32 Machu Picchu travel tips you should not ignore
Machu Picchu is arguably the most famous travel destination in Peru. But the popular New World Wonder is not as easy to reach as you might think. Hidden deep inside in the Peruvian hinterland, the Inca citadel still remains largely inaccessible. Day trips from Cusco are no option for any serious traveler, while limited tickets and only a single motorized access route can turn planning your bucket list trip into a nightmare. Here are 31 important travel tips you definitely need to know before your first visit to Machu Picchu:
1. There is only one luxury hotel close to the entrance of Machu Picchu. All other hotels are located in Aguas Calientes, 400 meters below.
2. There are no toilets within Machu Picchu. The only public bathroom can be found in front of the entrance.
3. There are no bars, cafés, restaurants or vending machines inside Machu Picchu. There is only one snack bar, and two restaurants in front of the gates. Expect prices around 40 US-Dollar per person for the cheaper buffet lunch.
4. Eating is officially prohibited inside Machu Picchu; as is leaving any garbage. This is why disposable containers (like plastic water bottles) are banned as well.
5. The only motorized way into Machu Picchu is by bus from Aguas Calientes; One trip takes roughly 30 minutes; tickets can be bought the day before at the ticket office in town to avoid the queues in the morning.
6. The first bus to Machu Picchu leaves around 5:30 am in the morning. These buses from Aguas Calientes operate continuously throughout the day until 3:30 pm. The last bus from Machu Picchu departs at 6 pm.
7. If you want to save the 20 US for a round trip with the bus to Machu Picchu, you can option to hike the way up to the Inca ruins instead. It takes about 90 minutes to reach the top.
8. Machu Picchu is only 2,400 meters high. Altitude sickness is usually no problem (as opposed to Cusco with a height of 3,339 meters).
9. Machu Picchu is located on a very high mountain ridge. Sheer drops of up to 400 meters into the gorge below can be a problem for people suffering from vertigo – especially on the bus ride or for people hiking Huayna Picchu.
10. The weather in Machu Picchu can change very quickly. Mornings are often foggy. Bringing a light-weighted poncho is recommended. As you might need your hands for balance or gripping to rails, umbrellas are not to be recommended.
11.The best time to visit Machu Picchu is between May and August when the weather is considerably dry.
12.It can get very hot and humid at Machu Picchu. Remember to bring sufficient sun protection (sunglasses & sun blocker).
13.Remember to bring bug repellant and wear long clothing and shoes. There are nasty bugs around Machu Picchu.
14. Big backpacks are not allowed inside Machu Picchu (anything above 20 liters). Bring a small day pack. Bigger luggage can be deposited safely at the entrance.
15. Tickets for Machu Picchu are limited to 2,000 people per day; remember to book your tickets way in advance before your trip via the official website or a tour agency.
16. Tickets for climbing Huayna Picchu are limited to 400 people per day. 200 in the early morning and another 200 between 10 and 11 am. You cannot climb Huayna Picchu without tickets for Machu Picchu.
17. If tickets for Huayna Picchu are not available anymore, you can option to hike Machu Mountain instead to get a picture perfect aerial view. The hike will take considerably longer, though.
18. You can see Machu Picchu from above from the Sun Gate as well.
19. Don’t forget to bring your passport to Machu Picchu. They will check it, together with your tickets at the entrance.
20. There is no ticket office at the entrance of Machu Picchu. You absolutely need to buy your tickets in advance online. There are also ticket offices in Cusco and Aguas Calientes.
21. Walking sticks are not permitted inside Machu Picchu. Big tripods are equally frowned upon.
22. If you are looking for a guide, you can hire them at the entrance. They will show you around the ruins for a fee of roughly 50 US-Dollar.
23. The standard tour through Machu Picchu will take roughly 2 hours, with plenty of time to take pictures.
24. Smoking is not allowed inside Machu Picchu.
25. The only motorized way to reach Aguas Calientes is by train. PeruRail and IncaRail operate a couple of different options (from coach to luxury) on a daily basis.
26. A popular way to Machu Picchu is hiking the Inca Trail. You will need tickets for a guided tour of the Inca trail as well.
27. Even if you don’t take the Inca trail comfortable hiking or walking shoes are recommended for your tour through Machu Picchu. Pathways are well maintained, but there are many slippery stairs and steep cumbersome cobblestone sections.
28. Machu Picchu opens at 6:00 am and closed twelve hours later at 5:00 pm.
29. The best time to take pictures of Machu Picchu is late in the afternoon (around 4 pm), as high mountains block the early morning sun in the east.
30. The classic Machu Picchu panorama is taken at the House of Guardians. There are signs telling you where exactly. If you take the circular walking tour, this is your very first stop.
31. If you want to be inside Machu Picchu for the sunrise, you need to get on the very first bus, as sunrise will be around 6:00 pm during the dry season. You will not be able to see the actual sun before roughly 9 am – depending on where you are standing.
32. Machu Picchu is the most crowded around noon when the trains from Cusco have arrived.
Hope you found these 32 tips for planning your trip to Machu Picchu helpful. As these amazing Inca ruins are hard to explain with a couple of bullet points, feel free to surf around on our website for further information. We tried to squeeze in as many links as possible in the list above, but don’t hesitate to contact us either. Last but not least: Enjoy Machu Picchu!