Why I Did Not Visit Machu Picchu

I’m in Bolivia now folks and recovering from some very nasty food poisoning and so have had some time to reflect on my hitchhiking around Peru. Undoubtedly I am going to be asked why I never visited Machu Picchu, given I was even in Cusco the the city from where most Gringos (essentially white folks in SA) make their trip to the ancient Incan city.

So why didn’t it? Quite simply I felt no desire, there is the fact that it costs a lot of money which I don’t have to spare but that’s not the real reason.

There are a number of reasons which I am going to outline in a quick rant so bear with me!

Firstly I found a new breed of Peruvian when I left the coast different from the friendly curious Peruvians I was accustomed too, this new breed I can call money-hungry, evil, scavenging rats.

From the second I jumped out of my truck after a 10 hour ride during the night from Arequipa I knew Cusco was a shithole.

I couldn’t´t sit down anywhere without someone trying to clean my boots with shoe polish, I would always refuse for maybe five minutes and then the Peruvian would usually start just plain begging for a dollar. Fuck off!

Then comes another shoe polisher, or a kid selling postcards I don’t want at a stupidly high price and putting on a fake innocent accent (poor favour, poor favour), maybe I would need to say no for five minutes straight before they leave casting you a dark look, (they all really hate Gringos).

One beggar even tried to get five dollars off me to get the bus to Arequipa he said to visit his family, when I told him I had just hitchhiked from there and he should go do that he still didn’t shut up (saw him later drinking in the street of course).

Everytime I heard “Amigo where are you from” I knew I was in for five minutes of refusing to give away a dollar.

Literally reading a book or relaxing in this city while white is impossible.

In the end I had to book into a party hostel to find some peace.

Now I know what your thinking, O its just a dollar and O Peru is third world and people are poor and your just a self righteous cheapass Irish cunt.

Let me explain something, money was invented so one man can trade his work with another man and a trade is a fair exchange. That’s why money is fantastic and using money in this way is called earning money and buying goods.

When you steal, loot or con someone out of their money in a trade, that’s when money becomes bad, the root of all evil as the saying goes. Cusco had that evil everywhere,

The second you sell that packet of cigarettes for five soles to a Peruvian and 10 soles to a European you are no longer fulfilling the fair trade ethic of using money and earning 5 soles instead your earning 5 soles and stealing another 5. It becomes plain on the faces of these people too, watching from behind counters for a blonde person to enter their store, or pouncing from the shadows with some bullshit tour offer or weed at ten times its real street value. Its that wrinkled old hag with the mini market who deliberately doesn’t give you change, its only to fulfil greed.

Now your thinking, but 5 soles is less than 2 dollars. Who cares?

Even if it is less than 2 dollar its worth money in Peru, In Peru you can buy a lunch which consists of soup, juice and a plate of chicken rice and veg for 5 soles (1.60$). So in other words with one dollar you can potentially feed yourself for the day, and just one more dollar means that you can buy a bottle of cheap rum. So if a beggar or shoe shiner or postcard seller convinces just three tourists to give them one dollar in one day he can get drunk on a full belly.

So no its not just one dollar its actually probably one third of the average daily wage of a farm labourer in Peru or young waitress, how would you feel if you picked potatoes for eight hours all day in a field while beggars could make more money than you in under an hour from annoying tourists until they got a dollar. Worst of all the tourist shrugs off 3 hours of your hard labour saying “O its just a dollar”.

But these people are poor, they have no choice! Its the third world!

I refuse to believe Peru is third world, I hitchhiked from Ecuador to Bolivia across Peru and saw a lot of the country and when people ask me what’s it like I tell them;

“Sure not every family has a car but they got food coming out their asses, and miles of good land not being farmed”

They got three climates with bananas, rice, potatoes, mangoes, oranges, coconuts, peas, onions, basically any veg or fruit possible on earth.

They got goats, pigs, cows, ocean and lakes, poultry, Guiana pig, sheep, al pacas and lamas to eat.

Excuse me if I’m wrong but I thought third world meant malnutrition and famine because Peru probably has the potential to grow (maybe already grows) more food than any European country I know.

You just can’t carry around the attitude that its OK to act in immoral ways because they have a weaker economy, it doesn’t excuse people being cunts.

In Cartagena Colombia I got searched three time in one night for cocaine because the police are hoping to catch a Gringo and then bribe him. I never saw them once searching the cocaine dealers standing outside bars and hostels. On one occasion there was two English girls with me, the Police asked if the girls wanted to ride on their motorbikes and come away with them. After they finally left the two English girls were giggling and laughing about how the Colombians police men had flirted with them. They didn’t seem to grasp the fact that these were two creeps trying to fuck drunk tourists while on their job.

Put it this way if police officers were filmed doing this in London they would instantly lose their jobs and you would be glad.
In the US if one restaurant or bus was charging black people extra wouldn’t it be racist?

