It was finally time to go and see one of the most famous sights in South America – Machu Picchu. I had almost started to dread coming here as i had spent so much time in Cusco and had heard all the different ways and hikes and could never make up my mind on what I wanted to do. I finally decided I wasn’t going to do a hike and would go the budget option with less walking. Kirst decided to do the 5 day Salkantay trek which is cheaper than the actual Inca Trail and you can book it a few days before the trek (although I have heard rumors that this might change soon and may have restricted numbers like the Inca Trail). Tip I forget what number: Wait till you get there to book any treks (unless you want to do the Inca Trail) as you will save yourself A LOT of money! I think Kirsten got her trek for US$215. My budget way came to about $90 but was done in 2 days.
My budget trek started with getting a mini bus to Hydro Electric. This was the 2nd scariest ride I had ever been on in my whole life, the first being the taxi trip back! For over an hour (only took us 30 mins on the way back….) you are driving along a one way dirt road with hundreds of blind corners and a cliff face on one side. How we didn’t crash I will never know. When you finally arrive at Hydro Electric you then start off on a walk along the train tracks to Aguas Calientes. It is quite a nice walk and there are loads of people doing it so its hard to get lost. The walk took us about 2 hours. I had made friends with a girl on the bus so we decided to find a hostel and stay there the night so we could head off bright and early the next morning. Like the responsible person I am I went to bed pretty early as the idea is to be one of the first people up there in the morning. To do this you have to leave at 4:30am to get to the bridge gate when it opens at 5:00 and then pretty much run up the stairs to be the first in line at the gate for when it opens at 6. I was up and ready to go but the girl (I don’t even remember her name) I was supposed to walk up with was nowhere to be seen…. I finally found her and was trying to get her out the door when she saw some boy that she was talking to that night and decided she wanted to stay with them. I was already so late that I took off without her.
The walk up the stairs is a killer!! Some people smash it out in 30-45 mins but it took me an hour to get to the top. When I got there I was drenched in sweat! All the other walkers were already up there and inside the ruins so I just looked like this gross sweat mess next to all the people who took the bus up. The ruins really are amazing. Although I wasn’t there right when it opened there weren’t too many people there that early. I stayed for a couple of hours and checked out most of the buildings. As I didn’t do a tour I didn’t really know what most of the buildings were but I would hover around other groups to try to listen in on their tours. I would prob recommend getting a guide as I am sure there its lots of interesting stuff to know about Machu Picchu. It was then time to start the long walk back. Walking down the stairs was worse than walking up and the long walk along the rail road really sucked as my legs started cramping. After a very long day I was back in Cusco and had finally been to Machu Picchu!