The Top 10 Machu Picchu Travel Tips You Need to Know
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The Top 10 Machu Picchu Travel Tips You Need to Know

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Aug 24, 2015

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By Adam Haynie

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Last updated on November 10th, 2020 at 07:04 am

Machu Picchu Travel Tips

People fly from across the world to visit the mysterious city of Machu Picchu, now the only question is – when will you?  When your time finally arrives, here are a few Machu Picchu travel tips to help you enjoy your visit to the Lost City of the Incas. Find out everything you need to know before your trip to Machu Picchu.

Machu Picchu on sunny day

1. Visit Machu Picchu Early or Late in the Day

Our first Machu Picchu travel tip is to visit during the morning or late afternoon. If you wake up early, you can beat the heat and avoid the crowds. Additionally, you can watch the sunrise over Machu Picchu, a breathtaking view. There is nothing like experiencing the tranquility and mystery of Machu Picchu during sunrise. If you wait for the latter part of the day, you’ll also experience fewer crowds. People start to funnel out of the park, and you’ll have the lost city all to yourself!

2. Pack Light

When you travel to Machu Picchu, you cannot bring many personal items inside. There are multiple lockers onsite for you to store extra belongings. However, you are able to bring one small backpack. Therefore, you must pack light! Bring your camera, rain jacket, comfortable walking shoes, water, and a snack.  That’s really all you need to put in your day pack.  Leave the rest of your luggage at your hotel in Cuzco, the Sacred Valley, or Aguas Calientes! Also, don’t forget to bring some coins so that you can use the restroom there.

3. Be Prepared for Weather Changes

Our third Machu Picchu travel tip is to prepare for varying weather. While extra caution should be given, don’t let a little rain stop you from enjoying the most spectacular Inca ruins. Be it with a rain jacket, poncho, umbrella, or just a little Dancin’ in the Rain, a good attitude will help you appreciate this ancient Incan domain. Luckily, storms do not last long in Machu Picchu, so if one day is blustery, a second scheduled day could bring clear blue skies. When I visited Machu Picchu, I chose to schedule two days at the mysterious site. And, it was a good thing I booked two days! I experienced rain and clouds one day and a hot sunny day the next!

woman petting llama at machu picchu mountain

4. Determine the Best Time to Visit Machu Picchu

I recommend visiting Machu Picchu during the “dry” season in Peru. However, keep in mind the weather is always unpredictable. The high season is July-August, so you are sure to experience crowds.  The low season is October-April because this is the rainy season.

5. Hire a Local Guide

Currently, the first time you enter Machu Picchu, you need to be with a guide. Then, if you choose to enter a second time, you can go on your own. Even before the mandatory guide rule was put in place, we always recommended having a guide take you through Machu Picchu. Some would argue that a guidebook would suffice, however, the local guides bring to life the Inca ruins by sharing information that only a local would know. We are happy to book all private or group tours.

6. Embark on a Peru Hiking Adventure

Choose either Huayna Picchu or Machu Picchu Montaña.  You will need separate tickets to climb these trails. Be sure to book this early, only 400 tickets per day are available for each hike, and once they’re gone they’re gone.  Both hikes are definitely worth the additional costs. You’ll experience a new vantage point for observing Machu Picchu. Keep in mind these can be very strenuous hikes.

woman hiking inca trail

7. Bring a Your Passport (or a copy)

If you leave the gates to use the restroom or to grab food, you will need your passport to re-enter. Don’t forget to get your passport stamped with the special Machu Picchu stamp that is located right outside the entrance gates and easy to miss.

8. Choose Alternate Hiking Routes

If you enjoy hiking, take the Inca Trail or Salkantay Trail to see first-hand what Hiram Bingham found as they re-discovered Machu Picchu. Spend either two days, four days, or five, on these treks for a magical experience. Don’t delay your booking because tickets often sell out more than six months before check-in.  

9. Enjoy the Machu Picchu Train Ride

Normally on trains, you’d think to bring a lot of items to keep you busy. The train ride to Machu Picchu is one where you don’t need a distraction. Enjoy the landscape as you travel from the Sacred Valley to Aguas Calientes. Watch as the landscape changes from arid desert to lush Atlantic rainforest. Though, we do recommend bringing books or toys for younger children. After all, it is a 2.5-hour train ride!

Curtiba express train passing river in mountains

10. First-class Trains are Available

If you don’t have the time, or want to relax, board the Vistadome or Hiram Bingham train for the best views of Machu Picchu. These first-class trains are the best in the show and depart daily from Cuzco or Ollantaytambo.  Once you arrive in Aguas Calientes, you’re almost there, just a short bus will take you directly to the gate where you will start your Machu Picchu tour.

Peru is not the only destination we recommend visiting, we specialize in multi-country trips throughout South America.  Simply fill out the form below or contact us directly at (800) 747-4540 to start planning your dream vacation.

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Last updated on November 10th, 2020 at 07:04 am

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