I still have so much to share with you guys about my time in Peru! Next up on the blog - Sacred Valley and Machu Picchu!
My Machu Picchu adventure was a 2-day journey. It began with a trip through Sacred Valley. Our first stop was Pisac - a beautiful little town with a small traditional market and Inca ruins and remains. We then continued through Sacred Valley, enjoying the view of mountains and terraces bearing large crops of corn. (The corn here is HUGE btw - massive kernels).
We made a quick stop in Urubamba for lunch and then headed to Ollantaytambo - a beautiful Inca palace. This place used massive rocks (some of the biggest in Inca history), and has a tall staircase overlooking the city.
After a full day of exploring Sacred Valley, we hopped on a train headed to Aguas Calientes (the departing town for Machu Picchu). We stayed at a Hostel for the night intros small, adorable town, as it was an early morning for us!
It was 3:30am when we woke up to get ready to leave. There are 2 times to visit Machu Picchu - between 6am and 12pm or 12pm to 5pm. (It gets dark fairly early in Peru). We wanted to be arriving at Machu Picchu at 6 am for opening time. At 4am, we walked to the lineup, which was already SO long! Who knew so many people wanted to get there right away!
The first set of buses start at 530 am. We got on the bus finally and started on the 30 minute drive to Machu Picchu!!
Honestly at this point, it still didn't feel real. Machu Picchu is one of the 7 wonders of the world, and I couldn't comprehend that I was about to see it firsthand and not just in pictures. It was so surreal driving there, especially being so tired lol, and I just couldn't contain my excitement! (The hardest part of all this is being a morning person when everyone else is cranky haha!)
The moment arrived. I set foot in Machu Picchu and went straight to the lookout point. Holy beautiful. I was amazed! What gorgeous sight to see and it was only just the beginning. We got to witness the sun rising over the mountains - such a beautiful sunrise. I would do it all over again if I could.
After our peaceful moments and taking pictures, we waited for our tour guide to arrive. My entire experience with Sacred Valley and Machu Picchu was booked with American Inca Trail and my experience at Machu Picchu included a 2 hour guided tour explaining all history and culture behind The Lost City.
Our tour was spectacular and I definitely learned a lot. Did you know Machu Picchu means "Old Mountain" in the Inca language? It was hard to hear about some of the history as the Incas practiced things that are in no way accepted in today's society, such as sacrificing women. It's crazy how much the world can change as our knowledge grows and people become aware of what is truly right and wrong,
After our tour we had plenty of time to explore on our own, take pictures, and enjoy the views. There was an additional option to hike the surrounding mountains such as Machu Picchu Mountain, Huayna Picchu Mountain, and the Inca Bridge. Unfortunately you had to book these in advance and I didn't decide ahead of time that it would be an interest, but I'll save that for next time.
PACKING: I would definitely recommend packing light when travelling to Machu Picchu. Your backpack stays with you the whole time, so it's a good idea to only pack the necessities. It was HOT when I went in May, but very chilly in the mornings. I suggest wearing layers but bring clothes for warm weather. The sweaters we are wearing are from the local market and they are breathable but so comfy! It's always a good idea to bring extra water and snacks for when you're hungry. DON'T FORGET SUNSCREEN! I might have made the mistake and forgot to apply earlier that week, so definitely always carry sunscreen with you.
I also HAD to do a little shoot while waiting for the tour guide - something simple but I was in love with the low clouds and the morning colours. Machu Picchu feels like a dream. All of Peru feels like a dream, really. Such a wonderful place that I hope everyone gets a chance to visit one day.
If you're looking for a trustworthy travel company to use while in Cusco, Peru - Definitely check out American Inca Trail! Everyone that works there is so kind, helpful, and truly makes your experience wonderful. I can't express how awesome each tour was and how much was included for the price you pay. I would 100% recommend, PLUS you can book some excursions last minute if you're unsure!