This is my belated blog entry about my trip to Macchu Picchu. It was beautiful, breathtaking, impressive, and very much fun. We took the trains in one day and hung out for an overnight before heading up to MP for the day. After MP, we spent a day enjoying the tourist attractions of the town, meaning the hot springs. Also, everything in Aguas Calientes costs 15 soles during the off season.
In Perú, prices are very negotiable, and in Aguas Calientes, the town you stay in to get to MP, everything costs 15 soles. It is the magic number in negotiations. Any meal, hostel room, or trinket that starts out costing more than this can be negotiated down to 15 soles. Perhaps this was because we visited shortly before the beginning of the rainy season, a low point in the tourist season.
The other thing about Aguas Calientes is that meals typically come as 3 course dinners, usually with a drink. This costs 15-25 soles, and is also negotiable. There is usually a soup, entree, and dessert. Otherwise you can, again, have Cuy, but it is pricey. Buying your own snacks and meals in Aguas Calientes is expensive, and
Morning at MP
Very misty, and you can barely see Huayna Picchu
there don't seem to be many shops with more than a few granola bars and "platanos Chinos" in the tourist town.
Our first night we stayed at a dirty, smelly, bug-infested hostel whose name I cannot recall and have not written down anywhere. Better to forget the experience all together! It had running water and beds, but not much else. The morning of our trip up to MP it was overcast and raining. We slept an extra hour and moved to a cleaner hostal owned by a Quechua man name Sara, which means corn in Quechua. His hostal and craft store is called El Mistico, located a few buildings down the street from the gate to the hot springs, and he is a very friendly local artist. More on him later.
We took the bus up to MP before noon, which was good because we were able to get in a tour and a climb up Huayna Picchu before it got really hot. The tour, which was private for the three of us but still cheap because it was in Spanish, was led by Gloria. We saw the main part of Macchu Picchu, but none of the side attractions,
and Gloria pointed out the Classic Photos that we could take once the morning mists cleared. She also explained that MP was a city of education for the Incas, and that their technology was so advanced the city was earthquake proof. Pretty impressive. My favorite part of the tour was when she explained that the Llamas grazing on the terraces were the keepers of Machu Picchu.
I am glad we made it to MP so early, as they only allow a certain number of people to climb Huayna Picchu, and there is a huge area to explore. We were able to see the Guardians tower, the bridge, and chase the herd of llamas until closing time. We took the last bus back to Aguas Calientes, happily exhausted.
The next day we spent soaking in the hot springs, which are not terribly hot but are great for sore legs. We also spent a few hours talking with the owner of El Mistico, Sara (pronounced Sar-rah, and it means corn in Quechua). He told us stories about the mountain spirits, his paintings, and his crazy customers from the past. Being Quechua, Macchu Picchu was not a tourist sight for him,
but a center of significant spiritual power. It was a different perspective, and hearing it from a local made me appreciate that I was able to visit the mountain even more. I understand why the Peruvian government has considered closing MP, because it is an important sight for the people of their country and tourism can be destructive. Then again, I wonder what the people of Aguas Calientes and Cusco would do if they could no longer hawk trinkets and masages con finales alegres and three course meals to tourists?
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