10 travel tips to enjoy Machu Picchu
It is important to take care of the details and plan well before embarking on an adventure to the Wonder of the world. That’s why we prepared a didactic summary on how to plan the trip to Machu Picchu. And, of course, we offer some tips on how to make the most of your dream vacation.
- 1. How to plan the trip to Machu Picchu?
- 2. When to go to Machu Picchu?
- 3. How to get from Cusco to Aguas Calientes?
- 4. How to get from Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu?
- 5. How to buy the Machu Picchu Ticket?
- 6. How is the tour of Machu Picchu?
- 7. What do I need to take to Machu Picchu?
- 8. Where to sleep in Aguas Calientes?
- 9. How much money to take to Machu Picchu?
- 10. What are the prohibitions in Machu Picchu?
Machu Picchu, the Wonder of the World
To travel to Machu Picchu with more freedom and lower budget buy the entrance ticket directly online. The other option is to hire an all-inclusive tour. Both alternatives take you to know the Inca city.
1. How to plan the trip to Machu Picchu?
- To plan the trip to Machu Picchu, first decide the season in which you will visit Cusco in Peru.
- There are 2 stations in Cusco: the dry season (from April to October) where there are not many rains and the rainy season (from November to March) where rainfall is more frequent.
- The dry season coincides with the high season of tourism. During the rainy season is when fewer tourists visit Machu Picchu.
- Once you have decided on the date you wish to visit the Wonder of the World, buy tickets to Machu Picchu in advance.
- Make the reservation of the entrance Machu Picchu with time in advance. So you can better plan tours, hotel reservations, trains, flights and more.
- If you are going to do the Inca Trail, make your tour reservation 4, 5 or 6 months in advance.
- The entry ticket to the Huayna Picchu Mountain must also be purchased up to 3 months before.
- Remember to have your passport and identity document in order: check the expiration date.
2. When to go to Machu Picchu?
- During the dry season (from April to October) it is the best time to travel to Machu Picchu. At this time it is prudent to wear a hat, cap, sunscreen, sunglasses, insect repellent and raincoat (in case of rain).
- It is worth mentioning that from November to March is the rainy season. During those days, it is recommended to carry an umbrella, a waterproof poncho and non-slip shoes.
- In the dry season, Machu Picchu has an imposing landscape of blue sky. In the rainy season you will have a greener landscape.
3. How to get from Cusco to Aguas Calientes?
- There are three possible ways to get to Aguas Calientes, also known as Machu Picchu town.
- The Inca Trail – 4-day trekking route (39 kilometers). It will lead you directly to Machu Picchu through the Sun Gate (Intipunku). You will need to contract the services with a travel agency.
- The route by train – This route combines travel by bus and train. The first section goes from Cusco to Ollantaytambo by car. The final part is from Ollantaytambo to Aguas Calientes by train. At the end there is a short bus ride to Machu Picchu.
- The Hidroeléctrica route – This alternative route starts with a long drive from Cusco to the Hidroeléctrica station. From there you can walk or take the train to the town of Aguas Calientes. Finally you make the short bus ride to Machu Picchu.
- The most recommended way to get to Machu Picchu is by train. However, if you are looking for an adventure the Inca Trail or the route by Hidroeléctrica are good options.
- To travel by train, book your ticket online a few weeks before or after knowing the date you will visit Machu Picchu.
- If you want to do the Inca Trail, you must book your tour approximately six months in advance.
Aguas Calientes is a special town so it is recommended to spend at least one night in this place. This way you can visit Machu Picchu early in the morning. Aguas Calientes also has tourist options such as the Mandor waterfalls, the Putucusi mountain or the thermal baths.
4. How to get from Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu?
- To get from Machu Picchu to Aguas Calientes you have 2 options: one totally free and the other through a bus trip.
- Go up walking – Consists of a path composed of stone stairs. The ascent lasts 2 hour on average, time that depends on the physical condition of the tourist. The difficulty of the ascent is moderate – medium.
- Go up by bus – The buses start to go up from 5.30 am It is the option that most travelers choose. The journey is about 30 minutes.
- If you decide to get on bus, you do not need to buy the ticket online. You can do it in the same town of Aguas Calientes.
- If you are going to walk up, follow the steps that cut the mountain paths. The best time to do the walk is before the sun comes up.
5. How to buy the Ticket Machu Picchu?
- It is recommended to buy the Entrance Ticket to Machu Picchu and the train ticket before starting your trip.
- The Ticket Machu Picchu is valid only for one day. If it is not used there is no possibility of exchange or refund.
- There are five types of entries:
- Machu Picchu Only – This entrance will allow you to visit the Inca City of Machu Picchu. It is recommended to buy it weeks in advance.
- Machu Picchu + Huayna Picchu – The ticket includes the entrance to Huayna Picchu as well as Machu Picchu. The income is restricted to 200 people per day. The ticket must be purchased 2 to 3 months before the trip.
- Machu Picchu + Mountain – The ticket allows you to visit Machu Picchu and tour the Machu Picchu mountain. The number of tickets per day is limited to 400 spaces per day. Tickets can be purchased weeks in advance.
