The best hotel in Machu Picchu for any budget
Finding a good hotel in Machu Picchu is far from easy. In fact, Machu Picchu is one of the rare places on this planet you can’t just visit on a whim. You really need to plan your stay months ahead. One of the reasons is its inaccessibility the other issue is accommodation. Unlike other highlights around the world, it is not feasible to do Machu Picchu on a day trip (say from Cusco). If you want to spend more than 3 hours in the ruins, there is no way around staying overnight. But it gets worse. Except for one single high-end luxury options, there are no hotels in Machu Picchu itself. All other hotels will be in Aguas Calientes a 30 minutes bus ride away. Here is an overview:
Belmond Sanctuary lodge
Belmond, formerly (and perhaps better) known as Orient Express, runs the only hotel in front of Machu Picchu. The outstanding luxury hotel is literally 5 meters away from the main entrance and is called The Belmdon Sanctuary Lodge. This gives tourists the chance to be the first in and the last out of Machu Picchu. There is even a spa with a view on the ruins. Be aware that the Sanctuary Lodge is not exactly the cheapest hotel alternative for visiting the famous Inca ruins. The smallest rooms sell for more than 1,000 USD per night (check out the cheapest currently available price here). Since the space so close to the entrance is very limited, there are also only a very limited amount of rooms – these sell out quickly (despite their price).
The Belmond Sanctuary Lodge also has a Á la carte restaurant and a buffet style restaurant. Both are open to the public, though again not exactly cheap. That being said, the food is of a very high quality and well worth its price. Besides those two restaurants are literally your only option if you want to eat lunch (or an early dinner) in Machu Picchu.
Other luxury hotels for Machu Picchu
If you cannot afford the Sanctuary lodge or there are no vacancies, you still got a couple of luxury options. The second most famous hotel in Machu Picchu is the Inkaterra Hotel (officially called Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel; find prices and pictures here). There is a standing cooperation with PeruRail. You can option to have lunch at this hotel right after you arrive by train at a discount place. The hotel appears to be some colonial-style property and is only a couple of meters away from the train station. Everything is very spacious. There is even an orchid garden you can explore.
Very close to the river passing by Aguas Calientes, there is another 5-star property. Sumaq Machu Picchu hotel offers you comparable modern design, a wonderful setting, and spacious rooms. There is also a little spa. The hotel has a capacity of 60 rooms and is the largest of the luxury hotels in Machu Picchu.
There are, all in all almost 100 hotels in Aguas Calientes. In fact, the town consists of little else. That being said, it is very hard to take a pick. Basically, we recommend you to check out the latest deals on booking.com or similar hotel search sites. You can usually score a nice bargain there. Since most people will only stay one night, you really have to think twice if taking a luxury hotel is worth it.
That being said, we can recommend:
Casa del Sol Machupicchu
This is a very lovely 4-star hotel at a reasonable price. They have their own spa, a more than decent restaurant in a modern setting, not lacking traditional elements. You’ll find more pictures and prices here.
Tierra Viva Machu Picchu
This three-star hotel is one of the most popular budget hotels in Machu Picchu. With a price averaging around 120 US-Dollar (check out prices here)per night it is among the cheaper options in Aguas Calientes, while not being downright shabby. In fact, it is located inside a very modern building, with very clean and spacious rooms.
Hotel Taypikala Machupicchu
This hotel is located a bit further in town. Again it is very modern, very clean and most rooms offer a wonderful view. With roughly 100 US-Dollar per night (best prices and more pictures here), it is among the cheaper hotels in town, while still offering you the comfort of a three-star property
Peru is very popular among backpackers, so it is little wonder that there are plenty of hostels to be found in Aguas Calientes. Supertramphostel has always been among the favorites and actually won a TripAdvisor award. Copackers MachuPicchu is also very popular. And Hostal Angie’s is the bestseller on booking.com with the best ratings. Expect prices around 15 US-Dollar per night. Those hostels offering double bedrooms usually range around 50 US-Dollar per night. All in all, there is absolutely no shortage of hostels in Aguas Calientes. Since Peru is, generally speaking, safe to travel, and Machu Picchu is a very popular destination, there are no major concerns preventing you from booking a hostel.
Camping in Machu Picchu
Machu Picchu is not exactly cheap to visit. Train tickets, entrance tickets, bus tickets – there are many strains on a tight budget that are hard to avoid. Still there is a good way to save on accommodation. Aguas Calientes has a camping ground (quite rare for a pueblo). It is situated on the road towards Machu Picchu, so a little outside Aguas Calientes. What sounds like a disadvantage actually comes in quite handy in the morning, if you plan to hike up to Machu Picchu instead of taking the bus. The municipal campground in Machu Picchu features bathrooms and a little booth where you can buy snacks and drinks. They charge 15 soles (about 5 US-Dollar) per night and per tent – so absolutely your cheapest option to stay overnight in Machu Picchu.
Daytrip from Cusco
Last but not least you could option to not stay overnight in Aguas Calientes at all. Day trips from Cusco are possible. If you hop on the very first train in the morning (which leaves around 6 am) you’ll reach Aguas Calientes around 9 am. The last train from Machu Picchu usually leaves around 7 pm. Calculate 90 minutes for bus transfers (Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu and back), that will leave you, ideally speaking, 6 hours to explore the ruins. Definitely count on less available time, though.
Obviously, you will not be able to see the sunrise in Machu Picchu – nor the sunset. You will also not be able to see it all. But if you don’t want to climb Huayna Picchu or Machu Mountain, a day-trip is actually feasible. Instead of Cusco, you could also option to start from the way closer Ollantaytambo.
Most people prefer to stay overnight in Aguas Calientes, though. In fact, there are many people deciding to visit Machu Picchu on two consecutive days. There is plenty to see inside the ruins to keep you occupied for more than two days, it decreased the chance of having bad weather and obviously, it gives you more time to enjoy the sublime beauty of the site.