Well that’s exactly what the taxi driver is doing when he sees white people in Cusco.

Its not OK to walk around in your north face jacket carrying your lonely planet guide and excuse these behaviours by saying things like. “The people have so little”

They need to be viewed as equals and these practices frowned upon.

If the Peruvian man continues to believe and teach his children that its OK to overcharge white people because Peruvians are oppressed and poor then they will never stop being poor and oppressed. By excusing this behaviour we are looking down on them.

What’s this got to do with Machu Picchu?

There is not only money hungry Peruvians in Cusco but unfortunately expats too ready to take advantage of the Peruvians poor grasp of good business.

Each Peruvian restaurant I ate in with locals was lovely, great food, but no wifi or clean toilets with toilet paper. They need to sort that out if they want to gain German and American customers. Same goes for the little hotels run by Peruvians.

So you will find backpackers hanging out in the McDonald’s located right in the old city of Cusco of course using wifi to book a hostel online which is undoubtedly owned by a European, Chilean or American. On the other side oth the main square is an Irish pub by the way with the disgraceful name “Paddy’s Pub”. Whoever you are that owns an Irish Pub in Cusco’s old town with such a terrible name I hate you, I could compare you to the original Spanish people who came to Peru to loot and steal money from the locals and destroyed the local cultures forever.

Even further one truck driver told me that the train track to Machu Picchu is owned by Chilean gangsters and when I asked where the money for the tickets to view Machu Picchu go he couldn’t tell me.

Its a lot of money too, apparently nearly 3000 people visit daily paying like 50 dollars each so yeah do the math… Where does that money go?

So instead of paying an overpriced train ticket, an overpriced entrance fee and been marched around like fucking cattle in between a bunch of loud fat Americans so I could take a photo of a moment that I am suppose to cherish forever while I stand smiling saying something like;

“Its lovely but such a shame our European ancestors came here and fucking killed everyone”

I chose to take my money and leave.

I didn’t even stop in Cusco to get a photo with the ladies dressed in authentic Incan clothes, you want to know why?

Because Incans didn’t fucking sell sunglasses, she’s about as Incan as Jay-z

How about the lady with a Lama?

No because I have to pay and she’s dragging her baby kids around too trying to put on a pity show, I would rather marry a prostitute then a woman who tried to use her baby kids to earn more money.

For me the memorable moments from Peru will be;

Hanging out in the Chan Chan site by myself alone admiring the ancient stuff.

Sharing Peruvian food and learning about Peruvian music with my truck driver from Nasca.

Making a great friend from Lima through couchsurfing.

Sleeping under the starts in the desert near Trujillo.

Making friends with a native family who live on the floating islands of Lake Ticitaka.

A picture with a genuine native, on the Uros Islands, me and a French friend were invited to stay at their cabin.

Maybe when I’m old and ignorant from alsymers I’ll return and fill some Chileans pocket by doing a package tour of Machu Picchu. Until then Cusco disgusted me and I can’t even imagine how disgusted I would of been by Machu Picchu and the lovely people I had meet before Cusco had done such a good job impressing me with Peruvian culture I didnt want to ruin my memories.


EDIT : This article has generated quite a bit of hate so I will explain a bit better,

At the time of writing I had recently got robbed by Bolivian Police at the Peru border while hitchhiking so I had a very pissed off attitude towards the Police and other people out to take money from tourists. So yes I was a little extra fueled with anger.

As for the bad language, thats just how I write, and speak too with the occasional F word.

People claiming I’m cheap and all that and don’t pay for hitchhiking. Of course I don’t pay it’s hitchhiking. I worked in the US for a couple months but had no more Visa and this is my way to afford to learn about and travel South America making friends along the way. If I see a hitchhiker back in Europe I pick them up. I explained this too Peruvians and they loved to exchange stories and chat (except on the road from Cusco to Puno), its not begging, they are going in this direction anyway.

Yes I do speak Spanish, for everyone saying that I’m a spoilt Westerner who can’t speak Spanish

As a hitchhiker budgeting his trip usually by sleeping outside and eating at the cheapest local resteraunts you see Cusco from a different perspective to the tourist who has a hotel booked online and dosent see 100 dollars as much money to spend on a trip to Machu Picchu. You don’t see the true ugly face of the taxi driver because you can pay for the taxi.

O and by the way I do love Peru, I loved Piura, Trujillo and Lima especially. Going to Machu Picchu I tought would have ruined my fond memories of Peru

Just an opinion people!


9 thoughts on “Why I Did Not Visit Machu Picchu

  1. marek October 11, 2015 / 9:13 am

    I understand ur point BUT buying ciggarettes for 5 peso from X and seeling them for 10 to Z doesn’t make u an evil person.. that is capitalism.

    rest seems legit


    • Hobo Spirit October 11, 2015 / 2:13 pm

      Is capitilism based on taking advantage of people?


      • Vicarious October 11, 2015 / 10:46 pm

        Yes. And you, Sir, have no idea how the world actually works.


