Discovering Machu Picchu in Peru with Sorina Grosu (Interview)

Last update: January 21, 2024 in Guest Trip Stories
Discovering Machu Picchu in Peru with Sorina Grosu (Interview)
Discovering Machu Picchu in Peru with Sorina Grosu (Interview)

When is the best time of the year to visit Machu Picchu and why?

I visited Machu Picchu on 18th April 2013, which is not officially considered the best or the worst time for visiting this place, but definitely my magic token – the rainy poncho ( I carry it with me everywhere when I need sunny weather) served its best cause and we had a perfect - warm and sunny - day, though the guide told us that it was raining the day before and also we found out later on about the rainy weather the day after our departure.

Best time of the year is theoretically May-September corresponding to the winter season in South America, but we all know that any mountain area around the world is most often subject to unforeseen weather conditions and Machu Picchu is not an exception for sure.

What are the activities you did or can be done at Machu Picchu?

Located in a superb mountain area, Machu Picchu is the place where the best activity is certainly climbing – you have plenty of mountain peaks to conquer or you can walk within the historical site itself with its beautiful spots (it is large, sometimes hilly and it offers best views over the Urubamba valley and the mountains surrounding the Inca site).

I personally recommend climbing Mountain Machu Picchu itself (3,082 m), but this activity is for the physically fit people, the way to the peak takes about 2 h and the way back about 1h depending on your physical condition. The funny thing is that even if you actually climb only 600 m, the effort is greater than climbing forom 0 to 2,500 m for two reasons: 

(1) - Climbing is more difficult beyond 2,500 m and

(2) - The smart Inca people built huge stone stairs on the way to the peak which requires a double physical effort compared to a basic trekking path. Nonetheless, the view on the top is more than rewarding, it literally takes your breath, you feel nature all around you, you can inhale the best mountain air and you can enjoy a wonderful view.

Another peak to climb is Huayna Picchu also known as Wayna Picchu ("Young Peak") situated about 2,720 m above the sea level, but as entrance tickets were sold out (maximum 400 visitors per day) quicker than for Machu Picchu, we were thus forced (karma perhaps!) to go for a most difficult mountain – not so many people are willing to climb Machu Picchu (we were in total about 100 persons and many of them gave up shortly after starting the ascent).

Why did you visit this specific attraction?

Peru was a top destination on my list for the last three years: first because I heard so many nice things about South American way of being that I really needed to know those people by myself and secondly, as I am a big mountain lover, my specific target was to follow ancient Inca steps on the classic 4-days Inca trail tour and thus enjoy this unforgettable experience. Unfortunately there was no time to organize the Inca trail and the best we could do was trying to conquer the mountains from that area.  The most popular is considered Wayana Picchu, but the destiny made us go for the toughest one – Machu Picchu peak.

Impressive facts

One interesting fact is connected to the energetic flow we were told to exist within the area: before going to Peru, I collected much interesting information about Machu Picchu and everybody was telling me about some genuine positive energies that are released within the historical Inca site. I had some doubts about it, but our nice guide Edgar who led us for a short tour within the Inca site convinced me that this is true – mainly due to the energy that a mountain releases in general and the Inca site is actually surrounded by many mountains, not only one, but also to the specific mineral structure (crystals attracting solar energy) of the rocks forming the Machu Picchu area. The answer came in the evening when I realized that after climbing and walking for about 12 hours (only with small stops) and also having slept only 4hours the night before, in fact we were all full of energy. I want to believe that we absorbed the positive energies and this made possible for us to have a perfectly balanced day in Machu Picchu. 

For me personally, an impressive fact was also connected to what Edgar the guide was telling about the 3 elements that any person should have:  LOVE, PATIENCE, PERSONALITY. He said that this is the only way we can reconnect with nature and this is the way in which the Inca site was built. This was just another lesson about the way in which a person should live - obeying nature's rules and this will bring harmony and balance into our lives.

Which is your favourite activity or fact related to Machu Picchu?

To be honest the favorite moment was for sure getting to the top of the mountain after a difficult ascent, that moment of a rewarding view and then sitting on the edge and hanging our legs over the gap before us, accompanied by unforgettable images – some of these stored by our cameras, but others – imprisoned  deep in our hearts. 

Another favorite activity was lying down on the grass within the Machu Picchu historical site at the closing hours, with few tourists still wandering there, the best time to truly feel the nature vibes and reconnect with nature around you – taking a moment for yourself, finding a balance and harmony with everything surrounding you.

What would you advise those keen to explore Machu Picchu and the surroundings?

Best time to visit is somewhere between mid-April and mid-October.

Regarding transportation, unfortunately you can get to Machu Picchu site only from Cuzco and only by using an extremely expensive and fancy touristic train (round trip is at least 120 USD) connecting Cuzco with Aguas Calliente. I did not like at all that there is no actually a budget option for visiting Machu Picchu, even if the same train carrying tourists has also few wagons for local people who pay probably at most 10% from what the “rich” tourists have to pay. We paid 80 USD one way to attend a fashion parade on the train, to eat a small but not tasty snack, to watch a dance show organized by train attendants and to relax on a comfortable train chair. I would be able to skip all these, I guarantee!

For a better organization of the day in Machu Picchu (if you have one day only), my recommendation is to come with an afternoon or night train from Cuzco to Aguas Calliente (2h), stay overnight in Aguas Calliente and climb to Machu Picchu site the next day. If you have time and your physical condition is ok then you can go by foot to the site about 1h to climb the hill (this means saving 20 USD round trip for the bus taking you up the mountain).

In terms of accommodation, you may find many options in Aguas Calliente (starting from 10 USD per person/night), but I cannot recommend the hostel where we stayed, it was too far from everything. Take care in Aguas Calliente - everything is very expensive: food, drinkable water, etc.

If possible, go to Machu Picchu before sunrise; the sun pouring out from behind the mountains and shedding a light on the historical Inca site is an unforgettable view.

Don't forget to put the cool Machu Picchu stamp in your passport when you go out of the site.

There is no toilet inside the site, if you need it, you have to go out and then re-enter the site which would take some time, because distances from the entrance to the actual site may be quite long.

You can discover Machu Picchu and the amazing things to do and see around this astonishing archaeological wonder with the help of local guides on an organized tour.