Aguas Caliantes & Machu Picchu, Peru: February 19-20, 2014

After our two days in the Sacred Valley, we took the Peru Rail train from Ollantaytambo to Aguas Caliantes. Aguas Caliantes is the town below Machu Picchu and literally means “hot waters.”

The ride on the train was along the Urubamba River – one of the rivers leading to the Amazon. The river itself is kindaaaa brown but the scenery is gorgeous. The train was also really nice and clean.

River

Since we traveled in February, the Inca Trail (the 3-4 day trek to Machu Picchu) is closed due to maintenance and the rainy season. We honestly did not know this when we booked the trip and this was our intention – just the more reason to come back and do the trek.

Anyways, after arriving in Aguas Caliantes we walked along the Urabamba River for a few hours (about 7km in total). We arrived at Mandor Gardens and walked through the gorgeous tropical vegetation.

Walk to Gardens

Amy Les Jungle

We saw plenty of flowers (orchids especially), beautiful butterflies and lots of snails and caterpillars.

Caterpillar

Butterflies

There were also banana trees!

Banana Tree

We saw two wonderful waterfalls…

Small Waterfall

Large Waterfall

…which I seriously wanted to jump in because it got pretty hot mid-day. Like really hot. Sweaty and smelly status. So we thought: what better way to clean up than in a hot spring? Well that didn’t happen. We went. We saw. We passed. Everything can’t be amazing right? No worries though, we needed to rest because our alarm was set for 3:50am.

Now onto the day we were waiting for. Machu Picchu. Old mountain. The lost city of the Incas. The place that you’ve seen lots of pictures of. GO. THERE. It’s amazing. Okay let me back up a little.

The original plan was to take the bus up to Machu Picchu from Aguas Caliantes (a 20 minute ride) but I had heard about a trail that you can walk. So I convinced Lesley (okay forced her) to walk it. Thankfully Jorge was coming with us. So we woke up at 3:50, got our gear on (hiking boots, rain gear) and ate some breakfast. We left a bit after 5am and began walking out of town. In the dark. And the rain. It was really dark but by the time we crossed the bridge to begin our trek up, it got a bit lighter. Oh but it was still raining.

Soooo the trek up. It was hard. But so worth it. The altitude (2,100 meters above sea level), the rain (oh did I mention that, I kid), the steepness and the mental/physical fatigue made it a very challenging trek. Lesley wanted to kill me the entire time. She doubted herself but kept going. I am so proud that she did it. So proud.

Amy Les Walk to MP

We were a little wet by the end. Okay soaked. The whole walk was about 5km (seems like nothing right?) but 400 meters up, up, up. It took as an hour and a half and we were going at a good pace. We both felt so fulfilled and accomplished once we completed the trek up. Because really, it was so worth it.

MP3

Kind of a nice view. The first few hours we were really cold and it continued to rain. We were drenched (like our clothes underneath our rain gear were sopping wet) and I honestly found it hard to concentrate on what our tour guide was saying. I guess that’s why they call it rainy season. Even still, I learned a lot about this mystical ancient city – though so much is still unknown (the Incans did not leave much to learn from).

MP1

MP2

MP4

But then the skies cleared, which was amazing. We stayed longer exploring on our own and having quite the photo shoot. I kid you not – every spot we stopped at the photo opportunity was better.

AmyLesMP1

AmyLesMP3

AmyLesMP2

Machu Picchu is amazing. I feel so lucky to have been there last week, especially with my best friend.

I wish I could put each of you on a plane to Peru right now. Or let’s all save up and do the Inca Trail next year. Who’s in?! Actually, I think I want to save up to climb Mount Kilimanjaro. Oh the places to go and things to do!

Happy Friday friends, I promise to get back to the food, fitness and all that good stuff soon. Have a fabulous weekend :)

 

Questions of the day…

What is on your travel bucket list? 

What are you up to this weekend?!

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27 thoughts on “Aguas Caliantes & Machu Picchu, Peru: February 19-20, 2014

  1. Hi Amy!. Ohhh,yes, did you hike from Hot Springs to Machu Pichu !!, yessss, its really really worth it. In my case, as you know, I travelled around Peru this summer 2013 and i hiked de Inka Trail. If you need information about budget, experiences, organization…dont hesitate to ask, ok?. My inka trail budget was around 250/300 dollars (400 euros). And it is worth, more than visit Machu Pichu. Getting at the Inti Punku (sun gate) after 4 days is undescriptible.
    We booked one night in Aguas Caliente and the next morning we hiked up to Machu Pichu and after that we hiked the “Wayna Pichu” :) (Im obsessed with hiking and mountains, in fact, this next november 2014m Ill hike the “annapurnas circuit” in Nepal…) but the views from that arent worth it. Better from Sun Gate.

    This weekend in MAdrid Ill visit a traditional market and I think Ill buy some spanish cheese and a home made pastry.
    Hope youll have a happy and active weekend.

  2. Oh wow, gooood job on the hike!!! Amazing!! And it is such a big wish for me to climb Kili Manjaro – whenever you go, let me know, I wanna join you!!
    The pics are so beautiful, definitely makes me want to visit Peru!

