Top 10 Traveling Tips Machu Picchu
Located in the Eastern Cordillera of southern Peru, the 15th-century Inca citadel is one of the Seven Wonders of the World and the most famous archaeological site of the American continent . It is not possible to pass by Peru without visiting this breath-taking beauty which will transport you through time.
Here are some tips if you plan to visit Machu Picchu. I would advise you to book everything in advance to be sure to have available tickets, because as you have heard Machu Picchu is one of the most visited places in the world.
Tip 1: Arrive in Cusco two days before the visit to Machu Picchu
You will feel some changes in your body, because of the altitude. It might be having headaches, or missing oxygen while you are in Machu Picchu. Then, it would be a good idea to stay at Cusco for two days to acclimatize before climbing the Machu Picchu mountain. This acclimatization will allow your body to feel dynamic and you will enjoy with full energies your visit to Machu Picchu.
Tips 2: Stay in Aguas Calientes for the night to see the sunrise on your way to Machu Picchu
Stay one day at Aguas Calientes before visiting Machu Picchu, because the next day you can departure to the site very early in the morning to see the sunrise and to avoid the crowd. Also, Aguas Calientes is a really nice place surrounded by mountains with some nice restaurants and interesting places to go.
How to get from Cuzco City to Aguas Calientes?
- Take the train from the Cuzco city station to Machu Picchu’s closest town called “Aguas Calientes”. The train is really nice because you will be able to save your energy for the main attraction and to see incredible landscapes. The trains are operated by Peru Rail and Inca Rail which are offering multiple options. It varies from modest to luxury services, it depends of your budget. There is a also a very cheap option, but it is only for national Peruvians or local legal residents.
As “foreigners” international students, we took the Inca Rail “360 degrees Bimodal” in the first way from Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu and we took the “voyager” train (which is a basic train) on the way back. We noticed that the experience was not changing much. The first option didn’t seem like a real 360 views, so if you are on a budget just stick to the voyager train for both ways.
The 360° Bimodal: $89
The voyager: $54
How to get from Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu?
- From Aguas Calientes, you have two options that are offered to you: taking the bus or going by walk.
a) The bus: It is the most “relaxing” option if you want to save up some energy and you feel you still need to adapt your physical condition. The bus ride lasts 30 minutes and costs $40. The buses are starting to departure around 5:30 am.
b) By walk: It takes around 45 minutes to arrive if you have good physical conditions and you are not taking too much breaks. There are 1800 stairs to climb. It is a challenging experience for your body which requires some physical efforts. However, the landscape is really beautiful and you’ll be able to enjoy the view while you take some rest.
Tip 3: Get you tickets to Machu Picchu in advance
The Machu Picchu mountain costs 100 soles for students and 200 soles for normal entry. Reserve your tickets with some months in advance to be sure you have a spot entering Machu Picchu.
The mountain offers you an amazing spot to watch the amazing Machu Picchu, but it requires a lot of physical efforts as well.
You will need to climb 2670 stairs and if you are afraid of heights considerate it twice.
If you do plan to climb the Machu Picchu mountain, I would advise you to take the bus from Aguas Calientes in order to save your energy since it is full of stairs.
Tip 4: Wear light clothes
Before going to the Machu Picchu, you might think that the weather will be cold and that you will need some big winter clothes. This is not that true. Machu Picchu is considered to be located in “ceja de selva” which it is in between the Mountains and the Rainforest, meaning it rains a lot and it gets warm during the day. Wear light clothing and take a sweater and a rain jacket.
Tip 5: Bring water and snacks
The weather might get really hot and you might walk a lot mostly if you are climbing the mountain so you will be dehydrate really fast. Moreover, once you entered Machu Picchu, you will not be able to re-enter which means that you will not have access to buy water or food. Take at least 2 bottles of water and some snacks in your bag to fuel yourself with some energy during the visit.
Tip 6: Take sunscreen
At high altitude, the sun is stronger. Let the sunscreen become your best friend or you will ended up as red as a tomato. Take it seriously, a heat stroke could ruin an amazing experience that is not happening every day.
Tip 7: Make sure twice you have your camera and cellphone with you
Don’t forget that Machu Picchu is one of the seven wonders of the world and that it has unique view. So because of the excitement that you will be in Machu Picchu, you might forget to place your camera on your bag or leave your cellphone charging at the hotel’s nightstand. Make sure you pack up your camera the day before, and that your cellphone is with you at every time so you can capture the unforgettable moments.
Tip 8: Don’t forget your passport
Don’t forget your passport and your printed tickets. These documents are indispensable to be able to enter into the site. If you don’t bring them they will not let you in and it will spoil your day.
Tip 9: Make sure you have seen everything before continuing your way
The Machu Picchu circuit is mostly constituted of “one way” road which means that you should do everything you want to once you are on the “top” before going down to visit the ruins. If you want to go down to visit the Inca site (the “village”) be aware that once you go down you’ll not be able to go back to the top.
Tip 10: Enjoy this unique moment and feel lucky to have the chance to see this archaeological monument.