Where Do I start?
I had two really bad nights before I got to Aguas Calientes. I spent one night in Cuzco before I went to Aguas Calientes. That night I had a fever, body aches, diarrhea and insomnia. It was quite possibly the worst night I have had yet. On top of trying to go to sleep I was hot and cold constantly. I was in a room with other 6 people. I’m pretty sure they heard me tossing around the entire night. My breath was so labored. It was awful. I maybe got 2 hours of sleep. I thought I lost my medications in Starbucks that night. I had Ibuprofen and Zolpidem, I would have taken. Turns out after struggling the 9 hours of trying to sleep I found that I didn’t lose my meds. After going to the bathroom 3 times that night and constantly drinking water. I took an Ibuprofen and felt absolutely better. Having an uncontrolled fever is terrible. I maybe took another hour of rest then I got up to start my day.
I had to travel to Machu Picchu that day. A 2 hour bus ride and a 2 hour train ride. It actually took about 1 hour and 35 minutes for the bus ride from Cuzco to Ollantaytambo. Then about an 1 hour and 40 minutes on a train to Aguas Caliente. I found my hostel and I got a private room to recover. I spent that day recovering the sleep I lost the previous night. It was well worth the rest.
I spent Saturday just wondering around and resting in my room. I still had diarrhea but I was feeling better. I was getting better with using medications. I took Biscuth for my upset stomach after I ate. I got my Machu Picchu/ WaynaPicchu ticket printed for Monday. I took a walk to the Machu Picchu Museum and Botanical Garden. I walked back and rested in my room for the rest of the day.
On Sunday I bought a ticket just for Machu Picchu and I hiked up from town. The hike to the stairs which was fairly easy since I reconed it the day before. The hike from the bottom of the stairs to the entrance took roughly 90 minutes with a break. Before you cross the bridge to get to the stairs there will be a guard checking for your Machu Picchu ticket and Passport. There was an American who didn’t print it out and didn’t buy a bus ticket. He tried to get pass the guard. The guard caught up with him when he tried to bypass him. I never saw that American again!
I spent the next few hours enjoying the views. It was truly breathtaking. There was some rain and clouds so the view kept changing. They say that it is difficult to predict the weather at Machu Picchu. I saw the weather first hand there. It changed constantly from a beautiful picture that you want capture into grey clouds that you can’t see pass 100 meters. Elusive beauty at its best.
I sweat profusely when exercise especially for this hike up. So I was constantly cold while I was walking around Machu Picchu. If you hike up carry an extra dry shirt to change later. My misery made me leave quicker. I hiked back down because I didn’t want to pay for the bus. I didn’t get a guide because I was cold. If you wish to know more about the history of Machu Picchu, you can see the Wikipedia page here. I used the bus the next day.
I decided to use the bus since I was going to hike Waynapicchu. There are only two times to hike 0700-0800 and 1000-1100. I bought my ticket two weeks in advance because of advice I took from my Peruvian friends. Even now when I check Huayna Picchu first group tickets its completely sold out for March. There are only 400 people allowed each day. The only drag was that it was cloudy when I got to the top. It was crowded too which distracted the celebration. I’m one that dislikes crowds. So I left to beat the exiting crowd. Yes, I could have stayed and waited for the clouds to move for the picture perfect moment. It was raining, cold, I was full of sweat and too many people. Misery makes me leave.
I don’t claim to be an expert at this trip. I just know what I did well. I bought a ticket to Machu Picchu/ Huayna Picchu in advance. I stayed in Aguas Caliente for four days. I think that was good for my body to acclimate better to the altitude. Plus I used those days to recover from my travel sickness. I brought hiking clothes. I saw some people wearing jeans and sneakers up the mountain. I’m prone to accidents when I’m not prepared so boots and proper clothing helped me out. A change of dry clothes after you hike.
More take aways from this trip. When you’re home, you usually have a support system, your family, friends, familiar healthcare. When you travel alone, you make the decision on what you should you do about your health.