Machu Picchu has and probably will be a major talking point of South America for the unforeseeable future. Because of its grandeur, I decided that it was time to see what the whole selfie madness of this place was about. Could this destination live up to its title as one of the worlds wonders. Could I learn how to take the perfect selfie at this iconic landmark?
“Angles, angles & more angles. More angles than geometry. And confidence with your smile”
…. is what I think he said. Hazu spoke without breaking focus of his 3 camera setup. He was a man of many words, that I did not understand but was happy to share his Japanese with me. Hazu was a Japanese man apart of one of the countless tours that ran that day, and an introduction of how to master photography in crowds and the selfie.
Before I get into my experience at this iconic landmark, I think a little overview might be the right call.
Where is Machu Picchu?
Machu Picchu is an Incan Citadel located high in the Andes Mountains Range in Peru. It sits above the Urubamba River Valley and one of the most important cultural sites of Peru. The site is one of the most visited places in the world! Macchu Picchu elevation is 7,972 feet!
The Incan Citadel Experience
Yes, rain. Lots and lots of rain & selfies. What started as the perfect plan the day before, ended with an extraordinary day after. The experience here looked something like this
- Rain – Lots of rain and clouds that came in and out. Made for a pretty surreal experience
- Tourists – Although buckets of rain fell from the sky, tourists were abundant and ready.
- Selfies – Cant count how many were snapped.
Machu Picchu Expectations
Expectations were set high as Machu Picchu is well, Machu Picchu. And as many of you know, this place floods social media streams with one of the most scenic & incredible displays of human creation. Despite the rain, selfie sticks, Ipads and Asian tourist groups, it was spectacular. The experience was worth its weight in gold and lived up to the hype.
Getting to Machu Picchu
This is how you get to Machu Picchu from Ollantaytambo
Train from Ollantaytambo to Aguas Calientes : Board train around 6 am and take 2 hour ride to Aguas Calientes. I walked from my hostel that took about 10 minutes to the train station
Aguas Calientes to Machu Ticketing Center via Bus: The bus trip takes about 35 minutes and was well worth the $10. The rain was so bad that hiking up would have been miserable. Hiking up can take about 1-2 hours in great conditions.
Buying Machu Picchu Tickets
IMPORTANT! You CANNOT buy Machu Picchu Tickets at Machu Picchu. These are the options for where you can buy Machu Picchu Tickets:
- Aguas Calientes
- Other Major Peru Cities (Lima)
It is highly recommended that you buy your Machu Picchu tickets online and know your exact dates because in High Season, (June-September) tickets WILL SELL OUT!
In Cusco, tickets can be bought at the Ministerio de Cultura which is open Mon-Sat, 7AM-8PM.
At the Machu Picchu Cultural center, tickets can be purchased from 5am-10pm Monday-saturday. This option is CASH ONLY
Major Cities like Lima
Use the same online reservation system and then go to any Banco De La Nacion with your printed out reservations. You will need some grasp on Spanish to make this one happen
Perfecting the Selfie amidst hoards of tourists
- Smile, be flexible, and have fun is how you take the perfect selfie here.
- The amount of people will overwhelm you but that’s where patience and humility will allow you too overcome and snap the moment when it’s your turn.
- Don’t get frustrated because you have too remember you’re lucky enough too be standing at one of the most impressive human creations.
Exploring beyond Machu Picchu
Can’t physically make it to Machu Picchu this year because of Covid-19? Test out this Machu Picchu Virtual Tour
Are you leaving Peru for Colombia? Follow these guides for ways to maximize your time and money.
The hardest part about the experience is probably battling the crowds. The crowds can be overwhelming when you have 1000 people vying for the same photograph. Luckily and unfortunately, the weather was so rough, people kept flocking for shelter leaving brief windows when the weather would clear for opportune moments.
More information about Backpacking Peru can be found on my Peru Travel Blog section. I hope I can help you save some time and money while seeing some of the most glorious man made constructions ever.