I walked to Machu Picchu!

As some of you may know, I’m currently back in Canada. I don’t plan on being here long, so I’m hoping that this will only be temporary. During my short time back, a lot of people have approached me asking me about South America and what it thought about it and specifically about Machu Picchu. Everyone seems to be super interested in everything to do with this place and I don’t blame them. I was the same way too. I honestly still am. It was one of the most magical places that I’ve been too and I would definitely go back. In this blog post, I’m going to tell you guys about what I thought of Machu Picchu, how the plan formed and how I got there. I’m going to tell the WHOLE story as I lived it, so if you don’t like long stories, this may not be for you!

If you’ve read my post on Rainbow Mountain, then you’ll know that I arrived in Cuzco on the night of Thursday November the 21st and attempted the Rainbow Mountain Palccoyo hike on the 25th. I hadn’t really adjusted to the altitude, but still tried it anyway. That hike showed me that I was capable of pushing my body despite the thinner oxygen. This motivated me to go to Machu Picchu even more. I had wanted to go the whole time, but now I was even more motivated!

Taking a break to look out at all the mountains that surrounded me during the hike to Rainbow Mountain Palccoyo

A lot of people at the hostel were grouping up and going, so I decided to ask around to see if I could find a group too. It turned out that the volunteer bar tender at the hostel wanted to go and was also looking for more people to go with. Sweet! That was at least one person that wanted to go. We kept asking around to see if we could find more people that wanted to go because the more the merrier, right? The American guy that I had hiked Rainbow Mountain with also wanted to go and we ended up meeting a few other people that wanted to join us including an Israeli guy that I met at the hostel bar. We decided to go into town to see what tour deals we could get. This is where it got interesting. The Israeli guy wasn’t able to come to town with us because we’d somehow lost him and the messages we’d sent him hadn’t gone through to him for some reason. This will be crucial later on in the story, so don’t forget this part!

Good Street harassment…? Well almost

If you look like a tourist in Cuzco, you will CONSTANTLY get harassed by a select few people that want to sell you anything from massages to cocaine to tours. We only wanted tours, so we actually talked to a few of them and they told us their prices. We went to a couple different places to compare prices and to see what each respective tour included. Everyone claimed to have the “Best” deal, but that was to be expected. We spent a couple hours looking and were finally approached by a guy on the street who seemed to be offering what seemed to be a reasonable price and a decent tour. We were with our local buddy who was very good at sniffing out people’s bullshit and negotiating, so we let him do most of the talking. He said it seemed alright and we all seemed to be ok with it, so we went into their actual office and were in the process of booking the tour when the Israeli guy messaged us back in the Whatsapp group chat that we had created asking where we were. We told him where we were and the name of the tour company we were booking with so that he could find us. We continued the booking process. We had just had our passports photocopied and were about to pay when the Israeli guy sent us a screen shot of the most recent reviews that the company had gotten. They were all really bad. Extremely late buses and I think there was even one about a bus not showing up at all.

The biggest lie that teachers tell us!

We’ve all definitely had a teacher say “You’ll use this when your older” only to find out that they were lying to get us to work harder. Kind of like how we’re told that “The doctor will see us shortly” When we go to the doctor’s office. What tremendous lies, right?! Wrong! They told me that I’d “Need” French after school. I’ve used French many times since finishing elementary school, but I’ve never “Needed” it. That all changed as we sat in that office. Let me elaborate!

