WanderingTrader

Visiting Machu Picchu is Overrated

I was to visit Machu Picchu for the first time, it’s an iconic tourist attraction in South America that everyone should see. It seems as if everyone around the world knows about Machu Picchu and the distinctive image of it is plastered everywhere. If you don’t believe me click here and you will see a slew of Google images that have the same exact image over, and over, and over.

It 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 a piece. At Wal-Mart in the United States you can buy them for less than $75 cents.

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 witness it 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 thinking frenzy. The train ride there is interesting, Cusco was more interesting than I thought it would be, and the city of Machu Picchu while small and simple, has a romantic charm to it.

Machu Picchu Peru

Machu Picchu Peru

I chose not to hike all the way to Machu Picchu because I am so short on time. If you read this blog on a regular basis you would know that I day trade emini futures and I didn’t have time to spend days walking in a trail to see Machu Picchu.

I didn’t even spend the hour to walk up the dirt road to see it, instead I opted for the bus ride that grace my laziness, I arrived in 20 min. I was very impressed with the efficiency in Peru from the second I arrived all the way down to visiting and seeing Machu Pacchu.

As I walked through the gates I was immediately greeted by the tour guide mafia, not to be confused with the taxi mafia, these are the guys who want to give you a tour throughout the entire Machu Picchu. They always open the pickup line with, hello my friend, which leads to my response, what’s up Pablo.

This cascades into a conversation of why a gringo speaks such good Spanish which leads me to respectively excusing myself.

Poses at Machu Picchu

The Wandering Trader Pose at Macchu Picchu

Instead of agreeing with the tour guide mafia, I did what any travel would do I tagged along behind another group. When someone approaches me aggressively trying to sell me something, whether a tour or a taxi, I always feel like I’m getting hustled or 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 and once I laid my eyes for first time on Machu Picchu I was speechless.

I had questions to which no one had the exact answer to. I asked many questions and 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 question as I knew that they watered it regularly to keep the tourists happy.

I meandered along capturing my memories of Peru with my typical Wandering Trader pointing picture and I eventually made my way to the Inca Bridge.  The bridge was sealed off, for good reason, with what seemed like a few pieces of wood tied together. Oh Peru, there are you were!

Inside Machu Picchu

Inside Machu Picchu

I did what any traveler would do, I move the barrier aside and I promptly proclaimed myself king of the bridge after I crossed it. Now I am one of the only people to be able to say that I not only visited Machu Picchu, but I was one of the few people who actually crossed the Inca bridge.

The terrifying, I would never cross again, I know now why they have barriers Inca Bridge.

After a frightening experience crossing the bridge that I had no business doing I quickly crossed the bridge back, more carefully this time, and I headed back towards Machu Picchu  to tour the complex.  The walk back wasn’t as fun since I had the suspicion that I would get stop at a random corner because I crossed the homemade wooden barrier.

I entered the complex and started to explore with my video camera on record! 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!

Peru Countryside

Peru Countryside From Walk To the Inca Bridge

We approached a small open aired corridor and he had a few people stare into squared crevices 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, our historians didn’t get the message.

It’s one of many small things that makes Machu Picchu so interesting.   One of the cool things that I was able to see where the llamas that were grazing in the field in the middle of the complex, like seeing Machu Picchu wasn’t enough right? I was able to get great shots of a baby alpaca following around 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 deep in thought were 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 the cool things that I have done but the point is:

Machu Picchu is beyond unbelievable.

Now that Peru is past its marred past its time for you to get to know Peru on a personal level.  I am even considering some overseas investing opportunities there.  Make sure to spend some time in Lima before prices keep rising, it is still a very affordable destination.

32 Comments

  1. Yes, Machu Piccu is incredible. I’m just sorry to hear about all the “mafias” there now. I was lucky enough to visit back in 1975, before it was full of tourists. I was travelling with a youth orchestra an we were the only ones there for the entire day. I somehow missed our bus back to Cuzco and was offered a ride by a resident who didn’t ask for a cent in return.

  2. Hi Marcello,

    Often when somewhere is drummed up to be the biggest/best it’s a let down. Sounds as if Machu Picchu delivered in the end though.

    I have yet to visit – haven’t been anywhere in South America yet – saving it for a rainy day:)

    I’d love to see those mum and baby llama shots.

