July 22, 2016 | Introducing our wonderful llama friend and Machu Picchu guide.
The best way to get to Machu Picchu involves a delightful train ride through plains, mountains, and rivers in between Cusco and the small town of Aguas Calientes. Though it is largely a tourist stop, we found Aguas Calientes to be charming in its own way, and we were able to walk around many of the streets in the half-day we had before going up the mountain early the next morning. Our favorite spot in town was a delicious French cafe that offered us several great photo ops.
We wanted to get up to Machu Picchu before sunrise, so, we got in line the next morning at 4 AM, a chilly hour in July! Fortunately, we used the time to eat warm cinnamon rolls and drink coffee. It was a cool thing to see hundreds of people lining up in the wee hours of the day.
Shortly after making the 20-minute bus trip up to Machu Picchu, we had an exciting face-to-face encounter with several of the resident llamas, which no doubt added to the majesty of the site. Machu Picchu is one of the few places that lives up to the incredible hype it receives, and we highly recommend making the trek.