Home Lifestyle Travel What it’s like visiting Machu Picchu: PHOTOS

What it’s like visiting Machu Picchu: PHOTOS

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Now that you’ve reached the end, you’re undoubtedly thinking, “I should plan a trip to Peru so I can visit Machu Picchu.” Yes, friend, you should.

Here are a few things I wish I’d known before booking the trip and traveling to Peru:

You straight up cannot buy a ticket to visit Machu Picchu without being in Peru. The way the system works is you book a reservation online through the Peruvian government, and then you must visit a local bank (in Peru) to purchase the ticket within a short window of time (three days). It’s an expensive ticket (about $50 per person), but you can pay with a credit card at the local bank.

There are several ways to walk to Machu Picchu along “The Inka Trail.” Unless you are pretty serious about hiking, you should not do this. There are options for public transportation all the way up to the entrance of Machu Picchu itself. Again: I’m in reasonably good shape, and was in no way prepared for this hike. Thankfully I was able to buy bus tickets on site.

You should spend at least two days in Cusco before visiting Machu Picchu. Even if you plan to stay in Aguas Calientes before the hike, you’re going to need time to physically acclimate to the altitude. Since Cusco is at about 11,000 feet, you’ll likely feel the affects of altitude sickness — I certainly did. That means shortness of breath, headaches, and an overall sense of exhaustion. The locals are used to it, and you’ll get passed — quickly — by elderly folks while you’re huffing and puffing. You’ll wanna drop any sense of ego; these are folks who not only live in the clouds, but they come from generations of people who’ve lived there. Cusco is the original capital of the Inka Empire, and it’s been continuously inhabited for thousands of years. You are literally not built for the region. Accept that!

Don’t hesitate to drink coca tea and suck on coca candies. They contain small amounts of coca — yes, the plant used to make cocaine — and it’s a useful way to deal with the exhaustion of being so high above sea level.

Do not eat a heavy meal or drink when you first arrive in Cusco. It will compound the effect of altitude sickness, and may cause anything from an upset stomach to vomiting. In so many words: Chill out! Make sure to give yourself ample time to chill out. It’ll make your time at Machu Picchu all the more memorable.




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