- The Ritz Carlton Central Park
- LAN Business Class
- Exploring Central Chile
- The Grand Hyatt Santiago
- Exploring Easter Island
- Exploring Machu Picchu
Out of all the Unesco World Heriterage sites we’ve seen, none is harder to reach than Machu Picchu. Sure Easter Island is the most remote place but I just used my British Airway miles and hopped on a plane. Machu Picchu is an adventure in many ways.
The easy way to get to Machu Picchu is this: Fly to Lima and then hop a flight to the mountain town Cusco ($100 one way). Then take the train to Aguas Calientes ($75 one way), which is the town at the bottom of Machu Picchu. Then you can take a bus to the top ($10 one way).
The cheaper and harder way would be to take the bus from Lima to Cusco. Apparently it’s a windy 24 hour bus ride instead of a one hour flight. No thanks. A good substitute would be using British Airways Avios on a Lan flight to Cusco for 4,500 Avios. From there, I was not eager to pay $300 for two of us on the train RT, so we had an adventure of our own.
There are other ways to get to Machu Picchu besides the train. I know it may sound crazy but it was honestly one of the best adventures of my life.
From Cusco we caught a van/bus to the town Santa Maria – it was 6 hours of winding through the mountains ($5). Then we took a 20 minute taxi to Santa Teresa ($3), which was the craziest part. (Although too dark to get a good video, I included it at the bottom of the post). We spent the night there and in the morning took a very short taxi ride to where the train tracks start ($1), at the “Hidro-Electrica” plant, and we took a two hour, very flat and easy hike through the mountains of peru along the train tracks to Aguas Calientes. It was beautiful. Beautiful views looking up at Machu Picchu from every angle, a beautiful river and saw flocks of parrots. A very unique experience.
From Aguas Calientes we took the van up to the top like everyone else – it’s far too steep to walk up to Machu Picchu. It’s really at the top of the mountains in the middle of nowhere Peru. An unbelievable site. These few days were probably the highlight of this trip for me, although a certain amount of stress comes with cheap foreign adventure. I’ve been to Chichen Itza in Mexico, Mesa Verde in Colorado, Angkor Wat in Cambodia, etc… and none had such an impressive surrounding. If you love mountains, you’ll love Machu Picchu for that alone. (Here’s a short video from Machu Picchu).
I’m not sure which way I’d recommend, but I’d do it all over again just for the hike. Though perhaps taking the train down would be a nice… relief after the taxi and bus rides.