus you have to know that you have to walk at about 2 hours to aguas calientes from the point where the bus drops you off. From Cusco to this point the bus ride takes at about 7 hours.
To save money we decide to walk up to Machu Picchu (the bus up would cost 24 USD again for going up and the same amount for going down – so 48 USD together)
If you go decide to walk up on your own you have to know the following:
-The first gate opens at 5 am (be there 15 minutes before to get a good place in the queue; there is only on guy to look for your tickets and your passport and your student card (if you have a student ticket) so it takes quite a time to pass this point)
-If you are fit walking up will take you between 30 and 45 minutes. This means you have to wait at the main gate again because it opens at 6 am. However it is absolutely worth the waiting if you are one of the first people you enter Machu Picchu as you can take pictures of it without people.
-At about 8 it is already really crowded and it is not nice any more to be at the main part. So you have two possibilities: Go either for the Huayna Picchu (which cost you 5 extra USD) or go for the Sungate (which is free). From both points Machu Picchu will get so small that you won’t see the people anymore. For Huayna Picchu it is important to know that you can only go up between 7 am and 8 am plus between 10 am and 11 am. There are only 200 people allowed at each time. Furthermore it is important to know that you buy your access in advance as you can’t do so within Machu Picchu. To the sungate you can walk whenever you want to.
The most important things again:
-The cheapest way is to go on your own there by bus
-Be there in the morning and/or in the evening. During the day it is nothing but crowded (to do so you have to stay at least one night in Aguas Calientes)
-Bring your ticket, your passport and in case your student card