  3. Hey
    Looking forward to getting there myself in a few months — so it was good to be inspired by your pictures. But I am a bit confused by the title of your post ´´Visiting Machu Picchu is Overrated´´ ?????
    If you enjoyed it … then why ´´overrated´´ ?? (Or am I missing a joke 🙂

  4. Ah-hah! your title for this blog got me! Macchu is lingering on my list of places to see – Ankor Wat, Petra and the Pyramids of Egypt have since been visited and crossed off! But! when I saw your headline, I thought, “No! Say it isn’t so! and you did!” So glad to hear it’s worth the trek! Meantime, just found you via Twitter. We live in Tuscany right now, and I’m looking forward to getting to know a fellow lover of travel better. See you around the globe! Ciao, Gina!

    1. It was definitely amazing Gina.. I would highly recommend a visit. I didn’t do the hike because I was short on time but I think it would have been amazing either way

  5. That sounds amazing! I had heard a rumor that Peru was planning on shutting off Machu Pichu to visitors for preservation reasons, but surely that’s false? I assume the amount of tourism it generates will keep it open for business long enough for me to swing by.

    Good post!

    1. It might have been for certain parts of Machu Picchu or they may limit the amount of visitors per day… I highly doubt they will be cutting it off completely.. Thanks for the comment Heaton!

  6. I did the hike to Machu Picchu some 20 years ago. Met up with some other travellers in Cuzco and sneaked out “under the cover of darkness” to avoid all the guide mafia even back then.
    Peru was very troubled back then, and no-one in their right mind went there.
    Camping out in all the ruins along the way for 3 nights, bathing in the old ruins in which the plumbing still works (OK, it is a series of stone aqua ducts, still does the job). Final night in Huana Picchu, waking to see Machu Picchu shrouded in mist from your tent door (with icicles hanging from),before the final descent, sends a mysterious chill down your spine that only defy’s the ambient temperature.
    Getting into the main area before the regular tourists were even out of bed, enhanced the memories of one the the greatest highlights of my travelling experiences.
    I loved Machu Picchu, and you missed out on so much by zipping through there so quickly – slow down brother, and enjoy the scenery 🙂

    1. I both agree and disagree Greg… the ruins are great but I was after just seeing the main ruins. Many times the way I travel is much slower but I didn’t have much interest in getting to know Peru because outside of Machu Picchu and the worlds deepest canyon its really not that unique, you can find much of what you see in Peru in other places around the world like Bolivia. Do agree with you thought that I should slow down a bit.. thanks for the comment Greg

  7. Yes, so pumped to go here. I have never heard anyone play down its awesomeness. Some great photo opportunities to be had there for sure, i may have to seek some from places that aren’t the standard see posted all over the net type. Cheers

  8. The title is incorrect! Overrated means people believe it’s worth more than it actually is. I went into this post thinking you were going to say it wasn’t that great, but you said the opposite!
    Overrated: to have a higher opinion of (someone or something) than is deserved. To praise too highly. Thus Macchu Picchu Is NOT overrated, it’s correctly well-regarded.

  9. Marcello,
    Did you buy your train ticket from Cuzco to Machu in Peru or online before your arrived in SA? I am attempting to buy my train ticket online, but they keep wanting me to send a photo of my passport along with a photo of my cc and a signed form authorizing the ticket purchase. Very confused. Sounds like a recipe for identity theft? Ive read that if you don’t buy your train tickets far in advance you may not get on one as they fill up? Please advise, thanks! Oh, traveling to Peru Mid Oct.

  10. Thanks for the great article. My boyfriend and I are going in Jan. 2015. We are trying to go as cheap as we can. we will be in peru for 1 month. can you tell us the cheapest and safest way to get to Machu-picchu from cussco? it looks like train is spendy. we will be doing the gringo trail from Lima to MP so any advice would be great.

  11. Bullshit. It is not overrated. I study archeology and native american history so for me it was a dream trip and I wanna go soon again.

  12. Sounds like am amazing trip. I’m planning on going next summer. Can I pick your brain for details that might not be in the travel guides?

  13. Its a must visit. Amazing place and lots of things to do around Urubamba and the little towns. Its not just Macchu Picchu. Well then Im a peruvian livving abroad. 🙂

  14. Haha… you know..they closed the Inca bridge because there was a casualty 😉 wonder if you had gone, had u known that before.
    As for not doing the Inca trail…i can sorta agree. It’s crowded, pricy and takes longer than it should. But it is still one of the most beautiful hikes in the world. But still glad to read a difference perspective!

    1. Thanks Susan. I speak nine languages and English is not my native tongue, therefore I sometimes get confused with colloquial phrases when it comes to putting pen to paper. I really appreciate feedback and comments on improvements in grammar from readers like yourself. Happy travels

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