Tag-Archive for ◊ Aguas Calientes ◊

Views 10 Ene The Classic Inca Trail to Machu Picchu: Day 3 + 4
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After having hiked for two long days (see here my travel story) we were already half way on our trek to Machu Picchu.

Day 3
By the traditional route, day 3 is the longest day and it also has the most optional detours to see different ruins. So instead of staying in Wiñay Wayna, the traditional end-point of the third day, we decided to take some of these detours and enjoyed these greatly preserved ruins at regular intervals during the day, breaking up the 1000m descent into the cloud forest. On the other hand we got into Machu Picchu a bit later on Day 4, since we had further to walk.

Dejà-vu struck first thing in the morning, as we had to climb out of the valley in which we had spent the night. The 400m climb that you could see from day 2’s descent kicked off a long day. The group got to the top without a problem, but from there it was still a long haul to lunch on the top of the third and final pass; you could almost hear a chorus of stomachs rumbling as we came through the mist and arrived at lunch.

Inca Trail to Machu Picchu

Lunch also marked the end of any significant uphill walking on the Inca Trail, which was a nice feeling! With careful baby steps we came down to the campsite for a relatively early finish, and that night, somehow, we played football with Simón, Lino and the porters. This was a really nice way of showing our appreciation for their astonishing support on our journey. After the game we had a small presentation ceremony where we gave each person a token of our thanks.

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Views 09 Ene Frequently Asked Questions about Machu Picchu
 |  Category: Tips & Testimonials  | 4 Comments

Nowadays, there is so much information available on the web about a tour to Machu Picchu that is it very easy to confuse yourself. Hopefully this article of definitive answers to some commonly asked questions will clear a few things up for those planning to visit the “Lost City of the Incas” in Peru.

  1. Is it necessary to use a travel agency to go to Machu Picchu?
  2. No, this is not a requirement. Technically you could travel to Machu Picchu organising everything yourself. However, the huge advantage of reserving with an agency is that they organise absolutely everything for you, at the same or even cheaper price for the complete excursion.

    Machu Picchu

    It so happens to be that in Cusco you have to buy every single bit of your tour to Machu Picchu from many different websites and offices, that are scattered all over town. Trains, buses, entrance tickets, guides and possibly hotels all require advanced booking one way or another, implying a very time consuming process. To make matters worse, the maddening red tape and communication in Spanish generally turns out to be a nightmare to the foreign visitor. To avoid any inconveniences and bad holiday experiences, it is highly recommendable to leave all the organizing up to an established travel agency in Cusco. You will be able to communicate with the same contact person about your entire travel itinerary, ask any question you like while counting on years of experience backed up with a travel service guarantee.

    In addition agencies may also get discounts for certain items of the trip, such as trains and hotels, due to the volume of passengers they manage. Therefore, if you were to do everything separate from an agency, you may find out it is actually not cheaper at all.

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Views 09 Ene The ins and outs of Aguas Calientes – Machu Picchu Pueblo
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Set around 400m. below the historic site of Machu Picchu, the town of Aguas Calientes is the unavoidable stop-off point for all visitors. Those who do a one day excursion to Machu Picchu from Cusco won’t have much time there, but anyone staying overnight in order to beat the crowds at Machu Picchu before sunrise the next morning, and/or hike up the Huayna Picchu mountain will have some spare time in the town (recently renamed Machu Picchu Pueblo, just to confuse everyone).

We won’t even attempt to beat about the bush; Aguas Calientes is a tourist trap. Most guidebooks slate the place and whilst we won’t go that far, it is a town irrefutably based upon the fact that lots of rich western tourists will pass through.

In the evening, bars play European or American football and blast out loud music. Touts or ‘sharks’ posted outside restaurants will practically beg you to enter, and market stalls typically are more expensive than Cusco and certainly the Sacred Valley. Despite all the above, we believe that there is something about Aguas Calientes that all the guidebooks have missed.

Aguas Calientes

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Views 06 Jun Top 5 Machu Picchu Side-trips!
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Machu Picchu is been considered, by its astonishing magnificence and harmonious construction, as one of the most important architectural and archeological monuments of the planet.

Surrounded by mysteries, because archeologists have not been able to decipher the history and the function of this stone city, erected by the Incas in a magic geographical zone, where the Andean and the Amazonian come together.

To really appreciate this significant location we suggest to take your time and explore these easy to reach nearby destinations:

  1. The Sun Gate

    Top 5 Machu Picchu Side-trips! Watching the sun rise over Machu Picchu is magical. Getting up early enough and making sure you get to the Inca Sun Gate in time to watch the sun slowly appearing from behind the snow-covered peaks, just as the Incas did, is a once in a life-time experience. It is recommendable to make your way to Machu Picchu around 4 am as it is still a good hour’s walk to the Sun Gate after you passed the main entrance gate.

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Views 21 Feb The Salkantay Trail – an alternative trek to Machu Picchu (day 3 and 4)
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Day 3: Jungle – Playa – Santa Teresa

Today is the third day of the Salkantay trek to Machu Picchu. This trek is known as the more alternative trek, another option for the famous Inca Trail. It is actually a very good alternative for people that want to do something different, or, for those who cannot get a spot on the Inca Trail. You will cross one of the most astonishing Andean landscapes and see the most beautiful panoramic views of mountain chains. Furthermore, you will pass through a big variety of habitats and environments, you will see snow peaked mountains and will be in the vicinity of the tropical rainforest.

On this third day, we walk along the river to a little village called La Playa. We visit the waterfalls of Pacche – there are 11 different waterfalls, each with a height of approximately 50 meters! We see lots of butterflies, banana trees, coffee plants, avocado trees, and so much more. We even spotted an eagle. It’s warm and as we descend it gets even hotter! The climate is warm in this area and a difference with other warm areas is that in this place the typical agricultural production consists of pomegranate trees.

The Salkantay Trail – an alternative trek to Machu Picchu  (day 3 and 4)
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Views 24 Feb MACHU PICCHU
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After a few days enjoying Cusco and its surroundings, we were ready to see one of the world’s most impressive cultural sites: Machu Picchu. Early in the morning we took the backpacker’s train from Cusco to Aguas Calientes, a small town, full of hotels and restaurants, and famous for its hot baths. We had planned to go to Machu Picchu the next day, so on this first day in town, we walked around the village and visited the baths. As my purpose was to sunbathe and not to have a swim, the mosquitoes found pleasure in my pale skin. A tip for all visitors: put on anti- repellent, and loads of it!!.

Machu Picchu

But my itching legs could not retain my excitement for our journey to Machu Picchu. The bus ride, uphill to a height of about 2.350 meters above sea level, takes about 30 minutes. It is recommendable to take the bus early in the morning, in order to arrive at the site as early as possible, around 6.00 or 6.30 am. As our official tour was going to start at around 8.30, we had some time to discover the place on our own. We decided to get the tickets for the hike to Huayna Picchu (“young peak” in quechua, as opposed to old peak / Machu Picchu), for which there are only a limited number (400) per day given out.

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