Machu Picchu is one of the new 7 wonders of the world, but I’ve realized that even more of a wonder is how in the world do you get there?! Here I’m going to tell you how I managed the trek, from pre-planning to in country navigating, and all by myself! + speaking very little Spanish.

Fear is a powerful thing. So is the unknown, but we can’t let it cripple us from trying new things. Challenging yourself is how you grow most. 

I started planning my trip to Machu Picchu a few months in advance with a friend that was going to come along with me! We read several travel blogs on the best ways to get there and from that, we created our own route. Long story short, my friend was using a buddy pass of mine — [tip: never travel on a buddy pass, they will ruin your plans because you most likely will never get there] & never made it to Peru so I continued the rest of the adventure by myself for the both of us! [missed ya LG!]

My itinerary :
Monday: flew from Atl to Lima, slept in airport 

Tuesday: caught flight on Avianca to Cusco, took 1.5 taxi to Ollantaytambo and checked into hostel (@mamasimona)

Wednesday: took the Inca Rail in the morning to Machu Picchu, another 1.5 hours, to the town of Aguas Calientes, which is where Machu Picchu is.

I dropped my bags off at my hostel, since I stayed the night in Aguas Calientes after my hike & then ran over and caught the bus for the 20 minute ride to the top of Machu Picchu. 

Cute place, but very pricey in Aguas Calientes!

I wanted to spend as much time as I could at MP, so I got there pretty early — which also helped avoid some of the crowds.


Thursday: Took the Inca Rail back to the town of Ollantaytambo, where I met a friend and we shared a collectivo [a cheap taxi that is shared] back to Cusco.

light snack and drinks in the executive cabin




the train station in Aguas Calientes

The trek back to Cusco from Aguas Calientes took a little over 3 hours, so give yourself ample time. I stayed in San Blas and Cusco for the day and explored San Pedro Market and the Plaza de Armas.



Friday: Had my last Peruvian breakfast and made my way to the Cusco airport by taxi to start my long trek home!

Thanks Avianca Airlines!


I met a friend on the CUZ flight and we went and explored Miraflores together on our 10 hour Lima layover.


And that’s a wrap! I was shocked at how well I pulled off this trip, especially since it was my first time traveling alone! My two main tips if I were to do this exact route over again would be to not stay the night in Aguas Calientes, but spend more time in Cusco! And to do the hike up to Machu Picchu instead of paying $25 to ride the bus up there. The trek is said to be very difficult and takes about an hour, but there is something about earning the view that seems like it would make the experience worth it! Lastly, get a ticket to Wayna Picchu!! I was so bummed I didn’t!