November 20 – 21, 2019
Day 407 – 408
We reach the village of Aguas Calientes, ir should we say “Machu Picchu Pueblo”, the village of the Machu Picchu. They renamed it for tourism reason, and we can understand why. This small village is MADE for tourism. The prices are 2-3x more expensive than the rest of the country and everybody here usually doesn’t stay more than a day just to visit the Machu Picchu.
When you to to the market, locals don’t even want to try to bargain – a very very commun thing to do in Peru. Here, it is not about trying to get customer, it is about trying to get money.
One Exemple: We tried to buy some gaz to used with our cooker for the trek. Aguas Calientes is quite big and full of shops. Well, I was impossible to find any gaz in the entiere town… Why ? Because people here are tourists, they come by bus, train or some by walking, but all of them go back by bus or train and they don’t think it would be interesting to sell gaz.
By looking a bit further, we still succeed to find some nice places and people to spend a few days. We unfortunately don’t stay very long since the prices are expensive. We rest just for a day from our trek.
The next day, Aurora, Mehran and Mathilde de idée to visit the Machu Picchu, something I decided not to do.
I was already hesitating about going to the Machu Picchu. Arriving next to it, I decided not to go there, and I definitely don’t regret it.
Several reasons: – I don’t want to participate in this mass tourism (it can be more than 2000 people a day…)
– The fact that the price is way too expensive for what it is. And they don’t raise the price because they need it. They raise the price because there are tourists willing to pay for it
– The Machu Picchu is indeed a beautiful place. But there are so many other ruins in Peru that are just as beautiful
– It is one of the 7 world wonders yes. But at the end, this ranking is just one amongst many others
It’s not much. I am only one person that decide not to go. But I am doing what I believe in, and I am not doing what I don’t endorse.
Your actions matter and you need to stand up for what you believe in.
While my friend went to Machu Picchu, I decided to go for an off the beaten track (and free) alternative to Machu Picchu: the Phutuq K’usi mountain.
Bering free, the authorities don’t maintain the path and try to forbid people to go. But come on… thats another way to try to force people to pay for the Machu Picchu.
This mountain feature a challenging but rewarding climb. There used to be ladder to climb, but the rains took them away and the authorities didn’t put them back. So you have to climb in a way or another.
I am not gonna lie, there are tricky part for beginners. But if you know how to climb, it I a very nice climb.
At the end you can enjoy the best view from Aguas Calientes and the Machu Picchu, being only 1km away from the main ruins, and 100m higher.
From there, I can see the waves of tourists going there. One more reasons that makes me think that I don’t regret not going.
After only two days here in Aguas Calientes (but actually longer than most people), we buy food, and head back for trekking.
To go back the other way from here, we will walk again by going another way – The Salkantay trek.