I knew I needed to think quick because I didn’t want us to spend the money only to be left behind by the bus. Luckily, the volunteer bar tender spoke fluent French, so I turned to her and told her to check the group chat because nobody seemed to be looking at their phones at this point for some reason. I imagine the subsequent looks on everyone’s faces were probably all “Oh shiiiiit”. We continued to discuss the situation in French while also messaging the others in the group chat to make sure that the rest of the people in the group were aware of what was going on. This was all in front of both of the workers. I hate purposely talking in a different language to exclude others, but we really didn’t want to get ripped off. I don’t think the workers spoke French, but I remember that the wifi just suddenly “turned off” which prevented us from communicating on WhatsApp when we were coming to the realization that we may just bail last minute on the booking process. We all found that very weird. It eventually came back on, but it was still really weird. After some debate, we ultimately decided to opt out. The whole situation just seemed a bit too sketchy. Luckily, the Israeli guy had sent us a blog post that detailed 3 different ways to get to Machu Picchu. 2 of the 3 ways were relatively cheap. One of the ways included taking a train and a bus which was extremely expensive and quick, but as travellers we wanted to save money, so we opted out of that one. The second option involved taking an 8 hour bus ride to a city called Hidroelectrica and then walking along some train tracks to Aguascalientes and then climbing the steps up to Machu Picchu. The 3rd option involved going to a city called Ollantaytambo by bus and walking 8 hours before doing the steps up to Machu Picchu. The third was the cheapest of them all. I think that route would have cost under 60 USD for all transportation AND even entry to Machu Picchu. I personally wanted to try this one, but the others didn’t have enough time, so we ended up deciding on the 8 hour bus ride and the 10 Km walk. Now we just had to find a place to finally book our bus tickets.

We got the bus tickets!

We ended up going back to one of the original vendors in the main square and ended up booking our bus tickets there. We didn’t want to play any games with the other company after reading all of those bad reviews. We ended up getting round trip tickets for 55 Soles if I remember correctly. 55 Soles is about 16.50 USD at the time of this posting.

We now had our bus tickets, but still needed entry tickets to Machu Picchu itself. We decided that we’d book them online to avoid scammers and decided to stop at McDonald’s to eat before making our way back to the hostel. A random Dutch lady randomly approached us and began talking to our volunteer bar tender friend. I don’t really know what they talked about or what made her want to approach our group, but next thing I knew, she was offering her a free bag and free coca leaves and giving us tons of advice on how to survive the walk and ascent to Machu Picchu. It was honestly really nice of her and her advice actually really did help us a lot in the end.

The entry tickets

We eventually made our way back to the hostel and attempted to book our entry tickets online before going to bed. It had been a long day and we were all tired. We tried booking the tickets, but had an issue, so our American buddy said that he would go back to his AirBnB and book them from his own computer and that we could just give him the money back afterwards. That sounded great, so we agreed. We were down to only three people at this point. The others in our group decided to go on different days and the Israeli guy ended up doing a trek in the end. The bus would leave at 8 the following day, so I went to bed a bit earlier than usual.

The Game plan

Alright, so I’m going to run you guys through how we planned to do this because I feel like I wasn’t all that clear above. The plan was to take a bus to a city called Hidroelectrica from Cuzco. We’d have to leave Cuzco at 8 A.M and we’d get to Hidroelectrica at about 3 P.M. We’d eat quickly and our American buddy would take the train into Aguascalientes and we’d walk just over 10 km along the train tracks into Aguascalientes. Once we’d all arrived in Aguascalientes, we’d spend the night at a hostel and then we’d walk up the “Steps from hell” to Machu Picchu while our American friend took the bus to the top. We’d all meet at the top and explore the park together. Neither route was objectively better than the others, the foot route was just cheaper which is why the two of us opted out of taking the train and bus to the top. That was the “plan“…but things got interesting.

Departure day

I got up early the following day and packed my daypack. I decided to leave most of my stuff at the hostel in a locker and to travel with only a small day pack because we’d only be spending one night in Aguascalientes anyway. I packed 3 days worth of clothes just in case. Yes, I know! I have a bad habit of packing too many clothes, but I’m working on it, I promise! I made sure to have a water bottle and headphones in case I ended up walking alone at any point. I made my way downstairs and met up with my volunteer-bar tender friend which was easy enough because we were both at the same hostel. Our American buddy on the other hand, was at an AirBnB. The bus was supposed to come and pick us all up at 8 and it was getting close to 8 and we didn’t see him anywhere. We assumed he was just running late. We got nervous as the time slowly ran out and eventually one of the guys from the bus company came in and told us that the bus was waiting outside. We were feeling really really nervous at this point because there was no way of contacting our American buddy as soon as we got out of the range of the wifi signal because neither of us had any data left. We got to the bus and the guy asked where our third friend was. We explained that we were trying to reach him, but that we hadn’t had any luck. He shared his wifi with me and we tried calling and texting our friend a couple times to no avail. The bus waited a couple more minutes, but eventually had to leave, so we reluctantly boarded without him. We felt very uneasy because on the one hand, we felt bad that he’d probably be missing the cool excursion, but on the other hand, we were both nervous because HE was the one with the entry tickets. There was nothing we could do, so we just sat back and tried to enjoy the ride.

