This article features a true account of a tour disaster with a Peruvian Travel Company called Machu Picchu Hop. This is an actual experience, dated in January 10th of 2018. As a result of our experience, we want to give you travel tips for Machu Picchu to help negate a potential disaster.
Think twice about how you plan to get to Machu Picchu. There are so many non-tour company options, that we wrote this article just for you. We learned the hard way, and booked a tour through Machu Picchu Hop Tour Operator. This company is in affiliation with Peru Hop, which was another disaster tour, but that’s a story for another day.
First, we are going to tell you about our disaster and how to avoid the same issues we encountered.
We booked our trip to Machu Picchu with MachuPicchuHop.com almost two months prior to our travel date. Our tour was $200 per person, which included our entrance fee (ticket) to Machu Picchu, round-trip bus ride to Hydro Electrica, hostel in Aguas Calientes (for one night), plus dinner that evening at a restaurant.
The day before our departure, we met with an employee of Machu Picchu Hop, to discuss the details of our next day journey. They don’t really have an office at the place we met this guy (don’t recall his name) and he suggested we go to a local bar in a nearby hostel to discuss our itinerary. This was odd, but we went with the flow.
After 30 minutes discussing our itinerary over extremely loud background music, my friend and I were a little uneasy. We had already paid for this tour and tomorrow was the day, so we really had no other options available at this point. The Tour Company “guy” aka employee asked several times for our hostel address. Several times we explained that we were staying at an Air B&B, which was essentially a private residence, not a commercial location. He explained that they do not pick up at private residences. I explained their tour company guarantees pick-up, and that’s what we paid for. We asked if they would make an exception, and if not, we would be happy to walk to any “approved” hostel for our next-morning pick-up location.
The guy called his boss, discussed the situation and confirmed that it would be no problem. The tour bus (combi) would pick us up at the private residence of our Air B&B at 7:00 am the next morning. He even called the bus driver (while we were standing there) and confirmed our pick-up location, explaining in detail the residential address and the street intersection in which we would be waiting at 7:00 am sharp. It all seemed pretty legit.
The next morning, we were super stoked. The day we had been waiting for was finally here. Machu Picchu at last! I could barely sleep the night before. That is to say, we were stoked until the tour bus never arrived to pick us up at 7:00 am, or 7:30 am or 8:00 am. We started blowing up Machu Picchu Hop’s phone number, email address, anything that we could. Silly us, their recorded message said their office doesn’t open until 9:00 am. Here we were stranded on a residential street corner, with our hopes in the gutter. Finally, we receive a callback from Machu Picchu Hop “office lady.” They informed us that the boss or owner or whoever is in charge, never confirmed or agreed to pick us up at our Air B&B.
We were confused and absolutely devastated, to say the very least. It would have been no trouble for us to meet the bus at a nearby hostel or pick-up point. Instead, we were told a string of lies and then left stranded without a ride to Machu Picchu.
If you think this story is unfortunate, the story only gets worse and worse! Check out our Road of Death to Machu Picchu article and you will see why we do not recommend booking a tour to Machu Picchu.
Here is a recap on our expert “non-tour” travel advice to Machu Picchu from Cusco, Peru.
You do not, and we repeat, you do not need to book a round trip tour from Cusco to Machu Picchu. In fact, you are better off NOT booking a tour. You will overpay and most likely, receive sub-par accommodations.
Here is the break down. Certain times of the year, during rainy season, trains do not run from Cusco to Ollantaytambo. There is a very high risk of rock and mudslides, therefore, May – October trains do not operate. If you are traveling during the Peruvian winter (dry season) you will be fine to buy a train ticket directly from Cusco to Ollantaytambo, no problem. However, if it is the Peruvian summer (rainy season) then you will not be able to travel from Cusco to Ollantaytambo by train, you must take a bus. Just buy a bus ticket then, one way or round-trip, whatever works best for your travel plans.
- Once you reach Ollantaytambo, you can then take another train directly to Aguas Calientes, the gateway to Machu Picchu. The train ticket from Ollantaytambo to Aguas Calientes is very overpriced and a total rip-off, but it’s the best and safest way to get from Ollantaytambo directly to Aguas Calientes.
- Arrive in Aguas Calientes at least one day prior to your entrance to Machu Picchu. There are a lot of hostels in this small little village, and you can best find a place on HostelWorld.com or similar websites.
- You are probably thinking that you could save bit of money by finding alternative ways to Aguas Calientes. So did we. Read our article about the Road of Death to Machu Picchu and you will see why we recommend otherwise!
Micah Lyn is a Holistic Healthcare Practitioner HHP, Intuitive Healer and E-RYT 500 Certified Yoga Teacher registered with Yoga Alliance and KRI. She offers a variety of private yoga classes in Sedona AZ, yoga therapy and intuitive healing services at Pachamama Yoga ✨ Sedona Healing Center. Visit the YTT Programs & Workshops page to see upcoming Online & Hands-on Intensive Yoga Teacher Training, Virtual Online Yoga Workshops & Transformational Yoga Retreats featured worldwide.
HELP SUPPORT MY MISSION
Here at Pachamama Yoga, my mission is to share my yoga classes, guided meditation & music for FREE! Making a small $1 donation to support my mission will help to offset the production costs of this podcast. Your support ensures that everyone around the globe can continue to enjoy the healing benefits of yoga, meditation & sound therapy music without incurring a monthly subscription fee or cost per episode download.
“You can make a huge difference by making a small donation.”
“You can help now by supporting the production costs of the Pachamama Podcast! When you make a small $5 donation, you will instantly receive the ‘Light On Yoga’ e-book by the founder of Restorative Yoga, BKS Iyengar.”