Machu Picchu, Peru (map)
Since we didn’t hike the Inca Trail or one of the other multi-day treks that would have had us beating the crowds to Machu Picchu we intended to use the tip we learned from our traveling friend Katie in Huaraz. She told us that if we wanted to beat the crowds we needed to get started early; early enough to beat the first shuttle bus in, 4:30am early.
Before starting our around the world trip we wrote down our short list of world must see’s and Machu Picchu was near the top. I guess the excitement was just too much for me, I was up at 12:30am with a case of travelers tummy. EmSue had been recovering from her recent bout just a few days before and now we were on the verge of checking off a bucket list item and I was in the process of sabotaging it all by ridding my body of all water weight.
If this was a typical day hike we would have just rescheduled, but with the popularity of Machu Picchu being what it is and Peru’s largest tourist attraction they have learned how to monopolize off of it. Unlike a National Park in the states the entry fee is $55 a day and you can’t reschedule your pre-purchased ticket. Plus we already had paid for our nonrefundable $60 return train ticket to Cusco in the afternoon. To put it into perspective of our RTW trip the daily budget for both of us is $100 a day, so we were not only looking forward to this day for it’s highlights we were literally banking on it!
We caught the 8:30 tourist bus up to the park entrance, well behind the 100’s of other tourist who had already been entering for the past 2:30 hours. Oops 🙂