After 5 days in Cusco, including the trip to Machu Picchu, I spent my last hours hours in the vegan Restaurant „Green Point“ to write. The restaurant does not just provide healthy, ecological and vegan food, but offers an pleasant atmosphere. But the best is the lunch offer for just 12 Soles, which does include a salad from a buffet, a soup, a main course, a dessert and a frech juice. For the main course there are two options, between you can choose. Currently I’m just having a coffee while listening to the music of Vintage Reggae Café.
Cusco entered the charts of my top cities in Latino America on number one. Cuenca y Cartagena had a great atmosphere as well, but Cusco had its special charme with numerous culinary and culture offers. The nice market of San Pedro, the neighborhood of San Blas, the narrow streets and the colonial buildings. Additionally there are several treks around to walk in the mountains or to discover the ruins of the Inkas. Cusco in pictures:
I spent a full day in Cusco, walked around a lot, visited the museum Coricancha, gave away my camera to let it clean, visited the market and bought a new gas cartridge as well as some care products. So I was prepared to go to Machu Picchu the next day. There are several options to visit the city of the Inkas. You can take the service of one of the hundreds tour offices, which is maybe the most expensive possibility. Then you can follow the Inka trail or other treks, which will take several days. Another economical way and that’s what I have done, is the public transport, which I will sum up shortly.
The map shows how to get from Cusco to Machu Picchu. At first you can take a bus for 15 Soles into direction Qillabamba and leave the bus at Santa Maria. To get there, the bus needs around 6 hours. Arrived in Santa Maria further taxis and small buses will wait for you to go go to Santa Teresa (10 soles, 1 hour) or Hidroeléctrica (15 Soles, 1 1/2 hour). From Hidroeléctrica there is the possibility to take the train (38 $, 15 minutes) or to walk along the rails (2 hours). In Aqua Calientes there are many hostels in all price categories, so no need to reserve in advance. Also restaurants are numerous. If you want to avoid the touristic prices, go to the small market, which is near the Plaza de armas. There you get a meal for 6 soles. Usually you stay one night in Aqua Caliente after a one day journey to arrive there. In the next morning you can take the bus (12 $, starts from 5:30) or walk (bridge opens at 5:00) up to the entrance of Machu Picchu pueblo (opens at 6:00). It’s a steep walk, but if you hurry up, you will arrive before the first buses.
For the tickets for Machu Picchu you have three possibilities. Machu Picchu Pueblo (128 soles), Machu Picchu Pueblo + Machu Picchu Mountain (148 soles) and Machu Picchu Pueblo + Wayna Picchu Mountain. The tickets can be purchased in Cusco or near the Plaza de Armas in Aqua Calientes.
So, back to my experiences: I got up early in Aqua Calientes to walk up and arrive for the big mass of tourists and indeed I did it and after I entered the entrance I got to see the ruins without people while the llamas were running over the green areas inside the village. It was an awesome experience when I catched the first glimpse. It’s impressive that human beings were able to construct these houses and walls during that time, considering that it’s high up in the mountain and the stones are quite big and heavy. After I walked to the Inka bridge and walked around a bit, I went up to the mountain of Machu Picchu. I was still exhausted from the first climb and didn’t expect that another 500 meters steep walk up to the top waited for me. The weather at that morning also wasn’t the best, foggy, cold and during my way up I even went into the clouds. On the top I was surrounded by a big white soup of clouds and it took over an hour before I could look down. But after the torture of the climb and the amazing view over the ruins, which finally appeared, it was totally worth to wait for a while.
Waiting for the bridge to open.
The view, when I arrived on the top of Machu Picchu.
A part of the ruins were visible.
And finally the clouds were gone.
The street from Aqua Calientes to the entrance of Machu Picchu pueblo.
Machu Picchu on our way back to Hydroeléctrica
I left Cusco to Quiquijana, a small village 70 kilometers in the south of the city. There it finally worked, what I tried from time to time during my travel. What it is will be found on my blog in the next few days.