Things To Do In Machu Picchu : The Best of Peru

Here comes the second post under Share Your Stories initiative. This week, I’m fortunate to have Rob Stamm, a professional photographer from NYC to share with us his journey to Peru, Machu Picchu. Yes, it is the UNESCO World Heritage site which is often referred to as “The Lost City of the Incas”. One of the most familiar symbols of the Incan Empire, Machu Picchu is one of the most famous and spectacular sets of ruins in the world. Are you excited as much I do? Read on to discover the beautiful Peru and things to do in Machu Picchu together with Rob.

Rob’s Stories

Most recently, I was lucky enough to gather my belongings and take a 3 week excursion to Peru with my Grandmother and two cousins. We spent the first week in the Amazon Rain Forest, the second week roaming Machu Picchu and other Inca Ruins, then the third week adventuring around Lake Titicaca.

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Why Peru?

This trip was chosen for a very special reason. My Grandmother turned 75 a little less than a year ago. She has always talked about not crossing off “climbing Machu Picchu” from her bucket list. With time flying by and everyone only getting older; my family decided it was time to take action. After little discussion, my 2 cousins and I were officially treating my Grandmother to her dream trip. She lit up when she found out and I think we won the award for best birthday gift ever. She had 6 months to prepare.

When Is The Best Time to Go?

If you want an opportunity to see one of the Seven Wonders of the World the way it looks in classic photographs — your best chance is during the dry season between May and October. Note however, that even during the dry season, morning and afternoons can get rather misty. So it also depends on luck!

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How To Get Acclimated?

Wherever you’re coming from is probably much, much lower than Cusco (11,000 feet) or Machu Picchu (just shy of 8,000 feet). So in order to minimize the unpleasant or even dangerous effects of altitude, which commonly include headache, fatigue, and nausea, try getting up slowly. It is recommended to take the train from Cusco to Machu Picchu Pueblo (colloquially called Aguas Calientes), the town nearest to Machu Picchu. Spend a night or two getting used to the relatively low altitude of Aguas Calientes, at about 6,700 feet, then start your exploration to Machu Picchu, before returning to Cusco.

Although you may want to have a lot of fun by having alcohol, restrain yourself from it during this trip.  Also avoid physical exertion while acclimatizing. Drink as much water or tea as you can stand to help your body slowly adjust to the thinner air.

A Glimpse Into Our Trip

Though the purpose was to see Machu Picchu, we clearly did much more. During our time in the rain forest we went on expeditions deep into the woods, seeing new creatures and critters every day. We even caught and ate Pirañas! The only way in or out of everywhere was by boat, so we were definitely embracing a new lifestyle. Not to mention that we had to sleep inside a mosquito net haha. It was really quiet something!

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After our week in the Amazon, we starting testing our skills with elevation and trained to handle the altitude changes we were about to face. My Grandma handled it like it was nothing, making us the young guys feel like wimps. Soon we had enough practice on various Inca ruin sites that we were comfortable taking on the mission – Machu Picchu. With a big smile on her face and dragging us along, my Grandmother made it to the top! It was a really beautiful moment for all of us, for reasons more than just the view.

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From there we went further up. Up, up, and up… In between, we camped around Lake Titicaca for a handful of days, exploring the lake and the colonies that lived on the water. We were just embracing ourselves in the culture. It was truly a breathtaking place (at some points literally – we were sleeping at around 16,000ft!) to see with my own eyes.

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Watch my video here to find out more about the awesome Peru!

Food & Accommodation

Everywhere we went, we made sure food and water was cleaned before consumption. Though our hotels were always professional, we never ate pre-pealed fruits and always asked for water in a sealed bottle.

Cost

All in all, the trip cost about $6,000 per person. Though it may sound a little pricey, don’t forget that we were there for 3 good weeks. The price also includes airfare and transpiration between different locations within the country, such as domestic flights, buses, taxi’s etc.

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Overall, the trip was once in a lifetime. To be able to experience a new culture and completely new scenarios as a family was pretty darn cool. Everyone was excited to be able to see so many new types of terrain. Meanwhile, we were also excited about getting home to our own beds. I highly recommend adding a trip like this to your list of todo’s!

If you want to find out more about me and what kind of awesome photography I produce, you can visit my biography here.

Final Thoughts From Chloe

Being such an exotic place, Peru is definitely more expensive to visit. However, experience is something you cannot buy. It’s definitely worth your time and money! I’m inspired to visit Machu Picchu, how about you? And I have to thank Rob once again for sharing his amazing journey with us. His support for Share Your Stories initiative has helped to inspire more people to travel longer, better and smarter. 🙂

Have you been to Peru before? Share with us your experience by commenting below. If you are passionate about sharing your travel stories too, visit here to find out how you can contribute to build a better travel community.