Machu Picchu – Getting There – Photo’s -Travel Tips
After a four hour journey, your train has arrived at Machu Picchu Pueblo, or Aguas Calientes as it is normally called. Now, you have a few options. You can make your way through the market full of tourist trinkets, cross the Vilcanota River by a foot bridge, and head directly for the buses that take you switch backing twenty-minutes up to the front gate of Machu Picchu.
The Raging Urabamba River during the Rainy Season.
Or, after crossing the bridge you can check in to your hotel (recommended), repack your bags with a little food and water and then head up. The signs say “no food or drink should be brought into the sanctuary.” Bags are seldom checked, and the only food available if you didn’t purchase the option with Peru Rail, are $5.00 hotdogs at the entrance to Machu Picchu.
Where to stay: Let’s start at the top. The Belmond Sanctuary Lodge is located right outside the gate to Machu Picchu. It costs around $900 US Dollars per night. Only one or two rooms offer a partial view of the sanctuary of Machu Picchu. So there is no real advantage, except you could be first in line when the gate opens and lay claim that you were the first tourist to enter Machu Picchu that day. There are many different hotels and a few hostels with varying prices in Machu Picchu Pueblo. I have stayed at Gringo Bills twice, and it’s a mid-price range, very nice, and is continually improving with renovations. I looked at Angie’s Hostel right next door to Gringo Bills, and it runs about $35 per night and is certainly acceptable for the low end. These hotels are located on the opposite side of Plaza Manco Copac, the Main Square, as is the Ministerio de Cultura, where you would purchase your Entry Ticket to Machu Picchu if you don’t already have one.
The reason I recommend staying overnight at Machu Picchu, is because I’ve been there three times, and still haven’t done it all, or seen it all YET. Think about it, all you’ve went through, just to get here. By the time you arrive by train, take the bus up, have a guided tour for three hours, then maybe two or three hours to tour on your own, it’s time to head back down so you can catch your train back to Cuzco. Really, it’s much better and more relaxing if you have more time. Machu Picchu is so Awe Inspiring. It’s great to sit down for a while and take it all in. If you can afford to stay longer, and go back up the next day for several hours, then catch your train back in the afternoon/evening it’s worth it. Besides, the town isn’t called Aguas Calientes (Hot Water) for nothing. After lots of walking up and down stairs, you can sit in the hot springs and rest your sore muscles.
Liesurly Train Ride to Machu Picchu Pueblo
Main Ave. in Machu Picchu Pueblo.
Tourist Market near train station.
Plaza Manco Capac – Main Square.
Angie’s Hostel Beside Gringo Bills.
Bella, Grino Bills Peruvian Hairless Dog.
Map inside Gringo Bills.
You Must Purchase an Entry Ticket Before Taking the Bus Up.
No Dollar Accepted. Ticket Prices in 2013
Bus Ticket Prices. They increase $1.00 per year. There is a trail you can hike up for free.
On The Way To The Hot Springs.
Main Strip in Machu Picchu Pueblo. Typical Tourist Prices. Go back across the river and to the right of the soccer (futbol) stadium are where the locals eat.
There will be many Official Tour Guides hovering around the front gate hoping you will hire them. Guides are now mandatory for tourists to hire. They can be helpful in providing detailed information about Machu Picchu or MAPI for short. Many guides though, while well intended, have not perfected their English, and they are sometimes hard to understand. So I will recommend a friend who has experience guiding at MAPI for over a decade, and her English is very good. You can contact Fatima, at: firstname.lastname@example.org for private tours only, and they last about 3 hours. There are two systems for the guides: Private Tours, and Pools of tourists with no more than 20 tourists per guide, this applies to Private Tours as well. The going rate for a private tour is $75.00 per group up to 20 people. Lucky you, this Virtual Tour doesn’t cost you anything! These pictures were taken in February, 2013 during the rainy season. Beautiful when it’s raining, and even better when it’s not.
Buses bringing tourists up and down.
Outside the front gate and beside the Belmond Sanctuary Lodge.
Views you will see after entering the gate and walking a short distance.
View upon entering into Machu Picchu.
After entering and walking up to the left, is the Inca Trail leading upward.
Inca Trail leading to Intipunku and back to Cuzco.
The Inca Trail leading up to the Intipunku.
The Intipunku or Gate of the Sun nestled in the saddle. If you start early enough, you can make it there to see the sunrise over Machu Picchu below, but this is the Cloud Forest.
