I have been to many countries, that’s why I don’t get very excited about a new place that easily. Machu Picchu however, is a different story.
I cannot explain what I saw and how I felt. One must be present in Machu Picchu and see the mountain through the clouds and foggy weather, get drunk with smell and sound of the rain, see the beautiful llamas and then maybe can understand what I felt when I visited Machu Picchu.
History of Machu Picchu
Machu Picchu was built in 15th century when Incas were most powerful. Historians have stated many reasons for building this place, it appears that this citadel have been built for society’s elite like scientists, astronomers and theologians. There used to live 300 or 400 people in this small city and even now it is not easy to get there let alone 500 years ago! This was not an ordinary city for the public but its unique geographical position makes it one of a kind.
When Spanish defeated Incas they didn’t find this small city and therefore it couldn’t destroy it and Machu Picchu was lost for 400 years until an American historian on his way back from a conference in Chile decided to go around the area and with help of locals discovers Machu Picchu.
Machu Picchu is one of UNESCO World Heritage Sites and is considered one of the New Seven Wonders of the World.
How to get to Machu Picchu
To get to Machu Picchu you must go to Cuzco city in the south of Peru. From there go to a village called Aguas Caliante then go to Machu Picchu from there.
Cuzco has an airport so you can get there from Lima or Bolivia or Brazil. There are a few options for going from Cuzco to Aguas Caliante. Easiest way is by train. A return train ticket for cheapest class costs 170 dollars. Another way is going to a place called Hydroelectric by a van and then walk for about 10 kilometers to Aguas Cliante. The van costs 23 dollars. I chose the second option.
I arrived at Hydroelectric at 3:30pm. The vans could not go any further and the only way was by train or walking. I started walking along the rail tracks towards Aguas Cliante. There many young tourists on the way and it was a safe road. Urubama river and the green road along the rail tracks made my walking pleasant. It took me 2 and a half hours to get there. I got a room in an inn for 18 dollars for two nights.
As soon as I could I found the tourism information center for Machu Picchu and showed them my ticket and bank slip and confirm my ticket for the next day.
I woke up early in the morning. I was planning to get to Machu Picchu before it gets very crowded with tourists. It took about 20 minutes with bus which cost 10 dollars.
Visiting Machu Picchu
When I arrived it was still early and there were few people inside. It was foggy and I could barely see Machu Picchu. Then it started to rain and after a while it became sunny. I was very happy that I could Machu Picchu under rain and sun in the same day.
The Way Back from Machu Picchu
I went back to the village by bus still fascinated by the beauty of Machu Picchu. At night I was so excited that I couldn’t sleep.
Next morning I starting walking back to Hydroelectric at 10am. Butterflies along the road, again made my 10 kilometers walk very pleasant. When I arrived at the place where the vans were parked and were waiting for their passengers, since none of the drivers knew any English I found my van based on the list of drivers' names.
It was 8:30pm when I arrived at Cuzco and my journey to Machu Picchu had finished.
Time of travel: October 2015
Ahmad Khani Iranian backpacker and travel lover