Ever since I had read about the Inca trail and seen beautiful pictures online, I wanted to trek there. So, we decided that our next destination will be Machu Picchu and we are going to do the 4 day trek. However, what happened is a completely different story, but it is worth mentioning what all it took for us to plan the 4 day trek.
My brief itinerary as I had planned:Day 1: Arrive late in Lima. Overnight in Lima.
Day 2: Fly to Cusco. Spend half a day roaming around.
Day 3: Day trip to Sacsayhuman.
Day 4: Leave early in the morning for trek. Trek Day 1.
Day 5: Trek Day 2.
Day 6: Trek Day 3.
Day 7: Trek Day 4. See Machu Picchu. Return to Cusco at night.
Day 8: Fly to Lima. Half day Lima sightseeing. Overnight in Lima.
Day 9: Half day sight seeing. Fly back in the evening.
How many days do I need?
When to go?
Where to fly?
Hiking to Machu Picchu
- Most important thing to do is to book the trek well in advance. The permits sell out four months in advance. For our trek in September first week, we booked our trek in April.
- Train for the trek. It is strenuous trek with a lot of elevation gain. We trained ourselves by training for a half marathon and some hiking. We did mission peak hike twice in a week to get used to elevation gain.
- Spend at least two nights in Cusco. Altitude sickness is real! But after two days we felt absolutely fine. So the two days that everyone asks to spend in Cusco are actually required.
- I had booked our trek with Peru Treks. Even though we did not end up doing the trek, our experience with them was quite good. A couple of my friends had trekked with them and had great things to say about them. I am pretty sure they would have been great.
- The trek companies are very particular about the dollar bills. They shouldn't be old and at times they do not accept certain serial numbers. So keep some extra.
- Look at their website for details on what to pack. Keep snacks, layered clothing, extra socks, rain gear and whatever they say! Sumit also trained hiking with a loaded backpack as we have to carry your own stuff during the trek because porters can only carry a maximum of 20lbs or so.
Taking a train to Machu Picchu
|Made it to Machu Picchu|
- Booked our train tickets using Peru Rail. We departed from Cusco and arrivde in Machu Picchu (Aguas Calientes, closest station to Machu Picchu). There are three categories. Hiram Bingham is the executive class. Vistadome has glass roof and windows and provides excellent views of the journey. The regular one in Expedition. We booked Vistadome.
- Booked our bus tickets from the train station at Machu Picchu (Aguas Calientes) to the main site. They have limited tickets for each day and it makes sense to buy them ahead of time. We went to their ticket office in Cusco and bought our tickets for the next day. Very quick and convenient.
- Bought tickets to the entrance of Machu Picchu. Here is their website. You will have to take a printout of your confirmation.
- Booked a cab to the train station in Cusco. It is about 40 minutes from the main plaza.
What to see/do?
|A customary llama picture at the Inca ruins|
|Cathedral in Plaza de Armas|
|Walking around in Cusco|
Where to stay?
|Cabs in Cusco|
- Use cabs to get around in Cusco, they are dirt cheap and are fun. Some of them are so rickety, that you feel they will fall apart like any moment!
- Cusco has a plenty of restaurants. Lot of vegetarian options too! Very very touristy place. Do try the triple sandwich(avocado, eggs and cheese) at La Bondiet.
- We didn't explore much because of my ill health, but there are a lot of options to paraglide, bike, etc.
What happened to me/Health Services
Low oxygen and less humidity
Where to stay?
What to do/see?
Plaza Mayor(Lima Main Square):
Museum in the convent of San Francisco:
Magic Water Circuit:
|Water fountain tunnel!|
- If you are craving for Indian food, Mantra restaurant is a good choice. Very authentic and delicious indian food. Had to wait for a bit though, but I wouldn't complain. I got Indian food after a week of starving and two days of hospital food!
- Public transport is pretty good in Lima. But we used cabs as they weren't very expensive and we didn't have much time on our hands.
- It is a good idea to check for the hours of operation for the museums and churches as some of them close by 5 pm and are not open 7 days a week.
Other places to visit in Peru
- Lake Titicaca: The highest navigable lake. Overnight trip from Cusco.
- Nazca Lines: Ancient motifs carved in Nazca desert. A little farther away from Cusco.
- Choquequirao: Another set of beautiful ruins close to Cusco. A day trip probably.