Machu Picchu is one of the favorite destinations for visitors from all over the world. However, the vast majority do not know everything that the Inca Citadel can offer. There are various experiences to live there, such as climbing to the top of the Huayna Picchu mountain or the surprising Inca Trail. What other ways are there to fully enjoy the Wonder of the World? Discover four alternatives!
- 1. The amazing tour of the stone constructions of Machu Picchu
- 2. The adventure of climbing to the top of the mountains of Machu Picchu
- 3. The adventure of the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, the best trek in the world
- 4. The Salkantay trek, incredible 5-day route to Machu Picchu
Discover the most incredible ways to have the perfect trip to Machu Picchu
What is the circuit I should choose in Machu Picchu?
To visit Machu Picchu there are up to four types of circuits. The most recommended is circuit 2, which includes the most complete tour of the Inca citadel: Temple of the Sun, Main Temple, Temple of the 3 Windows, Intihuatana, Sacred Rock, Temple of the Condor, Water Mirrors and more. The ‘Machupicchu Only’ and ‘Machupicchu + Inca Bridge’ tickets allow you to do circuit 2. This tour takes approximately 2 hours 30 minutes (with the company of a tour guide).
1. The amazing tour of the stone constructions of Machu Picchu
- In 1911, the American explorer Hiram Bingham arrived at Machu Picchu and made known to the world the importance of the archaeological site called by him the ‘Lost City of the Incas’.
- What he actually discovered was Machu Picchu, an urban-religious center built by the Inca culture more than 600 years ago.
- Without knowing it, the Yale University professor became the first tourist to host the Wonder of the World.
- Today, this archaeological complex receives more than a million visitors a year and is the main attraction in Peru.
- The rediscovery of this place by Hiram Bingham brought knowledge to the planet of such incredible constructions as the Temple of the Sun, the Intihuatana, the Temple of the Condor or the Temple of the Moon.
- Currently, this archaeological complex is called the Inca Citadel and it is the main way to experience the perfect trip to Machu Picchu..
- The route through these mysterious Inca buildings passes through platforms, lithic monuments of various shapes and an amazing landscape that harmonizes with its surroundings.
- Entry to the Inca Citadel is done with up to five different types of tickets: a) Machupicchu Only ticket, b) Machupicchu + Huaynapicchu ticket, c) Machupicchu + Mountain ticket, d) Machupicchu + Huchuypicchu ticket or e) Machupicchu + Inca Bridge ticket.
- The most recommended ticket is ‘Machu Picchu Only’ as it allows you to choose any of the four circuits: circuit 1, 2, 3 or 4. Circuit 2 is the most recommended route as it includes the main temples of the Inca citadel.
View of the interior of Machu Picchu
2. The adventure of climbing to the top of the mountains of Machu Picchu
- Machu Picchu is located on the eastern side of the Andes Mountains in Cusco, Peru.
- It has a temperate subtropical climate with abundant rain and vegetation. Above this archaeological site is a vertical mountain called Huayna Picchu.
- Furthermore, at the top of the Inca citadel is the Machu Picchu mountain, the mountain that gave the archaeological site its name.
- Huayna Picchu (2,693 meters above sea level), an important mountain formation, contains Inca constructions such as a set of stone stairs to the top or an Inca temple in a cavern called the Temple of the Moon or Great Cave.
- Today, Waynapicchu is one of the main attractions in the Wonder of the World. It offers one of the most amazing adventures on the planet. It is the ascent to the top of this steep mountain, considered one of the most incredible short hikes in the world.
- The Machu Picchu mountain (2,430 meters above sea level) allows for an arduous hike, but with beautiful vegetation. The route is longer than Huayna Picchu, but with wider and safer sections. Therefore, entry is allowed to people of all ages (entry to Huayna Picchu is only allowed for those over 12 years of age).