I’ll post links to the daypack, water bottle and power bank that I brought with me in case any of you are interested!

The drive to Hidroelectrica

The bus ride was LONG. I was hungry and tired, so the ride felt even longer to me. I was very relieved when we got to the first stop! I was very excited to finally be able to eat something. The bus stopped and I got out and quickly made my way to one of the shops. To my great dismay, there was nothing I could eat. EVERYTHING I saw contained either eggs, dairy or some meat that I couldn’t eat. (I have a lot of dietary restrictions and eggs, dairy and most meats make me feel sick). I would’ve just eaten the food anyway to temporarily satisfy my stomach, but there was still 6-5 hours left on the bus and a three hour walk ahead of us. The bathrooms at this stop didn’t have toilet seats and you had to buy toilet paper if you needed it. You had to pay one Peruvian Sol to use the bathroom and they give you 3 squares of toilet paper after you’d paid, so be prepared for that! The stop lasted about 20 minutes and the bus was about to continue on when the bus driver’s assistant pulled my friend aside and told her she had a phone call. We were both visibly confused because who would call her randomly like that. She picked up the phone and I eagerly watched her facial expression to see if it was going to be good or bad news…. It was good news! The company had gotten in contact with our American buddy and he had managed to get the train in. He’d be getting to Aguascalientes shortly before we would! Everything seemed like it would work out after all. 

The bus continued on. It was funny because there was a proper town literally 6 minutes up the street from where we stopped and there were proper restaurants with normal prices, more stores and many other things. I kind of felt like the company had purposely brought us to that specific stop because they wanted us to spend more money.

The next few stops weren’t anything special. The prices weren’t written down on any of the items in any of the stores, so I’m pretty sure I got charged the “foreigner price” that my Peruvian friend had warned me about a few times. There were also no toilet seats and the “3 squares of toilet paper” rule seemed to apply at all of the stops. You could ask for more, but I’m pretty sure you’d have to pay more. I had gotten used to this at this point, but you may not be, and I don’t want any of you to be caught off guard!

Speaking of being caught off guard, a kid who was working as the payment collector at one of the bathrooms tried to scam me out of a few Soles. It costed one Sol to use the bathroom and I paid with a 2 Sol coin. I waited for my change, but he didn’t give it to me, so I asked for it and he acted like I wasn’t supposed to get any change. I explained that he told me it costed 1 Sol and I gave him 2 Soles to which he responded by first laughing and then saying “Oh, sorry, I thought you gave me a 5 Sol coin”. I was speechless because that would mean that he was trying to scam me out of 4 Soles instead of just 1… I was very confused. It’s hardly any money, I know. It’s no big deal, but I really didn’t appreciate his dishonesty. This was honestly just overall a really weird stop because the bus driver seemed more impatient than usual and honked his horn signifying that our stop time had ended and then started driving away. A few people had to run after the bus. I don’t know if his intention was to actually leave or to just scare everyone so that they’d be more punctual. It was weird though nonetheless.

Driving through the Mountains

A lot of the last leg of the drive was spent on the edge of mountains without guard rails. That was honestly the scariest part of the trip. The road was super bumpy because the road was also unpaved. I anticipated this and sat near the front to avoid getting motion sickness. I was honestly terrified. The road could only fit one car in most areas too. I didn’t want to know what would happen if another vehicle were to come the opposite way. Despite this, the views from the window were beautiful and at one point, we’d driven so high up the mountain that we were apparently driving through clouds. I think that specific part of the road was even called cloud road.

I found that some areas were paved and some randomly weren’t and I fell asleep when we were on the paved road only to be jolted awake as the bus hit unpaved road again. That’s no big deal, but the bump that the bus hit made my body lurch forward while simultaneously waking up and in an effort to stop myself from falling out of my seat completely, I instinctively flayed my arms out, but couldn’t open my hands fast enough and accidentally punched the guy across from me in the shoulder. He looked just as confused as I was. It was totally an accident. I apologized, but the ride was kind of awkward after that.

