Machu Picchu is definitely one of the wonders of the world. We arrived in Cusco from Buenos Aires after having spent the entire night in the Airport in Lima. We met a nice lawyer on his way to give a talk in Cusco and passed the night in discussions. \We had booked an expensive tour in Cusco that included two nights in a hotel, a tour of Cusco and the local ruins and the train and admission to Machu Picchu. The first tour was six hours and included a tour of the church as well as various Inca sights like Qoricancha and Saqsayhuaman. The cathedral was incredible . They do not allow photographs in the cathedral but they do sell books with pictures 🙂 The next day we boarded a bus to the train station some 20 minutes away in Poroy. From there we boarded the Safari Train to Machu Picchu passing trough Ollantaytambo and finally Machu Picchu some hours later. The train was wonderful. Full service. From the train station you take a bus that goes up the mountain. It is all switchbacks and requires special askills to allow for passing. I cant say enough about this tour. I bought it from Viator and it was carried out by GoToPeru tour company. They met us at the airport and a representative was there with us at the beginning and end of each activity to be sure we were in the right place at the right time. The hotel they put us in was very nice and the restaurant featured dishes made from Llama. I had a filet minion of Alpaca. Fantastic.
Machu Picchu itself is nothing less than an awe inspiring miracle of ancient technology. It laid undiscovered for 400 years because the last Inca (chief) knew he was being hunted and so ordered his people to abandon the site and go meet the Spanish in the lowlands so they wouldn’t discover their sacred city. It worked and the jungle reclaimed the city until it was discovered in 1918. Only 60% has been found and restored so far. There is incredible stone work throughout. In many places the stones fit together so well we would be hard pressed to do anything similar today. There is the tower of the Sun that is round and also built of stone. There is an intricate systems of canals that move water within the city in channels carved into the stone. There are fountains as well. Agriculture was accomplished in terraces. There is the Inca Trail which connected and still connects Chile, Peru, Argentina and Ecuador with Machu Picchu. You can take a 4 day hike on the trail to get there also. It was raining and foggy on the day we were there but was still incredible. One of the 5 people in our group was German. He and Pam hit it off and she let him help her with all the walking and steps. I’m sure she would never have let me and there would have been an ugly scene. I’m thankful he was there and she was able to do the trip. We had a native guide. To see Machu Picchu you really have to have a native guide like Romero who speaks English and is completely versed in the history and geography of the site. This is an experience not to be missed..
Pam and I were taken to a restaurant in the town of Machu Picchu for a lunch which had been included with our tour. The guide took us there and left us. We had a nice buffet lunch and headed back to the train. We got on the train and realized we had left Pam’s bag in the restaurant. I wanted to run go get it but the conductor said there were only five minutes till the last train. They said they would ask someone to go get it and bring it to us the next day. We called our tour company and they confirmed it would come the next day although we would already be gone. We made arrangements with our host to forward it to us. The bag had Pam’s cell phone, my glasses, some presents and some clothes. It was never found and communication with our host broke down. This was the only downside to this trip. I cant recommend this tour company enough. They went above and beyond at every opportunity. They took us back to the plane and we continued on to Ecuador. The plane, Avianca, not only serves you nice meals but Wine and rum are included at no extra cost..Next stop Guayaquil.