I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to visit a spot that many tourists are familiar with – Machu Picchu. As I mentioned in my last blog post about Plaza de Armas, I have been visiting my family in Lima for several years now, yet I had never taken the time to make the trek to Machu Picchu. It seemed like every tourist who visited Peru had photos of themselves on top of Machu Picchu, and I couldn’t help but feel like I was missing out.
Finally, around July, I ended up going with my cousins to the beautiful city of Cusco, where I spent many hours exploring the different museums, shops, and other touristic places. My cousins being Peruvians, found a great tour operator that would take us to all the tourist sites.
**For those wanting to use my same tour operator, the name of the company is Expediciones Waynapicchu. You can find their packages online.
Based on our package, we received a ticket that would allow us access to their tour bus and admission to different touristic sites. According to my ticket, I have been to Museo de Arte Popular, Museo de Sitio del Qoricancha, Saqsayhuaman, Q’enqo, Pisac, Ollantaytambo, and Centro Qosqo de Arte Nativo. I spent one whole day visiting all these places and by the end of it, I could hardly feel my legs. The next day, however, I was only making one trip and that was to Machu Picchu.
Finally, the day came when I was able to visit this incredible site for myself. I made the journey from Lima to Cusco, where I caught a train to Aguas Calientes, the small town located at the base of Machu Picchu. My cousins and I woke up really early to meet with the transfer bus. The bus took us to the train station, where I got separated from my cousins. Since I am not a citizen of Peru and did not have Peruvian documents, I had to buy a tourist ticket, which is much more expensive than a Peruvian ticket. The tourist ticket took me to the tourist section of the train, while my cousins got to go to the Peruvian section of the train. At first, I didn’t think it was fair that we were separated, but after hearing my cousins talk about the lack of food and uncomfortable chairs, I was glad to ride in the tourist section. The tourist section of the train is a bit like first class on a plane in comparison to the Peruvian section. There is food, drinks, bathrooms, comfortable seats, and an amazing view, which is great when riding on the train for 4-5 hours. The train ride was beautiful, with breathtaking views of the Andes mountains and lush, green landscapes.
After arriving in Aguas Calientes, I took a bus up the winding road to Machu Picchu. As I stepped off the bus and caught my first glimpse of the ancient ruins, I was struck by their sheer size and beauty. The stone buildings, terraces, and temples seemed to blend seamlessly into the surrounding mountains as if they had always been there.
Once we arrived at Aguas Calientes, a small town next to Machu Picchu, we took a bus to get to our destination. The ride to the entrance of Machu Picchu was scary, especially since the narrow roads are composed of dirt and rocks, and the bus has to be careful of incoming buses from the opposite side. Although I didn’t have a chance to record this ride, many before me have.
* Below is a video from Youtube showing you how dangerous this road can be. It may not look like much, but just remember narrow roads, going up, incoming bus, cliff side…enough said.
After what seemed like an eternity of holding onto my seat, hoping to survive the fall, we arrived at our destination. One misconception I had about Machu Picchu was that once I would get off the bus, I would be at the top, but I was wrong. We were at the entrance of what seemed to be a good long hike. Thankfully the weather wasn’t bad, it was a sunny cool day, which made my hike up easy.
The climb up to the top wasn’t as tough, but I was still out of breath on a few occasions. In my mind I kept thinking, when will I get there? I struggled to get my breath back, but I would continue following the group of people in hopes of making it to the top.
When I finally got all the way to Machu Picchu, I was speechless. It was an amazing experience, that I never thought I would ever go through. Not only was I enjoying the beauty of Machu Picchu, but I was also standing where the Incas once stood before.
As a young girl, I didn’t know much about Peru except for the things my grandparents taught me. Now as a young lady in her 20s, I had finally learned what it really was to be Peruvian and how amazing Peruvian history really is.
My journey to Cusco was not only an amazing adventure, but it served as a lesson about my Peruvian roots and how proud I should be to be Peruvian.