Hidroelectrica

The bus arrived in Hidroelectrica at almost three on the dot. I was very impressed at how punctual it had been. Everyone got off the bus and started splitting up. Some people ate, some people made their way to the train and some people started walking right away. We decided to eat first because we knew we had quite a walk ahead of us. I tried to connect to the wifi to inform my family and friends that I’d arrived safely, but the signal was terrible. I stood right near the actual restaurant with wifi and it still hardly worked. The wifi had been really good at most of the places that I’d been to up until that point, so I was really surprised. In the end, I somehow managed to send off the messages, then we ate and began the walk.

The first thing I saw upon exiting the bus. Breath taking.

Hidroelectrica to Aguascalientes

I made sure to set my watch at the beginning of the walk because I really wanted to see how long it would take us, so that I could calculate how early I’d have to leave to walk back in time to catch the bus the following day.

If you’re scared of making a wrong turn or getting lost.. Don’t be! It’s kind of difficult to get lost!

We had been told that it would take us about 3 hours to walk to Aguascalientes, but I was convinced that I could beat it. The walk itself was honestly one of the most breath taking and beautiful walks that I’ve ever gone on. It was so green and nice and the power of the river beside us was impressive. There were also tons of other broke people walking the same path as us. It felt very empowering being around so many other travellers.

There are tons of signs that specifically said not to walk on the train tracks, but I saw tons of people walking on the train tracks with headphones in, completely oblivious to their surroundings. That didn’t seem safe to me at all, but to each their own.

One of the many signs warning people not to get too close to the tracks.

We got extremely lucky with the weather. It was hot and sunny the whole way in. I actually had to take my pants off and put shorts on because it had gotten so hot. I recommend getting water from one of the many vendors along the way to stay hydrated. I didn’t do this and instead bought Oreos. They were delicious and I blamed the heat for my decision to avoid feeling guilty.

Arrival in Aguascalientes

We were getting very close to Aguascalientes. The end was near and we were also nearing the 3 hour mark at this point. We asked a group of Spaniards for directions and ended up talking and walking with them. They were really nice and they showed us the rest of the way to the city. I got so caught up in the conversation (because two of them spoke Catalan AND German), that I didn’t notice that my friend had gone one way and the Spaniards and I had gone a different way shortly after we’d arrived in the city. Now I was in a predicament because I now not only had no tickets, but I also didn’t know which hostel we were staying at. I couldn’t message anyone because I had no data. I eventually found a restaurant and convinced the guy to give me the wifi password. After scouring my memory for 10 minutes I was able to more or less recall the name of the hostel. I typed in a couple variations of what I thought the name was and miraculously found it on the map. I made my way there.

The post-walk results according to my Apple Watch

Reunited at last

I got to the hostel and went to check in. I was literally about to ask the worker if she’d seen the two other people I was travelling with and she politely cut me off and described them and told me they had already arrived. She even knew my name without looking up my reservation. She then brought me to the dorm room where all three of us were reunited at last. It turns out that our American buddy had actually accidentally fallen back asleep and that’s why he had missed the bus. Luckily, he was able to rush to the town centre and book train tickets and still made it in time. My walking buddy and I lost each other because I didn’t hear her when she said that she was going to stop and ask for directions to the hostel. It was honestly really funny how we’d all lost each other and arrived at different times. Our American buddy handed us the entry tickets. It was real! We were going to be in Machu Picchu the next morning.

We decided that we’d all wake up at 4 A.M and head out by 5 because our tickets were for 6 A.M.  We explored the city a bit and ended up finding some really cheap food at one of the restaurants and then decided to call it a night early, so that we’d have energy for the following day.

We met a very friendly Taiwanese guy who was also planning on going to Machu Picchu the same day as us and he was apparently also catching one of the buses back to Cuzco at the same time as us. We felt worried on his behalf because he was entering the part at 10:45. We didn’t understand how that would give him enough time to explore the park and STILL walk back to Hidroelectrica in time to catch the bus. Someone in our group made a joke about how “We’d know we were probably going to miss the bus if we crossed paths with him on the way back to Hidroelectrica”

Remember this! This will also be important later on in the story!

