I was going to visit Machu Picchu for the first time. It’s an iconic tourist attraction in South America that everyone really should see. It seems as if everyone around the world knows about Machu Picchu and the distinctive image of the site, is plastered everywhere. If you don’t believe me click here and you will see a slew of Google pictures that have the same exact image over, and over, and over again.
My excursion started on a cool day. I walked outside, past the kids playing soccer, and bought a few snickers bars that would cost me roughly $2.00 a piece. In comparison at Wal-Mart in the United States, you can buy them for less than $0.75 cents each.
I knew exactly what I was going to see, but I didn’t realize how indescribable and mysterious Machu Picchu really is. It is nowhere near as overrated as I initially imagined and every time I would turn to view the famous site again, I couldn’t help but say to myself:
Visiting Machu Picchu is incredible.
The sheer magnitude of what the Inca’s built at Machu Picchu, will send your mind into a frenzy of thought. The train ride there is rather interesting. The Inca capital Cusco, was more intriguing than I thought it would be, and the city of Machu Picchu itself while small and simple, had a romantic charm to it.
I chose not to hike all the way to Machu Picchu because I was so short on time. If you read this blog on a regular basis, you know that I day trade emini futures and I didn’t have the time, to spend days walking on a well traveled trail to see Machu Picchu.
I didn’t even spend an hour to walk up the dirt road to see it, instead I opted for the bus ride. This puts my laziness on exhibition rather well, since I arrived in 20 minutes. I was quite impressed with the efficiency in Peru from the second I arrived. This included my endeavor to visit Machu Pacchu.
As I walked through the gates, I was immediately greeted by the tour guide mafia. There are not to be confused with the taxi mafia, the guys who want to give you a tour of the entire Machu Picchu region. They always open with the pickup line saying, hello my friend. This leads to my regular response, what’s up Pablo?
This descends into a conversation of why a gringo speaks such good Spanish, which soon leads me to respectfully excuse myself.
Instead of dealing with the tour guide mafia, I did what any experienced traveler does. I tagged along behind another group.
My experience has led me to back off, when someone approaches me aggressively. Regardless of whether they are trying to sell me something, or take a tour or a taxi. I always feel somehow, like I’m getting hustled or being taken advantage of.
That is not a good feeling, which is why I immediately refuse or walk away
When you feel like you’re getting hustled, you most likely are being hustled. I decided to take the long route since I wanted to see the Inca bridge. Once I laid my eyes for the first time on Machu Picchu, I was totally speechless.
I had questions, to which no one seemed to have the exact answer to. Most of the tour guides spoke in “we think this is like this because” or “we think it is because”. Why is the lawn so green? I quickly retracted that particular question, as I knew that they watered it regularly, simply to keep the tourists happy.
I meandered along the pathway, capturing my memories of Peru with my typical Wandering Trader pointing picture. I eventually made my way to the Inca Bridge. The bridge was sealed off and for good reason. The bridge seem to consist of a few pieces of wood tied together. Oh Peru, here you are!
I did what any adventurous traveler will do, by moving the barrier aside. I then soon proclaimed myself king of the bridge, after I had crossed it. Today, I am one of those travelers that can say, that I not only visited Machu Picchu, but I was one of the few people who actually crossed the Inca bridge.
How terrifying, I would never cross it again, I know now why they have barriers on the Inca Bridge.
After the frightening experience crossing the bridge, that I had really no business doing, I quickly crossed the bridge back. This time more carefully, as I headed back towards Machu Picchu to tour the entire complex. The walk back wasn’t as fun, since I had the suspicion that I would soon get stopped. A result of me crossing the homemade wooden barrier.
I entered the complex and started to explore with my video camera, in the record position! I overheard a conversation and decided to listen in.. “who invented the first telephone”? asked the tour guide. He quickly interrupted by telling us, it was the Incas!
We approached a small open aired corridor and he had a few people stare into squared crevices that were in the wall. I wasn’t sure what to think of it, until I heard the other women who had her face in another crevice say, “I can hear you”! Apparently the Inca’s invented the telephone, but our Western historians apparently didn’t get the message.
It’s one of many small happenings, that makes Machu Picchu so interesting. One of the cool things that I was able to see was the llamas grazing in the field, right in the middle of the complex. Like seeing Machu Picchu by itself wasn’t enough right? I was able to get some excellent shots of a baby alpaca, following behind its mother.
Machu Picchu is one of the most fascinating places that I have been to in South America. The only other times I have been left as deeply in thought, was at the Perito Moreno Glacier in Argentina, the sea turtles in French Guyana, the 2nd Jerusalem in Ethiopia, and when I was walking cheetahs in Zambia. I don’t want to give you a full list of all the cool things that I have done, but the point is:
Machu Picchu is beyond unbelievable.
Now that Peru has shared its marred past with me, it is now time to get to know Peru on a more personal level. I am even considering some overseas investing opportunities there. Travelers should make sure to spend some time in Lima, as prices keep rising. However, it is still a very affordable destination.