Have you ever thought about if Machu Picchu is worth a visit? As low budget travelers, we had serious doubts about visiting Machu Picchu. We knew that reaching the most famous attraction in Perù would be very expensive and super touristy. As much as we wanted to experience this place, it was these reasons that made us question if Machu Picchu was really worth the visit.
Before making our final decision we investigated by reading lots of blogs and reviews. But, what helped us the most was speaking with other travelers like ourselves. Luckily the backpacking community is very active so we could collect plenty of information from people who had actually visited Machu Picchu.
IS MACHU PICCHU WORTH A VISIT?
Most of the reviews you will find online are very positive about the experience, but it is important to take into consideration that Machu Picchu is one of the most famous sites in the world. There are many organized tours and word wide travel agencies that operate in the area. These options were out of our budget and style of travel. Although this made us skeptical about whether Machu Picchu is worth visiting, we were determined to look for an alternative, affordable way to reach Machu Picchu.
If you are also wondering if Machu Picchu is worth visiting, then keep reading our post about our journey. Hopefully, you will find some answers to your questions, and hear if we think Machu Picchu is worth a visit!
IS IT HARD TO GET THERE?
Machu Picchu is located in a remote area which is certainly not easy to access. An efficient but expensive option to reach the site is the train. A more adventurous but still expensive option is a 4 days trek with a guide, known as the Inca Trail. We heard about people that did this trek by themself, but based on their accounts, we wouldn’t recommend it.
We reached Machu Picchu with the combination of a bus ride from Cusco and trek from Aguas Calientes. The trip takes a couple of days in total but is a much cheaper alternative, and although parts of the trek can be challenging it allowed us to see some beautiful parts of the area that we may have missed otherwise!
If you want to know more: Hassle-Free Itinerary To Machu Picchu On A Budget
IS IT VERY CROWDED?
As one of the most famous places in the world, Machu Picchu can get very busy, but it is also possible to avoid the crowd.
The tickets to visit the site are available only from the official web site where you can select the timing you want to do the visit. We strongly suggest getting the ticket for the first slot in the morning (6 am) if you want to have the site for yourself. We know that this policy may change in 2020, but according to the official website, it is still the same.
IS IT TOO EXPENSIVE?
The biggest cost is transportation to Machu Picchu. If you want to save some money then avoid the train and buses and walk more. Train ticket from Cusco can be from €100 to over €200 each way. The bus ticket from Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu (20 min ride) is around € 10. The entrance ticket to the site it is not cheap but the site is very big and it offers many attractions. Ruin-only ticket for an adult is €40, ruin + mountain € 52.
One easy way to save costs to pay for your ticket is to be savvy with your food shopping! You can do this by buying your trail snacks in Cusco where they are much cheaper, as well as filling up your water bottle before arriving at Aguas Calientes and choosing to shop at the supermarket instead of eating out at restaurants.
Accommodation in Aguas Calientes can be expensive but there are many options. We booked a night in a regular B&B in town. If the weather is good you can even consider camping right in front of the lower entrance to the site! Another alternative is to sleep at one of the little villages near Hidroeléctrica. This means you have to walk at least 4 hours to reach Machu Picchu.
OUR EXPERIENCE OF MACHU PICCHU
After a long ride from Cusco that took more than five hours, we were ready to walk in direction of Aguas Calientes the closest town to Machu Picchu.
The scenery walking along the railroad is spectacular. We met lots of people and shared travel tips and nice stories. Probably taking the train would have been quicker and easier, but we would have missed this incredible experience. The truth is that the walk itself, was a fundamental part of our adventure and it increased our expectations. Every step we were making we got more intrigued about discovering this incredible attraction.
Looking back, we think that Machu Picchu was one of the best ancient ruins we have ever visited. All the doubts we had regarding accessibility, crowds, and costs were forgotten after the experiences we had and the view from the top. Once at the top, in fact, we got very emotional. All that beauty, and all the effort we put in to get there, made us (Agnese) cry. So in the end was Machu Picchu worth it?…. The answer is a big YES! We strongly recommend to visit Machu Picchu, and suggest taking the more adventurous route!
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