Game Day!

My alarm went off at 4:15 and I got out of bed. I was excited, but exhausted. It was so early that it felt like my body hadn’t digested my dinner and I still felt full, so I didn’t eat breakfast which ended up being a mistake.

This was my dinner from the previous night. I don’t eat very much meat, but this entire plate costed 10 Soles or 3 USD. If you look around you’ll find a few restaurants that are this cheap. This is where the locals eat.

**Make sure you eat breakfast and let the food settle before you attempt the steps! Trust me! You’ll thank me later!**

The others ate a bit and had some coffee and the we began our walk. Our American buddy’s ankle was still hurting, so we walked him to the bus terminal which was coincidentally on the way and then we began walking. It took about 15- 20 minutes to get to the actual steps themselves.

People warn you about how difficult the steps are, but you honestly can’t really fathom the pain until you actually attempt them yourself… and pain is an understatement. I may also just be more out of shape than I thought... I’m honestly probably just out of shape.

The steps from hell

I didn’t really know what to expect as I climbed the steps, but I tried to maintain a relatively quick pace at first. There was a couple in front of me and I tried to keep up with them and used them to keep up my momentum. I quickly learned that that was a bad idea and could not keep up. I got pretty tired early on and ended up losing them. We met an American and a German girl just before the half way mark. We ended up walking together. I found that walking in a group and chatting really took my mind off the physical exertion and helped me keep a good pace.

A lot of people (including me) really struggled at this specific part of the climb. It looks easy in the picture, but it was not easy after having hiked for 30 minutes up hundreds of steps.

I swear that the German girl was not human because she just randomly stopped needing breaks at one point and just kept walking. I decided to push myself to keep up with her, but it was so hard. We were unknowingly nearing the top and my body was giving out. I had no more energy and actually was considering giving up when the American girl yelled “Look!” and I looked out and saw the mountains. I’d been so focused on putting each foot in front of the other that I’d forgotten to take the time to really take in my surroundings. The view was amazing and it showed me how high we’d actually gotten. My morale was now high and my energy seemed to magically come back and I pressed on.

This was the view that boosted my morale and motivated me to keep going

We made it!

We FINALLY made it to the top and after getting harassed by tons of very aggressive and very rude guides, we entered the park. It was actually my original intention to go around the park with a guide, but so many of them were so aggressive and rude that I decided that I’d just look up the history online afterwards. I really want to know if being so aggressive and rude actually gets customers!

Our plan was to meet up with our American buddy at the top, but we’d underestimated how long it would take us to get to the top, so we couldn’t find him. I think it was about 7:05 A.M when we finally entered the park.

Machu Picchu!!!!!!

I could honestly only stare out in awe!

Machu Picchu itself was MAGICAL! I couldn’t believe that I was actually there. It was even more satisfying after having completed the gruelling ascent up all those steps. We walked around the park and tried to take in all the sights. I’m not going to lie, we took tons of pictures. We got really lucky with the weather too. It was really cloudy for the first 20 minutes and then cleared up for the remainder of our time. We had somehow lost the American and German girls near the entry point, but befriended an Australian and a British guy shortly after entering the park and they joined us for the rest of the time that we spent in the park. We also bumped into a lot of people from our hostel while we were there too. Machu Picchu was the LAST place that I expected to randomly bump into random people that I knew. One of them even joined us for the remainder of our time in the park. We explored the rest of the park and then decided that we should probably leave because we wanted to eat before heading back to the bus because we were scared that we would miss it. We all walked towards the exit and the girl that had joined us from our hostel decided that she would turn back and join the rest of the people from her trek. Her plan didn’t go the way she thought it would and they stopped her and told her that she couldn’t go back even though she hadn’t actually left the park. That was really unfortunate for her. Make sure you see everything you want to see before passing the labeled “No return” points in the park because the workers will literally run after you and tell you that you can’t go back once you’ve passed the signs.

