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Machu Picchu for the active tourist

Apr 18, 2008  Retired and love to travel, especially active adventure travel.
4.0 of 5 stars based on 4 votes

Here's a way for the active adventure tourist to experience the wonder of Machu Picchu more fully.

  • Explore locations featured in this Trip List: Cusco, Aguas Calientes
  • Category: Recent trip
  • Traveler type: Culture, Sightseeing, Shopping, Active/Outdoors, Never been before
  • Appeals to: Couples/romantics, Honeymooners, Singles, Families with teenagers, Seniors, Students, Budget travelers, Active/adventure, Tourists
  • Seasons: Winter
  • 1. Cusco is higher and causes altitude problems for some...go to Aguas Calientes ASAP!

    Second only to hiking the Inca trail into Machu Picchu, we carried out a perfect plan for being in Machu Picchu at sunrise and able to climb Huaynapicchu from 7-10 in the cool of the morning.

    Takes four nights: Flying into Cusco, we stayed one night and then went to Aguas Calientes for two nights and then returned to Cusco for another night before our flight out.

    Cusco is a pretty town but much more expensive with high pressure street vendors. Aguas Calientes is less expensive, more quaint and the market and street vendors leave you alone to look. But best of all, the busses for Machu Picchu leave every morning at 5:30 so you can be among the first to arrive ... much before the crowds from the trains.

    You can purchase your bus and Machu Picchu entry tickets in Cusco before you leave for Aguas Calientes or in Agua Calientes before you leave for Machu Picchu.

  • 2. Climbing Wayna Picchu (or Huayna Picchu) for a spectacular view of Machu Picchu

    Wayna Picchu is a steep-sided mountain located behind the ruins of Machu Picchu. It is quite a strenuous scramble up and not for the faint of heart in regards to exposure. However the view down upon Machu Picchu is well worht the effort. Only the first 400 people to the gate each day (which opens at 7) are allowed to go.

  • 3. Perurail
    Perurail, Cusco, Cusco Region

    This is the link to the site where you can reserve your train tickets between Cusco and Aguas Calientes. Check for availability before you purchase your plane tickets and then coordinate with your flights. It is sometimes difficult to get seats. Be sure to select the one way option rather than the roundtrip if you follow my recommendations.

  • 4. Hostal Presidente
    Hostal Presidente, Aguas Calientes, Sacred Valley

    We stayed at this fun hotel which sits right on the Urubamba River (ask for a river view).

  • 5. Hotel Arqueologo Exclusive Selection
    Hotel Arqueologo Exclusive Selection, Cusco, Cusco Region
    Show Prices
    Avg price: $134

    Great hotel just off the Plaza de Armas in Cusco.

  • 6. Visit Saqsaywaman ruins while in Cusco

    Just a short taxi ride from the main plaza, this is another wonderful Inca ruin site.