Friday, 7 July 2017

2017 05 12-14 La Paz > Cusco > Aguas Calientes

On the 12th I got a flight from Sucre to La Paz. I had a bad stomach the whole day, so I just took it a easy as I could, on the flight I was getting dizzy because of the pain. Once I got to the hotel in La Paz around mid day I bought a two litre bottle of water and had as much water as I could and then went to sleep. The good thing this day was that the other guest who was staying at the hotel in Sucre, we were the only guests at the hotel to start with, was also heading to La Paz on the same flight and to the same hotel as me. So I had someone to travel with that would ask me "how are you feeling?" to which my response would always be "not good".

I had to be in La Paz on the 13th to get my flights to Cusco, the first step on the journey to Machu Picchu. The flight was early morning, from memory I had to leave at about 5am, I was feeling much better but still not sure about my stomach and I didn't have an appetite which I think was actually because of the altitude. It turned out that my flight was delayed, and then delayed even more so by the time I got to the counter it mean't that when I got to Lima I would miss my connecting flight to Cusco. They gave me a food voucher and then said to come back at a certain time to see if they can book me on a direct flight to Cusco. It turned out there was a seat for me and it got me to Cusco 4 hours earlier than the flights I booked and I didn't have to wait a long time in Lima. But it would have been nice to sleep in that morning. There was a risk that if they couldn't put me on another flight that I would have had to stay in La Paz for the night and get another flight in the morning, which might have messed up all my plans for Machu Picchu.

I found Cusco to be noticeably more developed, the hotel I was staying was awesome and I slept well. In the morning I had the train up to Aguas Calientes (Little Machu Picchu), its only function is to provide accommodation and food for tourists going to Machu Picchu. Not many people realise that Machu Picchu is actually lower than Cusco, so you're actually going down hill to get to Aguas Calientes.

About midday in Aguas Calientes I bought the tickets for the bus up to Machu Picchu the following day. At about 6:30pm that night I realised that you actually have to buy a ticket to enter Machu Picchu while you are in Aguas Calientes and also that there is a daily limit. I do remember reading about this in the past but up until this point I was just assuming that there was an entrance fee when you get up there. Anyway, Aguas Calientes is a tiny town so I just went for a walk down to the ticket office and bought two tickets for Machu Picchu for the two days I wanted to go up. They actually limit the number of people who can enter each day to 2500 and when I bought my ticket the count was around 2450, so I just got in. Most people book through an agency or tour company so all this is done for them. It was one of those moments where I feared it could all go wrong.

Here are the photos from the 14th:

This is a hotel up on a cliff face, its called Skylodge. From what I've heard you actually climb the cliff to get up there and then abseil down.

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