Machu Picchu in Pictures

Part I: Getting There
Part II: Cuzco to Machu Picchu
Part III: Approaching Machu Picchu via Train
Part IV: How to Buy Tickets for Machu Picchu and How I Almost Screwed It All Up
Part V: Machu Picchu in Pictures
Part VI: Wrapping up the trip in Cuzco

We awoke Sunday morning, August 31.  As we wiped the sleep away, we looked at each other and said, “Let’s go to Machu Picchu!”

 

One.  Last.  Bus ride.

Planes, cars, and trains got us to Aguas Calientes.  From there you have two options to get to Machu Picchu: a bus up the Hiram Bingham highway or you can hike it.  Those who want to get there for the sunrise will hike it (the trail is well-marked), the rest (and the majority) will take a bus.

highly recommend purchasing your bus ticket the night before your trip.  You are in a town where 2499 people will be doing the exact same thing you’re doing, get ahead in line where possible!  We bought tickets the night before from the ticket stand next to the bus stop (just follow the train tracks toward the center of town and you’ll end up at the bus station).

We arrived to the bus station at 6:30am and we were the first in line!  That is, unless you count all the people in front of us.

machu picchu pictures images

Bus line

That line may seem bad, but it wasn’t too terrible honestly.  Buses came often, would load up with passengers, and take off quickly towards Machu Picchu.  Eventually we boarded a bus and 20 minutes later we were at the entry of the Incan masterpiece.

Getting in was easy.  Our tickets were in fact legitimate and our passport numbers were verified against our actual passports, then we were in.

We had made it to Machu Picchu.

Exploring Machu Picchu

After the visitor’s center (which is next to the beautiful Belmond hotel that runs close to $1000/night), you enter the citadel in the area that was used for cultivation of crops.  There are winding paths that will take your breath away (literally, since you’re at altitude) as you walk higher.  I wanted to get as high as possible for a great picture since the sun was low in the summer sky.  Plus, it was supposed to rain that day, but the weather was just perfect, the rain had held off so far!  I finally allowed myself to stop walking and slowly turned to see one of the most majestic things these eyes have ever seen.

machu picchu pictures images

The citadel at Machu Picchu

Machu Picchu appeared larger than life.  I couldn’t believe I was standing in the place of where I had seen so many pictures.  The geometry, the stone walls, and, most of all, Huayna Picchu (in the background) watching over all of it.  I started snapping away.

As we explored the cultivation terraces I was hunting for the perfect spot for what I call an establishing shot.  I found it and created three images: full color, black and white, then a massive panorama.

machu picchu pictures images

In Color

machu picchu pictures images

Black and white

machu picchu pictures images

Panorama

What I loved most about the panorama are all of the people in the right.  They framed such an ancient settlement in sudden modernity and I feel like they added a lot to the composition of the image.

We kept exploring and I was a bit sad that we didn’t get a guide.  We walked through most of the nooks and crannies but missed out on the context of what we were seeing.  I guess we’ll just have to go back.  Darn.

machu picchu pictures images

Backlit silhouettes

Oh, and there are llamas!

machu picchu pictures images

Cute little baby ones!

The only thing I had to make sure and do was slow down, to make sure I enjoyed all of it.

machu picchu pictures images

Loved that tree

Bethany and I were both so happy!

machu picchu pictures images

Bethany and me

What I loved most about Machu Picchu were how exaggerated all of the perspectives seemed to be.  Sudden drops, lots of right angles, and everything seemed perched atop the precipice.

We then headed towards the residential section of the citadel.

machu picchu pictures images

A house

I then saw this guy relaxing and tried to take some pictures (I thought it was a cool composition) without being too creepy.

machu picchu pictures images

Random guy

At this point, we just sat down for a little bit to drink it all in.  There were plenty of people walking around, but it was easy to find your own little nook of peace and quiet.  I think it’s very important to take time from all of the excitement to sit down, slow down, and experience all of the senses a place has to offer.  This is hard for me to do (slowing down), especially since I try to take pictures of everything.  But I tried to relax and am grateful for those peaceful moments.

And then I thought it’d be hilarious to take one of these pictures.

machu picchu pictures images

AAIIIIEEEEEEE

We continued to explore the residential area as we made our way to the “bottom” of the site, close to the gate for Huayna Picchu, before turning back and heading back up (slowly) towards the gate.  The crowds were slowly becoming more dense, I was fairly sure it was going to start raining in an hour or so.

machu picchu pictures images

Looking back

We explored some more of the residential areas and Bethany had a REALLY up close and personal encounter with a llama.  She was standing on some stairs that the llama wanted to use.  Llamas are actually kind of big, so there wasn’t really much room for one of them to squeeze by the other.  A faceoff ensued.  And by “faceoff” I mean Bethany feeling a bit unnerved and me laughing my butt off.  Eventually cooler heads prevailed.