    • Magnesia October 30, 2015 / 11:10 pm

      Marek. I think you don’t understand his point of view. Sorry. He did not mean RE-selling something further on as in capitalism. He meant price differentiated depending on the skin color of the customer. It means – selling cigarettes to X for 5 soles and to Z for 10 soles.


  2. David Tame October 11, 2015 / 7:59 pm

    Don’t be concerned about having a rant – it was worth every word! I exactly saw your PoV and will never go there I suppose. It was also an entertaining rant if you don’t mind me saying so. But I believe what you write and I can only totally agree.

    I have more experience of the East. Take India – oh you get a few rip-off merchants, sure; but if you are in authentic India and off the tourist trail, which I always am, then the beggars are as genuine as hell. I give sometimes but goodness, I’m fairly poor myself, and I’d be bust in a day if I gave every time. So that’s hard. But it’s also genuine.

    And more recently I was in the Philippines, again way off the tourist route – my fiance is Filipino. No one, absolutely no one, begged, though many were poor: they just genuinely wanted to talk and get to know me. Totally genuine, not wanting anything, it blew me away and they were probably the most friendly people I’ve met in a life of travel so far.

    All the more so when – I kid thee not – in a bookstore in up-market Manila, I bumped into IMELDA MARCOS still alive and free after she andthe husband killed and tortured tens of thousands under martial law. I’ve been asking my Filipino friends, “How on earth is she still free??” The answer is “we are a very forgiving people” – but also that they still “own” an elite who will not charge them.

    But i digress; the point was simply to say that I’ve traveled a lot but what you write of Cusco sounds as bad as it comes. And yes, no way is that third world if you have been to India and other places like it … jeez, where I once stumbled upon one MILLION people lying on the gorund starving. I didn’t even know the situation was there. And what could I do?

    So thanks for the truth on Cusco. What a bummer. But there are great places elsewhere.


    • David Tame October 11, 2015 / 8:14 pm

      Quick explanation. The MILLION people dying and starving on the ground. I’m not as young as you and this was way before the internet. You traveled without knowing any news. I went to calcutta, and there was a civil war in nearby Bangladesh. Walked out of the train station into a million dying people right outside and for miles around. It’s the situation ravi Shankar asked George Harrison to do the famous first-ever relief rock concert for. They were so weak that did they beg? No, they didn’t move. So I compare what you write about Cusco with that.


      David T


    • Hobo Spirit October 16, 2015 / 1:16 pm

      Great comment and thank you for the input, Peru is still a wonderful country though worth visiting!


  3. Magnesia October 30, 2015 / 11:37 pm

    Traveling in places like Cusco… requests you to learn to “close your eyes on these things” happening and passing by with a “shield” on.
    I know what you are talking – I have been thru it in India while traveling there for 2 months, including poorest state Bihar.
    The begging in India is very widely spread among all ages and all ways how to get money from white people. There are scams on top of scams. Scammers are very developed there. If we talk about India, we can invent new term “begging industry” as it is beyond imagination – There is business about it, and pimps with rich villas in mountains build from tourism money. Pimps of beggars. People are crippled to make the begging more effective and kids sent for begging and paying to “owners”.

    Though India is my favorite place. I love India and wish to return. Friendliest and welcoming people. Amazing country.

    And by the way – there even officiall fees for entrance into tourism objects like temples or any other big objects are differentiated for locals and for tourists. I DO agree with price been differentiated a bit as locals do not earn salary as big as westerners but – IF the price is not multiplied many times- come on – it has to be reasonable. I didn’t fancy going to Taj Mahal – no interest whatsoever. Price was I think 8 times bigger or something like that. And it is just a big white building with lots of tourists purchased package tours.

    In SouthEast Asia I see similarities with [mainly] outdoor attractions which are owned mostly by westerners. And off course – you can guess the price is jumping into sky with a slogan “it’s cheaper than in west”. Well, it is more expensive than in my country (Eastern Europe) for the same thing – why should I pay the west price in Asia? Just because westerner wants a big profit? They forget that Asia does not have the same expenses what Europe has to maintain the service – nothing close to that.

    i support you in not supporting ripping off anybody. 🙂

    But isn’t there any chance to get to Machu Pikchu by road, avoiding expensive train at least? Though I know – it’s a very touristic place. And this combination of 2 words is giving shivers.


    • Magnesia October 30, 2015 / 11:44 pm

      And there is unwritten law in India among travelers – never give money for beggars. You do no favor for them if you do it. It teaches them that there is easy money available instead of earned money. Though have seen a good samples of living poor and bad samples next to each other.

      A funny case for example… Sometimes in prehimalaya region town passing by beggars – I picked some elders and sometimes gave some little change. My travel buddy did the same and once a beggar throw that little coin back – appeared to small amount. 😀

      But I have seen amazing samples of people not accepting money given more than asked.


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