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“The lost City of the Inca”
Review of Machu Picchu

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Level 3 Contributor
8 reviews
45 helpful votes
“The lost City of the Inca”
Reviewed August 23, 2007

My visit to Machu Picchu was part of a tour of southern and Central Peru, starting from Lima and travelling through Ica, Arequipa, Puno, Juliaca, Cusco, Machu Picchu, Nasca, Paracas and returning to Lima. This meant that I only spent two days within the colourful cloud forest surrounding Machu Picchu. I wish I could have stayed longer.

The train journey to Machu Picchu is quite wonderful. For about ten hours, the Hiram Bingham Express elegantly and slowly climbs to the sacred valley through the Andean countryside affording spectacular views of the rugged peaks and terraced slopes. The train is equipped in the style of a gentleman's club. The service is exceptional. But the menu lacks a vegetarian or vegan option. Although I explained my needs, the vegetables came smothered in butter. And, that's all that came. Not even a potato, which considering that I was in Peru was astonishing. I arrived in Machu Picchu quite late, but headed for La Govinda, the vegetarian restaraunt in the centre of town for a slap-up feast that cost all of 5 Soles (£1.30). A satisfying vegan meal consisting of three courses, bread and soup, spiced vegetable rice, followed by a selection of fruit.

My hotel was a little hard to find, the Machu Picchu Pueblo. You have to walk along the railway line back towards Cusco for about 500 metres, then up a short hill. Though, the hotel is quite special. I'll place a review on this site.

The next morning I climbed to the Inca city via the public bus, about 30 minutes of switch-backing round hairpin bends through the cloud forest. There's not much at the top aside the Sanctuary Hotel and a few tourist shops, even so, it was a little too busy for my liking. I headed for the ruins with a certain fear that I would find them to be too crowded, but the size of the city soaked up the crowds to afford me solitude at many of the sacred sites. I spent five hours on my first visit moving from one amazing view to another; each place exceeded the last in terms of beauty and tranquility. Though, to get to many of the best locations required agility and stamina. But, the picture postcard quality photos that I obtained were well worth the few scrapes my knees took.

The grounds of the lost city are well manicured. Llamas have been let free in the city to maintain the lawns and to keep the weeds back.

I'll remember the view to the river for the rest of my life. How could I sum the experience; heavenly. I was truly moved by the experience. I dare not return least my memories be devalued. This has to be a must for everyone atleast once in a lifetime.

12 Thank Vegievan
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
1 review
6 helpful votes
“A lifetime ambition achieved”
Reviewed May 21, 2007

I went to Machu Picchu in 2004, my husband and I were celebrating our 60th birthdays. It had been my ambition, since I was at school to visit Peru, I did not think the chances were good, particularly as I suffer with MS. The train journey, from Cusco, was an experience in itself and very enjoyable. The first thing that surprised me about MP was the amount of vegetation, bearing in mind the altitude, I did not expect so much. The whole site had a serenity about it, particularly when we visited the next morning for the sunrise. That was a very emotional moment when everything seemed very hushed, almost sacred. We were able, on our first visit, to borrow waliking sticks this may have been because we were in an organised group. The following day, when we were on our own, they were not available to us. I suggest anyone takes sticks with them. Make sure you have your passport with you as, when we were there, there were 2 "gentlemen" in the left luggage hut with a special offer, "only while the boss is away". They were stamping passports, with a MP stamp, for a small consideration. We stayed the night at the Machu Picchu Inn. Not brilliant. If you can afford to splash out and stay at the MP Sanctuary, at the entrance to the site, it looks fabulous. Our trip was organised with Llama Travel who were brilliant throughout. A never to be forgotten, but hopefully repeated, experience.

6 Thank laloo1944
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Level 6 Contributor
72 reviews
158 helpful votes
“Magical, and should be one of the wonders of the world”
Reviewed April 11, 2007

We woke early for the first bus to Machu Picchu. Our guide had already bought the tickets for both the bus ride and the entrance to Machu Picchu. The ticket booth is located just up from the train tracks along the small river. The ticket is a round trip ticket, one small part is taken for the trip up, and the second is used for the ride down. We were second in line at 5:10am for the 5:30 bus. There were at least 80 people waiting by 5:30. Fortunately, extra buses arrived and the people that did not fit on the first, simply got on the second and third buses. We were told that as soon as a bus fills up, it leaves, no matter what the schedule.

We arrived at Machu Picchu in about 30 minutes. There is a hotel, snack bar and wool shop at the top. We went directly into Machu Picchu and were the first to view the site that morning. I strongly recommend doing this so you can get photos of the site without any people in. Within 15 minutes, there are multi-colored ponchos everywhere, affecting the overall look of the place.

We wandered around for a couple of hours and also walked the Inca Bridge trail. It took about 15 minutes to get to the end of the trail to view the beautiful drawbridge designed by the Incans. If you are at all afraid of heights, don’t bother with this walk since you are a foot or two away from sheer cliffs some of the time. However, the views are spectacular.

We then went on a guided tour for about two hours which is highly recommended. The guide was very informative and it gave a much deeper understanding and appreciation for Machu Picchu.

