This is really the main reason I considered coming to Peru and it did not disappoint.
The hotel – Tambo del Inka – had its own train station and we set out on about a 2 hour ride through the country side with views that were so INCREDIBLE that the photos do not do justice to how massive and beautiful everything appears. The train was really comfy and we had snacks and entertainment on the train. The train cars were surrounded by glass so you could get a full view of everything.
Tambo del Inka is a 5 start Starwood property. This property is a jewel set within this small town. The rooms, facilities, food and service were maybe one of the best I’ve experienced.
I signed up for the Machu Picchu package through the hotel which includes the train ride up the mountain, a guide and lunch at the sanctuary lodge at Machu Picchu. If you stay at this property and book the train with the concierge make sure to ask about seat selection when you purchase the ticket. I sat in the front seat going up and the views were spectacular.
The package was well worth it because everyone from the hotel had their own dedicated tour guide so I got a one on one guide since I was solo. Weather was perfect – no clouds and about 75 degrees so I recommend going in November.
|Scene from the train on the way up|
I would suggest having a guide for your visit to get the full history of this city. The guide will take you through the entire city and provide information on the history and answer any questions you have. The tour could take between 2 – 5 hours depending on how many people you have and how fast you are able to move to each area, and how crowded it may be.
I did not do that super early tour but did arrive by about 10am, in other words not awfully early and it was not very crowded. I mean there were plenty of other folks there but I did not have the feeling of it being over crowded or having to over hear other guides or anything so again, November seemed like a great time to visit. Since my guide was provided via the hotel I am not able to give any recommendations for guide services.
When I was doing my research for the trip and realized that how much was involved in actually getting up to the mountain I almost said…you know what, forget it. I had 2 flights to Lima then one to Cuzco and a taxi drive to Urubamba. Then a train to the top of the mountain followed by a bus. I wondered if it would be worth all the trouble and let me tell you , YES its definitely worth every mile.
It was difficult to digest that I was actually standing in such a unique space experiencing this ancient city on top of a mountain. Simply amazing. I’d just returned from the Great Wall and Forbidden City a month prior to this trip and it was very hard to say which was more amazing….I still can’t decide 100% but maybe give a slight edge to Machu Picchu. See the details of that trip here.
|The Inca Trail starts here and takes about 4 days to reach Machu Picchu by foot. You can hire porters, a cook, guide and helpers for the trek. I am sure this is an adventure but not very easy to do at this elevation.|
Photo’s do not come close to translating the beauty and vastness of this area. The llamas live on the mountain. Inclines are very very steep. There is a lot of activity at the base of the mountain. Lots of vendors, restaurants and hotels.
At the end of the tour I was allowed time on my own so I went back through to areas to take pictures and sat to take it all in. When I was ready to leave the city I headed to the buffet outside the gate as my tour included access. I did not have high expectations but the food was actually very good so you may want to consider eating here before you head down the mountain. There was a large selection and very tasty.