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Machu Picchu easy guide
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Machu Picchu for the first time: an easy guide

The trip to Machu Picchu for the first time is one of the best experiences a person can feel in his life. The Inca citadel is always in first place among the best tourist destinations on the planet. Organizing the trip is not complicated. The first thing to do is to secure tickets. These can be obtained on your own or through a tourist agency. It is best to make reservations two or three months in advance. The rest: trains, hotels, restaurants, and itinerary of the trip; can be organized more calmly. Learn how to organize the first trip to Machu Picchu through this super easy guide!



Tourist observing the Inca citadel of Machu Picchu
Tourist observing the Inca citadel of Machu Picchu

The magic of the first trip to Machu Picchu in Cusco, Peru
Machu Picchu is considered one of the best tourist destinations in the world. The reason? The Inca citadel has a special charm before, during, and after the visit. Before you get to know Cusco, a city with a lot of history visited every day by hundreds of people from all over the world. During the trip to Machu Picchu, you feel a special energy in the Andean landscapes, in the delicious food, the good attention of the people, and the magic that encloses the Inca citadel. After the trip, people take Machu Picchu with them as one of the most memorable moments of their lives. That is why most visitors return sooner or later. Machu Picchu is one of the destinations that you must visit before you die. The first time there, the impression is very pleasant, and memorable. Undoubtedly a place worth knowing.


Buying tickets to Machu Picchu before the trip

The first big step to making the trip is to purchase online the entrance ticket or the tour to Machu Picchu. The first option allows you to make the trip on your own. The second option includes the other necessary tickets (train and bus) and, in some cases, hotel reservations.

Los boletos a Machu Picchu tienen disponibilidad limitada a alrededor de 5 mil visitantes diarios. Esto, sobre todo en temporada alta de turismo (mayo, junio, julio, agosto, septiembre) requieren que el visitante haga su compra con dos, tres o cuatro meses de anticipación.

Tickets can be purchased online through the official website (machupicchu.gob.pe) or an authorized tourism agency (ticketmachupicchu.com). In both cases, the visitor must choose one of the five types of tickets available:

  • Ticket Machupicchu Only – 10 entrance times / circuits 1 or 2 / includes classic photo / the most recommended entrance.
  • Ticket Machupicchu with Huaynapicchu – 4 entrance times / circuit 4 / includes the hike to Huayna Picchu mountain.
  • Ticket Machupicchu with Mountain – 2 hours of entrance / circuit 3 / includes the hike to Machu Picchu mountain.
  • Ticket Machupicchu with Huchuy Picchu – 5 hours of entrance / circuit 4 / Includes the hike to Huchuy Picchu mountain.
  • Ticket Machupicchu with Inca Bridge – 9 hours of admission / circuits 1 or 2 / Includes the classic photo and the hike to the Inca Bridge of Machu Picchu.

These are the prices of the entrance tickets to Machu Picchu:

Entrance Machupicchu Only
Entrance to Machu PicchuForeignersPeru, Colombia, Ecuador or Bolivia
Adults in general152 Peruvian soles64 Peruvian soles
University students77 Peruvian soles32 Peruvian soles
Under 18 years of age70 Peruvian soles32 Peruvian soles
Entrance Machu Picchu with Huayna Picchu
Entrance to Machu PicchuForeignersPeru, Colombia, Ecuador or Bolivia
Adults in general200 Peruvian soles112 Peruvian soles
University students125 Peruvian soles80 Peruvian soles
Under 18 years of age118 Peruvian soles80 Peruvian soles
Entrance Machu Picchu with Mountain
Entrance to Machu PicchuForeignersPeru, Colombia, Ecuador or Bolivia
Adults in general200 Peruvian soles112 Peruvian soles
University students125 Peruvian soles80 Peruvian soles
Under 18 years of age118 Peruvian soles80 Peruvian soles
Entrance Machu Picchu with Huchuy Picchu
Entrance to Machu PicchuForeignersPeru, Colombia, Ecuador or Bolivia
Adults in general200 Peruvian soles112 Peruvian soles
University students125 Peruvian soles80 Peruvian soles
Under 18 years of age118 Peruvian soles80 Peruvian soles
Entrance Machu Picchu with Inca Bridge
Entrance to Machu PicchuForeignersPeru, Colombia, Ecuador or Bolivia
Adults in general152 Peruvian soles64 Peruvian soles
University students77 Peruvian soles32 Peruvian soles
Under 18 years of age70 Peruvian soles32 Peruvian soles

Which of the five tickets to choose and at what time? The ‘Machupicchu Solo’ ticket is the most requested by visitors as it includes circuit 2, the most complete one that includes the classic photo and the tour of the main Inca temples.

The schedule depends on the itinerary of the visitor. If you want to make a 1-day visit starting from Cusco, the schedule is 10 am, 11 am, or 12 pm. If you want to make a 2-day visit with an overnight stay in Machupicchu town (Aguas Calientes town), the schedule is 6 am, 7 am, or 8 am.

If you like adventure, definitely a good option is to choose the ‘Machupicchu with Huayna Picchu’ ticket. This ticket allows you to hike uphill for almost 2 hours to have a panoramic view not only of Machupicchu but also of a part of the immense Andes Mountain Range that surrounds it.

After securing your entrance to Machu Picchu, you must purchase your train ticket through one of the websites of one of the two available companies: Peru Rail or Inca Rail. Both offer different types of trains and departure stations.

The Ollantaytambo station, in the Sacred Valley of the Incas, is the most requested station because it has the highest frequency of daily departures. The type of train and schedule depends on the visitor. However, all of them are tourist services that offer the greatest comfort. For a one-day visit departing from Cusco, it is recommended to choose the first schedules (departures between 6 and 7 am). For a two-day visit with an overnight stay in Aguas Calientes, you can choose the intermediate schedules (departures between 8, 9 and 10 am).

