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How to Travel to Machu Picchu

Each year millions of visitors go to the impressive and obscure Incan Citadel at Machu Picchu in Peru. But getting to the vast landscaped terraces of agriculture, intricate stone structures and breathtaking views from the hilltops of the UNESCO World Heritage site isn’t affordable, and requires more complicated logistics than usual. Here’s how you can get to Peru’s most popular place.

When is the best time to visit Machu Picchu

Machu Picchu is open year-round. October to April is an official season of rain however it can rain anytime. The peak season is between July and August it is always advisable to expect crowds. Sundays can be particularly packed, as that’s when those who reside in the Cusco province can enter the site free of charge in addition to the daily limit of 2,500 paid visitors. From December 2020 the daily limit is now just 1,116 visitors each day because of the coronavirus epidemic; 75 people will be granted access to the site each hour.

How to get acclimated

Whatever location you’re in is most likely to be a lot less in elevation than Cusco (11,000 feet) or Machu Picchu (just shy of 8000 feet). If you’ve booked a tour towards Machu Picchu that requires an overnight stay in Cusco and we suggest immediately traveling by train Cusco towards Aguas Calientes (officially named Machu Picchu Pueblo), the town closest to Machu Picchu. Spend a few nights in acclimatizing to the small elevation in Aguas Calientes, which is around 6,700 feet. Then, you can explore Machu Picchu before returning to Cusco. It is also possible to spend some your time within Cusco’s Sacred Valley, which, by nature, is less in elevation than mountains surrounding it. This can help reduce the uncomfortable or even deadly effects of altitude sickness which typically result in headaches fatigue, nausea, and fatigue. Avoid drinking alcohol or physical exertion when acclimatizing. Drink as much water or tea as you are able to aid your body in gradually adjust to the lower air.

Machu Picchu tours from Cusco – The journey from Cusco to Machu Picchu

The simplest way to travel to Cusco in Peru to Machu Picchu is to take the train from Aguas Calientes. It’s a beautiful 3.5-hour journey each way on tracks that follow the Urubamba River in the Sacred Valley which is a dramatic canyon with impressive walls both sides.
A few train tips:

* The”official” Cusco train station actually is in the town nearby, Poroy. It’s a low-cost taxi ride, but allow you at least one hour to travel to the center of Cusco towards the station. The traffic in Cusco is often a nightmare and the seemingly endless road construction can make things even more crowded.

The three companies to pick among: Inca Rail, Peru Rail along with The Belmond Hiram Bingham train. The Hiram Bingham service is beautiful train with gleaming polished wood and brass. It also comes with a white tablecloth lunch and wine throughout your trip. It’s also costlier in comparison to Inca Rail or Peru Rail as both provide comfortable travel on various kinds of trains, which include ones with panoramic windows , for an additional cost.

If you are taking whichever train decide to take make sure you book your tickets early as is possible. Tickets are sold out weeks in advance in certain months.

* If tickets for trains from Cusco are not available There is still hope. Make sure you purchase tickets to Aguas Calientes, which starts from the town of Ollantaytambo within the Sacred Valley, or vice to the other direction. Minivans and taxis between Ollantaytambo as well as Cusco (just about one hour per way) are available. If you’re in the mood make sure to stay overnight in Ollantaytambo to explore this town. It has many streets built by the Incans and structures, as well as the archeological site of the identical name. Be sure to get there as early as you can to the archaeological site in order to soak up the sunrise and beat tour buses.

* You can also choose to stay for the night in Urubamba just 20 minutes away from Ollantaytambo where you can find an array of luxurious as well as boutique hotel.

Machu Picchu Treks

Another option to travel the distance from Cusco towards Machu Picchu is to walk in a group of multi-day organized Machu Picchu treks. There are thousands of hikers who go up to Machu Picchu each year. Here’s how.

The most well-known method of hiking to Machu Picchu is along a part from one of many Incan roads that were constructed as the empire grew. Numerous tour operators offer Inca Trail hikes that lead to Machu Picchu, with varying lengths and degrees of comfort (though each requires camping). It is important to note that the Inca Trail that leads towards Machu Picchu is closed for the whole month of February to ensure maintenance.

* For those looking for an experience that is less crowded, or want to explore and experience the other features of Peru when they travel towards Machu Picchu, there are numerous trekking options which are the second most popular option to hike towards Machu Picchu is around massive Salkantay Mountain, one of the most majestic peaks in the Peruvian Andes with a height of 20,569 feet. Numerous tour operators provide Salkantay treks.