The steps from hell round 2

We split up a bit at this point. The British guy decided to bus down and meet us in the city for food and our friend from our hostel decided to stay behind and wait for the other people from her trek. The Australian guy decided to join us as we went back down the steps from hell.

Going down was obviously a lot easier than going up, but it REALLY hurt our knees. I’d advise against going down the steps if you have bad knees. I remember our legs would always shake uncontrollably whenever we’d stop for sunscreen breaks. My watch claims that it took under 45 minutes to get back down. We were passed by tons of people that were making their way up as we made our way down and I felt so bad for these people because I could feel their pain and knew that there was a lot more to come.

The Apple Watch results for the descent

The Hunt for food!

We met up with the British guy at the bottom and went on the search for food. We were kind of short on time at this point, so we were starting to get nervous. Both the British and the Australian guy were spending the night in Aguascalientes, so they didn’t have to worry about anything, but my friend and I were getting nervous because we didn’t want to miss the bus. We’d also never managed to find our American buddy. We searched for food for a while, but my friend got progressively more nervous that she’d miss the bus, so she decided it would be best for her to start walking. I told her that I was fine if she started walking without me because I was determined to eat and also to have a shower before sitting on that small bus for 8 hours. Everybody split up at this point. It was about 11:45 A.M at this point. I ultimately ended up finding food. The lady tricked me and told me that it would be ready in 10 minutes to get my business. It ended up being close to half an hour… I’ve never eaten faster in my life. I was almost sick.

The riskiest shower I’ve ever taken!

After I’d eaten, I rushed to the hostel to take a shower. They were nice enough to still let me take a shower despite the fact that I’d already checked out which was really kind. I took my shower as fast as I could and began getting dressed when I heard somebody else in the bathroom. “Hey, man!” I heard from behind me…. I recognized that voice…but… it couldn’t be…. It just couldn’t be… I turned around and… I feel like you all already know who I saw… It was the Taiwanese guy! I was happy to see him because he was a very nice guy, but my heart sank a little because I knew that seeing him probably meant that I was going to miss the bus. We were both close to being ready at more or less the same time, so I proposed walking together. He agreed. My heart was beating very fast at this point because I was getting nervous. It was almost 12:40 and the bus was leaving at 3 and I knew the walk IN had taken about three hours just to get to the outskirts of the city.

I think he had lost something or just wanted to double check his bag to make sure he had everything. I was really looking forward to walking with somebody, but every second that passed as he went through his bag was agonizing because missing the bus was becoming a huge possibility at this point. I eventually told him that I’d need to start walking and that I’d gladly walk with him if he caught up to me. I left the hostel and began walking as fast as I could. My Apple watch says that I began walking at 12:41 P.M. This was the first time that I’d really thought about how important having good shoes was. Shin splints would have been my demise and I normally get them when I have to speed walk for long periods of time, but the shoes I had bought right before the trip did not disappoint.

The walk was still really enjoyable and I ended up making it in just over 2 hours. I managed to shave off 1 hour. I probably would have gotten there even faster, but I had to walk off the trail a few times to pee in the bushes which actually added on quite a bit of time. I didn’t see the Taiwanese guy at any point and I felt so bad. I looked for him right before the buses left and he was nowhere in sight. Poor soul.

The walk results and exact amount of time that it took to walk back

The bus drivers had told us that they’d be leaving at 3 on the dot, but they were trying to leave right when I arrived at about 2:45 P.M. I honestly don’t know if anybody got left behind as a result of this. I found my friend again and we boarded the bus. She told me that she had gotten there only 5-10 minutes earlier, so it turns out that I had walked so fast that I had almost caught up to her despite that fact the she had left an hour earlier. People always tell me that I walk fast… Well, this was the first time that I actually believed it.

The ride back

The ride back felt even longer than the ride in. For starters, the buses all stopped randomly for half an hour and nobody told us why. We soon learned that the bridge had broken and that they had fixed it with flimsy wooden planks. Nobody on the bus liked the sound of that, but there was nothing we could do and the bus ended up making it over.

