There are three train services from Cusco to Aguas Calientes, the town next to Machu Picchu; the backpackers’ special, the Vistadome, and the Hiram Bingham. The premium for the Vistadone is about $50 and definitely worth it. The Hiram Bingham is a luxury train and costs about 3 or 4 times what the Vistadome costs. You also have to take a bus to catch it since it doesn’t come into
If you have the choice, try and sit on the left side of the train going and the right side returning. We quickly realized that this was going to be a very memorable journey with constantly changing scenery. After some good views of
Not a lot is known about the origins of
The lack of information about
However, it was recently determined through more sophisticated DNA analysis that the ratio of men to women was about 50/50. This has put an end to this speculation. However, one thing that is certain is that the Spaniards never discovered
As we wandered around we noticed some new construction taking place. It seems that much of what is there is restored, in part since Hiram Bingham did a lot of damage by trying to burn off all the vegetation that had covered much of the site. We also came across some llamas that have free roam around the property.
We spent much of the day looking around; but we didn't go back the second day as initially anticipated, since Sally has a fear of heights, and many of the better climbs can be quite treacherous coming down. But we saw enough to appreciate the special qualities of the place, and are now keen to learn more about the Incas and their place in history.
One final thing. There is a very nice hotel, the Sanctuary Lodge at the top of the mountain. It’s about $600 a night or more. We chose not to stay there, preferring to pay less and be in the town. We don’t regret this decision. But we did have the buffet lunch there. This, I do recommend, since it allows you to have a break, and then go back for more climbing with a stomach full of ceviche and alpaca.