Introduction: Machu Picchu, the ancient Inca citadel nestled amidst the stunning Peruvian Andes, is a dream destination for many backpackers. While there are various ways to reach Machu Picchu, embarking on a two-day journey by car is an excellent option for backpackers seeking adventure, flexibility, and cost-effective travel. This article presents the ultimate backpacker’s tour to Machu Picchu by car, highlighting the benefits, itinerary, and tips for an unforgettable experience.
Benefits of Machu Picchu by Car for Backpackers:
- Cost-Effective: Traveling by car offers a budget-friendly alternative compared to train or trekking options. By sharing the cost of a rental car and splitting expenses among a group of backpackers, you can significantly reduce transportation costs.
- Flexibility and Independence: Backpackers thrive on flexibility, and a car journey to Machu Picchu provides just that. You can set your own pace, stop at scenic viewpoints, and explore additional attractions along the way. This level of independence allows for spontaneous detours and a more personalized travel experience.
- Off-the-Beaten-Path Discoveries: Driving to Machu Picchu allows backpackers to explore lesser-known attractions and off-the-beaten-path locations. You can visit hidden archaeological sites, encounter charming local communities, and immerse yourself in authentic cultural experiences that are often missed on traditional routes.
- Scenic Drive and Natural Beauty: The car journey through the Sacred Valley offers breathtaking landscapes of towering mountains, lush valleys, and winding rivers. Backpackers can savor the scenic beauty, stop for photo opportunities, and embrace the awe-inspiring surroundings at their own pace.
Itinerary for a 2-Day Backpacker’s Tour: Day 1:
- Depart from Cusco: Start your journey early in the morning from Cusco, ensuring you have a reliable and comfortable vehicle.
- Explore Sacred Valley: Drive through the picturesque towns of Pisac and Ollantaytambo, taking in the stunning views and exploring the local markets.
- Visit Moray and Maras: Make stops at the intriguing archaeological site of Moray, known for its circular terraces, and the unique salt mines of Maras.
- Overnight in Ollantaytambo: Find budget-friendly accommodations in Ollantaytambo, a charming town with a rich Inca history.
- Early Morning Departure: Start the day early to catch the sunrise at Machu Picchu.
- Drive to Hydroelectric Station: Continue the journey by car to the Hydroelectric Station, the starting point for the hike to Aguas Calientes (also known as Machu Picchu Pueblo).
- Optional Hike or Train Ride: Backpackers can choose to hike along the scenic trail to Aguas Calientes or take a short train ride to reach the town.
- Explore Machu Picchu: Spend the day exploring the ancient ruins of Machu Picchu, immersing yourself in the mystical atmosphere and capturing the iconic views.
- Return to Cusco: In the late afternoon, drive back to Cusco, completing your two-day adventure.
Tips for a Successful Backpacker’s Tour:
- Plan and Research: Plan your itinerary in advance, research the road conditions, and choose a reliable rental car company. Ensure you have a good map or navigation system to navigate the route.
- Pack Essentials: Pack light and carry essential backpacking gear, including comfortable walking shoes, a rain jacket, sunscreen, insect repellent, and a refillable water bottle.
- Safety First: Drive with caution, especially on mountainous roads. Consider hiring a local driver or guide with experience navigating