Cuzco is the gateway to Machu Picchu and being here you are bombarded with many tour options to this great site plus in conversations Machu Picchu comes up quite a lot which is understandable. I visited Machu Picchu two years ago so I will not be making a return trip but I just thought I would share my experience.
Please note that this narration dates back to 2012 and it's an email I had sent out to some of my friends.
The bus ride was looooong!!!!!!!!! about two hours but it seemed like forever, the scenic views were pretty nice though so that made for an interesting ride. We finally got to the train station and I have to say chaotic is the only way I can describe it! it was jam packed with people and there were no clear directions to let you know what train was departing or arriving but fortunately order was somehow restored and I was able to get on the right train.
The train ride was long and after about two to three hours we finally arrived at Aguas Calientes where we took a short bus ride to the base of Machu Picchu. We finally met with the guide who told us we would have to climb some steep stairs for about 5 minutes but it would all be worth it because we would get the best view of Machu Picchu once we got to the point he wanted us to start from. All the gym work I put in did not prepare me for that climb! I was panting like a dog and so was everyone else in the group, it was so funny because for a minute there it's like we were all synchronizing our pants, I am not even joking.
We spent a good two hours there with the guide telling us the history and showing us around the important areas within the site.
I took plenty of photos till I got bored and the good thing is that Machu Picchu is so photogenic that it flatters any photographer no matter how inexperienced they are. Every picture was just beautiful! I am so glad I came on this trip and got to see this great site, seriously the Incas were just brilliant! from engineering, agriculture, astrology, these people really understood things on another high level that makes you marvel at their achievements. Too bad the Spanish really set to destroy their civilization and aside from Machu Picchu which escaped their wrath because it was well hidden, everything else was pretty much destroyed. To date only 5% of their work remains outside Machu Picchu.