  3. All those pictures are just so incredibly beautiful!! I love the butterflies, banana trees, waterfalls even the caterpillars which in person may give me the heeby jeebies ;) Well done to both of you for completing the hike as that view was well worth it. It looks incredible and definitely makes me want to go.

    I have A LOT of places on my bucket list: Holland (since mum’s dutch), Egypt, Mexico, Canada ;) , Maldives, Vietnam, Spain, New York and the list goes on and on.

    This weekend I’m catching up with my bestie for brunch tomorrow and have some girlfriends coming over tomorrow night for a movie night. I hope you have a nice weekend lady <3

  4. Oh my god, that is so beautiful! Machu Picchu is definitely on my travel bucket list, but my list is getting huge…my mom’s a travel agent, so it’s pretty ingrained in me ;-) It includes: New Orleans, California (I know, it’s terrible that I’ve never been), PEI, Fiji, Brazil, France, Spain, Switzerland, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, Peru, Scotland….and it just keeps going from there.
    Have a lovely weekend lady!

  5. Oh my gosh it looks beautiful and I can relate to this SO much. When I was in Puerto Rico last year with Miguel we decided to hike up a mountain and about 1/4 of the way it just started to downpour and it was freezing and we were basically climbing up a mudslide. At least you were able to see the beautiful Machu Picchu at the top–we saw fog lol so disappointing.

  6. What an awesome adventure you two had!!!!! Way to trek it out!!! I love this. Your pictures are wonderful and I will have to watch your videos tonight at home! Love it. So glad you had that experience.

  7. Trekking through the jungle looks amazing! I love all the foliage and I love that cluster of butterflies. Machu Picchu looks absolutely breathtaking! I imagine the pictures don’t even do it justice. So beautiful!

  8. YES I’M IN!! I can’t believe how amazing Machu Picchu looks. What a destination. I had never imagined Peru being a place to travel to but you have changed my mind. I’ve always wanted to go to Greece and the BF and I are planning a trip this summer..so excited. Ps… I’m so proud of Lesley too. I know how much work that must have been walking all that distance, uphill no less!! Great job you two! :)

  9. OMG. Were you kidding about saving up for the Inca Trail? Because literally when you said it was closed I was like “oh good! now we can go back together!” So… if you weren’t kidding I am totally in (as long as John can come!). My older brother actually lives in Santiago, Chile and I’ve been meaning to visit, so maybe I could make it all one trip? Just sayin’ ;)

  10. Oh my gosh, that picture of you and Leslie in front of the ruins is GORGEOUS!!! It looks like it could have come out of a magazine! I’m also laughing at how many times in these recaps you told us about how smelly you two were. I think smelly and sweaty and soaked with rain is the only way to take a trip like this. That way you know you got everything you could out of it!

  11. Ok I seriously didn’t even realize you were back from your trip!

    For some reason I can’t add your blog to my reader (I use my reader from my old blogger account) so I just have to check your blog by typing in your blog address everyday. Except I haven’t been doing it recently because I knew you were away… now I’m way behind!

    Anyway, it looks like you had a fabulous trip! Those hikes look gorgeous (even if they were sometimes a bit wet :P). I would love to see Machu Picchu one day!

    1. Haha no worries Chels :) sorry it won’t work on your reader! I’m glad to be back but of course missing the adventure. Let’s hang out soon

  12. Fantastic pictures! I’m planning a trip to Peru in August, and I remembered your blogs. I noticed you wore hiking boots on your trip. Do you recommend purchasing those for the trip> I also noticed you wore leggings quite a bit. What kind did you wear? Packing is so challenging, so thanks for any advice :)

    1. Hi Abbie, I am so excited that you are going to Peru! It is an amazing place. I definitely recommend purchasing hiking boots if you plan on doing a lot of walking through the Andes, walking through ruins and especially if you plan on hiking up to Machu Picchu. Look for a breathable pair with good support/traction on the bottom. Most of my leggings are from Lululemon – yes, expensive but to me worth it because they last. I also brought two under armour leggings for cooler days. I would suggest packing lots of layers and comfortable clothing. It should be hot in August but the temperature might drop at night. I brought two rain jackets and re-wore a lot of things because I didn’t check bags. I also brought a lot of snacks although the food is delicious. Let me know if you have any other questions :)

  13. Hey Amy!

    I’m currently living in Peru for the summer and I’m headed to Machu Picchu next week…so excited! I wanted to ask you about your hike to MP. Did you hike Wayna Picchu, the taller mountain that they only let a couple hundred per day climb? I wasn’t able to get tickets for the Wayna Picchu entrance and I’m so bummed. The pictures with you and your sister on the overlook, is that the regular entrance of MP or are those pictures taken from Wayna Picchu??

    Thanks so much!
    Katie

    1. Hi Katie! How exciting – you will love it! No we didn’t get to hike Wayna Picchu – they don’t allow it during rainy season (when we went). So all of our pics are on Machu :)

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