Monday, 12 August 2013

Machu Picchu

A magical place at the top of a very long flight of stairs!

Being there for sunrise was breathtaking.Watching the clouds and mist clear to unveil the ruins is a fabulous sight. Below is a little video of some of the workers restoring the site.

My guide Nilton finishing off his guided tour of Machu Picchu

Before I went to Peru I booked my trek to Machu Picchu well in advance because I saw all the warnings about tickets being booked up in advance, people not getting onto tours etc. This is incorrect. I did a five day Salkantay Trek which ended up at Machu Picchu and included a tour. I booked it through Go To Peru - DO NOT USE THIS SITE. We were told incorrect information about what we should take on the trek, how much baggage we could bring etc which meant us forking out more than we thought. Also, even though we had paid for the trek 3 months in advance, they had failed to book our return journey transport from Machu Picchu back to Cusco.

Agua Calientes is the town at the base of Machu Picchu and you can only leave by train; there are no roads in or out. The trains go to Ollantaytambo which is fairly close to Cusco or Hydro Electric, no where near. We had to get a bus from Hydro Electric back to Cusco. So what should have been a five hour journey turned into a 12 hour one. Even though, when we paid for our trek, we were told our train tickets to Ollantaytambo had been booked, not the case.

It was a real shame because after such a great trek and meeting lots of cool people, it was spoilt because on the last day, we had to stay up until about midnight sorting out our train tickets with our guide. And because we could only get a train to Hydro Electric and then a bus to Cusco it meant we had only a couple of hours to look around Machu Picchu rather than the whole day. Gutted.

All the other people on our trek managed to get train tickets and most had only booked a week in advance or even days and paid a lot less than we did. Best way to play it if you don't want to get screwed over, get to Cusco and sort it out from there. Talk to other people in hostels about treks they've been on. Even if you have to stay in Cusco a few days to get on a trek, it's worth and there is plenty to do anyway.

Watch out for the old altitude sickness too. It's worth trying to get something in the UK to take over. I felt rotten and was vomiting a lot because I hadn't got used to the altitude. It was only for a few days but I felt I missed out a bit.

This all sounds negative but it's not meant to be. The actual trek was one of the best adventures of my life. Loved it. The mountains are breath taking and the walk took me through such varied countryside it was amazing.

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