I don’t know how I have been able to do anything with little sleep. I was up by 4am for breakfast and an expresso because I wanted to make it to Machu Picchu by 6am when the entrance opens up. In 2007, Machu Picchu was voted for one of the newest 7 wonders of the world. It is mainly known as the City of the Incas.
We opted out of the 2 hour trek to the entrance and bought a roundtrip bus ticket for $17. The first bus leaves at 5:30a.
I was there by 5:00am to get on the first busThe ride takes about 30 minutes up the mountain to the entrance. The site open up at 6am. Once you are there, use the bathroom beforehand because there are none inside. Make sure you have 1 sole for the bathroom, 3 soles for storage, and I would recommend packing a lunch because the prices are steep.
In order to go back in and out, you have to show your ticket and passport. At 9am, there is an official Machu Picchu ink that you can stamp in your passport. Pretty neat.
Once you go inside the entrance, make sure you make an immediate left because that is where you will find the perfect postcard picture.
I had tickets to hike Huayna Picchu. The mountain is 8,920 ft above sea level and houses were built on this mountain for the high priest.
It was tough going up the steep steps and the altitude made it hard to breathe but it was worth it. It takes about 2 hours roundtrip. They only allow 400 hikers per day so make sure you get your ticket in advance and again have your ticket and passport ready. There are two groups: one between 7-8 and 10-11. Thank goodness we did the first group because it was pretty hot that day.
After the hike and lunch, we stayed around Aguas Caliente. We decided to take the Peru Rail train back to Ollantaytambo (2 1 hour and 40 mins) because we were heading to Bolivia that night and wanted to make sure we were there in time. We didn’t take the train straight to Cusco because of the price difference. Once you are on Ollantaytambo, it’s about a 2 hour minivan ride 10 soles ($3.87) into the main town of Cusco.
My hostel in Cusco was kind enough to hold my backpack. We got back around 8p and had a free shower and bbq meal.
At 9:30p, we took a cab to the bus terminal where we had a 14 hour journey bus ride straight to La Paz, Bolivia. It took 14 hours because we were waiting at the border for a while.
The bus ride was so comfortable. We had seats that reclined almost as if we were laying down on a bed. I haven’t been able to take a good picture of this because everyone is sleeping and the lights are off. We took Tran Salvador bus for 70 soles each ($27.09). I was a bit scared because I wasn’t planning on going to Bolivia; however, decided to last minute. I had met a native Bolivian woman name Yennifer and her husband Tim from South Africa on the bus and when we got to the border, they were kind enough to tell us where to go.
Basically once you arrive, you stand in a long line to exit Peru. Make sure you have this slip that you received when you were entering Peru. It takes a while because everything is done over the phone. I’m not sure how the system works but I think it was fast for Beverly and I because Yennifer’s dad is a well known gentleman in the country. Then you walk across the border and it’s an hour later and the altitude is higher.
While crossing the border, I saw Lake Titicaca – the highest navigable lake in the world
For US citizens, you have to have a visa to enter the country. It was $135 for a visa that lasts 5 years. That took us a while but thankfully we had someone there to speak Spanish for us. It wasn’t that easy. You have to fill out an application, pay, and I don’t know but it seemed like they were very cautious with us. Who knows. Once you are done, you have to go and get copies of your passport of your entrance into Peru and out and give it back to the office. Such a hassle. I think we arrived at 7:30am and was done at 9am.
We finally got back into the bus and a police officer checks to make sure you have the appropriate documentation to enter Bolivia. We were barely driving for a few minutes when we were stopped by the military. We all got off the bus and had to show our passport.
We finally make it to La Paz at 12p and Yennifer’s dad and brother had met us there. Yennifer’s dad drove us to Hotel Gloria where they had exchanged my soles and dollars for Bolivianos. I’m so glad they were able to do that for us because the rate receive wasn’t that bad. I believe 1 dollar is about 7B. At the hotel, we had a traditional Bolivian lunch. It was 30B each ($4.34) for a salad, 2 types of juices “Canahua”, key lime marshmallow, lemongrass tea, 2 types of soup and lunch. Lunch consisted of rice, quinoa patties, and potatoes. It was a great welcoming dish compared to the typical beans and rice we were eating.
Over lunch, I learned that Bolivia has the most different kinds of potatoes in the world. 20,000 to be exact. I also learn that although they have crazy drivers, they have the lowest accident rate.
It was great to meet Tim, Yennifer, the dad, and Eduardo. It eased my tension in staying in Bolivia. They had dropped us off at our hostel and now I am resting up.