The ride back was also significantly scarier than the ride in. I remember that the bus was driving on one of the mountain roads when we stopped all of a sudden at a corner. A huge tourist bus was coming the opposite way. The road could only safely fit one car in most areas, so I was confused. Our bus driver began reversing. My adrenaline began pumping as I watched how close our wheels were to the edge of the cliff and certain death. After reversing a bit, our driver moved over to the edge a bit more to let the other bus pass. There was a deep hole in the road about a half a meter before the edge of the cliff and the bus’s wheel went into it and I felt the whole bus tilt to the side a bit. My first thought was that we’d gone a bit too far and that we were falling over the edge. I remember thinking “Welp, it was a nice run”, but luckily it wasn’t the actual edge. My senses were heightened and I was wide awake after this. It was very humbling because there were tons of small memorials all over the road to pay respect to the people who died driving these roads.

The first stop

The stops on the way back were different. We stopped at places the actually sold proper restaurant food, but I couldn’t find anything due to my dietary restrictions. I didn’t see any vegan options either, so bring snacks if you end up taking this same route and are vegan. There were vegetarian options though!

I ended up just buying more dried corn and chips to trick my stomach into thinking it had been satisfied. It somehow worked. At some point my friend ran up to me and yelled “You’ll never guess who I found!” I had absolutely no idea who it could have been when suddenly, the Taiwanese guy emerged! I couldn’t believe it! I thought I was seeing a ghost. He had somehow also caught the bus! To this day, I honestly don’t understand how, but he somehow did! He insisted that he’d just walked really fast and somehow made it. I was shocked because as I mentioned earlier, I didn’t see him at all on the trail.

The bus drivers informed us that this would be our last stop until Cuzco. I’m assuming that this was probably due to the time we lost waiting for the workers to fix the bridge.

**If your taking this route, please make sure that you’re prepared for a lot of things to NOT go as planned. I wished I’d been more prepared going into this! Bring toilet paper, coins, snacks and water!**

Real life Mario cart!

The last leg dragged on. It felt like it was taking days and to make matters worse, the bus drivers seemed to have started playing Mario cart with each other and kept trying to pass each other by going into the oncoming traffic lane after we’d gotten off the mountain roads and onto regular roads. It was scary at first, but I personally got used to it later on. At that point nothing could really surprise me… The bus drivers throwing red shells at each other wouldn’t even have surprised me at that point either!

The last 2 hours were rough because the fatigue from all the hiking had finally caught up to me at this point, so I was in some weird half asleep/half awake limbo and the bus driver played the same song on repeat for the last 1-2 hours. I honestly started to believe that we’d actually reversed off that cliff and died and that this was what hell was like. We eventually made it back to Cuzco. Every one was exhausted, but we’d done it! We’d made it to and from Machu Picchu!

Conclusion

Overall it was a great trip! I would totally do it again! It was definitely one of the more expensive excursions that I went on during my time in Peru, but it was totally worth it. I think we spent 207 Soles altogether for the buses and the entry ticket to Machu Picchu. Thats about 62$ USD at the time of this blog’s posting. I don’t remember how much the hostel costed, but I think it was between 50-60 Soles which is about 15-17 dollars US at the time of this posting.

Be sure to bring plenty of snacks, water and toilet paper if you choose to follow this route and as always, make sure you have coins because you’ll have to pay every time you use the bathroom and I found that they didn’t normally have change. People not having change seemed to be a recurring thing in that entire area of Peru, so be prepared for that and bring small notes. I also noticed that nobody seemed to have debit or credit card machines outside of Aguascalientes, so expect to not be able to pay by card. English was also pretty scarce at the stops, so I’d also recommend learning at least a little bit of Spanish out of respect for the locals.

My last recommendation is that you bring an extra set of clothes and deodorant for after Machu Picchu because you will sweat… a lot… trust me! I was literally dripping sweat!.

I would honestly recommend this excursion to everyone! It was honestly magical and costed under 100$ USD! Just make sure you’re prepared!

I know this was a very long one and I thank you if you’ve stuck around to the end!  If you enjoyed this style of blog post, please let me know in the comments and I’ll gladly write about my other excursions in Peru! 

Thanks for reading and I hope this blog post will be able to help at least one person out!

This picture was taken in Machu Picchu, Peru

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