- Machu Picchu + Huchuy Picchu – This ticket will allow you to enter the new mountain Huchuy Picchu as well as the Inca citadel of Machu Picchu. Admission is restricted to 200 people per day. The ticket must be purchased weeks in advance.
- Machu Picchu + Inca Bridge – This ticket will allow you to visit the Inca city of Machu Picchu. It will also allow you to make the short hike to the Inca Bridge of Machu Picchu. Admission is restricted to 400 people per day. The ticket must be purchased weeks in advance.
- The purchase of any of the ticket types Machu Picchu is online. Remember that you can pay with Visa or MasterCard.
- There are tourist agencies that offer ticket sales through their web pages. However, you can also do so with the official website of the Ministry of Culture of Peru.
- Making the purchase is easy: you just have to register your information and make the payment by card. The most important thing is to find free availability.
- The entrance Machu Picchu + Huayna Picchu must be bought 2 or 3 months in advance. If not, it’s sure you will not find availability.
6. How is the tour of Machu Picchu?
- The Inca City of Machu Picchu opens its doors from 6 am
- At the entrance checkpoint, you will receive a map of Machu Picchu. There are the routes where you can make the journey.
- The tour is accompanied by a tour guide. The service lasts approximately 2 hours.
- The route is made through asymmetrical and elevated steps. You have to be calm and prudent, taking breaks.
- The physical effort made produces dehydration, so it is necessary to carry water.
- If necessary, you can carry a walking stick with a rubber tip.
- Once inside the Inca City, you will not find hygienic services so it is recommended to take the precautions of the case.
- At the entrance door there are toilets where you will also find a cloakroom.
During the ascent to Huayna Picchu you will find steep stone steps. The ascent takes almost 2 hours, depending on the physical endurance of the tourist. The way back is downhill and can take 1 hour and 30 minutes.
7. What do I need to take to Machu Picchu?
- The climate in Machu Picchu varies according to the seasons. It is essential to wear good non-slip shoes with thick soles.
- If you visit during the rainy season, it is important to bring waterproof clothing, poncho or umbrella.
- If you visit during the dry season, it is important to take care of your skin, so it is necessary to wear hats, sunglasses, mosquito repellent and sunscreen.
- Also, detachable pants are a good option for sunny days.
- Protect your skin. Machu Picchu has one of the highest radiation levels in the world, so protect yourself from the sun. Bring sunscreen, a hat and sunglasses. Sunburn is possible even on a cloudy day.
- Machu Picchu is located between the Andes Mountains and the jungle belt of Cusco. This location provides amazing scenery and a warm climate, which also attracts insects. So if you don’t want to descend from the citadel to put ice on your arms and legs, bring insect repellent with you.
8. Where to sleep in Aguas Calientes?
- Aguas Calientes is the place chosen by most travelers to spend the night before ascending Machu Picchu early in the morning. It is the town at the foot of the mountain and is entirely dedicated to tourism. There you will find hundreds of places to sleep, from camping areas and lodges to 5 star hotels.
- If you want to stay in Aguas Calientes, you will find a variety of accommodations of different categories.
- There is also a wide range of restaurants, pubs, bars and other places where you can spend a pleasant time.
- Machu Picchu town has thermal-medicinal baths that come from the subsoil and are distributed in several pools.
9. How much money to take to Machu Picchu?
- The official currency of Peru is the new Peruvian sol “S/.” The notes have the denominations of 10, 20, 50, 100 and 200 nuevos soles.
- Inside the airports there are banks and money exchanges where you can convert your money into ‘Peruvian soles’.
- In Cusco, the US dollar has good acceptance although euros are also accepted but you should be aware of the variations in its value.
- Make sure your money is in good condition, without breaks and without any written mark. In some establishments that money is not accepted.
- You can find automatic teller machines (ATM) easily in the city of Cusco and Aguas Calientes.
- In the city of Cusco there are also plenty of money exchange houses. The most used foreign currency is the US dollar. The majority of banks and exchange rates are in the El Sol avenue, near the Plaza de Armas of Cusco.
- The most used credit cards in Cusco, Peru are: Visa, MasterCard, Diners Club or PayPal.
10. What are the prohibitions in Machu Picchu?
- It is forbidden to bring food and drink into Machu Picchu. However, there will be no problem as long as you do not have a picnic at the archaeological site.
- Although they will check your backpack, they will allow you to enter with something to eat and a bottle of water (reusable).
- It is a big mistake to enter Machu Picchu with nothing to eat, as inside the archaeological site you will not find a single place to buy food and drink. An energy bar and a bottle of water in the middle of the hike will be enough.
- Umbrellas are not allowed. Raincoat are only allowed in case of rain. It is not allowed to use baby carriages, only kangaroo strollers are allowed.
- In Machu Picchu it is forbidden to take pictures with advertising material. It is also forbidden to enter with lighters, firearms, sharp objects, alcohol or drugs.
- Of course it is prohibited, and penalized, to damage the constructions of Machu Picchu.
By Ticket Machu Picchu – Last updated, August 8, 2022