And indeed it is very expensive ! The government do know how to make money out of tourists with it!. To save a little money, we took the Bus from Cusco to the nice village of Ollyantambo.
From here you have to take the train to Aguas Caliente, there are no roads. Otherwise you have to hike along the train line or hike the most popular hike in South America, the Inca trail for 4 days.
The very scenic 1.5hour train ride costed us each 114USD (there and back). Local people pay 9USD! What a rip-off. Then we needed to buy the Machu Picchu entrance ticket and bought also a bus ticket to take us up from Aguas Caliente to Machu Picchu, which was another 10 USD each. We decided to use the Bus only one way and walk down to save some money.
So in order to be among the first people to enter the site, we had to get up at 4.30am.
When arriving at the bus station at 4.50am there was already a queue.
We got in the second bus.Then had to wait at the entrance until it opens at 6am. Some chose to walk up the steep hill (must have started at 4am).
2500 people are allowed per day. But despite it being already high season, it did not feel crowded at all.
Some Llamas live around there now and attract the tourists as well, us too. :-)
After many hours there and climbing many steps we turned back to Aguas Caliente.
At the end of the day we could not see or walk any more steps. And the next day we had muscle aching.
The story of Machu Picchu is quite a remarkable one; it is still unknown exactly what the site was in terms of its place in Inca life. Current researchers tend to believe that Machu Picchu was a country resort for elite Incas. At any given time, there were no more than 750 people living at Machu Picchu, with far fewer than that during the rainy season. The Incas started building it around 1430AD, but it was abandoned as an official site for the Inca rulers a hundred years later at the time of the Spanish conquest of the Inca Empire.
One thing that is clear is that it was a remarkably well hidden place, and well protected. Located far up in the mountains of Peru, visitors had to travel up long valleys littered with Inca check points and watch towers. Remarkably, the Spanish conquistadors missed the site.
Machu Picchu was built in the classical Inca style, with polished dry-stone walls. Its primary buildings are the Intihuatana, the Temple of the Sun, and the Room of the Three Windows. These are located in what is known by archaeologists as the Sacred District of Machu Picchu.