After a brief lunch at the snack bar (I recommend the turkey panini), we walked up the strenuous Gate of the Sun trail (45 minutes) which is the end of the Incan Trail hike done by so many. From the Gate of the Sun, Machu Picchu is laid out before you. However, on this day, it was very, very foggy, and we never got a glimpse of Machu Picchu. The other possible hike is up Waynu Picchu, the mountain rising from one side of Machu Picchu. Since is was rainy and foggy, our guide strongly discouraged us from climbing it. He said that the average elope was 70 degrees. He said the problem is not necessarily getting up, but coming back down. There are stories of people falling from the trail on a fairly regular basis. It is unlikely that you will survive if you fall.

The weather was variable all day long but got surprisingly cold in mid-morning. A waterproof jacket is essential. Sturdy waterproof shoes and even a walking stick would be worthwhile.

We then caught the 2pm bus back down (the leave every 30 minutes or so), so stayed a total of 8 hours in Machu Picchu, an amount of time needed to see everything. I got extremely crowded from 10am through the rest of the day so the first hour or so, 6-8am, was very nice.

6 Thank toddbG3082KX
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Payson, Arizona
Level 6 Contributor
115 reviews
130 helpful votes
“It was worth it!”
Reviewed March 19, 2007

I have waited decades to see Machu Picchu. It was one of the places on my list that I've always wanted to see. I love archeology, history and other cultures plus I love to hike in the mountains. It this describes you too, you will really enjoy it. I was with a group that took a train from the Sacred Valley. It takes 1 hour, 15 minutes on the Vistadome and they serve you a light lunch on the way. You can also take a backpacker train which is a little bit cheaper but the schedules are not as good. The other option you have, if you like to travel in style and have lots of money to pay for it, is the Hiram Bingham Orient Express train. This is a white-glove, dinning car type experience. All the local tour guides I spoke with said it wasn't worth the $547 per person price. Anyway, when you get into Machu Picchu Pueblo, you need to walk a few blocks and catch one of the buses that go up the side of the mountain (on switchbacks) to Machu Picchu itself. Get a seat on the left side going up. The valley just opens right up for you. When you get to the top, there is a snack bar and shops at the entrance to the park, but also a huge buffet at the Sanctuary Lodge. The lunch was great, worth the price and lots of variety. They even had a band. Got a tour of the hotel. They want between $715 and $1156 per night to stay there. The rooms are quite small and there's no pool, etc. The only reason to pay that rate would be for the location but there are several worthy places to stay down in the pueblo and the bus only takes half an hour. We went up the first afternoon and then again the next morning. The buses run frequently and are tourist class even though they are public transportation. Now onto the ruins. They are split up into two main sections with several other sites to visit as well. The main site that you see in all the pictures are upper and lower. You can really get a variety of information between guides so select carefully. Some may stress the religious and/or spiritual implications of the area while others the construction, daily life, etc. A few of us did the Sun Gate hike which was only 1 hour up on a trail that was clearly marked and included stairs and rocks. There are a few places on the trail where the cliff is on one side so be careful going if you have vertigo, etc. The view from this trail is outstanding and is probably where the publicity photos are taken. This is also where the folks who have hiked the Inca Trail (2 or 4-day option) will see Machu Picchu for the first time. It's quite a site. The Inca Bridge was closed when we were there so we didn't get to do that. There was no time to do Hyuana Picchu (the tall piton-like mountain you see in the back of photos of Machu Picchu) but I was told by others that the top was quite hairy. Literally you were hand over foot on vertical stairs. The hike takes all day. On the first day we were there in the afternoon around 4 pm when these hikers would be coming down, 2 men with a stretcher ran toward that trail with others saying there was an injured hiker up there. Please only do this if you are an advanced hiker. Even our guide said so. The weather changes quickly there so be prepared for anything. Bring rain gear but NOT umbrellas. There are paths wide enough for only 2 people to walk side by side so you risk poking someone in the eye. Layer too. One hour it could be warm, the next hour a storm front blows in and it gets cold. Also, please remember your sunscreen!! Depending on where you are in the park, it is 7,000-9,000 feet and the sun is intense. Great cloud forest photos can be had after rains but trails can be slippery so wear hiking boots. It was definitely a place I would go back to so make every attempt to fly to Cusco and either take the train from there (3 1/2 hours that begins at 11,000 feet) or acclimate yourself to the altitude in the Sacred Valley (9,000 feet) and go on the train from there. Happy Travels!

6 Thank beav16
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Washington DC, District of Columbia
2 reviews
3 helpful votes
“Machu Pucchu on a Rainy Day”
Reviewed December 26, 2006

Machu Picchu is absolutely amazing! The scenery is beyond words. It was raining quite heavily when we got to the top of the guard house. Within minutes the clouds dissapated and there below us appeared this amazing city. It was breath-taking.

For visitors getting the Vistadome train, save your money and take the back packer. The Vistadome has nothing more than a "little sandwich" for breakfast and a "fashion show" coming back home. It is not worth the extra money.

Rather than taking the Vistadome train, opt for the BackPacker train the day before and spend the night in Aquas Caliente. This way you can go to Machu Picchu in the AM before the tourists arrive. The Vistadome train only allows approximately two hours to explore and that is just not enough time.

3 Thank Laffnfool
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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