For those interested in archaeology, look into the Choquequirao trek, which includes an Machu Picchu expansion. The itinerary is spectacular (but extremely difficult) trekking through The steep Apurimac Canyon as well as a visit to Choquequirao. Choquequirao archaeological site prior to getting to Aguas Calientes, and later exploring Machu Picchu.

*The Lares Adventure from Mountain Lodges of Peru is a wonderful combination of Andean trekking and cultural excursions within Quechua communities before arriving at Aguas Calientes for a tour of the citadel. Other tour operators offer excursions through and around the Lares region, however this tour includes luxurious accommodation in their lodges, and full-service throughout the trip.

The Inca Jungle Tour combines hiking biking, rafting, and zip-lining along the way up to Machu Picchu.

* You could also take a drive (most all the way) towards Machu Picchu from Cusco to the town of Hydroelectrica (there’s an hydroelectric plant in the town). From there, you can take a three hour hike to Aguas Calientes, and then towards Machu Picchu. Numerous tour operators offer this route in Cusco offer this trek for a single or two-day excursion with private vans.

Machu Picchu Tips for visiting

Tickets for entry If you’re going on your own and want to purchase an individual Machu Picchu entrance tickets here however, you must remember that you’ll have to employ an experienced local guide prior to getting into the park. (There are plenty of guides waiting at the entrance for visitors to Machu Picchu.) If you’re booking the tour via an operator or hotel, entry tickets must be included. Since 2019, entry tickets are timed, which allows entry at the hour of your choosing, and you’re able to stay on the premises for up to 4 hours.

Bring: water and a raincoat, even if it appears to be an amazing sunny day. In the case of sun, keep in mind it is the case that the ozone layer above Peru is weakened. This, in conjunction with the elevation that makes the sun very intense here. Therefore, wear a hat and lots of sunscreen with high SPF. Also, bring insect repellent. Keep a few one sole coins in your wallet. They’ll be required to use the bathroom that is the only one at the entry point to the location. To access the bathroom or get food you’ll need to leave the gates. Therefore, carry your passport along with your ticket. You’ll have to show both for re-entry into the citadel.

Don’t bring: drones umbrellas, strolling bamboo or trekking sticks as they’re all banned in Machu Picchu. Tourists who require sticks or poles to move can bring them in only with rubber tips that are protected on the ends.

Don’t forget just outside the gates to the entrance, you’ll find an unmarked station where you can obtain the unique Machu Picchu stamp in your passport.

The bus: can choose to take a steep 90 minutes climb towards the citadel starting from Aguas Calientes or travel by bus for 30 minutes. You’ll have to buy your ticket at the ticket counter located in Aguas Calientes. However, you can do it at the time of your travel. Buses run at intervals of 15 to 20 minutes beginning at 5:45 a.m. Then, people begin lining up prior to. The lines to board will be lengthy for both ways.

Avoid the crowds: Once you reach the citadel, get away from the masses of people who are streaming towards the main structures and head to The Guard House in the Guard House. It’s a small area above the main area of the park, and there is usually less crowds in the rush of people towards the center area. Stop here for a beautiful view of the citadel and find your way around.

* Morning? Afternoon? There’s no ideal time to go to Machu Picchu. Nowadays, the place is always crowded and the weather can be unpredictable. In the season of rain, mornings can be hazy. It depends on the mood you are in fog can ruin the view or imparts an air of mystery it. The afternoons are generally less crowded, as tourists return in the direction of the railway station to begin their return trip to Cusco.

Huayna Peak: You’ll require an extra ticket to ascend this mountain at the site and it is necessary to reserve in advance as there’s a limit of tickets available. The view of the Incan ruin is an absolute highlight for many people, but you should be aware that some areas of this strenuous hike are extremely steep and narrow. There’s a choice of beginning your hike early, either at seven a.m. and 10 a.m. Begin early, around 10 a.m. There’s an increased chance that any cloud will have cleared by that time. (As of December 20, 2020, Huayna Picchu is closed because of the coronavirus pandemic.)

* Machu Picchu Mountain peak: It also needs a ticketas well as knees with good strength. The path is almost exclusively staircases. You can choose between beginning your climb at seven a.m. as well as at 9 a.m. (As as of December 20, 2020, Machu Picchu Mountain peak is currently closed due to the coronavirus epidemic.)