Trailhead going up to Machu Picchu Mountain. Extra free and time schedule.
Railway, and Urabamba River below.
Looking down upon the Belmond Sanctuary Lodge.
Upper Agricultural Terrace.
Upper Agriculture, and Terrace of the Sacred Rock near the guard shack.
Terraced below Eastern Urban Sector and quary below.
Huayna Picchu meaning Young Mountain.
Looking down on Eastern Urban Sector
Lots of wildlife around.
The highest point in Machu Picchu it the pyramid.
Rain falling in the distance.
The upper limits of the Sanctuary. To the right not pictured is an Inca Trail leading to the Inca draw bridge. An optional hike.
Guard House for the Inca Trail, both the draw bridge trail and trail from Cuzco pass by the guard house.
Going down the Inca Trail from the guard house, are the steep Southern Support Terraces.
View of the Southern support terraces, main plaza, the sacred plaza, and Intiwantana.
The Urabamba River flowing around the base of Huayna Picchu.
Steps built into wall.
Steep path between the South terraces.
The Pyramid with the Intiwantana, and sacred plaza bottom right.
Western Urban Sector.
Plaza with Grand Staircase in middle.
Descending the Inca Trail with Guard House above.
Temple of the Sun, middle frame.
The Sacred Plaza wall damaged by earthquake long before Hiram Bingham’s discovery of Machu Picchu.
Looking to the Eastern Urban Sector.
Three windows aligned in Western urban area.
Inca Trail descending through the Main Gate which was a control gate into the sanctuary.
All the walls in Machu Picchu go much deeper than ground level, giving it strength. to last so long.
The Grand Staircase in the Eastern Sector.
Highly Polished stone aligned with the Southern Cross. This sits in the Sacred Plaza and Royal Residence in the Southern Urban Sector.
Stones in a Sacred Plaza room.
Stonework on the Temple of the Three Windows Wall.
View through one of the Temple of the Three Windows.
On the Summer/Winter Solstice, the rising sun shines through the window, and onto the carved portion of the rock in the foreground.
The Urabamba River on the Southern side, and hydroelectric plant not pictured.
Looking up to Guard House and Machu Picchu Mountain.
Mountains to the South West.
Steep South side terraces.
Southern Terrace and nice spot for lunch.
This stone in the Sacred Plaza, carved to represent the mountain range in the background. Too cloudy to see.
Ascending up the Pyramid to the Intiwantana.
Pyramid Southern Terraces.
Looking up at structure on top of pyramid before arriving at the Intiwantana.
Intiwantana, or Hitching Post of the Sun. On the Solstice, the sun is high in the sky, so the monolift on top does not cast a shadow. Hence the sun was tied up and didn’t move.
The horizontal block protruding from the righthand side would cast a shadow downward on the Solstice.
On top of the pyramid looking East.
Lightweight raingear is necessary equipment to put in your backpack. Descending the pyramid on the North side.
Plaza’s on the North side.
Looking back up at pyramid.
From the North Plaza looking back at Guard House and terraces.
Temple of the Sun. The window on the right hand side is the window in which the Solstice sun passes through as it peaks over the mountains in the East.
Even in the rain, maintenance continues.
When Machu Picchu was first opened to the public, archeologists said no more than 2,500 people per year should visit, but that is the daily limit today.
Descending the Inca Trail below the Guard House, is the classic Machu Picchu photo op! Wheather you are taking a Selfie or let someone else take your photo, this is the spot.
Sacred Rock on the North East side of the sanctuary, is carved to represent Mount Yanatin in the background.
Trailhead to Huayna Picchu hike. Extra fee and time schedule.
Walking along on the Eastern most part of the Eastern Urban Sector.
The Grand Staircase.
One of the many fountains in the sanctuary.
Temple of the Sun.
Switch back road from Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu. Also the hiking trail up in same vicinity.
Taking a break from the rain inside one of a restored residence.
The Best Seat in the House…one of my favorite places to sit and take it all in.
This was my third visit to Machu Picchu, and first time there with my new 24.6 megapixel DSLR camera. I took many photo’s, from many different angles, but still only captured a fraction of the site. It took a long time to upload all these. I hope you enjoyed them, and please feel free to Pinterest, or share them if you like, with a link back to this page.
For the photographer: I used 50mm, 100mm, and 80-200mm. For wide angles I used my little Sony Cybershot. Whether you use a DSLR or your I-phone, it’s best to have a wide angle attachment, and for sunny days, a polarized filter.