Machu Picchu is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a must-see wonder! I overnighted in Aguas Calientes to allow myself plenty of time to explore the Incan ruins. Traveling to Machu Picchu from Aguas Calientes is very easy since there is one bus line that runs up and down mountain every ten minutes, starting before the sun rises. The ride is 30 minutes long. If you’d rather hike, you can reach Machu Pichu in 2.5 hours from Aguas Calientes. I caught the 5:30 am bus so I could watch the landscape transform as the sun rose.
The best view of Machu Picchu is from Recinto del Guardián (Guardhouse).
There are areas you can explore beyond the ruins. If you ascend past Recinto del Guardián, you can hike up to Sun Gate. Another trek you can make is to the Inca Bridge. The hike I chose was to climb Huaynapicchu (Waynapicchu) which requires a ticket to enter. (Tips: Along with water, carry sunscreen and insect repellent in your backpack for this hike. Note that there are no bathrooms inside of Machu Picchu and they technically don’t allow food inside of the park. Essentially that just means you need to carry all of your trash out with you. Also, they don’t allow walking sticks either.) When you’re on Huaynapicchu, you’ll see signs for “A GRAN CAVERNA 40 MIN” which is a trail down the backside of the mountain, away from Machu Picchu. Only take this trail if you’re wanting the mileage since better views can be enjoyed elsewhere.
Even though you can reach the top in an hour, it’s much more fun to take your time and enjoy the views along the way.
It’s exhilarating to summit!