* Free hikes around the citadel: Although Huayna Picchu or Machu Picchu both require extra tickets, you can hike up towards the Sun Gate (about two hours for a round trip on a smooth trail that has a few steps) to take in the stunning views of the entire area. There is also a short hike up to the Inca Bridge (less than an hour’s drive on an almost plain trail) to explore the trail’s precarious sections that is now closed. is a part of the trail that the Incas built on the rock face. (As as of December 20, 2020, both the Sun Gate and the Inca Bridge have been closed because of the coronavirus pandemic.)

* Guides Required for visitors to Machu Picchu, whether you’re traveling with an organized tour or on your own. Hire one at the gate or book a guide at Aguas Calientes.

• Stay for lunch There’s a casual café and bar with a beautiful deck that is located just beyond the gates to the entry The Buffet lunch at the Sanctuary Lodge is the only option for a sit-down restaurant. It’s delicious, though it’s expensive.

* Update on Coronavirus: Upon arrival at Machu Picchu, your temperature will be measured when you’re over 100°F then you won’t be permitted to enter. All visitors must wear masks and keep their feet six feet apart (2 meters) in all at all times. Tour groups are limited to eight persons and must stay at a distance of 66 feet (20 millimeters) with other tours.

Aguas Calientes Travel Tips

Where to stay in Aguas Calientes

* If you want to stay in a luxurious hotel there are two primary choices in the city The elegant Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo resort situated near Station station and the the modern SUMAQ Machu Picchu Hotel, a luxury hotel located near the base of Machu Picchu Mountain. There are plenty of budget-friendly options as super-budget hostels for backpackers.

* You could also stay close to the entrance of Machu Picchu at Belmond Sanctuary Lodge This allows you to easily access Machu Picchu’s site, but it’s a long way from the restaurants and shops in Aguas Calientes (either an exhausting 90 minutes climb down the mountain or a strenuous 30 minute drive.)

Where to eat and drink in Aguas Calientes

In general, Aguas Calientes isn’t exactly in the forefront of Peruvian food. However, walk down the street of Av. Pachacutec and you’ll see numerous low-key eateries and bars, some of which offer an array of Peru’s growing selection of craft beers. There are also restaurants of a high-end standard in these two luxurious hotels which are accessible to non-guests.

Things to do Things to Do Aguas Calientes

Aguas Calientes is named for the thermal springs that are located in the town that are accessible to the public at the cost of a small fee. There’s plenty of shopping for souvenirs in the main market located close to Station. Even though Machu Picchu is the main tourist attraction it is also possible to visit The Mariposario de Machupicchu butterfly sanctuary.

Cusco Travel Tips

Don’t skip Cusco. The pre-Columbian structures have earned the city UNESCO World Heritage status, and its cobblestoned roads, excellent accommodations, museum, archaeological sites, and a relaxed environment make it worth spending at least a few days there.

Where to stay in Cusco

Cusco is home to many large, full-service hotels , including Inkaterra La Casona, an 11-suite hotel located in a 16th century mansion Belmond Hotel Monasterio in a former Jesuit seminary, the JW Marriott’s museum-like El Convento Cusco; and the grand Palacio del Inka, A Luxury Collection Hotel. If a boutique-style fashion-forward boutique appeals to you then try El Mercado or Atiq Hotel Boutique.

What to Eat and drink in Cusco

* Cicciolina is a traditional that looks and feels like an intimate hangout that serves international and Andean food from this open-air kitchen. The tapas bar is where you can choose from the tapas menu and the dining room menus.

* Kion is part of the expanding Cusco Restaurants group, is an elegant spot to take in Cantonese food. The interior is Chinese traditional, the food is delicate and the ambience is festive.

* Chicha is the first restaurant located in Cusco that was founded by Peruvian celebrity chef Gaston Acurio of Astrid y Gaston fame. The restaurant is situated on the second level of the Colonial building, Chicha serves a high-end Andean food (alpaca carpaccio, quinoa and duck) in a light bright and bright area.

* Cholos pub, which is located close to Plaza Main, has about a dozen Peruvian craft beers on tap . The Peruvian patron Rodrigo Cardenas is passionate and experienced about them all.

What to do in Cusco

Cusco is filled with historic sites both from the Incan and colonial times: don’t miss the impressive Coricancha (also spelled Koricancha or Qorikancha), an Incan temple-turned-Spanish church; the Sacsayhuaman Incan ruins; and the Cusco Cathedral. Take a stroll through the trendy San Blas neighborhood, people-watch on the Plazas de Armas, and shop at the San Pedro Market.