EXPLORING MACHU PICCHU ON MAY 2006
It is the 7th time we visit Machu Picchu and this time I visited this amazing ruins and I felt really exited, each time we visit it is quite different so on this opportunity I went to Machu Picchu with my fiancé, it was his first time.
We visited on May and I will let you know from May to October the mornings are warm with brilliant sunshine, though it can get quite cool in the shade. At night temperatures can drop to 10 °C.
Dear travelers I would like to let you know some ideas and data in case you are interested on coming and visiting Machu picchu, first of all it is suggestable plan at least a two-day visit to Machu Picchu, staying either at the hotel near the entrance to the ruins the town of Aguas Calientes, 1 km (½ mi) from the ruins. If you have only time for a day trip you'll have just a few hours at Machu Picchu, so bring a lunch with you ; if you line up in the crowded cafeteria you'll have even less time, as you must leave to catch the bus back down to Aguas Calientes and the train back to Cusco. On the other hand, if you stay overnight you'll be able to wander the ruins after most tourists have gone. You'll also have time for a soak in the thermal baths in Aguas Calientes.
If you're a day-tripper, follow the crowd out of the rail station about a block away to the Consettur Machupicchu shuttle buses, which ferry you uphill to the ruins, a journey of about 20 minutes. Buy your S/32 round-trip ticket at a booth next to the line of buses before boarding. If you have the time and luxury of staying overnight, you'll first check in to your lodging and can come back later to buy a bus ticket. Buses leave Aguas Calientes for the ruins beginning at 6:30 AM and continue more or less hourly, with a big push in mid-morning as the trains begin to arrive from Cusco. The last bus up leaves about 1 PM. Buses start coming back down about 11:30 AM, with a last departure at 5:30. If you stay in Aguas Calientes overnight, you'll also have time to buy your admission ticket to Machu Picchu itself at the Instituto Nacional de Cultura (Av. Pachacutec s/n, open daily 6-12 and 1-5) in town just off the Plaza de Armas, thus avoiding the long high-season lines at the ticket booth at the ruins' entrance.
The illusion of being high above the valley floor makes you forget that Machu Picchu sits 2,490 meters (8,170 feet) above sea level, a much lower altitude than Cusco. This is semitropical highland forest. It gets warm here, and the ruins have little shade. Sunscreen, a hat, and water are musts. Officially, no food or drink are permitted within the ruins, but you can be unobtrusive with a bottle of water. Large packs must be left at the entrance. There are few signs inside to explain what you're seeing; booklets and maps are for sale at the entrance.
If you take the 2 Days tour in Machu Picchu I suggest you to do The Huayna Picchu trail, which follows an ancient Inca path, leads up the sugarloaf hill in front of Machu Picchu for an exhilarating, if challenging, trek. Climbers must register at the entrance to the path behind La Roca Sagrada (the Sacred Rock), where locals often pray.
At the top and scattered along the way are Inca ruins and the Temple of the Moon. The walk up and back takes at least two hours -- more if you stay on the summit to enjoy the sun and drink in the marvelous view of Machu Picchu -- and is only for the sure-footed. Bring insect repellent; the gnats can be ferocious.
Far below the ruins sits the slightly ramshackle, but thoroughly pleasant town of Aguas Calientes, sometimes called Machu Picchu Pueblo. But for the grace of Hiram Bingham, Aguas Calientes would be just another remote, forgotten crossroads. But 1911, and the tourist boom decades later forever changed the community. There are but two major streets -- Avenida Pachacutec leads uphill from the Plaza de Armas, and Avenida Imperio de Los Incas isn't a street at all, but the railroad tracks; there's no vehicular traffic on the former except the buses that ferry tourists to the ruins. You'll have little sense of Aguas Calientes if you do the standard day trip from Cusco: train station, bus, ruins, bus, and train station. But the town pulses to a very lively tourist beat with hotels, restaurants, Internet cafés, hot springs, and a surprising amount of activity even after the last afternoon train has returned to Cusco.
Aguas Calientes takes its name from the thermal springs, the Aguas Termales, that sit above town. Don't expect facilities and conditions to rival those at Baden Baden, but if you aren't too fussy, this can be a refreshing dip at the end of a hot day.
In Aguas Calientes, the small town situated near down Machu Picchu, there are several restaurants and hotels which offer you a varied carte du jour with the most delicious dishes of Cusco and the best of the international food.
I took some pictures I can share with you. I hope you have been informed a little bit about Machu Picchu.