Day 4: Lucmabamba – Llactapata ruins – Hidroelectrica – Aguas Calientes (20 km)On this day, you get the first glimpse of the Mach Pichhu ruins. This day, you have two options – you can visit the Llactapata ruins first and then go to Hidroelectrica past Santa Teresa. Or you can to directly to Hidroelectrica skipping the ruins.The Llactapata ruins are quite an interesting place and from there you can make out the terraces of the famous Inca ruins. But the hike involves a 900 m steep climb and then subsequent descent to Hidroelectrica.
Hidroeléctrica to Aguas Calientes walk
5. You can buy your shuttle bus tickets at Aguas calientes (about $24 return as of Sept 2017). Do buy it in advance as the lines could be really long. The bus journey takes about 30-40 mins. 6. Wear long clothing or keep your insect repellent handy as you may find some bugs.7. Always keep your passport with you. It is checked at the entrance. If you don’t have it you will be denied entrance.8. Its no short walk in the park. Be prepared to walk/stand for about 2-3 hours, especially if you are taking a guided walking tour.9. If you haven't booked a guided tour, you can find local guides at the entrance.10. Machu Picchu is always tiring, so feel free to get an Inca massage or relax at the hot springs (about 20 soles) in Aguas Calientes when you're back.11. If you have time, you could visit the Mandor waterfalls which is about an hour walk from Aguas Calientes.12. If you're in need of extra cash, Aguas Calientes is not a bad place to exchange currency, but you may get better rates at Cusco.
Weather permitting, best time to be at Machu Picchu is at sunrise or few hours before sunset. A lot of people visit Machu Picchu from Cusco just for a day, they usually arrive before noon. So if you avoid this time and head there early morning or later in the afternoon, you should see less crowd. Best place to take pictures (as you see in magazines) is from the watch tower or guard house (its on the left hand side after you enter). Walking uphill towards the guard house could feel strenuous, slow down and take your time. As you walk up after taking the left, you reach a junction, you take a left to go to sun gate and right takes you to the watch tower.
After reaching Aguas Calientes, we need to take a bus ride lasting about 20minutes to reach the ancient site of Machu Pichhu The bus ride itself is spectacular as the narrow track winds its way up the mountainside The scenery is lush cloud forest with great views of the sacred mountain.