Want to know the cheapest way to get to Machu Picchu? There is a way to get to the ancient ruins without taking the overpriced (and foreign owned) train. Sara and Ryan find more adventure for less money as they take the long way around stopping off in Ollantaytambo and Pisac along the way.
Tag Archives: Aguas Calientes
The bus up to this wonder of the world costs S/40 (CAD$13.50) return and S/20 (CAD$6.75) one way. A lot of people like to take the bus up and then walk back down, but with all the walking we had done over the last few days we decided a return ticket was the best idea.
Make sure you buy your entrance tickets to Machu Picchu in Aguas Calientes before you go up as they cannot be bought when you get up there. Tickets into Machu Picchu cost S/126 (CAD$43).
The walk down isn’t that interesting, involves a lot of steps, and will definitely put your knees to the test. The ride up to Machu Picchu takes about 15 minutes along a winding road of switchbacks which weaves its way up a verdant hill.
As we reached the entrance we could see hoards of tourists crowding the ticket takers and guides. We pushed our way past the tour guides and went inside. We walked up a few steps and were greeted with the famous Machu Picchu postcard picture.
The incredibility of what we were seeing hit us immediately. The Incas were amazing people. We both found it hard to comprehend that they actually created a city on top of a mountain and farmed on it. Like a lot of things in Peru, it’s hard to believe what you are seeing.
As a treat they run llamas down the path in to the Inca village in an attempt to knock unsuspecting tourists off the side of the mountain.
An excellent tourist photo and petting opportunity.
We took our time walking around MP, finding quiet spots to sit and take in the view and splendour of the ruins.
We will spend the night in Aguas Calientes before heading back to Cusco the next morning.
Stay tuned for a special Machu Picchu gallery to be posted later this week!
Time for a budget update!
This is a big one. We spent 5 nights in Cusco and the Sacred Valley. We visited Cusco, Pisac, Urubumba, Ollantaytambo, Santa Maria, Santa Teresa, Aguas Calientes, and of course Machu Picchu. We stayed overnight in Cusco (2 nights), Ollantaytambo (1 night), and Aguas Calientes (2 nights). This total includes everything: accommodations, food, transportation (from Cusco and back), entrance fees, and all incidentals.
We had budgeted S/503 (CAD$170), but we actually ended up spending S/530 (CAD$179).
Overall, this leaves us S/139 (CAD$47) over budget!
The bus from Ollanta to Santa Maria leaves from the northwest corner of the Plaza de Armas between 9-10am. The company we took was Turismo Ampay and it cost S/20 (CAD$6.80).
So we ended up standing for about 5 hours. Luckily enough there was a pit stop half way while the road was closed for 30 minutes. We bought what snacks we could to refuel for the rest of the journey. Unfortunately, we had very little cash on us and the best we could do was original Lays and Fanta. We were grateful for the sugar boost though!
Upon arrival at Santa Maria there was a combi ready and primed to take us to Santa Teresa (S/10, CAD$3.40). It all happened so quickly that I barely remember what happened at all. As many people as possible bundled into the combi to Santa Teresa. At Santa Teresa we were all immediately bundled into another combi on to the hydro-electric plant for S/4 (CAD$1.4).
From the hydro-electric station it is a 2 hour hike that is well-trodden and easy to follow on to Aguas Calientes. There is an option to take a train from the hydro-electric station to Aguas Calientes for S/15 (CAD$5), but the walk is beautiful and well worth the hike. Looking from the bridge at the beginning of the trail you can see the back of Machu Picchu. The walk requires bug spray, sunscreen, and long pants.
We made it to Aguas Calientes by 6pm. We walked into the first hostel we had on our list. Hostal Los Caminantes (S/50, CAD$17 for a private double room with private bathroom per night) is on Avenida Imperio de Los Incas, which is the main street in town. The hostel has a great central location, however it was a little noisy as the cargo train loads and unloads right outside. The hostel was clean, the shower was hot, and the view was great. What more could you ask for?
Despite the overpriced tourist restaurants on Los Incas we managed to find a tasty pizza place that had a family sized pizza for S/25 (CAD$8.50). Exactly what our family sized appetites needed. Who knew you could accomplish so much fueled purely on Lays potato chips and a bottle of Fanta!
A family sized pizza and an early night was exactly what we needed to prepare for our early morning adventure up to Machu Picchu!
- Aguas Calientes – Aguas Calientes, Peru (travelpod.com)
- aMAZEing – Machu Picchu, Peru (travelpod.com)
- Inca Trail and Inca Ruins – Cusco, Peru (travelpod.com)
- A Stylish French Restaurant in a tiny Peruvian village – Who would have thunk it? (bootsnall.com)