What is Machu Picchu?
Machu Picchu is one of the 7 New Wonders of the World. It was built during the rise of the Inca Empire, and is considered the most impressive pre-Hispanic structure on the continent. Currently, this ancient sanctuary receives more than 1.5 million visitors a year, making it the most popular tourist destination in South America.
Where is Machu Picchu?
It is located in the heart of the Peruvian cloud forest, within the Cusco region. The famous Inca citadel is located on the top of a mountain more than 2,400 meters above sea level.
When is the best time to visit Machu Picchu?
Machu Picchu is located on the edge of the Peruvian high jungle and the Andes, 2,430 meters above sea level. Temperatures in this region range between 12°C and 24°C, hot and humid weather predominates during the day and is colder at night. The climatic condition in Machu Picchu is characterized by two seasons:
- – Rainy Season: It takes place between December and April, these being the rainiest months of the year. However, a transition from the rainy season with light rainfall is expected between October and December.
- – Dry Season: It is considered the coldest season of the year. This period begins in May and ends in September. Bright and sunny days are expected throughout this season.
It is worth mentioning that weather conditions in this region can change drastically. Therefore, we encourage you to know everything about it and prepare the perfect packing list for Machu Picchu before venturing to this wonder.
Can I camp in the Inca citadel of Machu Picchu?
To avoid human impact and contamination in this historic sanctuary, the Peruvian government has limited access to visits only. Unfortunately, it is not possible to spend the night at the archaeological site. However, there are some hiking options like the Inca Trail and the Salkantay Trek that offer overnight camping in the Peruvian wilderness.
Is one day enough to see Machu Picchu?
Yes, one day is enough to visit the ancient citadel of Machu Picchu. However, the visit is limited to 4 hours per person, and tickets are issued with a certain entry time. Additionally, if you take the additional walks, your stay can be extended by 2 to 3 hours.
Is Machu Picchu closed during the rainy season?
No, Machu Picchu is open every day of the year, even on holidays. However, if you are planning to do the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, keep in mind that this route is closed in February due to maintenance.
What are the Huayna Picchu and Machu Picchu mountains?
They are the mountains that surround the Inca Citadel. Huayna Picchu is located 2,720 meters above sea level and offers an exceptional view of the archaeological site, as well as several Inca ruins along the way.
Machu Picchu Mountain is located 3,082 meters above sea level, and serves as another viewpoint to the famous historical sanctuary. However, the hike to its summit is significantly less challenging than Huayna Picchu Mountain.
To climb any of these mountains, you will have to purchase an additional ticket well in advance. For more information, contact our travel agents.
Are there bathrooms in Machu Picchu?
The only bathrooms are located at the main entrance to the Machu Picchu citadel. There are no bathrooms within the archaeological complex.
Is a high physical level required to visit Machu Picchu?
No, the Inca citadel circuit is not challenging at all. You don’t need to have a high level of fitness to explore the sanctuary.
About Entrance to Machu Picchu
What are the entry requirements to Machu Picchu?
To enter Machu Picchu, you must arrive at the entry time stipulated on your ticket and show your passport.
Is it necessary to buy entry to Machu Picchu in advance?
Yes, it is highly recommended to buy the ticket to Machu Picchu in advance, especially if you travel during the high tourist season.
Is there an age limit?
No, there is no age limit for entry to the historical sanctuary.
Should I hire a guide for Machu Picchu?
Yes, the accompaniment of a guide is mandatory for the visit to Machu Picchu. Lucky for you, all our travel packages include private guidance to the Inca citadel.
Are there restrictions for Machu Picchu?
Yes, to optimize the experience within the archaeological site, the Peruvian government has implemented the following measures:
- – Stay is limited to 4 hours per ticket.
- – You will not be able to enter the citadel without a guide.
- – Only small backpacks are allowed to enter the archaeological site.
- – The consumption of alcohol, drugs and tobacco is not allowed.
- – Drones are prohibited in the historic sanctuary.
- – Tripods, large umbrellas or selfie sticks are not permitted .
- – Baby strollers are not allowed.
- – Professional cameras require special permission.
How to get to Machu Picchu?
There are different ways to get to Machu Picchu. Depending on the time you have and the experience you are looking for, you can choose to take a fabulous train trip or venture along an authentic trail to the famous Inca Citadel.
– Trains to Machu Picchu
The train trip is the most popular way to get to Machu Picchu, not only because of its time efficiency, but because it crosses the Peruvian mountains, passing through the impressive cloud forest and its imposing mountains. Likewise, there are different types of trains and routes to reach the famous town of Machu Picchu.