After arranging the entrance to Machu Picchu and the train tickets, the rest must be arranged: hotels in Cusco, reservations for other tours or whatever the visitor deems necessary. However, if you are traveling to Machu Picchu for the first time, and wish to do so without a tour, the purchase of the entrance and train to Machu Picchu are the most important.


Travel to Cusco, Peru

The trip to Cusco in Peru is the second thing that the visitor must organize. The Jorge Chavez International Airport in the city of Lima is the first destination because international flights arrive there from the main airports of the world.

From most countries in Europe and America, no visa is required to enter Peru. After purchasing a ticket to Lima, you must do the same for a flight to the city of Cusco, located 1,102 kilometers away by road. The bus trip takes 20 hours. The flight takes only 1 hour.

The city of Cusco is located in the middle of the Andes Mountains, at an altitude of approximately 3,399 meters above sea level. Once there, depending on your travel plan, you can stay in the city itself or a hotel in the Sacred Valley of the Incas, such as in Urubamba (2,871 meters above sea level).

The first day in Cusco it is normal to suffer from some symptoms of altitude sickness, also called mountain sickness. However, on the second or third day and thereafter, the symptoms are reduced.

Plaza de Armas of the Imperial City of Cuzco
Plaza de Armas of the Imperial City of Cuzco

Travel to Machu Picchu

Once in Cusco, it is time to organize the visit to Machu Picchu, with the train ticket and entrance to Machu Picchu secured. The first step is to board the train that takes the visitor to Aguas Calientes. There, the visitor can easily buy a bus ticket that will take him on a 30-minute trip to the entrance gate to Machu Picchu. The cost of this service is 12 dollars on average (24 dollars for a round trip).

At the entrance gate of Machu Picchu, visitors can hire a professional tour guide, either in a group or private service. The cost of the group service is 8 dollars per visitor on average. The cost of the private service is approximately 60 dollars per group.

Expedition Train Trip to Machu Picchu
Expedition Train Trip to Machu Picchu

Visiting Machu Picchu

Already with the tour guide, the circuit is made by Machu Picchu. Circuit 2, the most recommended, takes 2 hours 30 minutes on average. The tour guide service is not mandatory but highly recommended.

During the visit to Machu Picchu, tourists can get the photos of their choice. The most dreamed photo is obtained from the sector of the House of the Guardian. It is forbidden to go back, you must always continue along the circuit.

In Machu Picchu, it is forbidden to use advertising material, perform obscene acts that disturb the sacredness of the site, or damage the Inca constructions or the environment surrounding the site. It is forbidden to carry umbrellas, shoes with heels, baby carriages, drones, selfie sticks, and any object that impedes the easy transit of other people.

After the visit to Machu Picchu the tourist must return first to Aguas Calientes and then to the city of Cusco or the Sacred Valley of the Incas. Another option is to stay one more night in Aguas Calientes and then make a second visit to Machu Picchu the next day.

Tourists in Machu Picchu
Tourists in Machu Picchu

Questions and answers about traveling to Machu Picchu for the first time

  • When is the best time to visit Machu Picchu?

    The dry season is considered the best in Machu Picchu because there is less chance of rain. These are the months of May, June, July and August.

  • Is Machu Picchu always open?

    Yes, Machu Picchu is open every day of the year, including Sundays and holidays. Visiting hours are from 6 am to 5 pm.

  • Which type of ticket to Machu Picchu should I choose?

    The ‘Machupicchu Solo’ ticket is the most recommended as it offers a more complete visit to most of the Inca constructions. It also has the largest number of tickets available.

  • Which touristic circuit to Machu Picchu I should choose?

    Circuit 2 in Machu Picchu is the most recommended because it offers classic photography (from the sector of the House of the Guardian’s House). It includes a visit to the main temples such as the Temple of the Sun, the Main Temple, the Intihuatana, the Sacred Rock, the Temple of the Condor, and more.

  • Can I have discounts on the visit to Machu Picchu?

    Yes, the entrance ticket to Machu Picchu offers discounts for undergraduate university students (under 25 years old), visitors under 18 years old, and citizens of the Andean Community of Nations: Peru, Colombia, Ecuador, or Bolivia. Children under 3 years old do not pay.

  • How to travel to Cusco from Lima?

    From Lima to Cusco is 1,102 kilometers by road. The bus trip takes 20 hours. The trip by plane takes 1 hour.

  • How to travel to Machu Picchu from Cusco?

    From the city of Cusco to Machu Picchu is a little over 100 kilometers. The trip by train takes 4 hours. The trip by the alternative route by Hydroelectric takes 8 hours. The Inca Trail trekking route takes 4 days.

  • How to get a guide in Machu Picchu, is it mandatory?

    A tour guide is optional in Machu Picchu. You can hire one at the entrance gate to the Inca city or through the website of a tourist agency.

  • How to get the bus from Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu?

    The bus ticket can be purchased in the town of Aguas Calientes. You can also do it online. The availability is wide so it can be purchased the same day.

  • What should I know if I visit Machu Picchu for the first time?

    Machu Picchu is one of the best tourist attractions on the planet. Most visitors who come for the first time, come back. Entrance tickets must be purchased online and in advance.

Advice from people who have been there

Machu Picchu

Rosa P.By: Rosa P.

“Beautiful“

“Beautiful experience, and I would love to return with my whole family, Machu Picchu awakens something in you difficult to explain, for it is one of the best destinations in the world.“

 

By Ticket Machu Picchu – Last updated, April 29, 2024