The trails to Machu Picchu is not for the faint of heart. Which is why we took the train.
By now you should know, I’m not much of a hiker. I’m outdoorsie, sure – I’ll go rafting, mountain biking, play ball and all – but I don’t hike. Now I know what you’re thinking, but it’s Machu Picchu. And I thought about this long and hard, but in the end I decided not to. Plus, I didn’t want to do it simply because people told me it’s the Inca Trail. I want to do it because I would enjoy it, and I’m sorry but the thought of 4-days of hiking with mosquitos, sketchy toilets and no showers not to mention possible rain sounds awful and torturous. Not even the thought of hiking up-hill for 2-hours from Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu appealed to me so imagine how happy I was to find they had shuttle buses! Bahahaha..
We took the train from Cusco to Aguas Calientes and I was pleased – the ride boasted some stunning views of the snow-top mountains and countryside. We even saw hikers on the trails along the way.
We decided to stay in Aguas Calientes the first night of arrival and see Machu Picchu bright and early the next morning. I was nervous we wouldn’t be able to see anything, like our Golden Gate Bridge, Machu Picchu is notorious for being shy – it’s always clouded in. But as you can see below, the weather was absolutely perfect.
As some of you can remember from our 3-minute video, I gasped at the first sight of this..
And this view..
We spent time being tourists, doing what tourists do when in Machu Picchu. We took silly ‘travel to Peru’ pictures like this one..
We jumped. Correction.. Gerard jumped.
We even brought Gangnam style to Peru! LOL..
Kudos if you can tell me — Llamas or alpaca?
Gerard was stopped several times by Peruvian tweens asking to take photos with him. Just him. In fact, they asked me to take the photos. Maybe it’s the Asian Justin Bieber in him..
By 11am, it started getting busy. Most people come straight from the train from Cusco because they’re on a day trip journey which sounds exhausting but not entirely impossible. Once the crowd comes, you really do need a lot of patience and timing if you want to have that special picture where it looks like you have the ruins all to yourself. Here’s Gerard with a lot of patience. He waited to snap this picture of me alone with the ruins.
And this is me returning the favor — Gerard sitting on the same rock.
Clearly I have no patience at all. Or the concept of good camera angle for that matter..
We finished by noon and made it back in time for lunch before we boarded the 4pm train back to Cusco. So maybe this wasn’t the Macchu Picchu experience most partake in, after all, everyone I know who’s done it has hiked the trails. But hey, we did it our way and I have no regrets. Besides, one look at the sweaty hikers at the top and I was sure I made the right decision. But I’ll be honest, to see the look of sheer joy for accomplishing such a hike brought a smile to my face too. I was proud of them for completely the hike. Hell, I was just glad I was willing to make it up the steps. Haha..
So to those of you contemplating on taking the train to Machu Picchu, don’t feel bad — you are not alone. If you’re on the fence – you want to hike but not sure if you’d do all 4-days – good news, you can do half train, half hike. I don’t have any info on that route, but I’ve seen people do it.
Planning your own train ride to Machu Picchu? We booked our train tickets one month in advance on Perurail.com. There is a Perurail kiosk in the Lima airport where you can pick up your train tickets – just show them your online confirmation. We booked our Machu Picchu entrance tickets in Cusco just two days before visiting the site. From Cusco, it’s a short taxi ride to Poroy where the train will depart for Aguas Calientes. We stayed overnight in Aguas Calientes and caught the early morning bus up to MP. Once done, we took the late-afternoon train back to Poroy, bargained for a shared taxi back to Cusco.
Is hiking the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu on your bucket list?