The Wasabiies

Machu Picchu – Budget Trip

1One of the most well-known and bucket list place to do in South America is Machu Picchu which is located in Peru. It is the desire place where many backpackers want to be at and enjoy this breath-taking scene.

Here to share a little about how to go to Machu Picchu without breaking too much of your bank account and yet you get the equalized experience.

General information

23231872_10155581555575090_1581236537_nThe nearest city to get to Machu Picchu will be CUSCO which is located in Peru. I flew to Cusco, Peru from Lima, Peru via LC Peru which cost me around 130SGD (1 way). Yes transportation and flight (for long journey) are quite costly, but other expenses are cheap.

I would recommend you to take it slow, and not flying to Cusco straight away. It will be best you can stop at Lima first (which most people did) due to the altitude sickness. Lima is around 1550m above sea level while Cusco is around 3300m above sea level where Machu Picchu will be lower – around 2450m above sea level.

If you rush it towards Cusco, the chances of you getting altitude sickness is high and you will not want this to happen because it will ruin your holiday. Take it slow so your body can adapt the altitude.

Entrance Ticket to Machu Picchu

Machu Picchu is very famous and it get crowded often so I would recommend you to buy the tickets in advance. The peak period of Machu Picchu will be around June to August. Try avoiding raining season which is probably around November to March.

4I went during August and because I was crash on the national day of Peru, so there will be no official ticketing office open for me to purchase the ticket in advance so I bought it online, where the price is much higher than the local ticketing office. It cost 70USD and I just want to secure my spot to enter Machu Picchu. Here is the link for your reference: Machu Picchu Ticket

Because more and more tourist come to visit Machu Picchu, so they have split it into two section : Morning and afternoon and each entrance have a limit number of people per day. You may refer to more information on the link above. So remember to book your ticket as soon as possible to avoid any disappointment.

I would suggest to pick the morning season as it will be less hot and you may have a chance to see the sunrise!

Steps by steps to Machu Picchu

There are 2 ways of getting to Machu Picchu, in a less tired experience but costly or in a budget way but taking a longer way to reach. I choose the budget way and here to share you about my journey.

Cusco – Plaza D Armas will be your first stop. Here you find a lot of money changer and also tour agencies. Spend some time to walk in as many as you can and remember to BARGAIN! They offer a return transportation (in a max 19 pax mini van) to Hidroelectric from Cusco , Plaza D Armas at the best price of 60 Soles (Around 25 SGD return per pax). 

3The minivan depart at 7.30/8AM and estimation arrival time is 230/3PM, the return journey departure time will be at around 3/4PM. The road is very bumpy, I mean VERY! Prepare a scarf to cover your mouth, some dizzy pills, sunglasses, plenty of water and also cocoa leaves (to prevent of altitude sickness). You will need them and the van has no aircon, so you need the window to be open to have some air but the road is very dusty, so get prepare. But you will also get to enjoy the beautiful view of Scared Valley.

Once you reach Hidroelectric, here the real journey begins. Here is where you start your long trekking journey of 2.5 hours (one way – FREE) to the nearest town of Machu Picchu – Aguas Calientes. The walk is very easy, you just follow the train tracks. Just watch out for trains and be safe. There is a lot of travelers, all heading towards the same direction so you won’t be alone. Talk to them. Make friends and you will really enjoy the whole journey.

If you want a faster and comfortable way, you may buy the train tickets which cost around 70USD one way to Aguas Calientes.

Aguas Calientes 

This is the only town near Machu Picchu and because food are send into the town via train so everything here in this town are very expensive. But if you don’t mind spending on food for just one day then is fine, but if you are in tight budget, I suggest you pack your own food to this town.

By the time you arrive to the town, is approximately around 6PM. Spend a night to have a good rest. I stayed at Ecopackers Machu Picchu, 4 bed mix dorm, ensuite. Price range : 52Soles (around 21SGD) per person per night (including breakfast).

Machu Picchu

5Get up at around 4AM, and have a full breakfast. Start your journey latest by 445AM. Bring a headlight with you and just walk to the entrance of Machu Picchu. The gate open at around 6AM, the later you get there, the longer the queue will be (there is already a lot of people at the line while we arrive around 515AM) so be there as early as you can.

Remember to print out your entrance ticket and also show them your passport at the entrance. Then the tiring journey begins. Hike up to Machu Picchu is easy but tiring because it is ALL STAIRS and the journey will take you for about 1.40 hours , one way. If you want to be able to catch the sunset on time, the best way is to go via bus from the central of Aguas Calientes which may cost you 39 SOLES (approximate 16SGD), one way.

 

Cost Breakdown:
Comfortable way but expensive:
Train ticket return approximate: 140 USD / 191 SGD
Accommodation: Basic dorm stay (budget) : 21 SGD
(Of course if you choose luxury stay, the price is higher, price are all charged in either SOL or USD)
Return bus fare from Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu: 33 SGD
Entrance ticket for single Machu Picchu basic: 70 USD / 92 SGD
(If book through online)
Total: 337 SGD

Hard and longer journey but budget and won’t break your bank account:
Bus return approximate: 60 SOL / 25 SGD – Cusco – Hidroelectric
Hidroelectric – Aguas Calientes: FREE
Accommodation: Basic dorm stay (budget) : 21 SGD
Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu Hike: FREE
Entrance ticket for single Machu Picchu basic: 70 USD / 92 SGD
(If book through online)
Total: 138 SGD

Good reading link about Machu Picchu: Machu Picchu on a Budget

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