- This way of getting to know Machu Picchu is one of the favorites for tourists. At the top of Huayna Picchu and the Machu Picchu mountain you can see the Inca citadel and the surrounding landscape from a privileged point of view.
- Entry to Waynapicchu is with the Machu Picchu + Huayna Picchu ticket, which includes a visit to the Inca citadel (through circuit 4). Entry to the Machu Picchu mountain is with the Machu Picchu + Mountain ticket, which includes a visit to the Inca citadel (through circuit 3).
Top of Huayna Picchu from where you can see the entire Inca city
3. The adventure of the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, the best trek in the world
- The Inca Trail to Machu Picchu is considered the best hiking route on the planet.
- This walk is special because it covers 39 kilometers of the qhapac ñan, the network of Inca roads. Therefore, you can only do the walk with an authorized tourism agency. Visitors cannot hike the Inca Trail on their own.
- The route is made up of stone paths made by the Incas. The tour includes a visit to Inca archaeological sites, such as: Llactapata, Sayacmarca, Phuyupatamarca, Wiñayhuayna and, at the end, Machu Picchu.
- The Inca Trail allows you to reach Machu Picchu along the same route that the Incas did. In the end you arrive at the Inca city through the Intipunku or Puerta del Sol. From there you have a first landscape view of the entire archaeological complex. For many it is an unforgettable experience.
- The Inca Trail to Machu Picchu is only done with a tour. Tours, due to high demand and limited availability, must be purchased online 4 or 5 months in advance. The tourist can choose the tourism agency of their choice.
- The tours include everything necessary for a safe visit: tourist transportation, entrance to all tourist attractions, professional guide, camping equipment, food by cooks, porters to carry the necessary utensils and more.
- In addition, there is a short version of the Inca Trail called ‘Short Inca Trail 2 days’. This route runs a stretch of 13 kilometers from the Chachabamba sector to Machu Picchu passing through the Inca site of Wiñayhuayna. This route is recommended for visitors who do not have much time for the classic 4-day hike.
What you will see on the Inca Trail route
4. The Salkantay trek, incredible 5-day route to Machu Picchu
- The Salkantay trek is known as one of the most famous hiking routes to Machu Picchu. For some it is even better than the Inca Trail 4 days.
- The Salkantay trek lasts 5 days and covers on foot approximately 70 kilometers from the town of Mollepata in the high mountains of Cusco to Machu Picchu passing through incredible tourist attractions such as the Humantay lagoon, the Salkantay pass, the Cocalmayo thermal baths and the beautiful jungle. high of Cusco.
- The Salkantay trek, unlike the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, can be done with an all-inclusive tour or on your own. The roads they travel are some of the most beautiful landscapes in Cusco. The maximum height is the Salkantay Pass at 4,600 meters above sea level. The lowest altitude is the town of Aguas Calientes at 2,040 meters above sea level.
- During the Salkantay trek, tourists spend four nights in camps prepared for the hot and cold climates of Cusco. The camps are: in Mollepata, in the town of Chaullay, on Salhuayaco beach and in the town of Aguas Calientes (hotel the last night). On the fourth day you can visit the Inca archaeological site of Llactapata.
- On the last day of the Salkantay trek, the tourist arrives at Machu Picchu through the town of Aguas Calientes. This route can be done on foot (2 hours) or by bus (30 minutes).
- There is another version of the Salkantay trek that lasts only 4 days. This hiking route, unlike the 5-day Salkantay trek, covers a short section by land transportation.
- The 5-day Salkantay trek tour can be done with a tourism agency. Availability is wide so you can purchase 1 to 4 weeks in advance without problems.
Advice from people who have been there
“It was worth it!“
“The trip is an endless number of beautiful things, which add up with the days. All the places visited have their own charm and the icing on the cake is the ruins of Machu Picchu. There are no words to describe the beauty and energy that exists in this place. The warmth and kindness of the people make you feel like you are at home.“
By Ticket Machu Picchu – Last updated, February 1, 2024