Machu Picchu is a place that I’ve seen on countless documentaries and thought I’d never get the chance to actually see first hand. Well, I did and, wow, did it exceed all expectations!
The Andes are a magnificent mountain range, they tower over you as you bump your way along in the mode of transport you’ve chosen. Shortness of breath is the first thing you notice, the smallest rise when walking becomes a chore you’re at around 3,000 meters above sea level!
Arriving by train in Aguas Calientes is an experience in itself again. You bounce along in a very modern scenic designed train, but the speed is limited to about 35 kph due to very narrow track layer out through valley.
The bus ride to Machu Picchu takes 30 minutes, it switch-backs all the way, and in two-way traffic of course! The roads in the Dolomites, by comparison, are a motorway. The bus drivers are brilliant and near misses with oncoming buses are constant, but surprisingly safe.
Interestingly you need to present your passport to enter Machu Picchu, even after you’ve bought your entry ticket with your passport. Regulations changed on July 1 to restrict visitor numbers and each tourist or group must be accompanied by a registered tour guide, however these are yet to be enforced! Manana!
I’m lost for words to describe the splendour of this ancient wonder, maybe some photos will help. To quote Phillipe they’re mostly “Postcards” and shots you have most likely seen before.
Travelling in South America is a new experience for me and requires a large amount of patience as nothing moves quickly. Having said that I would highly recommend the experience if the opportunity arises for you.
All the above shots were taken with a Nikon D4s and Zeiss Milvus Lenses, 21, 35 or 50. Some shots were taken in mid morning light and others mid afternoon.
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Dallas, this is awesome! And I prefer your “postcards” (you are far too modest) of Machu Picchu to my brilliantest (!) picture of lac du Bois de Boulogne 🙂
Safe travels, enjoy your trip to the hilt, and please, share some more.
Thanks Philipe as always you are far too kind more too come.
Fantastic pics. Gives a feeling of being there. I had a German friend who traveled a lot in South America. He referred to the trips over the mountains as “white knuckle” flights. The pilots were probably related to the bus drivers you mention. Stay safe.
Georg, thanks for your kind comments. The flights were excellent in modern jets, its the driving in buses that is white knuckle.
I’ve often thought that South America and South East Asia were in some ways similar, particularly your comments about bus travel! I will often fly in SE Asia, not only because it’s quicker, but because generally air transport is better regulated that road transport, and therefore often safer! There are some places I would only use bus travel as a last resort, where no alternative was available… but that’s just me!
I really like the photo that appears in the header, and some of the other long views that appear later in the article.
Am I the only person who gets frustrated when photographing during travel that there can be so little opportunity to visit places at the “best” time for light? It’s so frustrating when the weather isn’t co-operating, or you cannot visit somewhere at a time of day you would like (e.g. it’s not open, you can’t get there at that time). (I’m not talking about your photographs, just a general comment).
Adrian sorry for the late reply. Buses in South America are sometimes the only way you can get there other than walk. They can be white knuckle at times but appear safe. Agree travel photogrpaghy can be hit and miss especially on an organised tour. This is the first was of those we have been in many years only because doing on your own is very hard. I could have gone up to MP on the first bus at 5.30am but needed the sleep, the cloud burns off mid morning so not sure there would have been much advantage. My advice would be plan on say 3 nights and stay at the hotel near the entrance.
Best pictures I’ve ever seen of MP. Made me feel like I was really there. Now I don’t feel so bad about knowing I’ll never be able to make that trip. Thank you.
Apologies for the slow reply Cliff. Your comments are very much appreciated and make the effort of posting them worthwhile.
I’m jealous, Dallas – but I suspect I’ve left it too late, and wouldn’t be able to manage this one. Sigh – old age makes all those steps and climbing pretty much out of the question, and I’d have high altitude issues as well.So all that’s left for me, is to enjoy the photos you post.
Machu Picchu has to be one of the greatest tourist destinations in the world – and don’t even spare a thought for any others who’ve been there before you, or follow in your footsteps – you’ll never see their photos anyway, so enjoy the ones you took, with a clear conscience.
For me, every single one of your photos is a knockout!
Thanks Pete, the visit was hard work but worthwhile. Photography either our own or others can take us places we only dream about and if we get their well and good if not enjoy what others show us.
I could put in a plea for a chance to see more of your photos of MP – it fascinates me, even though I know it’s now too late for me to go there myself, and I do enjoy the photos of it that other people circulate.
Great postcards, Pascal!
I have it on my bucket list but I have my doubts that I will make. I had my chance to go there 30 years ago, but I opted for Australia instead.