– Bus trip to Machu Picchu
When mentioning the different ways to get to Machu Picchu, we cannot leave bus trips behind. Although it is currently impossible to get to Aguas Calientes by bus, you can easily reach the nearest town and then continue on a 3-hour walk to this famous town. It is worth mentioning that the bus trip takes about 6 hours from Cusco to Hidroeléctrica and it is not advisable to take this transportation option during the rainy season.
– Trekking to Machu Picchu
If you’re the adventurous type, this might be the best option for you! There are different hikes to this wonder of the world. Whether you want to explore ancient Inca settlements, the imposing Andes mountain range, or go on an adventure through the jungle, there are different options for all tastes and ages.
Quick Tip: Here you can find more information about how to get to Machu Picchu.
Can I walk from Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu?
Yes, you can walk from the so-called Machu Picchu Pueblo to the Inca citadel. The walk takes approximately 1 hour and 45 minutes.
Can I buy the bus ticket to Machu Picchu in advance?
Currently, it is not possible to buy the bus ticket to Machu Picchu in advance. However, you can easily purchase it once in the town of Aguas Calientes.
Where can I take the train to Machu Picchu?
There are different train stations, but this will depend on the departure point of the train ticket you have purchased. Here we have listed the train stations for Machu Picchu:
- – San Pedro (Cusco)
- – Poroy (Cusco)
- – Urubamba (Sacred Valley)
- – Ollantaytambo (Sacred Valley)
What are the types of trains to Machu Picchu?
There are different types of trains and routes to get to the famous town of Machu Picchu. These are the most popular options:
- – Expedition Train: This tourist class car is one of the most popular train services to get to Machu Picchu. It leaves from the train stations of Cusco, Ollantaytambo and Aguas Calientes.
- – Vistadome Train: For those looking to experience the exuberant nature of the Cusco countryside, this panoramic train offers floor-to-ceiling windows, on-board service and typical dance shows. It leaves from the stations of Cusco, Urubamba, Ollantaytambo and Aguas Calientes.
- – Sacred Valley Train: This is one of the most luxurious train trips to get to Machu Picchu. Travel back in time in these 1920s-style carriages and experience the best of the Urubamba Valley and the high jungle.
Is it necessary to buy the train ticket to Aguas Calientes in advance?
Yes, we recommend that you buy the train ticket to Aguas Calientes in advance, especially if you are planning to visit Peru during the high season ( April – October).
Can I choose seats on train trips?
Unfortunately, Perú Rail (the railway company) does not allow passengers to choose seats on any of its different types of trains. Their distribution is carried out automatically by the company’s system.
Are there baggage limits on trains?
Suitcases weighing more than 5 kg are not allowed on the train or in the Archaeological Site of Machu Picchu. Therefore, you should leave your large luggage in the storage service of your accommodation.
For your trip to Machu Picchu, we highly recommend that you bring a light backpack with only the essentials for your comfort.
About Treks to Machu Picchu
What is the Inca Trail?
Also known as Qhapaq Ñan , is a network of roads that connected the entire Tahuantinsuyo Empire. It had a length of more than 30,000 km and passed through Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Chile and Argentina.
Today, it is one of the most requested routes to reach Machu Picchu. The Classic Inca Trail takes you through several archaeological sites and the lush nature of the cloud forest.
How to book the Inca Trail?
To reduce the human impact on this historic trail, the Peruvian government has limited access to 500 people per day, including hikers, cooks, porters and guides.
Therefore, if you dare to take this adventure, we strongly recommend that you book your trip at least 6 months in advance. It is worth mentioning that the Inca Trail is closed in February for maintenance.
How long and difficult is the Inca Trail?
The Classic Inca Trail is 43 kilometers long and is considered a moderately difficult hike. However, great physical condition is not required to complete this hike.
What is the Salkantay Trek?
The Salkantay Trek is the best alternative to the famous Inca Trail. This path takes you through the most remote places of the Peruvian Andes and to heights greater than 4,600 meters above sea level to appreciate the imposing Salkantay snow-capped mountain and then enter the dense jungle.
How to book the Salkantay Trek?
If you dare to go on this adventure, you should do your research since there are many companies that offer this tour. But, one thing is certain, choosing the cheapest is not always the best option. Remember that you will get the service you paid for, no more, no less. Therefore, if you want more information about trusted tour operators for the Salkantay Trek, contact our team.
How long and difficult is the Salkantay Trek?
The Salkantay trail is 74 km long and is considered a moderate-difficult hike. Therefore, we recommend that you get used to the altitude and walking long distances before committing to this physically demanding hike. Please note that the highest point of the Salkantay Trek is 4,630 meters above sea level.