Machu Pichu in 10 easy steps – Part 2

Dogs chilling at the train stop

We had now successfully made it to our trains point of departure. Our next step was to depart Ollentybaro for the small town near Machu Pichu.

Step 6) Train to Aguas Calientes
We had some time to kill before our train departed. Luckily we had some dogs and some off brand chips to keep us company. Eventually the train pulled up and it was chaos trying to figure out where to sit. Eventually we located our car and took our seats. For the record their our several classes on this train to Aguas Calientes:

I have no idea why this photo is black and white
  1. The first (and cheapest) is the ‘backpacker’ which is what we took on our way there. The seats aren’t assigned you just go to the correct car. Its crowded and the seats are hard. The windows are also pretty small, which wasn’t a big deal because our train ride was at night.
  2. One the way home, the only tickets available were the more expensive ’vistadome’ which basically just offered slightly better seats, large windows, and some truly bizarre live entertainment. This included a llama wool fashion show, some kind of ‘original dance’ and other runnings around throughout the aisles.

The train ride wasn’t long and before we knew it we were at the top.

Step 7) Buy Entrance Ticket To Machu Pichu
After locating our hostel and dropping off our bags our next step was to purchase our actually Entrance tickets. Luckily it was still open, even though it was getting late and the girl at our hostel was able to tell us where the ticket stand was located. Finally after buying some water and snacks for the next day, we headed back to the hostel to try and get some sleep.

Step 8) Wake up a 3:00 AM

Early Morning on the streets of Agaus Calientes

If you have ever seen the iconic photos of Machu Pichu, you are familiar with the mountain rising behind the ruins. The mountain is Huayna Picchu and they only let 200 people climb it each day. Obviously I wanted to be one of those people. According to our hostel lady, we had to wake up at the ass crack of dawn, also known as 3 am to get to the there in time to get a ticket.  So we woke up and went and got in line. Even though we had gotten the entrance tickets, we still needed to buy our bus tickets to get from Aguas Calientes to Machu Pichu. Then we had to actually wait in line to get on the bus.

Step 9) Bus to Machu Pichu and race to get a Mountain Ticket

Bus route to Machu Pichu
Line for mountain tickets

After waking up at 3am, and sitting in line for a few hours, we were still only on the second bus up the mountain (as opposed to the first). The bus ride is around 20 minutes and is pretty treacherous. In the photo you can see that the entire road is basically switchbacks over drops to the bottom. Luckily we made it to the entrance without any incident and waited for the gates to open.  Unfortunately, we were pretty unclear on where the ticket booth was to get a mountain ticket, but we followed the many other people running through the ancient ruins to the complete other side of the park. The whole thing seemed a little strange, here I was in this hugely famous archeological site as the sun rises over the stones and I am running as fast as I can with no time to look at anything. By some stroke of luck, we actually got a Mountain ticket and were able to go up with the first group of 100.

Step 10) Wooo Machu Pichu

The book

After signing our name in the book (apparently to make sure we came back…wtf) we were allowed to make the climb to the top. The view is pretty great, and its a fun, if a little scary, hike. After the climb back down, we were both exhausted, so we stopped to eat our fruit and gronala bars with a pretty fantastic view. We spent the morning exploring the ruins and climbing to the top of the other side for the classic photo op.

Cross that one off the bucket list. :-)

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