Shrouded in mystery, Machu Picchu is a bucket list destination for many travelers and Group Tour Consultant Brittany discovered why when she traveled to the Andes Mountains. Here, Brittany talks about why visiting the Incan masterpiece was so special during her time on our Ancient Peru & Machu Picchu tour.
The big reveal
While there are so many memories from this tour that will touch me forever, one stands out above the rest. Before we turned the bend that opens up into the storied mountaintop city of Machu Picchu, our local guide Edwin had the group pause and prepare ourselves for what we were about to see. We turned the corner and there it was. For many in my group, it was a lifelong goal to see Machu Picchu and we all just let it soak in. I could hear murmurs of “Oh my gosh” and “I can’t believe I’m here” and even a few quiet tears. It was the most powerful moment of our entire trip.
A worthwhile return visit
Another very special memory took place the next day. This tour offers the option to return to Machu Picchu, which I definitely recommend. The day after our initial visit, a group of us went back to the Lost City of the Incas at sunrise, when the morning mist of the Andes Mountains was still hovering around the centuries-old structures. With no crowds at this early hour, we were able to wander around the complex freely. Soon enough, other travelers started to file in to have their own jaw-dropping Machu Picchu experience, but for a moment, it was just ours—and what special moment that was.
What to know when visiting Machu Picchu
- The sun is seriously strong. I went in September, which is winter in Peru, so even though it was chilly and windy, I still got a sunburn. Sun protection is a must!
- Remember that you’re heading up into the Andes Mountains. Machu Picchu is about 8,000 feet above sea level. Here are tips to avoid altitude sickness.
- Enjoy the journey. The train ride to Machu Picchu was such a wonderful surprise for me! The train was beautiful with glass domes, great food, and impeccable service. During the ride, you get to watch the scenery outside change from the desert to the rainforest—it’s amazing.
- While you see llamas and alpacas in Machu Picchu, wait and take photos with them on the farm that we visit on tour, where the animals are happy and healthy and you won’t be at risk for pickpockets (which can happen near Machu Picchu).
- Fun fact: You get a passport stamp when visiting Machu Picchu!