If you follow my Instagram you may have caught some pics of my recent getaway to Cusco! It’s one of the most enchanting parts of Peru I’ve been to. I’m determined to retire there and open up an actors yoga studio/retreat! Of course while being there I had to see Peru’s most touristic destination, Machu Picchu, and boy did it not disappoint!
It’s just an incredible place. To be surrounded with all that history and ingenuity, I felt in awe of both nature and humanity.
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Now if you’re planning your own trip and you don’t intend on doing the Inka Trail (which lol me “roughing it” for 4 days, no thank you, but to each their own) Then I would suggest planning at least 4 days for the trip. Here are my suggestions for the best Machu Picchu adventure.
Pre-plan!!! Do not go to Cusco and just wing it. Getting to and from Machu Picchu is not an easy task. Have 2 hotels/airbnb’s booked. One for your first 2 nights near the PeruRail which is the train to Machu Picchu and the other in Cusco center for your other nights. Make sure you have your Machu Picchu tour tickets booked before you arrive. This means buying both the tour ticket (which should include a bus ride up the mountain) and also buy your PeruRail tickets from Ollantaytambo to Machu Picchu. You will also probably want to invest in a tour guide since the site is ginormous and lots of important features could be missed. Also pack altitude sickness pills just in case. Machu Picchu is actually less above sea-level than Cusco so you should be fine there, but it’s no fun feeling like your brain is going to explode, so having them on hand is always a plus!
Day 1- Arrive in Cusco. If you have a lot of luggage or heavy bags take a car to your first hotel straight from the airport or if you only have a backpack and want a little traveling break go to the city center and grab a Mate de Coca to help with any altitude sickness. The drive to anywhere near PeruRail is going to take anywhere from two and a half to three hours so I would aim to be at your hotel at least by dinner time. So take that into account when picking flights. Talk to your hotel front desk to make sure all is set for your morning travel to Cusco. Inquire before hand if they can print out your bus and train tickets, if not make sure to have those with you before you go. Get a good night’s rest before traveling to Machu Picchu the next day.
Day 2- I thinking the morning tour is probably your best bet. We caught our train around 8:30am and I think we had the perfect amount of time at Machu Picchu. Bring water! There are stalls leading up to PeruRail so if you get there early snag yourself a nice big bottle. The train ride is about one and a half hours and then another 15-20 minutes on the bus going up the mountain. You will have a chance to use the bathroom right outside the park entrance but they charge so make sure to bring a few soles with you ;P . Once you’re through the park entrance there are no places to buy food, water or use the bathroom. When you’re done with your tour you may want to look around the town below Machu Picchu so maybe schedule a returning train for 5 or 5:30pm? We got back down around 3:30ish and an hour or two to grab lunch and walk around the merchant stalls was nice. We sadly made the mistake of having to go back to Cusco after our day at Machu Picchu and it was way too much traveling. Stay the extra night in your hotel so you don’t have to worry about bags and things and just take a cab/bus back to Cusco in the morning. Your body will thank you!
Day 3 & 4- Once you get back to Cusco center on day 3 just have fun! I will post about my food and other Cusco adventures soon, so look out for some fun trip ideas there!
Thanks for reading!
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