We lingered for a while longer until the clouds started to look full of water and began making our way back towards the entry gate.

machu picchu pictures images

Nearing the exit

As we found the exit path, we both made sure we were ok with leaving (we spent about 4 hours at Machu Picchu).  I very much wish we could’ve stayed longer, but I know I will be back.  This was a long weekend trip, and there just wasn’t time to spend an entire day or two here.  I think I easily could’ve spent two or three entire days here personally, and that’s probably exactly what I’ll do next time.

I stopped for one last picture before we boarded the bus back to Aguas Calientes.

machu picchu pictures images

My last picture of Machu Picchu

Back to Cuzco

We went back to Aguas Calientes and shopped for some souvenirs then had some lunch as the rain that had been holding off while we were at Machu Picchu finally let loose on Aguas Calientes for a while.

machu picchu pictures images

Back in Aguas

Our trip back to Cuzco was direct (no stops in Ollantaytambo).

machu picchu pictures images

Our train back.

I was looking forward to relaxing for the 3.5 hour train ride, but then Perurail decided to have a fashion show to try and sell us merino wool clothes and kerchiefs.  I had less than zero interest in any of the clothes and would’ve rather just slept, but I know they need to make some money too, it wasn’t terrible I guess.

We had another day in Cuzco before heading home, and that will be the subject of a separate post.

Go to Machu Picchu

Go.  Quickly.  Before it gets ruined by tourists or closed off forever.  Search for flights to Cuzco out of Mexico City on LAN to find the same deal that we did and make it happen.  It was surprisingly accessible over a long weekend and left me with memories I’ll have for the rest of my life.

I’m so happy to share these pictures with you, I hope you’ve enjoyed them!

10 Comments

  1. You didn’t climb Huayna Picchu? …you missed out.

    Reply
    • I absolutely missed out on that and probably many other things. I have to go back and do it right!

      Reply
      • Next time go there in the summer, during dry season (may to september) and when you buy your entrance ticket, also select the Huayna Picchu option. Those are limited to 400 ppl per day but during dry weather when the climb is safe it adds 10x the fun to the visit.

        Reply
  2. We opt’d to spend the night in AC so we were able to get into the park at lunch time our 1st day and then spend a long morning into the afternoon the next day. We didn’t climb Huayna Picchu, but we did go up to the Sun Gate on the opposite side and to me it was well worth it going there to have a view that the emperor would have when he arrived.

    Reply
  3. Great Post and Nice Article.All of the Photos are so good and Looking Beauty And natural.I like it.Thanks for sharing.

    Reply
  4. Thanks for sharing the pictures. Our family of 4 (2 girls ages 10 & 13 at the time) hiked the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu and then onward to Amazon Jungle in 2010. It is still our favorite trip to date! Would love to do it again but there is still too much of this world to see!

    Reply
  5. My husband and I are planning a trip this summer, but tickets are already sold out for Huayna Picchu. I’m wanting to still be able to get some great panoramic shots and shots that really take in the overall view of Machu Picchu. It looks like you were still able to do that. Where was the first picture in this post of Machu Picchu taken from?

    Reply
    • Hi Christine, this was taken from pretty much the first viewpoint you get to when you enter the park, you won’t be able to miss it! It’s actually facing Huayna Picchu. I’m one of the few who actually doesn’t like the Huayna Picchu view as much as the normal one.

      Reply
  6. Hi Andy. Great blog on your Machu Picchu trip! I have a quick question for now: did the returning train ride back to Cusco from AC take you all the way to the city itself or only as far as Poroy?

    Reply
    • The trains only take you to Poroy (at least when I was there), I had my hotel send a driver for me instead of fighting through the horde of taxi drivers who wait for the trains there every night.

      Reply

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Desde Cuzco hacia Machu Picchu | Turismo en Perú | Intiways - […] y adaptado de Andy's Travel Blog por el equipo de Intiways Travel, agencia de viajes especializada en programas de…
  2. Viajar desde Cuzco hacia Machu Picchu | Turismo en Perú | Intiways - […] y adaptado de Andy's Travel Blog por el equipo de Intiways Travel, agencia de viajes especializada en programas de…
  3. Viajando desde Cusco a Machu Picchu | Turismo no Peru - […] e adaptado de Andy’s Travel Blog pela equipe de Intiways Travel, agência de viagens especializada em programas de turismo de […]
  4. The Top 20 Things to do Around Cusco - Nature, Culture & Ruins - […] travel bloggers who explored Machu Picchu are Andy from Andystravelblog.com and Sandeepa & Chetan from […]

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

andys-travel-blog-logo-white

 

Get the latest updates daily!

You have Successfully Subscribed!