Planned and tickets bought six months before the trip, I visited Peru in May 2015. I had always wondered if Machu Picchu would be worth the expense. I like old buildings, but unrecognizable ruins don’t attract me that much. However, Machu Picchu was more interesting than, Pompei in Italy, the reason being is that Machu Picchu is on the very top of a really high and green mountain at cloud level. Therefore you are experiencing much more than just some historical stone walls.
– Day 1: Flight arrives from Europe to Lima airport. Very modern airport, immigration cue moves fast and they didn’t give problems. Go to the counter for the local propeller airline to checkin’ for an 8:45 AM flight to Cusco. Checkin’ process very quick. Flight had nice views of the mountains. Arrive at Cusco airport. The onlyway to town center is by taxi. There is an official rate which is double the normal rate, so walk out to the parking lot and there get a non official taxi. Took taxi to the “colectivos” buses that go to Ollanta at pavitos street. Find a “colectivo bus” that already has some passangers in it. Otherwise you have to wait for it to be filled. Two hours ride. Got to Ollanta train station. Took the overpriced train. There is no other way to go. Some sort of goverment monopoly. The train passes through some nice scenary. The train line has only one pair of rails, so half way through the journey, the train has to stop, go to the side and allow the train in the opposite direction to pass. All this in a green scenary. Arrived at Aguas Calientes (Machu Picchu town – the base town) and went to a hostel that was bad and overpriced. When you book through western hostel sites, the options are few. It is worth risking and going without a place to stay and finding something cheaper there by asking.
Day 2: Wake up 5 in the morning and go and stand in a very long queue to take the bus to the Machu Picchu site. The bus is a goverment monopoly and for a simple 4 kilomenter ride will charge you 20 dollars round trip!! A theft! But what can you do. The bus takes you 4 kilometers up the mountain in zigzag. It is dark at 5 in the morning so you may not see much.
Dario Margeli in Machu Picchu
The same day, I took the train back to Ollanta ( Ollantaytambo) where I stayed overnight at a very nice hostel. Again, if you book from Europe, it will cost you too much. There are plenty of places, so just go without reserving and ask and it will be much cheaper. Ollanta is a very nice interesting town. I loved the stone streets. The two opposing mountains both with ruins on them looking at each other. I loved the little streams along the old village streets. I liked the street food Anticucho (meat). I didn’t get sick. The city plaza is cute too.
Day 3 – Arrived in Cusco / Cuzco – I cancelled the expensive hostel booked through hostelworld and took a cheaper nicer quieter room next door!! Cusco is very nice and well restored. Full of American and French/Canadian tourists.
The above image is Dario Margeli at the convent of La Merced in Cusco Cuzco Peru.
Day 4 – More Cusco
Day 5 – Cusco – Saksaywaman — Too expensive. I paid 20 dollars to see this because of the way they have organized the tickets. You can’t buy single tickets. You are forced to buy tickets to multiple sites.
Day 6 Lima – The old part has many interesting buildings that are rotting. They haven’t had the money to fix them back to there original state. The hostels are in a distant wealthy area (safe for tourists) called Miraflores with tourists but nothing historic. From the airport there is no reasonable transportation but an expensive taxi.
(p)&(c) 2015 Dario Margeli
Listen to my song “Five Little Things” here: