Are you sure you want to close the session?

La cuenta ya se encuentra activa

Or enter your e-mail:

Recover your offer

We will send you a 4-digit code shortly

Enter the 4-digit code and your new password

Enter your search here

Machupicchu

  • Machu Picchu

Energy filled Historical Sanctuary

Machupicchu Department of Cusco

  • Attractions

machu picchu tourist

"For the variety of its charms and the power of its spell, I do not know another place in the world that compares to it," is what Hiram Bingham, the American explorer who rediscovered the citadel of Machupicchu in 1911, said. And now, this Wonder of the Modern World is one of the most visited destinations in America.

Located on top of a mountain in the middle of a tropical forest, it is considered the tourist attraction par excellence in Peru. The historic sanctuary is a place that captivates tourists not only for its dazzling architectural beauty, but also for its important historical-cultural legacy, which has led it to be recognized and admired throughout the world.

Declared Cultural and Natural Heritage of Humanity in 1983 by UNESCO, it is probably the most amazing architectural construction of the Inca Empire. This citadel is made up of temples, palaces, terraces, monuments, complexes and walls; in addition to water channels, built with large blocks of stone, without any amalgam, proof of the great wisdom of the Inca civilization.

Surrounded by forests in the province of Urubamba (Cusco), Machu Picchu annually receives approximately 1 and a half million visits. It has an area of more than 30 thousand hectares, where it is possible to find a varied flora and fauna, as well as wooded areas, steep mountains and snow-capped peaks.

Tower of the Temple of the Sun in Machupicchu

History of Machupicchu

Located in the heart of the Peruvian Andes, the sacred Inca citadel built around 1450 and discovered in 1911, still hides enigmas and mysteries about its real purpose, which continue to be hidden to this day and which arouse the interest of both visitors and archaeologists from all over the world. the world.

Due to its strategic location at the top of a high mountain, there are various theories about what it could mean for the Incas. Some argue that it was built as a great mausoleum for the Inca Pachacútec, while others claim that it was an important administrative and agricultural center whose cultivation areas served for the livelihood of its inhabitants. However, it is also considered that it was used as a necessary link between the Andes and the Peruvian Amazon or as a resting residence for the Inca governor.

The truth is that Machupicchu is one of the greatest symbols behind what was the impressive architecture and engineering of the Inca Empire. Although its origin is still the subject of study, the value and significance it represented in its time, as well as its imposing design, have earned it to be considered one of the seven wonders of the modern world.

It was by order of the Inca Pachacútec that its construction was carried out

Places of Interest in Machupicchu

During the tour of the sanctuary, one witnesses the most fascinating and incredible attractions. Each one with its own history and meaning, but all with great architectural beauty.

In total, there are around 196 tourist spots within the citadel among archaeological complexes, squares, temples, water fountains, monuments and residences; all intertwined with each other and with the natural environment.

When touring Machupicchu, you can see two well-marked sectors divided by a wall of approximately 400 meters long: one oriented to agricultural purposes and the other more urban. The agricultural area is characterized by the presence of terraces or platforms that were used for the cultivation of various foods. Very close to this area, there are some small houses that could have been the dwelling of farmers.

On the other hand, in the urban area the Royal Residence is located, which was the finest, most extensive and best distributed house in the place; the Plaza Sagrada, the main ceremonial site of the city, the Intihuatana Pyramid, where the great solar clock is located; the Grupo de las Tres Portadas, a group of buildings made up of three large portals and the Grupo del Cóndor, which includes temples for ceremonial use.

machu picchu tourist

The Sacred Rock

Huge monolith whose dimensions border on three meters in height on a base of seven and is one of the most mystical symbols found in this place. It is believed that it could have been oriented to the study of the stars.

machu picchu tourist

Carretera Longitudinal de la Sierra Sur, CU-110

61.1 km, 1 h 11 min, pe-28b, cu-107, 151.7 km, 3 h 50 min, how to get to machupicchu.

By air: 1 h 15 min approximately

Cusco-Ollantaytambo

Overland: 1 h 30 min approximately

Ollantaytambo-Machupicchu

Train: 2 h approximately

View of a part of the Inca Trail in Machupicchu

You can trek the fabulous Inca Trail to Machupicchu.

Different species of orchids in Machupicchu

Identify around 30 species of orchids.

Huayna Picchu seen from above in Machupicchu

Climb Huayna Picchu and take a photograph from the top of the world.

Tourists in Machupicchu

General information

2 445 meters above sea level

Min. 1 ℃/ Max. 20 ℃

6:00-17:30 *Referential times

Check here for prices and find the information you need to plan your next visit to Machupicchu.

Camera, sunscreen, warm clothing, trekking gear (optional)

Must-visit attractions in Perú

Maras saltpans

Maras - Moray

The salt of the Andes

San Pedro Market

San Pedro market

The imperial city’s main food market

Museums in Cusco

Museums in Cusco

Privileged glimpse of an ancient past

We help you plan your trip!

Machu Picchu Tours & Treks

Clouds rising above the mountains behind. the ruins of Machu Picchu, in Peru

As the mist lifts off the mountains and over the Inca ruins, Machu Picchu evokes an otherworldly feeling

It’s one of the world’s most incredible archaeological sites, with a breathtaking location to match. With all that Machu Picchu has to offer, it’s easy to understand why so many are drawn to the visitor heartland of Peru . The ultimate decision is how to get there. Choose a trek or take the train? You could hike through cloud forests along the classic Inca Trail, fulfill your Andes experience on the Quarry Trail or challenge yourself on the Choquequirao trek – it's up to you. We don’t need to tell you why the adventure is worth your while. Our local leaders will keep you safe, informed and inspired every step of the way.

Our Machu Picchu trips

Let's create an exclusive trip for your group.

Machu Picchu highlights

Which route is right for you.

With its spectacular natural scenery and profound cultural encounters, the Inca Trail is an international beacon for trekking. Attracting thousands of hikers each year, it's a challenging yet rewarding hike that stays with you for a lifetime. Although rated moderate, the relentless uphill (and downhill) hiking is tough - the fitter you are, the more you’ll enjoy it.

For an impressive hike off the beaten path, consider the Inca Quarry Trail. This lesser-known trek offers the same magical scenery of the Andes mountains, passing through local villages and visiting three smaller archaeological sites the other trails don’t. Another bonus is that the hike doesn’t require a permit – so once you book, you’re set.

Take your boots further with a challenging eight-day hike moving through high-altitude cloud forests, over mega mountain passes and along an ancient trail leading to the well-preserved Inca city ruins of Choquequirao. This trail might be secluded and not for the faint-hearted but it's also one adventure you'll never forget, and that's a promise.

Meet our team

Why choose us.

All our guides are certified local tour guides and trained in-house on Intrepid Safety Policies. Each trekking guide also receives exclusive Intrepid training, provided by mountain rescue experts in the field.

All our guides and trek leaders have been trained by medical specialists in handling altitude illness and are proficient in first aid. Our team carries oxygen cylinders on all treks for emergency use.

Our team members live and work in the Andean region, which means revenue from all our treks benefit the local economy.

We take care of the details, so you can focus more on enjoying the journey. Our tours include all meals, with essential camping equipment and the option to hire additional hiking equipment if needed.

We are proud to have the tick of approval from the Rainforest Alliance indicating that we meet and operate at the highest standards in environmental, social and economic sustainability.

We strive to use travel as a force for good. That’s why we choose to give back to the communities we visit, carbon offset all our trips and take our social and environmental responsibilities seriously. We’ve been officially certified as the world’s largest travel B Corp, which means when you choose Intrepid Travel, you can rest assured you’re traveling to improve the planet.

Machu Picchu tour reviews

Filter by rating

Inca Trail Express

Inca Trail & Amazon Adventure

Premium Peru

Articles of Machu Picchu

Machu Picchu or Chichen Itza? Which historical site should you visit?

What I wish I knew before hiking to Machu Picchu

An open thank you letter from blind athlete, Dan Berlin, to his local leader

Inca Trail permits for 2020 are about to go on sale. Here’s everything you need to know.

Behind the scenes on the hardest physical challenge of my life: the Inca Trail

Why trekking the Inca Trail was the best way to celebrate turning 50

10 things you’ll only know if you’ve travelled in Peru

What to see at Machu Picchu? A guide to Peru’s ancient ruins

Machu Picchu travel FAQs

Do i need a covid-19 vaccine to join an intrepid trip.

Trips from 1 January 2023 onwards

From 1 January 2023, Intrepid will no longer require travelers to provide proof of vaccination against COVID-19 (excluding all Polar trips and select adventure cruises).

However, we continue to strongly recommend that all Intrepid travelers and leaders get vaccinated to protect themselves and others.

Specific proof of testing or vaccination may still be required by your destination or airline. Please ensure you check travel and entry requirements carefully.

What is Machu Picchu?

Machu Picchu is a magnificent reminder of the power and ingenuity of the Inca civilization.

The ancient citadel, built in the 15th century, was abandoned only 100 years later, and many mysteries remain.

Listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage site in 1983 and announced as one of the Seven Wonders of the World in 2007, Machu Picchu makes a lasting impression.

Where is Machu Picchu?

Overlooking the Urubamba River, the site of Machu Picchu sits above the Sacred Valley – located in the Cusco region of Peru.

How can I get to Machu Picchu?

Many travellers fly into the capital of Cusco before taking the train or choosing a hiking tour. The stepping stone to Machu Picchu is Ollantaytambo, about 1.5 hours away from Cusco by bus.

From Ollantaytambo, the most common ways to get to Machu Picchu are:

  • Hiking the Inca Trail (one way to Machu Picchu)
  • Taking the equally scenic and rewarding Quarry Trail
  • Trekking the challenging 8-day Choquequirao Trail

Can I still hike if I take the train?

So, you want to experience the Inca Trail but aren't quite up for the entire hike?

The one-day option takes you by train part of the way where you hop off and trek the trade highway of the ancient Inca empire.

You will arrive at the Sun Gate in the afternoon to take in the views of Machu Picchu.

Is hiking the only way to get to Machu Picchu?

On all of our trips that visit Machu Picchu, you can choose the rail journey instead of the hike – simply specify while booking that you’d prefer the train option. There's no extra cost for this, though please note fees may apply if you decide to change to the train option after your Inca Trail permit has already been purchased.

Learn more about taking the train to Machu Picchu

When is the best time to visit Machu Picchu?

You can visit Machu Picchu all year round.  The most popular time, and therefore the most crowded, is in June and July. 

Low cloud cover during the dry season from April to October also means cold nights on hiking trails, so you'll need thermals for a good night’s sleep. 

The wet season is from November to March. Temperatures rise and the region receives heavy rainfall, so waterproofs are essential if you're hiking. If you don't mind a bit of rain, the plus side is that crowds are smaller. If you want to hike the Inca Trail, note that it closes every year in February for maintenance.

Can you get to Machu Picchu in a day?

Yes, you can. Starting with an early rise in the morning, take a 1.5-hour bus ride to Ollantaytambo, then a 2.5-hour train to Aguas Calientes, followed by a 30-minute bus to Machu Picchu.

You will have a couple of hours to visit Machu Picchu and then return to Cusco the same way.

None of our trips visit Machu Picchu this way, as we believe it doesn’t allow enough time to explore (and really enjoy) the site and the Sacred Valley area.

How high is Machu Picchu?

Machu Picchu is found deep in the cloud forest at 2440 m (7972 ft) above sea level, sitting at 1000 m (3280 ft) lower than Cusco.

What does this mean for you? In terms of altitude, you're unlikely to experience any altitude issues at Machu Picchu itself.

But be aware, trekking to Machu Picchu involves walking up and down several steep stairs, ramps and terraces at various altitudes, which can be strenuous.

Will the altitude affect me?

Most people start to feel the effects of altitude at over 2000 m (6561 ft) regardless of age, gender or fitness level. While our leaders have basic first aid training and are aware of the closest medical facilities, it is very important that you make yourself aware of the causes and effects of traveling at altitude. Monitor your health and seek assistance accordingly.

It is essential to take it easy, drink plenty of water and speak to your group leader immediately if you feel unwell.

We recommend seeing your doctor if you have health concerns before the trip, especially if you have a pre-existing medical condition or are taking any medication.

Do I need a permit to hike to Machu Picchu?

Everyone hiking to Machu Picchu via the iconic Inca Trail or the shorter Inca Trail Express requires a permit. You don't need a permit to trek via the Quarry or Choquequirao trails.

If you do the Inca Trail with Intrepid, our adventure consultants secure your permit for you so you can focus on getting excited – just make sure you have your passport details handy at the time of booking.

Permits are available on a first-come, first-served basis, so booking well in advance is critical.

We endeavor to purchase your permit within two working days of receiving all necessary information.

What should I pack for Machu Picchu?

For a day trip exploring Machu Picchu, we recommended taking a small backpack with the essentials: sunscreen, hat, water bottle (filled before departing), a few snacks and mosquito repellent. It helps to wear breathable pants, a long shirt and a waterproof jacket – since the UV index is higher in the Andes and the site is prone to rainfall.

If you plan to trek before visiting Machu Picchu, read our detailed packing instructions in your Essential Trip Information.

What is Wayna Picchu?

Wayna Picchu (also known also as Huayna Pichu or Wayna Pikchu) means ‘young peak’ in Quechua – although the mountain appears anything but young, towering behind Machu Picchu.

Known as the ‘stairs of death’, the hair-raising climb takes about three hours to return. More recently, a cap of 400 people a day has been introduced on the number of visitors allowed to climb.

Can I climb Wayna Picchu with Intrepid Travel?

We have performed risk assessments on all our optional activities, and unfortunately, we don't consider climbing Wayna Picchu a safe activity at this stage.

Reaching Wayna Picchu involves climbing steep, narrow and exposed sets of stairs, and we just can't guarantee your safety.

Our leaders are specifically prohibited from assisting you in visiting Wayna Picchu.

What are the toilet facilities like at Machu Picchu?

There are public toilets located at the main entrance of Machu Picchu and none after entering the site – so make sure you time your stop before heading off to explore.

Take some coins with you as there is a small fee to use the toilet facilities.

What does the Rainforest Alliance tick of approval mean?

The Rainforest Alliance is a non-profit organization. It is working to build strong forests, healthy agricultural landscapes and thriving communities.

The green frog seal shows that an enterprise has been audited to meet environmental, social, and economic sustainability standards.

The Rainforest Alliance recognizes Intrepid as one of Peru's top certified tourism businesses.

Can I visit Machu Picchu if I have a disability?

Yes, but of course it will depend on your level of disability, fitness and what support will be available to you.

People who are visually impaired have completed the Inca Trail (with the right support crew, of course).

Contact us to discuss your particular circumstances and we can assess it from there.

Does my trip support The Intrepid Foundation?

Yes, all Intrepid trips support the Intrepid Foundation. Trips to this country directly support our global Intrepid Foundation partners, Eden Reforestation Projects and World Bicycle Relief. Intrepid will double the impact by dollar-matching all post-trip donations made to The Intrepid Foundation.

Eden Reforestation Projects

Eden Reforestation Projects are helping to mitigate climate change by restoring forests worldwide; they also hire locally and create job opportunities within vulnerable communities. Donations from our trips support restoration across planting sites in 10 countries around the globe. Find out more or make a donation World Bicycle Relief

World Bicycle Relief provides people in low-income communities with bicycles to mobilize school kids, health workers, and farmers in far-out areas – giving them access to vital education, healthcare, and income. Donations help provide Buffalo Bicycles – specifically designed to withstand the rugged terrain and harsh environment of rural regions – to those who need them most. Find out more or make a donation

Logo

  • Peru Tour Packages
  • Customized Tours
  • Destinations
  • EN EN ES DE
  • +51932671370

Machu Picchu Tours

  • Inca Trail Tours

Salkantay Trek

  • Amazon Jungle Tours
  • Machu Picchu
  • Sacred Valley
  • Rainbow Mountain
  • Humantay Lake
  • Huacachina Oasis
  • Huacachina & Paracas
  • Lake Titicaca
  • Amazon Jungle
  • Machu Picchu Guide
  • Peru Travel Tips
  • Things to do in Cusco
  • Things to do in Lima
  • Peru Amazon Guide

Home » The Ultimate Machu Picchu Travel Guide

The Ultimate Machu Picchu Travel Guide

  • 23 January, 2022
  • by Konsti Sobon
  • Reading time: 9 minutes

The Ultimate Machu Picchu Travel Guide

The Lost City of Machu Picchu is one of the most iconic archeological treasures in all of South America. Tucked away in the cloud forests of the Andes, Machu Picchu is believed to have been a royal estate or sacred religious site for Inca leaders.

Today, its mountain top location, finely crafted stonework, and ancient history make Machu Picchu Peru’s most sought-after destination.

Ready for an adventure? Here’s a rundown of everything you need to know before you head off to one of the world’s most famous man-made wonders.

Plan Your Visit

Machu Picchu is the most popular Inca site in Peru, which means that you need to plan your visit well in advance.

When planning for Machu Picchu, there are some key milestones to hit before you start packing. For an enjoyable adventure, your first steps should be focused on deciding on the best time to go and how to best adjust to the altitude difference.

Here are some pointers to help you kick-start your planning.

The ancient citadel of Machu Picchu is open all year round. Before booking, though, it’s sensible to note how much rain (and slippery paths) you are willing to handle.

Peru has two main seasons: dry and wet. The peak travel season coincides with the region’s dry season – from April to September. During this time, the Machu Picchu weather is usually milder, making it easier and more comfortable to walk the ancient paths of the Incas.

couple sitting back to back in front of Machu Picchu

Omar Asif 5 May, 2022 at 10:22 am

This is very compact and useful! Thanks for the interesting insights and that will help us to plan our Peru trip.

Oliver from Exploor 5 May, 2022 at 1:30 pm

Thank you Omar, we’re happy to hear that the content helps! If there’s anything else you need, feel free to shoot us a message! 🙂

Jennifer Morley 13 March, 2022 at 5:26 pm

Which train company do you guys recommend, Peru Rail or Inka Rail?

Oliver from Exploor 14 March, 2022 at 9:35 pm

Hey Jennifer! We’d recommend and mainly work with Peru Rail! Feel free to check our post about the different train options . Hope this helps 🙂

Carol 28 February, 2022 at 12:33 pm

We are short on time and have around 4-6 days to visit Lima&Cusco.

Any tour recommendations or what would be the best tour itinerary for us?

Konsti from Exploor Peru 1 March, 2022 at 6:45 am

Hello Carol, thanks for reaching out to exploor! In case you are staying for only 4-6 days in Peru I would highly recommend you the following itinerary: 1. Arrival in Lima (probably afternoon) 2. Flight to Cusco (get used to the altitude) and discovering during our Cusco City tour the best sites such as San Pedro Market, San Blas neighborhood, Sacsayhuaman etc. 3. Sacred Valley 4. Machu Picchu 5. Rainbow Mountain Palccoyo or Vinicunca 6. Flight back In case you are interested to learn more about this adventure feel free to visit the tour page: https://www.exploorperu.com/tour/3-day-trips-from-cusco-sacred-valley-tour-machu-picchu-tour-alternative-rainbow-mountain-trek/ in addition to that you can request our guided Cusco City tour.

Let me know if you have any further questions. Best, team exploor

Josh 27 January, 2022 at 10:18 am

Veryyy interesting! This complete guide is really helpful for our trip to Peru in May. Is it possible to get assistance with finding the right hotels for Cusco and Lima?

Oliver from Exploor 28 January, 2022 at 5:52 pm

Hey Josh, glad the content is useful for you guys! Yes of course, feel free to send us an e-mail to [email protected] and we’d be happy to help you out. 🙂

Leave a comment

Related posts, the 3 best multi-day trips from cusco.

  • 20 December, 2021
  • by    Oliver Eberlein

Machu Picchu Weather – All You Need to Know

  • 10 April, 2019
  • by    Erik Krause

10 Things Not To Miss In the Sacred Valley of the Incas

  • 28 September, 2021

The Ultimate Machu Picchu Travel Guide

Let’s plan your dream trip to Peru

All of our tour itineraries are 100% customizable . Just let us know your preferences below and we’ll get back to you within 24-48 hours.

  • First name* Last name*
  • Starting Date* Number of travelers* 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
  • Hotels (Optional, multiple choices possible) Luxury Superior Best Value
  • Trip Length 3-5 Days 6-8 Days 9-11 Days 12-15 Days 16+ Days Not sure yet
  • Comments* 2500 characters remaining

Take advantage of the search to browse through the World Heritage Centre information.

Share on social media

Unesco social media, historic sanctuary of machu picchu.

  • Description

Machu Picchu stands 2,430 m above sea-level, in the middle of a tropical mountain forest, in an extraordinarily beautiful setting. It was probably the most amazing urban creation of the Inca Empire at its height; its giant walls, terraces and ramps seem as if they have been cut naturally in the continuous rock escarpments. The natural setting, on the eastern slopes of the Andes, encompasses the upper Amazon basin with its rich diversity of flora and fauna.

Description is available under license CC-BY-SA IGO 3.0

Sanctuaire historique de Machu Picchu

À 2 430 m d'altitude, dans un site montagneux d'une extraordinaire beauté, au milieu d'une forêt tropicale, Machu Picchu a probablement été la création urbaine la plus stupéfiante de l'Empire inca à son apogée : murailles, terrasses et rampes gigantesques sculptent les escarpements rocheux dont elles paraissent le prolongement. Le cadre naturel, sur le versant oriental des Andes, fait partie du bassin supérieur de l'Amazone, riche d'une flore et d'une faune très variées.

معابد ماشو بيتشو التاريخيّة

على ارتفاع 2430 مترا، وفي موقعٍ جبلي في غاية الجمال، وسط غابة مدارية، من المرجح ان يكون ماشو بيتشو الابداع البشري الأبهى في أوجّ عظمة عهد الإنكا: أسوار مرتفعة وباحات ودرابزينات عملاقة تنحت الصخر لتبدو وكأنها امتداد طبيعي لها. ويشكّل الاطار الطبيعي على المنحنى الشرقي للأنديز، جزءًا لا يتجزّأ من حوض الأمازون الداخلي الغني بنباتات وحيوانات متنوعة.

source: UNESCO/CPE Description is available under license CC-BY-SA IGO 3.0

马丘比丘古庙位于一座非常美丽的高山上,海拔2430 米,为热带丛林所包围。该庙可能是印加帝国全盛时期最辉煌的城市建筑,那巨大的城墙、台阶、扶手都好像是在悬崖峭壁自然形成的一样。古庙矗立在安第斯山脉东边的斜坡上,环绕着亚马逊河上游的盆地,那里的动植物非常丰富。

Santuario histórico de Machu Picchu

Ubicado a 2.430 metros de altura en un paraje de gran belleza, en medio de un bosque tropical de montaña, el santuario de Machu Picchu fue probablemente la realización arquitectónica más asombrosa del Imperio Inca en su apogeo. Sus murallas, terrazas y rampas gigantescas dan la impresión de haber sido esculpidas en las escarpaduras de la roca, como si formaran parte de ésta. El marco natural, situado en la vertiente oriental de los Andes, forma parte de la cuenca superior del Amazonas, que posee una flora y fauna muy variadas.

マチュ・ピチュの歴史保護区

source: NFUAJ

Historisch heiligdom Machu Picchu

Machu Picchu ligt 2.430 meter boven de zeespiegel in het midden van een tropisch regenwoud, in een buitengewoon mooie omgeving. Het was waarschijnlijk de meest verbazingwekkende stedelijke creatie op het hoogtepunt van het Incarijk. Het lijkt of haar reusachtige muren, terrassen en glooiingen op een natuurlijke manier zijn uitgehouwen in de rotsformaties. De stad is een zeldzaam voorbeeld van hoe men ruw, bij de omgeving passend materiaal gebruikte binnen de architectuur. De natuurlijke omgeving van Machu Picchu – op de oostelijke hellingen van de Andes – omvat het bovenste stroomgebied van de Amazone met zijn rijke diversiteit aan flora en fauna.

Source: unesco.nl

machu picchu tourist

Outstanding Universal Value

Brief Synthesis

Embedded within a dramatic landscape at the meeting point between the Peruvian Andes and the Amazon Basin, the Historic Sanctuary of Machu Picchu is among the greatest artistic, architectural and land use achievements anywhere and the most significant tangible legacy of the Inca civilization. Recognized for outstanding cultural and natural values, the mixed World Heritage property covers 32,592 hectares of mountain slopes, peaks and valleys surrounding its heart, the spectacular archaeological monument of “ La Ciudadela ” (the Citadel) at more than 2,400 meters above sea level. Built in the fifteenth century Machu Picchu was abandoned when the Inca Empire was conquered by the Spaniards in the sixteenth century. It was not until 1911 that the archaeological complex was made known to the outside world.

The approximately 200 structures making up this outstanding religious, ceremonial, astronomical and agricultural centre are set on a steep ridge, crisscrossed by stone terraces. Following a rigorous plan the city is divided into a lower and upper part, separating the farming from residential areas, with a large square between the two. To this day, many of Machu Picchu’s mysteries remain unresolved, including the exact role it may have played in the Incas’ sophisticated understanding of astronomy and domestication of wild plant species.

The massive yet refined architecture of Machu Picchu blends exceptionally well with the stunning natural environment, with which it is intricately linked. Numerous subsidiary centres, an extensive road and trail system, irrigation canals and agricultural terraces bear witness to longstanding, often on-going human use. The rugged topography making some areas difficult to access has resulted in a mosaic of used areas and diverse natural habitats. The Eastern slopes of the tropical Andes with its enormous gradient from high altitude “Puna” grasslands and Polylepis thickets to montane cloud forests all the way down towards the tropical lowland forests are known to harbour a rich biodiversity and high endemism of global significance. Despite its small size the property contributes to conserving a very rich habitat and species diversity with remarkable endemic and relict flora and fauna.

Criterion (i): The Inca City of the Historic Sanctuary of Machu Picchu is the articulating centre of its surroundings, a masterpiece of art, urbanism, architecture and engineering of the Inca Civilization. The working of the mountain, at the foot of the Huaya Picchu, is the exceptional result of integration with its environment, the result from a gigantic effort as if it were an extension of nature.

Criterion (iii): The Historic Sanctuary of Machu Picchu is a unique testimony of the Inca Civilization and shows a well-planned distribution of functions within space, territory control, and social, productive, religious and administrative organization.

Criterion (vii): The historic monuments and features in the Historic Sanctuary of Machu Picchu are embedded within a dramatic mountain landscape of exceptional scenic and geomorphological beauty thereby providing an outstanding example of a longstanding harmonious and aesthetically stunning relationship between human culture and nature.

Criterion (ix): Covering part of the transition between the High Andes and the Amazon Basin the Historic Sanctuary of Machu Picchu shelters a remarkably diverse array of microclimates, habitats and species of flora and fauna with a high degree of endemism. The property is part of a larger area unanimously considered of global significance for biodiversity conservation.

The Historic Sanctuary of Machu Picchu meets the conditions of integrity, as the natural and human-made attributes and values that sustain its Outstanding Universal value are mostly contained within its boundaries. The visual ensemble linking the main archaeological site of the Historic Sanctuary of Machu Picchu with its striking mountain environment remains mostly intact.

It is desirable to extend the property to encompass an even broader spectrum of human-land relationships, additional cultural sites, such as Pisac and Ollantaytambo in the Sacred Valley, and a larger part of the Urubamba watershed would contribute to strengthening the overall integrity. In particular, the value for the conservation of the many rare and endemic species of flora and fauna would benefit from the inclusion or a stronger management consideration of the adjacent lands. A considerable number of well-documented threats render the property vulnerable to losing its future integrity and will require permanent management attention.

Authenticity

Upon the abandonment of the Historic Sanctuary of Machu Picchu at the beginning of the sixteenth century, vegetation growth and isolation ensured the conservation of the architectural attributes of the property. Although the design, materials and structures have suffered slight changes due to the decay of the fabric, the conditions of authenticity have not changed. The rediscovery in 1911, and subsequent archaeological excavations and conservation interventions have followed practices and international standards that have maintained the attributes of the property.

P rotection and management requirements

The state-owned Historic Sanctuary of Machu Picchu is an integral part of Peru’s national protected areas system and enjoys protection through several layers of a comprehensive legal framework for both cultural and natural heritage. The boundaries of the Historic Sanctuary of Machu Picchu are clearly defined and the protected area is surrounded by a buffer zone exceeding the size of the property.

The Management Unit of the Historic Sanctuary of Machu Picchu (UGM) was established in 1999 to lead the strategies contained in the Master Plans, which are the regularly updated governing documents for the management of the property. UGM was reactivated in 2011 and is comprised of representatives of the Ministries of Culture, Environment and Foreign Trade and Tourism, the Regional Government of Cusco, serving as the President of the Executive Committee, and the local municipality of Machu Picchu. A platform bringing together key governmental representatives at all levels is indispensable for the management of a property which forms part of Peru’s very identity and is the country’s primary domestic and international tourist destination.

Notwithstanding the adequate legislative and formal management framework, there are important challenges to the inter-institutional governance and the effectiveness of management and protection of the property. The dispersed legislation would benefit from further harmonization and despite existing efforts the involvement of various ministries and governmental levels ranging from local to national remains a complex task, including in light of the sharing of the significant tourism revenues. Tourism itself represents a double-edged sword by providing economic benefits but also by resulting in major cultural and ecological impacts. The strongly increasing number of visitors to the Historic Sanctuary of Machu Picchu must be matched by an adequate management regulating access, diversifying the offer and efforts to fully understand and minimize impacts. A larger appropriate and increasing share of the significant tourism revenues could be re-invested in planning and management. The planning and organization of transportation and infrastructure construction, as well as the sanitary and safety conditions for both tourists and new residents attracted by tourism requires the creation of high quality and new long-term solutions, and is a significant ongoing concern.

Since the time of inscription consistent concerns have been expressed about ecosystem degradation through logging, firewood and commercial plant collection, poor waste management, poaching, agricultural encroachment in the absence of clear land tenure arrangements, introduced species and water pollution from both urban waste and agro-chemicals in the Urubamba River, in addition from pressures derived from broader development in the region. It is important to remember that the overall risks are aggravated by the location in a high altitude with extreme topography and weather conditions and thus susceptibility to natural disasters. Continuous efforts are needed to comply with protected areas and other legislation and plans and prevent further degradation. There is also great potential for restoring degraded areas.

  • Machu Picchu
  • Protectedplanet.net

Miscellaneous Documents

  • Arqueología del Santuario Histórico Nacional y Sitio Patrimonio Mundial de Machu Picchu: Estado de la Conservación y Propuestas para un Plan Maestro 1993

rss

The Nomination files produced by the States Parties are published by the World Heritage Centre at its website and/or in working documents in order to ensure transparency, access to information and to facilitate the preparations of comparative analysis by other nominating States Parties.

The sole responsibility for the content of each Nomination file lies with the State Party concerned. The publication of the Nomination file, including the maps and names, does not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever of the World Heritage Committee or of the Secretariat of UNESCO concerning the history or legal status of any country, territory, city or area or of its boundaries.

State of Conservation (SOC)

Deals of the Week   Mediterranean Magic   Up to 50% OFF

Best Machu Picchu Tours & Trips

  • Machu Picchu from Cusco
  • Machu Picchu from Lima
  • Machu Picchu Luxury
  • Salkantay Trek
  • Machu Picchu Budget

Best 250+ Machu Picchu tours with 6,102 reviews

Inca Trail to Machu Picchu: 4-Day Hike with Vistadome Train Tour

Hiking & Trekking Family Explorer Sightseeing Christmas & New Year +3

Inca Trail to Machu Picchu: 4-Day Hike with Vistadome Train

"It was a brilliant tour. I will totally recommend this tour to everyone." Maria, traveled in April 2024
  • Book With Flexibility View tour Download Brochure

5 Day Cusco Travel Package: Cusco, Sacred Valley, Machu Picchu, and Maras Moray. Tour

In-depth Cultural Active Family Historical Christmas & New Year +3

5 Day Cusco Travel Package: Cusco, Sacred Valley, Machu Picchu, and Maras Moray.

"Great tour! Highly Recommended!" Kevin, traveled in November 2023

7 Day Cusco Travel Package: Cusco, Sacred Valley, Machu Picchu, Humantay Lake, and Rainbow Mountain. Tour

7 Day Cusco Travel Package: Cusco, Sacred Valley, Machu Picchu, Humantay Lake, and Rainbow Mountain.

"Waldir was amazing in coordinating the tour, and I really enjoyed Peru! Thumbs up to the team :)" Pei, traveled in March 2024

INCA ADVENTURES - 7 Days  (Lima and Cusco) with Domestic Flights Tour

Active Family Christmas & New Year +1

INCA ADVENTURES - 7 Days (Lima and Cusco) with Domestic Flights

"The memories from this trip will last a lifetime. You will not be disappointed with this tour." Jeannette, traveled in February 2024

Machu Picchu Experience 5 days Tour

Active Christmas & New Year +1

Machu Picchu Experience 5 days

"Very well organised and very nice Experience" Dominique, traveled in July 2023

Machu Picchu Adventure Tour

In-depth Cultural Historical Christmas & New Year +1

Machu Picchu Adventure

"The tour moves quickly so you see a lot in a short amount of time, which is exactly why I love these types of tours." Adam, traveled in March 2024

Classic Inca Trail Trek 4D/3N to Machu Picchu (Group service ) Tour

Hiking & Trekking Family Camping Explorer Christmas & New Year +3

Classic Inca Trail Trek 4D/3N to Machu Picchu (Group service )

"Great knowledgeable guides, amazing food and great porters!" Rickard, traveled in November 2023

6 days Luxury in Cusco & Machu Picchu Tour

In-depth Cultural Family Sightseeing Christmas & New Year +2

6 days Luxury in Cusco & Machu Picchu

"They were professional, friendly, efficient and if they could think of a way to go 'above and beyone' they would do it with a smile." Regan, traveled in May 2022

The Inca Journey Tour

In-depth Cultural Christmas & New Year +1

The Inca Journey

"Excellent tour, full of great sites to visit." Alexander, traveled in August 2022

5 days - Cusco & Machu Picchu & Rainbow Mountain & Humantay Lake Tour

Explorer Family Sightseeing Christmas & New Year +1

5 days - Cusco & Machu Picchu & Rainbow Mountain & Humantay Lake

"The staff got back me quickly and answered all my questions entirely. They were professional and insightful." Nikki, traveled in November 2023

06 Days Cusco Machu Picchu - Humantay Lake And Rainbow Mountain Tour

Explorer Family Historical Christmas & New Year +1

06 Days Cusco Machu Picchu - Humantay Lake And Rainbow Mountain

"Accommodation and food choices were also admirable. Organizers and guides were extremely helpful." christina, traveled in April 2024

Ultimate Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu - 5 Days Tour

Hiking & Trekking Family Explorer Sightseeing Historical Christmas & New Year +4

Ultimate Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu - 5 Days

"The food was unbelievably good. I truly recommend this experience with these wonderful people!" Ilias, traveled in October 2023

Hiking The Classic Inca Trail to Machu Picchu & Sacred Valley Tour

Hiking & Trekking Family Mountain Hikes Christmas & New Year +2

Hiking The Classic Inca Trail to Machu Picchu & Sacred Valley

"It was one of the best things we ever did! Machu Picchu is much better in real life then on pictures!!" Joshua, traveled in January 2023

04 Day Classic Inca Trail to Machu Picchu - Small Group Service Tour

Hiking & Trekking Active Family Mountain Hikes Explorer Christmas & New Year +4

04 Day Classic Inca Trail to Machu Picchu - Small Group Service

"We had a very nice trip in the beautiful Andes. These memories will last us a lifetime." Kelly, traveled in January 2023

Journeys: Explore Machu Picchu National Geographic Journeys Tour

In-depth Cultural Active Christmas & New Year +1

Journeys: Explore Machu Picchu National Geographic Journeys

"Excellent itinerary that went to all the places I wanted to visit in the Sacred Vally culminating in Machu Picchu." Liliana, traveled in October 2019

Best Machu Picchu Tours Reviews

The classic Inca trail with Trexperience was one of the best experiences I've had in my life, and it was mostly due to the incredible service we received from our particular guides (Abelardo and Sebastian), our chefs, and our porters! They made us feel so welcome, taken care of, and supported; and the amount of knowledge and appreciation for the culture that we received via their guidance and lessons was invaluable. I couldn't have asked for a better experience from the start to the finish. It made us happy to know it's a Peruvian based company focused on the people of Peru. I would recommend this trip and this particular company to anyone I know and I can't wait to go back!
My experience was amazing! This was a trip of a lifetime for me. I enjoyed the 5 day Cusco, Sacred Valley, Machu Picchu, and Maras Moray. I don’t have any complaints regarding the service provided by Tourradar. Once in Peru, Kantu Tours provided excellent services. The staff for a majority of the tour were professional and friendly. I would book another tour in the future with Tourradar.
We had a tour package of 7 Day Cusco Travel Package: Cusco, Sacred Valley, Machu Picchu, Humantay Lake, and Rainbow Mountain in the early June this year. It was one of most memorable tours we had among all our international travels. We were amazed by the stunning beauty of the Machu Picchu, Humantay Lake, and Rainbow Mountain, and the rich history of Cusco region. We learned so much about Inca people and their history.

Top operators

TreXperience

"I went through TreXperience for my Salkantay tour. They were brilliant! The guides JJ and Yhon were awesome. They really looked after me when I injured my knee. JJ’s knowledge of the Inca history is second to none. We were treated like kings and queens on our tour, and fed accordingly with plenty of food and good quality and nourishing. We were even given hot water bottles on our coldest night. The accommodation and tents were wonderful. I have no hesitation in recommending TreXperience for any future tours

TreXperience is an expert in:

  • Hiking & Trekking

Kantu Peru Tours

"it was my first time using this agency and i was not disappointed. Tourradar referred me to Kantu travel in Peru and i was dealing with them. Perfect organization , good tour guides, overall very satisfied

Kantu Peru Tours is an expert in:

  • In-depth Cultural

Waman Adventures

"We had a nice experience. There could be things done better but overall we’ve been taken care of, felt safe and had fun. I’d do it again

Waman Adventures is an expert in:

Machu Picchu Destinations:

  • Salkantay Trek (27)
  • Lares Trek (20)

Machu Picchu Tours starting in:

  • Cusco (339)
  • Group (503)
  • Fully Guided (390)
  • Family (381)
  • Hiking & Trekking (282)
  • Explorer (233)
  • Personalized (231)
  • Partially Guided (199)
  • Active (188)
  • In-depth Cultural (154)
  • Private (103)
  • Self-Guided (28)
  • Custom (26)
  • Ocean Cruise (11)
  • Coach / Bus (10)
  • River Cruise (7)
  • Bicycle (5)
  • 3 Day Tours (49)
  • 7 Day Tours (283)
  • 10 Day Tours (96)
  • 2 Week Tours (45)
  • 3 Week Tours (37)
  • 4 Week Tours (6)
  • 1 Month+ Tours (6)
  • Summer 2024 (469)
  • Fall / Autumn 2024 (501)
  • Winter 2024 / 2025 (459)
  • Spring 2025 (305)
  • Summer 2025 (284)
  • Fall / Autumn 2025 (267)
  • Winter 2025 / 2026 (231)
  • Spring 2026 (48)
  • June 2024 (362)
  • July 2024 (447)
  • August 2024 (464)
  • September 2024 (460)
  • October 2024 (480)
  • November 2024 (474)
  • December 2024 (446)
  • January 2025 (288)
  • February 2025 (225)
  • March 2025 (282)
  • April 2025 (282)
  • May 2025 (279)

Other Regions in Peru

  • Peruvian Amazon (60)
  • Tambopata (49)
  • Peruvian Coast (47)
  • Colca Canyon (29)
  • Iquitos (29)
  • Rainbow Mountain (22)
  • Huascaran National Park (17)
  • Huaraz (14)
  • Arequipa (12)
  • Machu Picchu and the Sacred Valley: Hike, Cost & Difficulty
  • How to get to Machu Picchu
  • Machu Picchu & Peru tickets, permits, vaccinations, and visa
  • Do I need a guide for visiting Machu Picchu?
  • Machu Picchu Packing List (Tried and Tested)
  • Training for Machu Picchu & How to Prepare (Updated 2024)
  • Best time to visit Machu Picchu (Peru) in 2024/2025
  • Weather in Machu Picchu in 2024/2025

Travel Styles

  • Budget (79)
  • Luxury (22)
  • Singles and Solo (381)
  • For Couples (120)
  • Young Adults (15)
  • Seniors (283)

Discover TourRadar

  • India Tours
  • Mardi Himal Summer tours
  • Vacations to go travel - Ask a Question
  • What is the best time to visit Sapa (Vietnam) in ?
  • Ngorongoro Crater: History & Facts You Need to Know
  • Hiking in Europe in September
  • 1 (800) 980-0435 or your travel advisor

All the best tours & things to do

Machu picchu travel guide.

World Travel Awards Winner

Endorsed by ASTA

In Alliance with Regenera

Rated Excellent by Tripadvisor

About Machu Picchu

Machu Picchu is one of the Seven Wonders of the World and is a synonym of historical richness, ancient culture, and dazzling architecture. But, What does Machu Picchu mean? The name comes from the ancient Quechua language and means “Old Peak”. This Incan citadel is surrounded by terraces, temples, water channels, and unbeatable magic . It has been considered a cultural heritage of humanity by UNESCO in recognition of its religious and political importance during the age of its inhabitants, the Incas.

Machu Picchu

Certainly, there are a lot of things to do in Peru . So, Machu Travel Peru makes tailor-made tours to Machu Picchu which are designed according to your needs and desires. You will be dazzled by one of the most impressive architectural jewels of the world and marvel at its ancient history . It will be a special experience that will connect you with the ancestral Inca lifestyle. Also, every detail of your vacation in Peru will be perfectly organized by our expert team!

  • Huayna Picchu is the famous mountain that appears in the background of every photo of Machu Picchu and you can climb up it.
  • Machu Picchu Mountain is the namesake hill located on one side of the Inca citadel. Visit it with the family is a charming experience.
  • Huchuy Picchu is another mountain, close to the citadel , where you can hike it without much effort and get views with another perspective of Machu Picchu.
  • The Three Windows is a temple located in the superior area of Machu Picchu and is the best example of its beautiful architecture.
  • Aguas Calientes town is the closest modern town to Machu Picchu. There, you will find excellent restaurants, hotels, and handicraft markets.
  • The butterfly farm and the Inkaterra Foundation's spectacled bears conservation center in Aguas Calientes will put you in contact with nature.

Best Machu Picchu tours for 2024 & 2025

A memorable journey to Lima and Machu Picchu

6 Days / 5 Nights

A memorable journey to Lima and Machu Picchu

Lima, Cusco, Sacred Valley, Machu Picchu

culinary adventure in peru

7 days / 6 nights

A Culinary Adventure in Peru

Discover Authentic Traditions At The Sacred Titicaca Lake

8 Days / 7 Nights

Discover Authentic Traditions At The Sacred Titicaca Lake

Lima, Cusco, Sacred Valley, Machu Picchu, Puno, Lake Titicaca

Overfly the mysterious Nazca Lines heading to Cusco

8 Days / 9 Nights

Overfly the mysterious Nazca Lines heading to Cusco

Lima, Ica, Paracas, Nazca, Cusco, Sacred Valley, Machu Picchu

Explore the Paradise of Peru Jungle and Machu Picchu

9 Days / 8 Nights

Explore the Paradise of Peru Jungle and Machu Picchu

Lima, Cusco, Sacred Valley, Machu Picchu, Puerto Maldonado, Tambopata

Wonders of the Inca Trail toward Machu Picchu

Wonders of the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu

Lima, Cusco, Sacred Valley, Inca Trail, Machu Picchu

sail the amazon river peru

11 days / 10 nights

Explore Machu Picchu and Sail The Amazon River

Lima, Cusco, Sacred Valley, Machu Picchu, Iquitos

Secrets of Colca Canyon, Lake Titicaca and Machu Picchu

11 Days / 10 Nights

Secrets of Colca Canyon, Lake Titicaca and Machu Picchu

Lima, Arequipa, Colca Canyon, Puno, Lake Titicaca, Cusco, Sacred Valley, Machu Picchu

exploring southern peru cusco square

Exploring Southern Peru

Lima, Puerto Maldonado, Cusco, Sacred Valley, Machu Picchu, Puno, Lake Titicaca

Machu Picchu History

The discovery of machu picchu.

The discovery of Machu Picchu

Never discovered by the Spanish conquerors, for many centuries the “Lost City of the Incas” lay forgotten, except by local Indians and settlers, until it  was found on July 24, 1911 , by the US explorer  Hiram Bingham . It was a fantastic find, not least because the site was still relatively intact, without the usual ravages of either Spanish conquistadores or tomb robbers. Accompanied only by two locals, Bingham left his base camp around 10 am and crossed a bridge so dodgy that he crawled over it on his hands and knees before climbing a precipitous slope until they reached the ridge at around midday. After resting at a small hut, he received hospitality from a local peasant who described an extensive system of terraces where they had found good fertile soil for their crops.  Bingham was led to the site by an 11-year-old local boy, Pablito Alvarez , but it didn't take him long to see that he had come across some important ancient Inca terraces over a hundred of which had recently been cleared of forest for subsistence crops. After a little more exploration Bingham found the fine white stonework and began to realize that this might be the place he was looking for.

Origins of Machu Picchu

Origins of Machu Picchu

Bingham first theorized that  Machu Picchu was the lost city of Vilcabamba , the last refuge of the Incas from the Spanish conquistadors. Not until another American expedition surveyed the ruins in the 1940s did serious doubts begin to arise over this assertion, and more recently the site of the Incas' final stronghold has been shown to be  Espiritu Pampa in the Amazon jungle .

Meanwhile, it was speculated that “Lost City of the Incas” was perhaps the best preserved of a series of agricultural centers that served Cusco in its prime. The city was conceived and built in the mid-fifteenth century by  Emperor Pachacuti , the first to expand the empire beyond the Sacred Valley towards the forested gold-lands. With crop fertility, mountains, and nature as sacred to the Incas, an agricultural center as important as the Inca citadel would easily have merited the site with fine stonework and temple precincts. It was clearly also a ritual center, given the layout and quantity of temples; but for the Incas, it was usual to not separate things we consider economic tasks from more conventional religious activities. So, Machu Picchu represents to many archeologists the most classical and best-preserved remains in existence of a citadel used by the Incas as both a religious temple site and an agricultural (perhaps experimental) center.

Machu Picchu Geography

Machu Picchu Geography

Machu Picchu is located in the Andes Mountain range at  7,970 ft (2430 m)  above sea level. While the Inca citadel is located about 450 meters above the Sacred Valley. Not only is Inca citadel available for hikes, but also try Huayna Picchu  (8,920 ft / 2,720 m)  and Machu Picchu Mountain  (10,100 ft / 3,080 m) .

Located on the cusp of the Andes Mountains and upper Amazon basin, the  mild subtropical climate of Machu Picchu is more humid than Cusco and the Sacred Valley .  The temperature of the Inca citadel is warm and humid during the day , while at night it is much cooler. The  temperature can range between 12 and 24 degrees Celsius . And no matter what time you travel, rain can appear without warning and water never freezes. See Seasonal Info for more details.

Machu Picchu & Altitude Sickness

Altitude sickness is a common health problem for people who visit the Inca citadel. Everyone reacts differently, but severe reactions to high elevations are rare and hard to predict. Many travelers only experience minor symptoms, such as shortness of breath, headache, loss of appetite, or nausea, as a result of the altitude. Cusco and the Sacred Valley are at higher elevations than Machu Picchu.

Machu Picchu Seasonal Info

What weather to expect at machu picchu.

The  Machu Picchu weather  can change abruptly. In the  morning the temperature can be cool and also at night , so bring a good jacket. During the middle of the day, it can be warm so dress in layers.

Average Daily Temperatures

  • Day:  65-82 F (18-28 C)
  • Night:  50-65 F (9-17 C)
  • The Dry Season:  April to October
  • The Rainy Season:  November to March

NB: In the highlands of Peru,  there is a rainy season and dry season . But you should expect rain at any time of the year, so always come prepared.

How to get to Machu Picchu

Are you asking about  how to get to Machu Picchu ? The spectacular Andean mountain scenery is undoubtedly picturesque and extremely varied. It encompasses glaciers, lakes, and forests. There  are off-the-beaten-path routes to reach the Inca citadel  that are considered more than exceptional and unique ones. They won't cease to surprise you. Keep in mind that for whatever way you choose to go to the citadel you will need to reserve your entrance tickets.

Classic ways

Arrive in style on a wonderful train journey. You can choose from  train to Machu Picchu  budget options to more luxurious and exclusive ones. The easiest and most frequent way to get is to take the train from Cusco (Poroy train station) to Aguas Calientes or Ollantaytambo to Aguas Calientes. There are two main companies that count on the highest standards of comfort, convenience, and safety. If you are traveling independently, it is advisable to book  train tickets to Machu Picchu  in advance. The total travel time can be between three and a half hours to four hours of travel.

When arriving at Aguas Calientes, shuttle buses are available to ascend the mountain and transport you to the Inca citadel. They operate throughout the day and leave every 15 minutes  from Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu  and vice versa. The trip is quite short and it can last between 35 to 40 minutes depending on the pace. The bus station is just 5 minutes from the train station.

If we pay attention to an  Inca Trail map , we can realize that this one is a specific section of the hundreds of routes built by the Inca Empire. One of the most rewarding and challenging ways to get to "Lost City of the Incas" is by following one of the paths of the Inca Trail. It's a spectacular network of tracks that wind across snow-capped Andean mountains, rivers, and breathtaking landscapes. Thanks to its natural and cultural treasures, it has become an attraction that draws thousands of enthusiastic travelers every year. Along your way, you can visit the Inca ruins and much more. Numerous tour operators offer the possibility of walking the  Inca Trail to Machu Picchu . Please note that depending on your operator, you will have alternatives of different durations.  The classic Inca Trail tour lasts 4 days and 3 nights . Although there are other variants of fewer days.

Choquequirao Trek

Those travelers who are interested in archeology should consider the Choquequirao trek. This trek is a four-day to nine-day hike through a wide variety of flora and fauna, spectacular and stunning Andean scenery, and an ancient trail leading to the well-preserved  Inca ruins of Choquequirao . This challenging hike is definitely a once-in-a-lifetime adventure.

Salkantay Trek

If you are looking to enjoy a less crowded and more private experience, the Salkantay Trek is one of the best options. This is usually the second most popular way to  hike to Machu Picchu . The Salkantay trek owes its name to one of the highest Andean peaks in Peru:  The Salkantay Mountain . The Salkantay is one of the most imposing peaks in the Peruvian Andes and has a height of 6,271 meters above sea level. This incredible five-day trek is one of the best trekking alternatives to Inca citadel, but more difficult. You will pass through imposing Andean peaks, cloud forests, and dazzling jungle. Without a doubt, it's a must!

Machu Picchu FAQs

What is machu picchu.

If we want to answer correctly the question of  what is Machu Picchu?  Is an ancient Inca citadel located at 2,430m. above the sea level, in South America in the Peruvian Andes, and was built in the 15th century, used as a residential neighborhood, and ceremonial center, and was abandoned only one hundred years later. In 1986,  Machu Picchu was declared a World Heritage site by UNESCO . Besides, in 2007, it was chosen as one of the Seven Wonders of the World since it's one of the most famous and spectacular sets of ruins in the whole world.

Where is Machu Picchu?

"Lost City of the Incas" sits above the  Sacred Valley of the Incas , in the Cusco department. At 2,430 m., the Inca citadel is overlooking the Urubamba River and is surrounded by majestic forest-covered mountains. The access point is the town of Aguas Calientes.

How can I get to Machu Picchu?

Most travelers fly into the city of Cusco and from there there are a couple of ways to get to the Inca citadel such as taking the train or hiking, or taking a bus. If you decide to hike, here are several interesting trails you can take but the most popular and famous one is the Inca Trail. There are many  alternative routes to Machu Picchu , you can choose the most suitable for you.

In order to take the train, you must go to the  Ollantaytambo Train Station  which is around 1.5 hrs. away from Cusco by bus. From there, you have to take a train trip to Aguas Calientes that takes around 2 hrs. Once you arrived at Aguas Calientes, you have two options: take a bus or walk up to the entrance to "Lost City of the Incas".

Regarding buses, you must take a bus from Cusco to the Hydroelectric train Station, the trip pass by two  quaint towns like Santa Maria, and Santa Teresa , and takes around 4 hours. Once at the Hydroelectric station, you have two alternatives: take a train led to Aguas Calientes, the trip lasts 01 hours. Or, walk to Aguas Calientes for around 03 hours, following the railways.

When is the best time to visit Machu Picchu?

The truth is that the Inca citadel is available throughout the year. The  best time to visit Machu Picchu  will depend a lot on how you want to enjoy your adventure. In general, you can choose to travel in the high season or the low season. Each of these has its own advantages and disadvantages. Although the truth is that an experience like the Inca citadel can be appreciated at any time of the year.

  • Travel during shoulder months  (April, May, September, and October)  for smaller crowds and generally good weather. Of course, if you want our opinion,  the best month to hike Machu Picchu  is September.
  • The dry season : The most popular time to visit the Inca citadel is during the dry season  (April to October)  when cooler air, bright blue skies, clear days, and sunny blue skies are more common. But the nights are cold on hiking trails (The Inca Trail is closed in February for maintenance).  June ,  July , and  August  tend to be the busiest months.
  • The rainy season : Traveling to the Inca citadel during the rainy season  (November-March)  has benefits too. Of course, the temperatures are warmer, there are fewer people and the Inca citadel is intensely greener due to the heavy rains. Keep in mind that during the rainy season, the cost of a trip can be much lower. But, What is the benefit? Well, the ruins aren’t as crowded and flowers are in bloom. Consequently, better photos and postcards.

Can you get to Machu Picchu in a day?

Absolutely yes.There are many day trips designed to explore Machu Picchu, if you are in Cusco, you can start your journey very early in the morning, take a 1.5-hour bus ride to Ollantaytambo, and then a 2.5-hour train ride to Aguas Calientes. Once you arrive there, you can take a 45-min bus ride to the Inca citadel. You will have a couple of hours to explore the dazzling "Lost City of the Incas" and then, return to Cusco the same day in the same form. Bus to go down to Aguas Calientes, after a train to Ollantaytambo, and from it, a bus to Cusco.

Keep in mind that you must book your  Machu Picchu tickets  in advance.

Of course, visiting the Inca citadel citadel for just a couple of hours is not ideal. Also,  this kind of full-day trip doesn't offer much time to visit and enjoy the citadel , and the Sacred Valley of the Incas.

How high is Machu Picchu?

Machu Picchu is at a height of 2,430 m. above the sea level  - sitting at 1000 m. lower than Cusco- which is below the minimum height at which altitude sickness can hit you badly. It mostly affects people from low-altitude locations. This is an example of how wrong we can be about  how high is Machu Picchu  is and that it is also lower than Cusco situated over 3500 m.a.s.l. Be aware that a visit to the Inca citadel involves walking up and down many steep stairs, terraces, and ramps at different altitudes.

Altitude sickness in Machu Picchu, What to do?

Technically, yes. Altitude sickness can affect anybody who goes from low altitudes to high altitudes without giving the body time to adjust to the changes in oxygen level and air pressure.

Regardless of gender, age, or fitness level, most travelers can feel the effects of high altitude at over 2,000 m. The symptoms include dizziness, headaches, tiredness, and vomiting. Thus,  Machu Travel Peru  recommends taking your time to explore the Inca citadel, drinking plenty of water o  coca leaf tea for altitude sickness . Even spending a couple of days in the city of Cusco to let your body acclimatize to the high Andean altitude.

What should I pack for Machu Picchu?

Your backpack will depend on the weather and the season, the Inca citadel is located in a tropical cloud forest on the Cusco jungle eyebrow. Therefore, the weather there can be warm and humid, totally different in front of Cusco (the city where depart the majority of transportation to the "Lost City of the Incas") which presents cold and dry weather due to the altitude. Therefore, preparing a backpack can be varied. Here, you have some tips to pack the more essential things for your Machu Picchu trip.

Backpack : A backpack of 25 liters will be enough for a full day trips, even for a trip of 2D/1N. Remember that you must take it during your tour for two hours or more (up to three) through the citadel of the Inca citadel.  That's why the lighter the backpack, the better.  Of course, if you plan to do the Inca Trail or spend more days in Aguas Calientes, you can carry a duffle bag or a carry-on of a maximum of 10 kg (22 lb) with dimensions of 62 inches or 158 cm (height + length + width) onboard train. This suitcase must remain in the hotel storage while you carry a small backpack during your tour. You cannot take your complete hand luggage to Machu Picchu.

Clothes:  As usual, the clothes to wear in tropical and warm weather will be light. However, the moments when you leave Cusco heading to the Inca citadel (Usually early mornings) and during the returns (late at night), you can feel extreme cold. Therefore, packing the necessary things will be crucial.

  • Warm jacket for the early mornings and night arrivals back to Cusco
  • Rain jacket or (Poncho) for untimely rains
  • Comfortable shoes for trekking (Remember, you will walk over stones)
  • Sneakers or light shoes to stay in Aguas Calientes
  • Support t-shirts and underwear
  • Large light pants for trekking
  • Long and light sleeve shirts for trekking
  • Sunglasses, a hat, or a cup. To protect yourself from the strong sun of the zone

Food : Eat or consume any type of food or snack inside the Inca citadel is forbidden. But, you can carry them in your backpack and eat them before or after the tour (outside of the inca complex).

  • You can carry chocolates, power bars or any fruits.
  • You can carry water in your own bottle. Disposable plastic bottles are prohibited.

Some advice : There are some archaeological park regulations that any visitor has to comply with during the visits. The most important are:

  • During your Inca citadel trip, you`ll find llamas. Please, don't feed them.
  • Avoid using walking sticks. However, if you will use them, these have to be covered by a rubber tip.
  • Do not go near the edges or go over the ropes.
  • Don't take umbrellas. These are forbidden. You can bring a rain jacket instead.

Basics : The following list is the most essential things that you have to bring with you on your tour.

  • Original passport. It will be required at the entrance of Inca citadel, on the trains and CONSETTUR buses.
  • Cash in your pocket. Peruvian Soles S/. 300 approx. To eat, go to the bathrooms or buy some souvenirs.
  • Repellent for mosquitoes. The archaeological complex is located in a tropical rainforest jungle and bugs usually are frequent in the mornings..
  • Printed entrances to the archaeological complex, train tickets, and bus CONSETTUR tickets. To speed up the entry process to these services.
  • Cell Phone rain cover

What is Huayna Picchu?

Huayna Picchu or Wayna Picchu, also known as the "stairs of death", is the large mountain that sits directly behind Machu Picchu.

For many travelers,  Huayna Picchu mountain  is one of the most dazzling places in the Inca sanctuary. The views from the top of this mountain are, without a doubt, mind-blowing. It's well worth the climbing effort. However, it's not recommended for people who suffer vertigo or cannot overcome their fear of heights.

What are the toilet facilities like at Machu Picchu?

Imagine waking up one morning in an exclusive hotel in Aguas Calientes, taking a light but protein breakfast, and beginning your tour. While you are transported from the town to the Incas citadel in a bus (45 min), and you are guided through all the attractive (03 hours), the digestion is in full process and sometimes your body may require you to go to the bathroom. Having considered that there are no bathrooms inside the Inca citadel, your only option is to go out from the citadel to use the bathrooms (located on the right side of the Archaeological park entrance) Once your needs are met, you decide to re-enter to Machu Picchu. But, What?  you can't re-enter to Machu Picchu. Your entrance is valid only one time, and this is useless if you want to re-enter to archaeological complex .

In other words, answering the question, Can you pee in Machu Picchu? the answer is no. You will have to use the bathrooms of your hotel or pay for some (S/ 2 per cabin) located over the side of the Archaeological park entrance before entering the Inca citadel. A cautious man is worth two.

Can a disabled person visit Machu Picchu?

Machu Picchu, as a new world’s wonder and cultural heritage of Humanity by UNESCO, is an attraction suitable for everyone. Therefore,  the administration of the Inca citadel has a special protocol to attend to those visitors  with motor disabilities.

First , we recommend that  these persons come to accompanied by a relative, friend, or someone  who helps them to push the wheelchair or serves them as a support for walking.

Second , once the disabled person has purchased his tickets to visit Machu Picchu and is at the citadel entry control post, he  must prove that they suffer from motor disabilities (a certificate, CONADIS card, medical certificate) to obtain assistance  like an extra wheelchair (If that's the case), or a personal assistant to help to push the wheelchair (This will depend of availability of personnel and traffic of visitant in the day).

Third ,  the park rangers will be informed about the particular condition of a visitor and they will assist them  at every point where they are guarding.

Fourth , the Inca citadel was built following the Incas architectonical style, with well-carved stones, narrow passages, sloping stairs, and walkways to the edge of the abyss. Therefore, the wheelchair will have limited access to some zones of the attraction.  Ask the park rangers where is the most adequate route for visitors with motor disables, they will be glad to indicate to you  the shortest and most accessible route for your tour. In this case, circuit 3 (Yellow).

Fifth . Of course, our recommendation, besides being accompanied by a relative or friend, is  to hire the service of a tour guide : touring an archaeological park with so much history without an expert or someone who tells you about the most important facts of the marvel, would be boring. Or, if you prefer, you can take a  Machu Picchu virtual tour , happily, nowadays technology is at the service of everyone, and there are interactive virtual maps of the citadel, in which you can enjoy every zone, see the beautiful landscapes, and knowing its history.

How is the tour to Machu Picchu?

The tours will depend greatly on the time spent there and the entrance shifts. In general,  these are early morning tours, which means that it has to depart very early from Cusco (around 4 to 5 am) , taking a train to Aguas Calientes town (4 hours of trip) or taking a bus to Ollantaytambo train station (02 hours trip), and from there, take a train to Aguas Calientes (02 hours more).

Aguas Calientes is the support town of Machu Picchu . Once arrived there, you will have to take a bus to get to the citadel (45 min).  The ticket will entitle you to enter at a certain hour to the attraction and spend there a certain time (03 hours as a máximum) . After that, you will have to take a bus to return to Aguas Calientes (45 min more).

In Aguas Calientes, you will have the time to take lunch, use the bathrooms, or go to the hot springs (The attraction that gives the town its name).  At a certain hour, you will have to take a train to return to Ollantaytambo train station in the Sacred Valley , (if your hotel is located there) or directly  to Cusco .

For those visitors who want to climb up to Waynapicchu  (The mountain behind the citadel) or the Machu Picchu mountain (another mountain located in contraposition of Waynapicchu and receives the same name as the citadel),  they will have to spend a night in Aguas Calientes , so that the next morning, very early, begin to climb up these mountains and get spectaculars views of the archaeological complex.

For those who want to spend 2 or 4 days on the Inca Trail  and do the tour through Machu Picchu on the last day, they have the possibility of  spending a night more in Aguas Calientes or taking a bus to return to Sacred Valley or Cusco . As we mentioned, all will depend on the time that you want to spend in the Inca citadel and the shift of visit.

How does entrance tickets to Machu Picchu work?

The entrances to Machu Picchu largely depend on the time of the visit and the place (circuit) of the visit. Therefore, the Machu Picchu park administration offers 4 different tickets to enjoy the many varieties of the archaeological complex. Also, the Machu Picchu tickets have different costs, divided by age. Adult, from 18 years old to more. Students, from 18 years old to 25 (Previously showing an original student card at moment to buy the ticket). Children, from 03 to 18 years old.

Llaqta of Machu Picchu (Circuit 1, 2, 3 or 4) : Llaqta is a Quechua word that means town or citadel.  This is the most common ticket to visit the citadel, and It allows you to choose one of the 4 circuits to visit the Inca citadel . Each circuit can be toured in only one sense (from the beginning to the finish), without the possibility of going back or changing the circuit once begin the route. Also, the ticket comes with a certain hour (previously selected by the visitor, at the moment of the ticket purchase), which indicates the hour of the entrance to the citadel. For example, if your ticket indicates 08:00 am as your entrance hour, this means that you have a range of time from 08 to 09 am to the entrance. From your entry time, the maximum of 03 hours will be computed to remain in the citadel.

Circuit 4 + Waynapicchu Mountain : This means that  you can climb up the Waynapicchu mountain (you`ll have a range of time of 3 hours for this) and after, the possibility of visiting the citadel by 2 hours more, following circuit 4 . In the same way, your ticket will indicate a certain hour, previously chosen by you, to enter the mountain Waynapicchu. If this indicates 10 am, you`ll have from 10 to 11 am to enter the mountain. Among  Machu Picchu tickets , usually, this is the most demanded, for this reason, buying it, at least, 6 months in advance, will be the most recommendable.

Machu Picchu mountain + circuit 3 : This ticket allows you  to climb up Machu Picchu Mountain  (located at the south of the citadel, as opposed to Waynapicchu). Similar to its predecessors, this ticket indicates a certain hour to begin the climb to the mountain (this attraction receives the same name as the citadel),  and after, visiting the citadel by circuit number 3 . The complete tour last 6 hours, at least, and many  tours to Machu Picchu  include it in their itineraries.

Circuit 4 + Huchuy Picchu mountain:  This is the newest ticket option to visit Machu Picchu and climb the mountain Huchuy Picchu. This mountain is located at the north of the citadel and its visit last 01 hour at maximum.  The ticket offers the possibility of climbing this mountain and visiting the citadel by circuit number 4 . A visitor can remain in the archaeological complex for around 04 hours with this ticket. In the same way, you have to choose an hour to the entrance to Huchuy Picchu at the moment of buying the ticket.

What are Machu Picchu hours of operation?

Usually, the archaeological complex  is open from 06 am to 05:30 pm, all days of the week, even on holidays . Of course, this range of time is divided by the hours of entrance that each tickets types contain. This without considering the stay of up to 3 hours in the complex.

Llaqta of Machu Picchu (Circuit 1, 2, 3, or 4) :

Circuit 4 + Waynapicchu Mountain :

Machu Picchu mountain + circuit 3 :

Circuit 4 + Huchuy Picchu mountain:

How much does it cost to visit Machu Picchu?

The cost of a Machu Picchu trip includes different factors, besides the entrance ticket to the world wonder . The transportation cost from Cusco or Sacred Valley hotels to the train station, the train ticket to Aguas Calientes, the buses CONSETTUR (to get to the Inca citadel from the Aguas Calientes town), the service of a tour guide, it is due to a Peruvian government regulation in which indicate that any tourist can`t visit the citadel alone, they have to be accompanied by an authorized tour guide in all moment. And, naturally, the cost of entrance to the archaeological complex.

As you can see, the costs of tours to Machu Picchu have many variants. But, rest assure, we will treat each of them:

Car transportation : Whether you're staying in Cusco or the Sacred Valley of the Incas, this will be your first investment. Unfortunately, most of the train stations are located outside Cusco or in the north extreme of Sacred Valley, therefore, the visitor will need car transportation to get to these. If your train departs  from San Pedro train station  (the only one located in Cusco) you will need only a  taxi (3$ one way) . But If your train departs  from Poroy , located 14 km outside Cusco, you will need private transportation to get there from Cusco  (10 $ one way) . Now, if your train departs from  Ollantaytambo train station , located to 62 km from Cusco and 20km from Sacred Valley,  you can pay 8 $ one way from Sacred Valley and 16 $ one way from Cusco .

Train Service : As you can see, the trains usually depart from Poroy or Ollantaytambo train station, only a pair of these depart from San Pedro train station, the only one located in the same Cusco city. Therefore,  the cost of the train will depend of the distance to run from its starting point to the Aguas Calientes town round trip . The greater the distance, the higher the cost. Shorter distance, lower cost.

  • Peru Rail  offers train services from San Pedro, Poroy, and Ollantaytambo train stations (In order of distance from Aguas Calientes town). Besides distance, the costs of the trains depend on the level of service, being  the EXPEDITION service, the cheapest, the VISTADOME service, the intermediate and the HIRAM BINGHAM the most expensive . The following costs are approximations and can vary in any moment.
  • Inca Rail  offers train services only from Ollantaytambo train Station. However, its cost depends on its three different levels of services. In order from cheapest to most expensive,  there are the EXECUTIVE train, the 360º train, and the FIRST CLASS train . The following costs are approximations and can vary in any moment.

Bus CONSETTUR : Once arrived at Aguas Calientes town, you will need transportation to get to the top of the mountain where located the Machu Picchu citadel, 9 kilometers from the town. In this sense,  the only company that offers the transfer service to the citadel is run by the Municipality of Aguas Calientes  and is called CONSETTUR.

Guide in Machu Picchu : As we mentioned before, any visitors can visit the Incas citadel without an official tour guide. According to Peruvian government regulation, all visitors has to be accompanied by an authorized tour guide inside the archaeological complex. At the Archaeological checkpoint, the guard who verifies your entrance ticket will also inspect if you are accompanied by a tour guide. The offer is extensive, according to the demand, in this sense, a good tour guide, with years of experience, a good level of English language, and a university graduate in tourism, history, or archaeologic areas,  can cost 70 to 80 $  per three hours of guiding in the citadel.

Entrance ticket to Machu Picchu : This section is the last link to answer the question How much does a  trip to Machu Picchu cost ? As you can see, the cost of a Machu Picchu tour involves more than tickets for entrances or trains. In this sense, as we saw in a previous section, the entrance to the archaeological complex is divided into four types of entrances.

Therefore, depending on your schedule of train, the level of services, inter alia,  we can get an average of 400 dollars per person .

What are the circuits to Visit Machu Picchu in?

In previous paragraphs, we indicated that the Ministry of Culture is the entity responsible for managing the Machu Picchu Archaeological Park. According to a recent investigation on the carrying capacity and erosion in the archaeological complex, the institution decided to delimit five  circuits to visit Machu Picchu  in order, to avoid crowds, slow down deterioration and conserve the attraction for the next generation. Also, once the visitor has started a route,  there is no possibility of going back  (To control this, park rangers are stationed at every corner of the citadel). In addition, the visitor  cannot jump from one circuit to another, in the middle of the visit . If a route was chosen, it must be walked until the end.

Circuit 1 - Red - High-Short : This is a  little route located in the upper sector of Machu Picchu . The circuit begins over the Andean terraces, continuing to the guardians` house, up to the principal entrance to the urban sector. Next, the circuit past the Temple of the Sun and the water mirrors, going down into the lower sector. Finally, the route leads to the exit. If you take this circuit, you’ll have the possibility to visit the Inca bridge and the Sun gate (Intipinku). The tour lasts 02 hours and 30 minutes.

Circuit 2 - Blue - High-Long : This circuit is  the most demanded because is the only one that covers most of the Machu Picchu areas ; the upper and lower sectors, the same zones as Circuit 1, the intihuatana (Pyramid) area, Llamakancha, the Sacred Rock. After, the circuit goes down into the lower sector, passing by Condor temple up to the exit. The tour lasts 3 to 4 hours and it is perfect for those who want to explore the citadel in detail.

Circuit 3 - Yellow - Low-Short : This circuit is  especially recommended by people with motor disables  because the route is short and hosts few stairs and low slope areas. The access is through the storehouses (Qolqas), following the Inca house and the water fountains. Finishing in the Pisonae Square. Also, this circuit is combined with the visit to Machu Picchu mountain. The tour lasts 1 hour.

Circuit 4 - Sky Blue - Low-Long : The circuit  was designed to be combined with the visit to Huaynapicchu mountain . The tour lasts approx 1 hour and 30 minutes and includes all the zone visited in circuit 3, plus the Llamakancha, the Sacred Rock, and the warehouses. The circuit continues to the lower sector, leading to the rear section of the citadel.

Circuit 5 - Green - Low-Middle : This is  new rote thinking for those who arrive from Inca Trail . The circuits passed by the same zone as circuit 5, with the difference that this does not reach the extreme eastern sector, where the entrance to the road to the Huaynapicchu mountain is located. The tour lasts 01 hour and 15 minutes.

What rules to consider to visit Machu Picchu?

The Inca citadel like another world wonder with thousands of visitors per day has regulations and prohibitions that all visitors have to comply with. Happily, these are not many and are the most common that you can find in another attraction. Following, you have some  rules to consider to visit Machu Picchu  to comply with the rules of the site and avoid any inconvenience.

The following rules have to be considered by the present year.

  • A tour guide is required, before, during, and after the Machu Picchu tour. To visit alone the citadel is forbidden.
  • An only tour guide for up to 10 persons. That means a tour guide can guide a maximum group of 10 people. From the 11th person, a second tour guide is required.
  • The maximum stay in the citadel is 04 hours. Enough time to walk any of the 5 designed circuits in the archaeological complex. A tour guide and this regulation of time help to free up space, avoid confusion, and protect the citadel.
  • Re-enter the citadel is forbidden, except for those visitors who have a Machu Picchu with mountain ticket. Also, remember that there are no bathrooms inside the citadel. So, if you want to go to the bathroom, you will have to go out and use those that are located next to the entrance to the archaeological park, but, be careful, You will not be able to re-enter the citadel!
  • Visitors have to respect the distance between them during the excursion in the archaeological complex. In this case, for individual persons, a minimum distance of 5 feet (1.5 meters) between visitors is suggested. In the case of groups, a minimum distance of 66 ft (20 meters) will be ideal.

Prohibitions

The things and items described in the following list are forbidden. The park rangers and the National Police guard the zone. And, If a visitor is caught with these items, he will be immediately expelled from the archaeological park without the right to a refund and will have to submit to the law.

  • Purses, bags, or backpacks large than 40x35x20 cm.
  • Kitchenware like thermos, pots, cutlery, and plates.
  • Any kind of food.
  • To be under illegal substance effects or carry any illegal substance.
  • Carry any type of alcohol bottle or be under the effects of this substance.
  • Selfie sticks, monopods, portable chairs, tripods, walking sticks, and umbrellas.
  • Feed domestic or wild animals (Except guide dogs)
  • Any type of Aerosol.
  • Paint any type of graffiti that deface or alter any part of the citadel.
  • Any type of musical instrument. For example, speakers or megaphones.
  • Make disturbing or loud noise (Shout, scare, talk loud inter alia)
  • Strollers for babies.
  • Hard-sole or heels shoes.
  • Use cell phones or virtual apps outside of designated areas or in narrow paths.
  • Undress, jump, lie down, run or generate turmoil.
  • Dressing clothes, showing posters, photos, films, and banners for promotional purposes.
  • Any kind of weapons or knives.
  • Perform fashion shows, bawdy dances, or any obscene acts contrary to good manners or morality.
  • Move, touch, or extract any stonework or rock from the citadel structure (Walls, arcs, door frame inter alia)
  • Lean or climb over walls and structures of the complex.
  • Remove, collect, disturb or extract elements of the local flora or fauna.
  • Flyover with drones, any craft, or paragliders.
  • Get out of the established route or circuit to go to another.
  • Carry out the trade or sell anything along all the Archeological park until Puente Ruinas (Ruins bridge)
  • Start a fire, smoke, or vape any kind of fire.
  • Throw garbage.
  • Carry plastic bottles.

Do you need a tour guide for Machu Picchu?

Yes, you need one . As we mentioned in many sections, entering Machu Picchu citadel without the assistance of a tour guide is completely forbidden. According to the laws and norms of the Peruvian government, through the Culture Ministry, all visitors have to be accompanied by an authorized tour guide. This authorization comes from Cusco universities and institutes specialists in Tourist training. Therefore,  the best will be to hire the service of a travel agency , these already include a tour guide service in their packages.

Which experiences are best for tours in Machu Picchu?

The location of archaeological complex is an advantage to develop different experiences. Let us remember that the archaeological complex is located in the jungle eyebrow of Peru, 75 kilometers northwest of Cusco. In this sense, activities like trekking, hiking, and even rappelling can be developed during the trip leading to the Inca citadel.  The   best itinerary to know Machu Picchu   is not just one but many . Following, you will have the most representative tours:

  • Full day trip by train, from Cusco to Machu Picchu.
  • 2-Days-1-Night, Maras Salt Mines, Moray, and Machu Picchu tour.
  • 16-Days from Lima including the Peruvian Amazon, Machu Picchu, and Lake Titicaca.
  • First class Pullman train to Machu Picchu with lunch
  • 2-hours Small group Machu Picchu tour.
  • Day-trip tour by Vistadome train from Cusco.
  • 5-Day trek trip Machu Picchu nature and village trek.
  • Machu Picchu day trips from Cusco
  • Alternative Machu Picchu day trip from Cusco
  • Awesome Inca Jungle excursion from Cusco.
  • 5-Days-4-Nights Salkantay trek to Machu Picchu.
  • 5-Days Choquequirao trek to Machu Picchu.
  • 4-Days-3-Nights Inca Trail Machu Picchu from Cusco
  • Cusco and Machu Picchu tour.
  • Alternative 2-Days-1-Night Inca Trail to Machu Picchu

Machu Picchu Attractions

The Inca citadel with its large ruins and perfect architecture is one of the world's most incredible archaeological sites. Its breathtaking location captivates many visitors who want to experience a once-in-a-lifetime adventure. You have a good selection of attractions to choose from during your  Machu Picchu tour .

The Temple of The Sun

The Temple of The Sun

One of the best places to visit is located next to the main fountain. It is the only round building in the archaeological complex. This wonderful, semicircular, and tapering tower of fascinating stonework is best viewed from above. The Temple of the Sun is recognized for having some of the best stonework in the archaeological complex. It is believed that it functioned as a kind of astronomical observatory. The Temple of the Sun provides exceptional views of both, the June solstice sunrise and the constellation of the Pleiades -an important astronomical Andean symbol related to crop fertility- which rises over the nearby peak of Huayna Picchu.

In addition, you can see some niches where it is believed that offerings have been placed.

The Royal Tomb

The Royal Tomb

It is also known as the Palace of the Princess. As in the Temple of the Sun, some tall niches were found for the offerings. This natural rock cave is located below the Temple of the Sun. And the base of the building has a structure that resembles that of a cave. It was for these reasons that Hiram Bingham mentioned it as a "grave". And despite being known as the Royal Tomb, no graves or mummies were ever found there. Its purpose was highly debated, probably because it represented access to the spiritual heart of the mountains.

The Funerary rock

The Funerary rock

The rock is located just outside the Watchman’s Hut. The different investigations are still not very clear about the main function. Although it is believed that it could be a sacrificial altar. The Funerary Rock is an important symbol of the Inca civilization. Due to its funeral character, the building was intended for the mummification process. It represents, symbolically, the entrance to the cemetery in the Inca citadel. It is also believed that it could also have been used in the mummifications of deceased nobles. In addition, according to some studies, the Funerary Rock also had a close relationship with the study of the cosmos and the stars, especially the sun.

The Sacred Plaza

The Sacred Plaza

The Sacred Plaza or Central Plaza is the large green area that separates the residential buildings from the functional buildings. It was a political and social center. Due to its excellent location, it was considered the most important architectural ensemble of the Inca citadel. In its surroundings, you can find some of the most important structures. Among them are the Main Temple, the Temple of the Three Windows, Intihuatana, the Temple of the Moon, and the Priest's House. It is the commonplace of the different llamas that graze in the surroundings.

The Intihuatana

The Intihuatana

It is one of the most emblematic and iconic places of the archaeological complex. Intihuatana means "Hitching Post of the Sun" and refers to the carved rock pillar at the top of the Intihuatana hill. It has been carved in the shape of the Inca Empire's map. Its exact use remains unclear, but the Inca astronomers were able to predict the solstices using the angles of this rock pillar. Besides, the Intihuatana seems to be aligned with important mountains such as Veronica, Salkantay, Pumasillo, and Huayna Picchu. This structure was not the only one of its kind, but it is one of the only ones in contemporary times. Intihuatanas from other sites were destroyed by the Spanish.

The Temple of the Moon

The Temple of the Moon

The Temple of the Moon is an Inca ceremonial temple. The site has stone masonry and a shallow cave. In the center of the cave is a throne carved out of the rock. This temple is located inside a natural cave below the top of Huayna Picchu mountain. Its name is due to the fact that it is often lit up by the moonlight. However some archeologists believe the structure was probably dedicated to the spirit of the mountain. The Incas believed the caves could connect them with the world of the dead. The caves are believed to have been used to house mummies.

Intipunku

Intipunku or the Sun Gate is one of the most important archeological constructions around the Machu Picchu sanctuary. It was once a fortress of the Inca citadel and, according to history, its steps were a control gate for those who entered and exited the citadel. Intipunku was designed to workshop the Inti, the Sun god. The rising sun passes through the Sun Gate each year on the summer solstice. Nowadays, it's also the name of the final section of the famous Inca Trail. At the top of Intipunku construction, you will witness an incredible view of the entire site, with the unmistakable shape of Huayna Picchu in the background.

Aguas Calientes

Aguas Calientes

Also known as  Machu Picchu Pueblo , this town is the closest access point to the historical Inca citadel, about 6 km away. The name  Aguas Calientes translates to Hot Springs, and that is why it bears that name. Despite being a small town, it has a lively and bustling vibe which counts with many hotels and restaurants, as well as natural hot springs. The small town can be an excellent alternative where to stay. It is located much lower than the Sacred Valley and Cusco. What makes it an ideal destination to acclimatize to the height of the Inca citadel.

The Thermal baths

The Thermal baths

Machu Picchu Museum

Machu Picchu Museum

The museum is located in Puente Ruinas, approximately 2 km. from Aguas Calientes, at the foot of Machu Picchu mountain. It's dedicated to the Inca citadel history. It has a series of rooms with interactive displays with lots of interesting facts. You will get an understanding of the importance of these ruins and Inca history.

Principal temple

Principal temple

This is another of the most important buildings around the Sacred Plaza. Its name is due to its large size compared to the other structures. Together with the Temple of the Three Windows, they make up the two buildings with the greatest spiritual significance. This temple is an impressive rectangular-shaped building that counts with massive solidity and perfection. It consists of two lateral walls and one rear wall, and a total of seventeen trapezoidal-shaped niches which were used for ceremonial offerings. During the Inca times, the temple housed royal mummies since the Incas considered them as deities. They worshiped not only them but also their supreme god Wiracocha.

House of the High Priest

House of the High Priest

It is another of the important structures around the Sacred Plaza. It is not entirely clear whether a high priest actually lived there. But it is one of the only residences with four walls. Located in front of the Principal Temple, it was built with a lower architectural quality than the temples on its sides. There is little information about these mysterious ruins. One of the many mysteries of the archaeological complex that still have to be solved.

Sacristy

Considered by many to be one of the finest structures in the citadel. It is also often called the "House of Ornaments". This small but famous building is located behind the Principal Temple. It counts with many well-carved niches used for the storage of ceremonial objects. The Sacristy is known for its two rocks flanking its entrance that contain 32 angles each. Inside you will see an unusual low platform at the bottom of the back wall. It seems that it was used as a kind of stone seat or bed.

Inca Drawbridge

Inca Drawbridge

It was built as a secret entrance for the Inca army. The Inca bridge is an original wooden drawbridge that was designed to control access to the Inca citadel. There is an elevated walk that brings you from the Hut of the Caretaker to the Inca drawbridge. But you will only be able to admire the bridge from a nearby viewpoint since, some years ago, someone crossed and tragically fell. Actually, there is no bridge, if not a stone section in the middle of a cliff. Where there should be a bridge there is a drop of about 6 meters. This gap is usually filled in with several tree trunks.

Huayna Picchu

Huayna Picchu

It is one of the most spectacular panoramic views of the Inca citadel. The famous Huayna Picchu or Wuayna Picchu is located behind of the Inca citadel, at a height of 2,720 m. You can get there using a path that departs from the Inca citadel. It is not a hike with great difficulties and it has many advantages to be able to enjoy it. You can enjoy the exclusive Temple of the Moon and much more. At the top of the mountain, you will not only find a small set of Inca constructions but also witness breathtaking and amazing views of the ruins. The tickets have to be booked in advance as access to Huayna Picchu is limited to 400 people per day.

Temple Of The Cóndor

Temple Of The Cóndor

The Temple of the Condor is situated in the urbanized zone of the Inca citadel where you will find a gigantic stone condor carved in fine detail with its wings extended as if it were in full flying. Definitely, one of the most spectacular and impressive examples of what the Incas could do with the stones. In fact, the condor was a sacred symbol for the Inca civilization, a god that was worshiped since it represented wisdom and the celestial domain. It was called hanan pacha in Quechua.

Guard House

Guard House

With total security, we can affirm that the Guard House is the most visited point in Machu Picchu. It is due to its strategic location, over the agriculture sector, in the upper zone. With a panoramic view of the citadel, many scholars affirm that this enclosure was inhabited by the guardian of the citadel, who controlled the entry and exit of people to Machu Picchu. The enclosure has three windows that overlook the Inca drawbridge and the final part of the Inca trail, the only two entrances that connect the citadel with the outside world. But you already know, if you are wondering where the best postcards of the archaeological complex are taken, the guardian's house is your answer.

Sacred Rock

Sacred Rock

This 3-meter-high monolith with a 7-meter base is located at the north end of the archaeological complex, close to the Huayna Picchu mountain path entrance. This fine-carved rock resembles the shape of the Pumacillo, a mountain located many kilometers from it, but in its same parallel. The rock is between two Huayranas (Inca rectangular roofed enclosures where visitors or participants of an Inca ceremony rested). This is the main reason why it is believed that Sacred Rock was used as an atrium for the worship of the Apus (mountains). Also, its base is finely carved too and could serve as a platform where were deposit offerings to the mountain.

Temple of The Three Windows

Temple of The Three Windows

This was an enclosure in the "Hannan" sector or high neighborhood of Machu Picchu, surrounding the Sacred Plaza, where all religious and ceremonial buildings were situated. Today, the enclosure no longer exists but a trapezoidal wall remains that faces the north sector of the citadel. This wall, of perfectly carved stone, contains three trapezoidal windows in the direction to the north. Besides them, there are two covered windows (niches), each one in the west and east extreme of the wall, respectively, where gold and silver offerings were placed. This temple was used for religious ceremonies. Some scholars affirm that the worship activities developed there were destined for the Inca trilogy, Uku Pacha (underworld), Kay Pacha (this world), and Hannan Pacha (the heaven). These could be represented by the three windows.

Things to Do in Aguas Calientes

Aguas Calientes is named after the hot springs in the city that are often overlooked. For most travelers, the main reason to come to Aguas Calientes is to get to the dazzling Inca citadel. That is why it is also usually known as Machu Picchu Pueblo.

Therefore, there are several interesting  things to do in Machu Picchu , like swimming in the hot springs or appreciating a great variety of butterflies in "the butterfly house". Also, the local town has two beautiful waterfalls; Mandor and Allcamayo, where you can refresh their waters from the warm and humid weather. In addition, the town counts with hotels, bars, and restaurants. You will find typical Peruvian and Cusco food to spend the night before or after your tour. Keep in mind that Aguas Calientes is not necessarily on the renewing front of Peruvian cuisine. But if you are looking for high-end restaurants, you may want to explore the luxury hotels in town.

Tips and preparation for visiting Machu Picchu

Without a doubt, a visit to Machu Picchu will be one of the most fulfilling and exciting trips you will ever embark upon. But it's important to take care of all the details to be able to take advantage of your journey. Before embarking on your vacation, take into consideration these tips:

Choose the right time

The archaeological complex is located high up in the Andean mountains and covered with tropical forests. For this reason, it's pretty important to choose the right time for visit Machu Picchu.

There are two seasons in the highlands, the dry and the rainy season. The dry season, from May to September, coincides with the high season. During these months, there are clear skies and no risk of rain or fog, but large crowds. While in the rainy season, from October to April, you will expect highly daily rainfalls but short crowds.

Post note: The Inca Trail is closed in February for maintenance work.

Passport and other documents

The passport, as the main international ID document to enter and out of any country, will have to be valid 6 months beyond your dates of travel and a visa if is required. For those persons from the United States, a visa to enter Peru is not required. For the rest of the countries, it`s recommendable to find out the entry requirements at the embassies of the different countries existing in Peru.

Before departing from your country to come to Peru, make a copy of your passport, and main traveler documents and guard them in other parts of your original documents (In case these last ones are lost). Another important recommendation is to take photos of these documents and carry them on your cell phone, for any urgent or emergency.

Medications and treatments

If you come to Peru with any pre-existing disease or treatment, make a detailed list of your medicines. If necessary, supply these in your country of origin before taking the flight to the Andean country. It may be that some of your medications are not in Peru.

Backpacks or bum bags

Pack a carry-on bag, with a second change of clothes, in addition to your large suitcases for your international flight to Peru. Just in case of loss of luggage in the hold.

Entrance ticket to Machu Picchu

As we told in before paragraphs, the archaeological complex has strict regulations regarding the number of visitants per day. This is due to the results of a recent study of load capacity, erosion, and deterioration of the Inca wonder. For this reason, the maximum capacity of visitors per day is around 4000. Consequently, the Machu Picchu entrance tickets for a certain day are sold out 4, even 5 months in advance. In this case, having already your entrance tickets, even before your flights to Peru, or your hotels, or tours will be the best recommendation. Happily, Peru has the best travel agencies in South America who can help you with this item.

Trains to Machu Picchu

There are two train companies in Cusco, Peru Rail, and Inca Rail. Both offer transportation services from Ollantaytambo (a train station located 31 km from Aguas Calientes). Happily, both train companies have the same regulation regarding luggage and backpacks onboard. You can take a duffel bag or carry-on bag of a maximum of 10 kg (22 lb) with dimensions of 62 inches or 158 cm (height + length + width) on board the train. Of course, if you are going to spend not more than 2 days in Aguas Calientes a backpack of 25 liters will be more than enough.

Therefore, preparing an extra backpack, besides your large luggage to come to Peru, will be important.

Inform yourself before traveling

Tourism means planning. In this sense, learning about the weather, the exchange rate, and processes to reach a certain destination, will be of great importance. For that, there are travel blogs like Machu Travel Peru that contain updated information about travel in Peru. We encourage you to take a look.

Book your ticket in advance

We recommend buying your ticket well in advance to find availability. Aside from that, they are highly in demand, the Peruvian government established crowd-control measures. Thus, in order to avoid disappointment -especially during the high season- two or three months in advance would be great. See more information about  Huayna Picchu tickets .

In addition, the Machu Picchu entrance ticket is only valid for one day. Thus, take into consideration that there is no possibility of exchange or refund. So it is highly recommended to make your reservations long before you plan to leave for Peru.

Stamp your passport

Just outside the entrance to the Inca citadel, there is a barely marked station where you can get your stamped passport. If you are looking to fill your passport with the wonderful stamp of Machu Picchu, you cannot miss this opportunity.

Altitude sickness

You never should underestimate altitude sickness during your visit to the Inca citadel. As we mentioned above, the best way to avoid it and make your trip pleasant and without problems is to spend a couple of days in Cusco without doing any activities that demand a physical effort. Avoid over-fatigue and keep hydrated as much as you can. Your body will be acclimatized to the new height. Also, another way to prevent the symptoms is taking coca tea or chewing coca leaves which will help you to recover your energy.

Arrive early

The best way to avoid the crowds at the Inca citadel is to arrive as early as possible. You can stay in Aguas Calientes for the night and go to the sanctuary really early in the morning. The archaeological complex opens for the first shift of visitors at 6:00 a.m. You will also have the opportunity to watch a dazzling sunrise over the Inca ruins.

Pack light and smart

Make sure you are well-prepared with the essentials to make your experience unforgettable. Don't forget to bring a sun hat, sunscreen, insect repellent -locals use shampoo as an anti-mosquito method-, comfortable hiking shoes, raincoat, and layers of clothing -Andean weather is kind of unpredictable-. Also, water, snacks, and extra cash.

Complementary walks

Both for the mountain of Huayna Picchu and for the mountain of Machu Picchu will require a separate ticket. As with entrance tickets, there are a limited number of tickets. The view of the Inca ruins is usually a highlight for visitors, but the views offered by these routes are fascinating. The Huayna Picchu hike may present some steeper and narrower sections. While the Machu Picchu mountain route is much more relaxed and family-friendly. Keep in mind that doing both walks on the same day is virtually impossible.

Although Machu Picchu and Huayna Picchu require tickets, there are free hiking opportunities inside the Inca citadel such as The Sun Gate and the Inca Bridge. The first one takes around two hours round trip and the second one takes less than an hour round trip. Both are relatively gentle trails where you will witness fantastic and impressive views of the archaeological complex. You will have magnificent possibilities to take a great variety of  Machu Picchu pictures .

Stay for lunch

Just outside the entrance, you can find a wonderful cafeteria and a casual bar with a fascinating terrace. Although we highly recommend having lunch at the Sanctuary Lodge buffet. It can be a bit expensive but it is worth every penny. In case you are traveling on a budget, the town of Aguas Calientes has wonderful restaurant options. Some are cheaper than others.

Food and drinking

Life is too short to eat bad food, isn’t it? Check out some of the best restaurants in Aguas Calientes.

Inkaterra Hotel Restaurant

Inkaterra Hotel is a hotel chain that is considered the best in Aguas Calientes. This contemporary place is an airy open dining room that overlooks beautiful forest gardens. The menu counts with a variety of dishes, they include traditional Peruvian and international cuisine.

Located in the railroad Km. 110. It’s open daily, from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. and from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m.

The Tree House

The Tree House is a delightful and welcoming restaurant that counts with peaceful Zen vibes and a laid-back atmosphere. It offers a great variety of dishes dubbed "Peruvian Fusion". A few examples of the exquisite fusion cooking on offer are Camote Ravioli, Cuy Confitado, and Thai chicken soup.

It’s located in Jr. Huanacaure 105 and it’s open daily, from 12 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Indio Feliz Restaurant Bistro

It offers an original and delicious Franco-Peruvian cuisine in a cozy and welcoming atmosphere.

It’s located in Calle Lloque Yupanqui 103. It’s open daily, from 12 p.m. to 10 p.m.

Toto’s House

This cozy restaurant offers a buffet lunch (served from 11:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.), oven pizza, grill, a great selection of main courses, desserts, and many more. It’s specialized in Peruvian and international cuisine.

Toto’s House is located in the heart of Aguas Calientes, facing the main shuttle bus stop. From there, you will have nice views of the Vilcabamba River. The dining room decoration is dominated by a grill stove. It’s open daily, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m.

Chullpi Machu Picchu Restaurant

This restaurant has a sophisticated and minimalist atmosphere. It offers a stylized, and avant-garde version of the exquisite flavors of Peruvian cuisine. Vegan options are available as well.

It’s located in Av. Imperio de Los Incas 140. It’s open daily, from 12 p.m. to 10 p.m.

Full House & Peruvian Cuisine

The best dishes of Cusquenean and Peruvian cuisine you will find in this restaurant. The Full House & Peruvian Cuisine is one of the Aguas Calientes restaurants that fastest growing in recent years. Soups, typical dishes, Peruvian snacks, desserts, pizzas, and much more. It is located close to the hotel Casa Andina and the Vilcanota river. Enjoy a great dinner with a spectacular view of the river and the spirit of Machu Picchu seeing you since up.

It’s located in Av. Imperio de Los Incas Nº 620 and it’s open daily, from 11 a.m. to 22 p.m.

Mapacho Craft Beer Restaurant

Mapacho Craft Beer Restaurant is the best option if you want to spend a relaxed afternoon taking a handicraft beer, chatting for a while, and taste some delicious hamburgers and Peruvian Snacks. The restaurant counts a great variety of handicraft beers, and cold and hot drinks, natural juices, smoothies, burgers, pizzas. Definitely, Mapacho is a great option for those who have tasty good beer and some snacks.

It’s located in Av. Imperio de Los Incas Nº 614 and it’s open from Monday to Friday, from 10 a.m. to 22 p.m. And Saturdays and Sundays from 10 am - 00:00 pm.

Chullos Craft Beer & Home Made Food

Chullos is a local initiative of Uriel Huaman chef. Delicious burgers combined with a handicraft beer (made by themselves). Without mention, its specialties are in Peruvian dishes like Lomo Saltado (Sautéed Loin), Aji de Gallina (chicken chili), or Arroz Chaufa (Chaufa rice). Innovation is not lacking in this restaurant, international recipes made with Peruvian ingredients result in delicious combinations of Novo-Andean food. We invite you to try it.

It’s located in Avenida de Los Incas Nº 612 and it’s open daily, from 08 a.m. to 22 p.m.

National Geographic content straight to your inbox—sign up for our popular newsletters here

the Temple of the Sun at Machu Picchu, Peru

  • WORLD HERITAGE

Machu Picchu

Site : Historic Sanctuary of Machu Picchu Location : Peru Year Designated : 1983 Category : Cultural Criteria : (i)(iii)(vii)(ix) Reason : Machu Picchu is one of the most important archaeological sites in the world.

Machu Picchu is tangible evidence of the urban Inca Empire at the peak of its power and achievement—a citadel of cut stone fit together without mortar so tightly that its cracks still can’t be penetrated by a knife blade.

The complex of palaces and plazas, temples and homes may have been built as a ceremonial site, a military stronghold, or a retreat for ruling elites—its dramatic location is certainly well suited for any of those purposes. The ruins lie on a high ridge, surrounded on three sides by the windy, turbulent Urubamba River some 2,000 feet (610 meters) below.

Scholars are still striving to uncover clues to the mysteries hidden here high in the eastern slopes of the Andes, covered with tropical forests of the upper Amazon Basin. Machu Picchu appears to lie at the center of a network of related sites and trails—and many landmarks both man-made and mountainous appear to align with astronomical events like the solstice sunset. The Inca had no written language, so they left no record of why they built the site or how they used it before it was abandoned in the early 16th century.

Landscape engineering skills are in strong evidence at Machu Picchu. The site’s buildings, walls, terraces, and ramps reclaim the steep mountainous terrain and make the city blend naturally into the rock escarpments on which it is situated. The 700-plus terraces preserved soil, promoted agriculture, and served as part of an extensive water-distribution system that conserved water and limited erosion on the steep slopes.

The Inca’s achievements and skills are all the more impressive in light of the knowledge they lacked. When Machu Picchu was built some 500 years ago the Inca had no iron, no steel, and no wheels. Their tremendous effort apparently benefited relatively few people—some experts maintain that fewer than a thousand individuals lived here.

In 1911 a Peruvian guide led Yale professor Hiram Bingham up a steep mountainside and into the history books as the first Western scholar to lay eyes on the “lost city” of Machu Picchu. While indigenous peoples knew of the site, Peru’s Spanish conquerors never did—a fact which aided Machu Picchu’s isolation, and preservation, over the centuries.

Today Machu Picchu is far from isolated. In fact it’s a must-see for any visitor to Peru and the draw that compels many to travel to that nation. Machu Picchu’s management challenge is preservation of the site while making it accessible to all those who hope to experience an incredible part of Inca history.

How to Get There

On his first trip to the site Hiram Bingham walked for six days. Today many choose to follow in his footsteps by hiking to the ruins on the legendary Inca Trail. It’s an experience like no other, but one no longer necessary. Train trips from Cusco take only a few hours.

When to Visit

  • Nat Geo Expeditions

Mountain archaeologist and National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence Johan Reinhard offered this tip on how to escape the crowds that typically fill the site by midday. “I traditionally climb to the top of a nearby peak with a pack lunch and wait till the crowds are gone,” he wrote in National Geographic Traveler .

How to Visit

For the fit there is simply no substitute for traveling to Machu Picchu the way the Inca themselves did—on foot. Today the Inca Trail winds through the mountains and along the path of the ancient royal highway. More than 75,000 people make the trip each year and along the way experience some of the associated sites that were part of the Inca network in this area.

It’s no longer possible to do the trek independently. Due to heavy use (and subsequent environmental impact) the trail has become heavily regulated. Visitors must sign up with an organized group to tackle either the classic four-day route or a recently added two-day option.

Introducing Nat Geo Kids Book Bundle!

Related topics.

  • WORLD HERITAGE SITES
  • ANCIENT CIVILIZATIONS
  • ARCHITECTURE

You May Also Like

machu picchu tourist

20 of the coolest travel adventures for 2024

machu picchu tourist

Carthage was Rome’s greatest rival. Go see its side of the story.

machu picchu tourist

Searching for traces of the ancient Chola dynasty

machu picchu tourist

Photo story: ancient ruins and Indigenous culture in Mexico's Maya Ka'an region

machu picchu tourist

How to see Stonehenge: Everything you need to know

  • Perpetual Planet
  • Environment

History & Culture

  • History & Culture
  • History Magazine
  • Mind, Body, Wonder
  • Paid Content
  • Adventures Everywhere
  • Terms of Use
  • Privacy Policy
  • Your US State Privacy Rights
  • Children's Online Privacy Policy
  • Interest-Based Ads
  • About Nielsen Measurement
  • Do Not Sell or Share My Personal Information
  • Nat Geo Home
  • Attend a Live Event
  • Book a Trip
  • Inspire Your Kids
  • Shop Nat Geo
  • Visit the D.C. Museum
  • Learn About Our Impact
  • Support Our Mission
  • Advertise With Us
  • Customer Service
  • Renew Subscription
  • Manage Your Subscription
  • Work at Nat Geo
  • Sign Up for Our Newsletters
  • Contribute to Protect the Planet

Copyright © 1996-2015 National Geographic Society Copyright © 2015-2024 National Geographic Partners, LLC. All rights reserved

USA flag

Change location

  • Call us today from 10am
  • 01993 838 925 01993 838 620 or
  • REQUEST A QUOTE

View of Machu Picchu

Visit Machu Picchu: A first timer's guide

  • Machu Picchu

By Peru specialist Nik

Just shy of 600 years ago, a small plateau between two lushly forested peaks high in the Andes became a building site for the Inca Empire’s greatest city.

This citadel in the clouds was abandoned only 100 years later but Spanish invaders never found Machu Picchu. It was left to nature before explorer Hiram Bingham caught wind of it on an expedition in 1911 and decided to investigate. A hidden city protected by the mountains, and still wonderfully inaccessible other than by foot or train, Machu Picchu is now a New Seven Wonders of the World .

My Machu Picchu highlights

I’m often asked if Machu Picchu  really lives up to its name. The emphatic answer is yes, and for two reasons.

Firstly, its buildings — the temples, palaces and houses — are in a remarkable preserved state. The Spanish never ventured up the mountains and so left it untouched.

Moreover, each time I visit Machu Picchu I’m bowled over by the setting. Out of view from the valley, you hear the roar and churn of the Urubamba River 500 m below. A protective wall of mountains surrounds you, which fades in and out of view as the mist falls and lifts. You have the distinct feeling of being high up in the world and part of a very well-kept secret.

Machu Picchu

Three of my stand-out highlights

The intihuatana stone.

This carved pillar on a square stone base remains a testament to the Incas ’ knowledge and skill as astronomers. The name translates to the 'hitching post of the sun'. The corners point to the four cardinal points, and the stone still accurately indicates the positioning of the sun. If you happen to be watching at noon on either equinox, you’ll notice the stone’s shadow disappear for just a moment, as designed by its creators.

The Royal Tomb

This cave-like building is thought to be where sacrificial or burial rituals were performed, and there have been more than 100 skeletons excavated here. Just to the left of the tomb lies a series of ceremonial baths fed by a sophisticated aqueduct system — another reminder of the impressive masonry skill of the Incas.

Climb Huayna Picchu

You can climb Huayna Picchu, the witch’s hat of a mountain that stands guard behind Machu Picchu, as long as you book it well in advance as part of your admission ticket. Your ticket will show your allocated time slot to start the walk, and it takes about an hour to reach the top.

I wouldn’t recommend it if you don’t like heights — the last stretch of path narrows with no barrier to separate you from the edge. The reward comes from the view at the top, which our guides generally agree is the best place to see Machu Picchu from above. You could opt to climb part of the way to still get the knock-out view, albeit from a lower level.

Video: Our expert tips for visiting Machu Picchu

Machu Picchu: a first timer's guide

Where to stay in Machu Picchu

I’d highly recommend an overnight stay at Machu Picchu or Aguas Calientes if you want to get up to experience the ruins early the next morning.

The Machu Picchu Sanctuary Lodge is the only hotel close to the entrance of Machu Picchu, a mere stroll away. Staying here ensures you’re best placed to avoid travelling time at the start and the end of the day, though this convenience comes at a considerable price tag.

Aguas Calientes has a good range of hotels. The buses start to roll out of town up to Machu Picchu early enough for you to arrive just after the gates open, and well ahead of visitors coming by train. Staying locally also is helpful if you want to visit the site more than once. Mist clinging to the peaks can be completely bewitching, but visibility can be changeable 2,450 m above sea level. A second visit can give you a completely different set of conditions to enjoy as you explore the architecture, and time to climb Huayna Picchu.

Machu Picchu Sanctuary Lodge, Machu Picchu

How to get to Machu Picchu

Your most common route to Machu Picchu is flying into Peru’s capital city, Lima , before transferring to an internal 1h 15m flight to Cuzco .

Cuzco sits at the base of the Andes in the southeast of Peru. It was the capital of the Incas and is the leaping-off point for Machu Picchu and the Sacred Valley , the one-time heartland of the Inca Empire. You can reach Machu Picchu from Cuzco on the train or by trekking.

A small town, Aguas Calientes, has sprung up in the valley below Machu Picchu. It serves as the disembarking point for the train or a gathering place after you’ve completed the Inca Trail  and descended from Machu Picchu.

From as early as 5am buses leave here to travel up the windy road cut into the mountainside to the entry gates of Machu Picchu.

When is the best time of day to visit?

Machu Picchu is often busiest between 11am and 3pm when most train and bus visitors arrive, so the opportunity to see the site in the morning or at dusk could allow you to have a more meditative experience and better light for photography.

Machu Picchu

Machu Picchu by rail

The train journey from Cuzco to Aguas Calientes offers you the chance to see dramatic, natural scenery as you make your way through lush valleys and past rugged peaks, following the course of the Urubamba River.

There’s a variety of rail services, from regular carriages with comfortable seating, Vistadome services with panoramic windows through to the luxury Hiram Bingham train with fine dining and entertainment.

You can break up your journey mid-point by stopping or staying overnight at Ollantaytambo  in the Sacred Valley, once an important administrative centre for the Incas. The remnants of a sturdy fortress, complete with terraces, dominates the town. You would travel into the valley by road and then take the train from Ollantaytambo to Machu Picchu.

View of Machu Picchu from the Sun Gate, Peru

Machu Picchu by foot

Trekking holidays to Machu Picchu are ideal if you want to immerse yourself fully in the hugely varied landscape of snow-capped mountains, sapphire lakes, terraced fields and emerald-forested slopes.

Our guide on trekking holidays in Peru introduces a range of routes and distances so you can find a trip that’s tailored to your fitness level, the number of days you have available to explore and your preferred accommodation.

With group and private treks ranging from 1 to 12 days, you can cover the Inca Trail, Salkantay (known as the ‘alternative Inca Trail’) or the Mountain Lodges of Peru route at a pace that suits you once you’ve had time to acclimatise to the altitude.

There are regulations restricting the number of walkers allowed on the Inca Trail. Only 500 people are allowed to start the Inca Trail trek to Machu Picchu each day, and this includes the porters. Permits sell out notoriously far in advance, so it’s essential to plan your trip as early as possible if you want to walk the Inca Trail.

A little note on altitude

Machu Picchu stands at around 2,450 m above sea level, and Cuzco at 3,400 m. At these heights, there’s 20 per cent less oxygen in the air. In the vast majority of cases, symptoms of altitude sickness are very mild (a little sleepiness or a slight fuggy head) and wear off after a day or two, but it can make doing anything energetic feel like a struggle.

Our Peru specialists can give you personalised recommendations about how to acclimatise ahead of your trek and combat any altitude sickness during it.

Travel insurance for Machu Picchu treks

It’s important to check whether your travel insurance  will cover you for treks at altitude, especially if you’ve previously bought a policy to cover you for a number of trips throughout the year. It’s possible to buy specialist trekking travel insurance, and this tends to fall into pricing categories based on the altitude and length of the trek you wish to take on.

Machu Picchu mountain, Machu Picchu

Where to eat at Machu Picchu

Aguas Calientes has a plentiful selection of restaurants to suit your tastes and wallet. One of our current favourites is Indio Feliz, an award-winning restaurant serving Peruvian dishes  with a French twist tucked away in a side street.

You can also try Peruvian street food if you time it right. Every Sunday, slow cooked chicharrones (hog roast) is sold until it’s all gone. I tried it on a recent trip and the meat was amazingly succulent, with the best crackling I’ve ever tasted.

The best time to visit Machu Picchu

July and August is peak season, when the highest number of visitors are taking on the Inca Trail or wandering around Machu Picchu.

The Andean foothills are at their driest at this time of year too, with the rainy season taking place between November and March.

We favour visiting throughout the dry months of April to October, but it’s worth avoiding the July and August peak period if you’re not tied to travelling at this time.

It should be noted that the Inca Trail is closed to walkers during the month of February so restoration work can take place.

Trips to Machu Picchu

We’ve created a selection of itineraries  that visit Machu Picchu as well as some of Peru's other highlights.

I’d suggest you need at least 9 days in Peru to take in Machu Picchu and the surrounding Incan ruins, with time to explore Cuzco before or after.

With a little extra travelling time you can extend your journey to cover time in the Peruvian Amazon , Lake Titicaca or the Colca Valley.

Tailor-make your trip to Peru

Sacred Valley of the Incas

Incas uncovered: Cuzco, Sacred Valley & Machu Picchu

9 days from £3,585pp

Transport on Lake Titicaca, Peru

Luxury Peru tour

15 days from £10,145pp

Cuzco, Peru

Icons of South America: Cuzco, Machu Picchu, Iguaçu Falls & Rio

13 days from £10,700pp

Start thinking about your experience. These itineraries are simply suggestions for how you could enjoy some of the same experiences as our specialists. They’re just for inspiration, because your trip will be created around your particular tastes.

Further reading

  • Trekking to and around Machu Picchu
  • Peru’s Inca wonders beyond Machu Picchu
  • Machu Picchu plus one: tried-and-tested South American combinations
  • Video: Helen's travels in Peru
  • Trekking holidays in Peru: the best hikes (that aren’t the Inca Trail)

Plan your trip

Tell us about your plans and one of our specialists will plan a unique trip for you...

Request our brochure, The World Your Way

The World Your Way Brochure

Order your digital copy via email.

Machu Picchu

Book your individual trip , stress-free with local travel experts

Select Month

  • roughguides.com
  • South America
  • cusco-and-around
  • machu-picchu
  • Travel guide
  • Itineraries
  • Local Experts
  • Travel Advice
  • Accommodation

Plan your tailor-made trip with a local expert

Book securely with money-back guarantee

Travel stress-free with local assistance and 24/7 support

MACHU PICCHU is one of the greatest of all South American tourist attractions: beautiful stone architecture enhanced by the Incas’ exploitation of local 250-million-year-old rocks of grey-white granite with a high content of quartz, silica and feldspar, set against a vast, scenic backdrop of dark-green forested mountains that spike up from the deep valleys of the Urubamba and its tributaries. The distant glacial summits are dwarfed only by the huge sky. The site’s mysterious origins are central to its enduring appeal. Even without knowing too much about its history or archeology, or the specifics of each feature a visit to Machu Picchu is worthwhile just to absorb the mystical atmosphere. In case you do want to know more, read on in our guide to Machu Picchu.

The ruins of Machu Picchu

The discovery of machu picchu, origins of machu picchu, sunrise over machu picchu, getting to machu picchu by train, threats to machu picchu, travel ideas for peru, created by local experts.

Peru: into the Incan Empire

8 days  / from 2429 USD

Peru: into the Incan Empire

Who were the Incas? What did they do? What happened to them? Discover the answers, and much more, with this unique trip into the heart of the former Inca Empire.

Female Empowerment Tour

8 days  / from 2822 USD

Female Empowerment Tour

From meditations in Miraflores over visits to craftswomen in Chincheros to gratitude rituals in the Sacred Valley. This itinerary will allow you to reconnect with your feminine energy and learn more about women's lives in Peru.

Culture, Nature and Adventure in Peru

19 days  / from 3510 USD

Culture, Nature and Adventure in Peru

Get to know Peru through its locals and breathtaking trails- full of history. Hop aboard a motorboat to get to know the local way of life of the Uros people, before you start the great Inca trail, where beautiful landscapes, archaeological sites and fresh air are waiting for you.

The Inca Empire and the Nazca Culture

8 days  / from 1885 USD

The Inca Empire and the Nazca Culture

Peru has a rich history and culture, this itinerary will give you a taste of just how special it is. Take a flight over the mysterious Nasca lines, head to Cusco for some brilliant archaeological sites and discover the Inca cities. This trip will leave you wanting more!

Peru - the modern, the iconic, the wild

12 days  / from 6970 USD

Peru - the modern, the iconic, the wild

Spend 12 days in magnificent Peru - famous Machu Picchu, legendary Titicaca Lake and the wild Amazon await. This tour is great for foodies with amazing Peruvian delights, for history and culture lovers in the Sacred Valleys as well as wildlife enthusiasts in the Amazon. Something for everyone!

Best of Peru & Galapagos Islands

14 days  / from 6565 USD

Best of Peru & Galapagos Islands

Split your South America trip into two fascinating countries: Peru with Machu Picchu and the Sacred Valley, as well as ocean-facing capital Lima. Afterwards, proceed to the Galapagos Islands. You will stay on 3 different islands and explore many more.

Though more than 1000m lower than Cusco, Machu Picchu seems much higher, constructed as it is on dizzying slopes overlooking a U-curve in the Río Urubamba. More than a hundred flights of steep stone steps interconnect its palaces, temples, storehouses and terraces, and the outstanding views command not only the valley below in both directions but also extend to the snowy peaks around Salcantay. Wherever you stand in the ruins, you can see spectacular terraces (some of which are once again being cultivated) slicing across ridiculously steep cliffs, transforming mountains into suspended gardens.

The name Machu Picchu apparently means simply Old or Ancient Mountain. With many legends and theories surrounding the position of the site, most archeologists agree that its sacred geography and astronomy were auspicious factors in helping the Inca Pachacuti decide where to build this citadel here at 2492m. It’s thought that agricultural influences as well as geo-sacred indicators prevailed, and that the site secured a decent supply of sacred coca and maize for the Inca nobles and priests in Cusco.

Never discovered by the Spanish conquerors, for many centuries the site of Machu Picchu lay forgotten, except by local Indians and settlers, until it was found on July 24, 1911 by the US explorer Hiram Bingham. It was a fantastic find, not least because the site was still relatively intact, without the usual ravages of either Spanish conquistadores or tomb robbers. Accompanied only by two locals, Bingham left his base camp around 10am and crossed a bridge so dodgy that he crawled over it on his hands and knees before climbing a precipitous slope until they reached the ridge at around midday.

After resting at a small hut, he received hospitality from a local peasant who described an extensive system of terraces where they had found good fertile soil for their crops. Bingham was led to the site by an 11-year-old local boy, Pablito Alvarez, but it didn’t take him long to see that he had come across some important ancient Inca terraces – over a hundred of which had recently been cleared of forest for subsistence crops. After a little more exploration Bingham found the fine white stonework and began to realize that this might be the place he was looking for.

Bingham first theorized that Machu Picchu was the lost city of Vilcabamba, the site of the Incas’ last refuge from the Spanish conquistadors. Not until another American expedition surveyed the ruins around Machu Picchu in the 1940s did serious doubts begin to arise over this assertion, and more recently the site of the Incas’ final stronghold has been shown to be Espíritu Pampa in the Amazon jungle.

Meanwhile, it was speculated that Machu Picchu was perhaps the best preserved of a series of agricultural centres that served Cusco in its prime. The city was conceived and built in the mid-fifteenth century by Emperor Pachacuti, the first to expand the empire beyond the Sacred Valley towards the forested gold-lands. With crop fertility, mountains and nature so sacred to the Incas, an agricultural centre as important as Machu Picchu would easily have merited the site’s fine stonework and temple precincts.

It was clearly also a ritual centre, given the layout and quantity of temples; but for the Incas it was usual not to separate things we consider economic tasks from more conventional religious activities. So, Machu Picchu represents to many archeologists the most classical and best-preserved remains in existence of a citadel used by the Incas as both a religious temple site and an agricultural (perhaps experimental) centre.

It’s easy enough to get into the site before sunrise, since the sun rarely rises over the mountains to shed its rays over Machu Picchu before 7am. Make your way to the “hitching post” of the sun before dawn for an unforgettable sunrise that will quickly make you forget the hike through the pre-dawn gloom – bring a torch if you plan to try it.

The competitive services offered by the three Cusco-based train operators – Perurail, Inca Rail and Machu Picchu Train – between Cusco and Machu Picchu provide one of the finest mountain train journeys in the world, with all the thrills and vistas associated with riding tracks through fantastic scenery, along with very good service and comfortable, well-kept carriages.

The longest of the train options (the others leave from Ollantaytambo and Urubamba), only offered by Perurail, rumbles out of Poroy station, 15–20 minutes by taxi from Cusco centre. The wagons zigzag their way through the backstreets, where little houses cling to the steep valley slopes. It takes a while to rise out of the teacup-like valley, but once it reaches the high plateau above, the train rolls through fields and past highland villages before eventually dropping rapidly down into the Urubamba Valley via several major track switchbacks, which means you get to see some of the same scenery twice.

The train reaches the Sacred Valley floor just before getting into Ollantaytambo, where from the windows you can already see scores of impressively terraced fields and, in the distance, more Inca temple and storehouse constructions. Ollantaytambo’s pretty railway station is right next to the river, and here you can expect to be greeted by a handful of Quechua women selling woollen crafts. The train continues down the valley, stopping briefly at Km 88, where the Inca Trail starts, then follows the Urubamba River as the valley gets tighter (which is why there’s no road) and the mountain becomes more and more forested, as well as steeper and seemingly taller. The end of the line is the new station at Machu Picchu Pueblo (also known as Aguas Calientes), a busy little town crowded into the valley just a short bus ride from the ruins themselves. From Cusco (Poroy Station) the journey takes 4 hours; it’s 2 hours from Ollantaytambo and 3 hours from Urubamba. Whichever route you’re taking, buy tickets well in advance online.

This most dramatic and enchanting of Inca citadels, suspended on an extravagantly terraced saddle between two prominent peaks, is believed to be in danger of collapse. The original Inca inhabitants temporarily stabilized the mountainside, transforming some of the geological faults into drainage channels. They also joined many of the construction stones together, using elaborate multi-angled techniques, making them more resistant to both tremors and landslides. Nevertheless, these spots remain weak and significant damage can be seen on nearby buildings. The National Institute of Culture, which administers Machu Picchu, acknowledges the problems, but correcting them is an ongoing process.

Discover more places in Peru

Travel Guide Egypt - Philae Temple in Aswan

  • Travel Guide Morocco
  • Travel Guide Namibia
  • Travel Guide South Africa
  • Travel Guide China
  • Travel Guide India
  • Travel Guide Indonesia
  • Travel Guide Japan
  • Travel Guide Laos
  • Travel Guide Malaysia
  • Travel Guide Myanmar (Burma)
  • Travel Guide Nepal
  • Travel Guide Philippines
  • Travel Guide Singapore
  • Travel Guide South Korea
  • Travel Guide Sri Lanka
  • Travel Guide Taiwan
  • Travel Guide Thailand
  • Travel Guide Australia
  • Travel Guide Fiji
  • Travel Guide New Zealand
  • Travel Guide Belize
  • Costa Rica Travel Guide
  • Travel Guide Cuba
  • Travel Guide Guatemala
  • Travel Guide Honduras
  • Travel Guide Jamaica
  • Travel Guide Nicaragua
  • Travel Guide Panama
  • Travel Guide Puerto Rico
  • Travel Guide Trinidad and Tobago
  • Travel Guide Albania
  • Travel Guide Austria
  • Travel Guide Belgium
  • Travel Guide Bosnia-Herzegovina
  • Travel Guide Bulgaria
  • Travel Guide Cyprus
  • Travel Guide Czechia (Czech Republic)
  • Travel Guide Denmark
  • Travel Guide England
  • Travel Guide Estonia
  • Travel Guide Finland
  • Travel Guide France
  • Travel Guide Germany
  • Travel Guide Greece
  • Travel Guide Hungary
  • Iceland Travel Guide

The Rough Guides to Peru and related travel guides

In-depth, easy-to-use travel guides filled with expert advice.

The Rough Guide to the A-Z of Travel

Find even more inspiration here

Piazza San Marco in Venice with Gondola

Planning your own trip? Prepare for your trip

Use Rough Guides' trusted partners for great rates

Rough Guides Editors

written by Rough Guides Editors

updated 22.07.2021

facebook

Ready to travel and discover Peru?

Get support from our local experts for stress-free planning & worry-free travels.

  • Where to stay
  • Travel advice

The Crazy Tourist

Home » Travel Guides » Peru » 15 Best Machu Picchu Tours

15 Best Machu Picchu Tours

One of the most famous and often visited sites in all of South America, The Lost City of Machu Picchu is Peru’s preeminent archaeological site and a UNESCO World Heritage Site as well.

It wasn’t discovered until hundreds of years after it was abandoned, and its mountain top location among the clouds of the Andes Mountains make it one of the most picturesque and compelling sites of its kind in the world.

It’s still revealing centuries old secrets to the archaeologists and historians studying it, and if you’re visiting Peru it deserves the top spot on your itinerary.

Below are 15 of the best tours of Machu Picchu.

1. Day-Trip by Train from Cusco to Machu Picchu

Machu Picchu

The ruins at Machu Picchu are one of the world’s most amazing feats of engineering, and due to their high-altitude location, they’re one of the most difficult to visit as well.

This day-tour from Cusco includes hotel pickup and drop-off, and the long-distance portion of the trip is done by train – one of the most dramatic ways to experience the Andes Mountains.

At 16 hours it makes for a long day but considering the amazing sites and vistas you’ll see it’s a small price to pay, and since the train ride is comfortable and includes a number of dining options, you’ll feel like you’ve been pampered.

2. 5-Day tour from Cusco to the Sacred Valley and Machu Picchu

Sacred Valley, Peru

For those with a wide-open itinerary and deep pockets, this 5-day tour of the Sacred Valley and Machu Picchu from Cusco would be a great way to immerse yourself in the amazing sites and culture that draw visitors from the world over.

The tour includes all site entrance fees, meals listed on the itinerary, and accommodation for 4 nights while traveling.

Few tours offer the range of activities included in this one, and it’s a great option for those who’d rather let tourism professionals and experienced locals deal with all the minor details.

It’s a truly once in a lifetime opportunity, so take advantage of it if you can.

View Prices & Reviews

3. Full-Day Machu Picchu Tour from Cusco

Machu Picchu, Peru

Most tours of Machu Picchu start in Cusco, and though you can spend days seeing all there is to see in the area, a full-day tour is more than sufficient for most travelers, and it leaves plenty of time available for other adventures.

It’s one of the New World’s wonders that rivals the Great Wall or temple complex at Angkor Wat, and for first time visitors it’s an especially exhilarating experience.

You and your travel companions will be conveyed by train to Machu Picchu, and much of the ride will be the same route taken by Spanish conquistadors in previous centuries who missed the settlement entirely in their quest for Peruvian gold.

4. Alternative Inca Jungle Excursion from Cusco

If you’ve already experienced Machu Picchu or are just looking for something new and unique, this alternative jungle tour would be a great fit.

Since it includes biking, rafting, zip-lining and hiking through some pretty dense bush, it’s probably not a good fit for your geriatric and overweight Aunt Edna from Dayton, but for the young, brave and physically fit it’ll be one that you’ll remember for ages.

The tour includes visits to some well-known sites, and a few that aren’t often visited in more remote areas, so you won’t need to worry about crowds.

5. 2-Day Maras, Moray Salt Mines and Machu Picchu Combo Tour

Moray Salt Mines

Peru’s Urubamba Valley is located about halfway between Cusco and Machu Picchu, and since it’s on the way it’s a convenient place to stop and check out a few towns with colonial architecture, narrow streets, and Incan fortresses that still stand just outside town limits.

The tour includes roundtrip transportation from your hotel in Cusco, and includes a tour of the Moray Salt Mines, a Vistadome train ride to Aguas Calientes, and entrance to the site at Machu Picchu.

Lodging and regular meals are included as per the itinerary, and most guests who’ve taken the tour in the past agree that 2 days was the perfect amount of time.

6. Machu Picchu Morning Combo Tour

Machu Picchu Sunrise

For insomniacs and early birds who relish the thought of beating the crowds to the world-famous site, this morning combo tour from Cusco would be a great way to start the day.

The tour includes a professional local guide who will give you interesting historical insights into the ruins and culture that once flourished in the mountain top town, and since it all begins early, you’ll beat a good portion of the daily crowd.

The tour includes a VIP ticket, entrance to the archaeological site, and a 2-hour walk through the winding paths of the ancient citadel.

Click the link below for included and excluded items.

7. Machu Picchu Day Trip from Cusco

Machu Picchu Llama

Though you can spend days at Machu Picchu or just a few hours, for most a full day is the right amount of time to feel like you’ve seen and experienced all the site has to offer without wasting valuable time seeing things that may start to seem a bit repetitive after a while.

Some day tours make for a long day, but this all-inclusive day trip from Cusco packs a lot of value into the available hours without making guests feel rushed.

A private and professional guide is included, as is transportation to and from the site via bus and train.

8. Small Group 2-Hour Machu Picchu Tour

Group of Tourists at Machu Picchu

If you’re a harried traveler on a tight schedule and a shoestring budget, then this 2-hour economy tour would be a great way to experience the majesty of Machu Picchu in only a few hours.

It’s a small group 2-hour tour, and despite its brevity it’ll still take you to all the things you’ll want to see, and you’ll get personalized service unlike that you’d likely get if you joined one of the mega-tours that visit the site every day.

Be sure to take clothing appropriate for the high-altitude weather which can change drastically with little notice.

Click the link below for more tour details.

9. 15-Day Tour from Lima Including the Amazon, Machu Picchu and Lake Titicaca

Lake Titicaca, Peru

Few tours capture the essence of Peru better than this multi-site 15-day tour that originates in Lima.

It includes 14 nights and 15 days of pre-planned visits to some of the region’s most amazing natural, manmade, and archaeological sites.

Nearly all the food, lodging, transportation, and site entrance fees have already been included, so all you’ll need to do is show up ready for an adventure.

It’s a whirlwind tour that includes the Amazon, Colca Canyon, The Sacred Valley, Lake Titicaca’s floating islands, and the mountain fortress of Machu Picchu.

It’s a full-service option that’s particularly popular with retirees and first-time international travelers.

10. 7-Day Lima, Cusco, Sacred Valley and Machu Picchu Tour

Cusco, Peru

If 7 days sounds like a bit much, but you’d still rather spend more than a day or two enjoying all the area has to offer, a 7-day tour like this one that includes Lima, Cusco, The Sacred Valley, and Machu Picchu would be a great alternative.

The tour has been designed with serious travelers in mind, especially those who like to immerse themselves in their travels, and it leaves no stone unturned as you’ll see the country’s top sites at a leisurely but efficient pace.

Most lodging, meals, transportation, and entrance fees are included, so you won’t need to worry yourself with most of the annoying logistical details.

11. Luxury Pullman Train to Machu Picchu with Lunch

Belmond Hiram Bingham

The exquisitely appointed Belmond Hiram Bingham train is named after the famed explorer who discovered Machu Picchu more than a century ago, and there’s no more majestic way to make your way to the sacred ruins than via train.

The cars have been styled much like they were in the early part of the century, adding an air of luxury and drama that you won’t find elsewhere.

It’s truly a VIP experience and includes world-class wine and food, a full bar, site entrance fees and the service of an experienced local guide who’ll wow you with his or her knowledge of the archaeological site and fascinating history that goes along with it.

12. Cusco and Machu Picchu 4-Day Tour

Pisac, Peru

In addition to Machu Picchu, this 4-day tour includes visits to the archaeological sites and Pisac and the Fortress at Ollantaytambo, making it a great fit for those who want to delve into the area’s rich history more than most tours do.

For first-time visitors it’s a great way to get a complete overview of the region’s history while still leaving plenty of time to enjoy other nearby South American countries and attractions.

It includes accommodations for 3 nights as well as selected meals and airport or hotel pickup and drop-off and a tour of the historic city of Cusco too.

13. 4-Day Trip Machu Picchu Nature and Village Trek

Machu Picchu Ruins

For those interested in avoiding the crowds and taking the path less traveled, this 4-day Machu Picchu and remote village trek would be a great way to do both.

The tour includes stops at a few local highland villages that share much of their culture and customs with the former residents of Machu Picchu, and since many of them aren’t reachable by vehicle you’ll get plenty of exercise as well.

The mountain scenery will take your breath away and set the stage for your trip to the archaeological site at Machu Picchu.

It’s geared toward hearty, physically fit, and enthusiastic travelers who don’t mind getting dirty.

14. Machu Picchu from Cusco 4-Days on the Inca Trail

Machu Picchu, Lost City of the Incas

Hundreds of years ago the Inca people migrated from the area in waves, and this 4-day tour from Cusco follows in the footsteps of those ancient people who left behind amazing sites in some very remote places.

This tour includes a fair amount of physical exertion so isn’t a great fit for everyone, but for those up to the challenge the rewards will be great.

You’ll see the specter of Machu Picchu from perspectives that others won’t and will enjoy the natural splendor and fog engulfed mountain tops as well.

Nearly everything has already been included in the tour’s cost, so click below to verify what is and isn’t.

15. Full-Day Tour by Vistadome Train from Cusco

Vistadome Train to Machu Picchu

Vistadome trains were constructed with sightseers in mind, and they make for a majestic means of conv

eyance, especially when traveling to one of the continent’s most amazing sites through dramatic mountains that reach well into the clouds.

It’s a full-day tour and includes a guide who’ll give guests a running narration of the history and culture of a site that’s still revealing secrets more than a century after it was discovered.

The tour gets kicked off at your Cusco hotel bright and early at 5:00 AM, so don’t stay out late the night before and remember to set your alarm clock.

15 Best Machu Picchu Tours:

  • Day-Trip by Train from Cusco to Machu Picchu
  • 5-Day tour from Cusco to the Sacred Valley and Machu Picchu
  • Full-Day Machu Picchu Tour from Cusco
  • Alternative Inca Jungle Excursion from Cusco
  • 2-Day Maras, Moray Salt Mines and Machu Picchu Combo Tour
  • Machu Picchu Morning Combo Tour
  • Machu Picchu Day Trip from Cusco
  • Small Group 2-Hour Machu Picchu Tour
  • 15-Day Tour from Lima Including the Amazon, Machu Picchu and Lake Titicaca
  • 7-Day Lima, Cusco, Sacred Valley and Machu Picchu Tour
  • Luxury Pullman Train to Machu Picchu with Lunch
  • Cusco and Machu Picchu 4-Day Tour
  • 4-Day Trip Machu Picchu Nature and Village Trek
  • Machu Picchu from Cusco 4-Days on the Inca Trail
  • Full-Day Tour by Vistadome Train from Cusco

Protect Your Trip »

Machu picchu tours: how to get there and tips for visiting.

Here is everything you need to know to plan a trip to Machu Picchu.

How to Get to Machu Picchu

Best Machu Picchu Tours

Getty Images

A hike around Machu Picchu is a must-do if you're visiting Cusco, Peru.

Note: Some of the below destinations may be affected by the civil unrest in Peru. Check with the U.S. Department of State before traveling.

Machu Picchu is thought to be one of the largest and most impressive Incan cities of its time. Today a UNESCO World Heritage Site with expansive ruins open to visitors, it sits high on a peak in the Peruvian Andes and is accessed via train or on foot. Here are some tips to help you navigate a visit to this incredible archeological site.

What is Machu Picchu? Machu Picchu is a 15th-century Incan city that was abandoned by the Incas after the Spanish conquest. The ruins feature about 200 structures that were used for religious, agricultural, astronomical and ceremonial purposes, though exactly how remains a mystery. It's believed that between 300 and 1,000 people inhabited the city and the area was devoted to the worship of the sun god.

Where is Machu Picchu? Machu Picchu is located in the Peruvian Andes within a tropical mountain forest at nearly 8,000 feet above sea level. Cusco , the nearest major city, is less than 50 miles southeast of Machu Picchu.

When was Machu Picchu built? Historians believe that Machu Picchu was built in the 15th century.

How do you get to Machu Picchu? Machu Picchu can be reached a variety of ways, including hiking the Inca Trail with a tour company, by train or by bus.

When is the best time to visit Machu Picchu? The site is located in the Amazon rainforest in Peru, where the rainy season runs from November to March. To avoid rain, travelers may want to visit during its dry season from April to October. Travelers say that June through August tends to be the busiest, so opting for shoulder months like May or October may help avoid crowds.

Know Before You Go

  • What: Machu Picchu tours
  • When: Machu Picchu is accessible daily with entrances from 6 a.m. to noon or noon to 5:30 p.m. During the month of February, the Inca Trail is closed for maintenance and is inaccessible to visitors.
  • Cost: Entrance tickets cost approximately 152 Peruvian soles (about $45) for adults; 77 soles (around $23) for students.
  • Must-know tip: To tour Machu Picchu, you must purchase your ticket online in advance and print it out as no tickets are sold at the site. Experts and fellow travelers recommend purchasing your ticket several months in advance as there only 2,500 visitors allowed per day. If you choose to visit with an organized tour company, the company will take care of reserving and purchasing the ticket for you.
  • Website: https://www.machupicchu.gob.pe/inicio

When visiting Machu Picchu, you will be given a specific time you can enter the site. Key attractions include the Temple of the Sun, the Room of the Three Windows, the water irrigation system and the Royal Mausoleum. There is an additional fee to visit the mountains of Machu Picchu and Huayna Picchu, which surround the old city, should you want to hike trails there. After you purchase your ticket – either to Machu Picchu or the site with one of the mountains – be sure to print your ticket and bring it with you along with identification, such as a passport.

Restrooms are located outside the entrance and cost about 2 soles (around 60 cents) to use; there are no restrooms within Machu Picchu. There's no visitor center, but Peru's Ministry of Culture does have an office in Aguas Calientes, a town that acts as the gateway to Machu Picchu. There are also a variety of restaurants in Aguas Calienties to refuel after your trip. Be aware, you also may not be allowed to bring single-use plastics (like sandwich bags) or large bags into the site. If you do bring a large bag, there is a bag storage facility near the site's entrance where you can leave your bag for a small fee as you explore the site.

Machu Picchu is located less than 50 miles northwest of Cusco, a Peruvian city which is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Cusco can make a great base for your visit to Machu Picchu as many organized tours to the site begin here.

Since Machu Picchu and Cusco sit at high elevations, almost 8,000 feet above sea level, travelers should prepare for altitude sickness. Talk to your doctor before your trip to make sure your body can handle the altitude change. When you arrive, help your body adjust by getting plenty of rest for the first few days, avoiding alcoholic beverages and drinking lots of water to remain hydrated. You should also plan to wear insect repellent and plenty of sunscreen for the trek. Travelers also recommend dressing in layers and wearing pants and long sleeves, even if the weather is warm, as the mosquitos are known to be relentless.

Tour Options

Though you can opt to visit Machu Picchu (and make the necessary travel arrangements) by yourself, a guided tour can help streamline the process. Multiple tour operators offer daytrips to Machu Picchu. The majority of these tours originate in Cusco and leave early in the morning (at or before 5 a.m.). You'll be taken via bus to the town of Ollantaytambo, where groups board trains to Aguas Calientes. From Aguas Calientes, groups board a bus to Machu Picchu. Travelers generally spend approximately two hours at the site before they begin the trip back to Cusco. Exact tour prices vary, though you can expect to spend approximately $300 per person (including train tickets, bus fare and a guided tour of the site). Travelers generally enjoy the tours, extolling the knowledgeable guides, and appreciate the ease by which they could see Machu Picchu. Others caution selecting your tour company carefully as experiences can vary wildly from company to company.

Travelers can also opt to hike from Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu on their own via the Carretera Hiram Bingham. The approximately 4-mile journey is a steep climb and can be completed in around 90 minutes. Though an option, most travelers say the walk is long, difficult and lacking in scenery.

Tourists who have ample time, or have a true adventure streak, can hike the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu. The approximately 25-mile trail takes about four days to hike and ends at Machu Picchu. To hike the Inca Trail, you must go with a tour company or hire a guide, as it is no longer permitted to hike the trail on your own. Keep in mind that the trail closes each February for maintenance. Tours can last as little as two days (for an abbreviated journey along the trail) or more than a week to experience additional Peruvian sites.

There are a variety of other attractions and ancient sites nearby Machu Picchu that you may want to add to your itinerary. Titicaca Lake, located at more than 12,000 feet above sea level, is the largest lake by volume in South America. The town of Cusco also has much to see, including cathedrals , temples and a plaza used in Incan times , along with many archeological sites. Take advantage of the Cusco Tourist Ticket (also known as Boleto Turistico del Cusco), which grants access to many of Cusco's attractions for one fee.

Getting There

You can reach Machu Picchu by foot, train or bus, though if arriving by train, your ride will end in Aguas Calientes and you will need to ride a bus or hike approximately 4 miles to access the site. You can take a train from one of several stations near Cusco to the city of Aguas Calientes and then ride a bus to Machu Picchu. (Note: Since these train stations are outside Cusco city proper, you'll need to take a bus to get to them). The train ride via Peru Rail takes about four hours and you can choose from a variety of train types, each with a different price point to accommodate any travel budget. Tickets for Peru Rail are available at PeruRail.com.

You can buy bus tickets from Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu in advance in Cusco at the Consettur offices, which helps you avoid lines at the actual bus stop. Buses depart from Aguas Calientes approximately every 15 minutes beginning at 5:30 a.m. daily until 3:30 p.m. Visitors recommend getting in line for the bus several hours before your scheduled entrance time at Machu Picchu as lines can be extremely long. Some travelers report getting in line three hours before their scheduled entrance time. You'll also likely encounter lines to take the bus from Machu Picchu back to Aguas Calientes.

Additional tour options:

  • CuscoPeru : Full-Day Private Machu Picchu Guided Tour from Cusco. View & Book Tickets »
  • Viajes Pacifico : Machu Picchu Day Trip. View & Book Tickets »
  • Viajes Peru : Day Tour to Machu Picchu The Inca City. View & Book Tickets »
  • Machupicchu Latin America : 2-Day Tour: Sacred Valley and Machu Picchu by Train. View & Book Tickets »
  • Inkayni Peru Tours : Full day. View & Book Tickets »

Looking for more information on Machu Picchu? Check out the U.S. News Travel Cusco guide .

Tags: Tours , Travel , Vacations , Peru

World's Best Places To Visit

  • # 1 South Island, New Zealand
  • # 4 Bora Bora

If you make a purchase from our site, we may earn a commission. This does not affect the quality or independence of our editorial content.

You May Also Like

Top things to do in new hampshire.

Timothy J. Forster and Mariya Greeley June 14, 2024

machu picchu tourist

The Best Scotland Tours

Marisa Méndez June 13, 2024

machu picchu tourist

Flight Canceled or Delayed? What to Do

Amanda Norcross June 13, 2024

machu picchu tourist

How to Renew a Passport Online

machu picchu tourist

The Best Small Group Tours of Italy

John Rodwan and Ann Henson June 12, 2024

machu picchu tourist

Crystal Symphony Review

Jill Schildhouse June 12, 2024

machu picchu tourist

Fall in New England

Amanda Norcross June 11, 2024

machu picchu tourist

Fun Things to Do in New Mexico

Alissa Grisler and Ashley M. Biggers June 11, 2024

machu picchu tourist

Travel During Hurricane Season

machu picchu tourist

Top Orlando Theme Parks

Lyn Mettler and Timothy J. Forster June 11, 2024

machu picchu tourist

A collage of Machu Picchu, a female backpacker and a photographer taking a photo.

Machu Picchu

Explore one of the world's greatest wonders with our private and small group Machu Picchu tours. Enveloped within a dramatic landscape where the Andes meet the Amazon basin, the ancient city of Machu Picchu was built to perfection by the mighty Inca Empire. You can arrive at Machu Picchu via train or an unforgettable multi-day trekking expedition. Once you step foot into this UNESCO World Heritage site, you’ll discover its refined architecture, spiritual meaning and astronomical importance. You will be accompanied by an expert, local, English-speaking guide who will bring the ruins to life through its fascinating oral history.

Fully Customizable

Personalized service, handpicked hotels, 5000 + testimonials, the 10 best machu picchu for 2024/2025, our team strives for the utmost quality, comfort, and great value for all of our travelers. get started customizing your trip with an expert travel advisor..

tour package image

6 days from $ 1249

Cusco, Sacred Valley and Machu Picchu

tour package image

11 days from $ 5979

Galapagos, Cusco, Sacred Valley and Machu Picchu

tour package image

7 days from $ 1469

Cusco, Sacred Valley & Machu Picchu

tour package image

6 days from $ 1719

Cusco, Rainbow Mountain, Machu Picchu & 2-day Inca Trail

tour package image

9 days from $ 3649

Cusco, Sacred Valley, Machu Picchu, Lima & Amazon Cruise

tour package image

10 days from $ 3759

Cusco, Sacred Valley, Inca Trail and Machu Picchu

The most flexible booking terms!

Zero postponement fees up to 30 days before arrival, transferable travel credit , and only a 30% deposit required to secure your trip.

tour package image

12 days from $ 2549

Machu Picchu, Sacred Valley, Cusco, Amazon, Arequipa & Colca Canyon

tour package image

8 days from $ 1679

Machu Picchu, Cusco, Sacred Valley, Puno & Lake Titicaca

tour package image

16 days from $ 3869

Machu Picchu, Cusco, Titicaca, Amazon, Lima, Paracas, Arequipa & Colca

tour package image

9 days from $ 1919

Amazon, Cusco, Sacred Valley and Machu Picchu

Customize your Tour

What to see at machu picchu.

machu picchu tourist

Huayna Picchu

Hike to the top of Huayna Picchu for extraordinary views of Machu Picchu as well as the chance to visit an extra set of ruins on the way. Entrance tickets for Huayna Picchu are limited, so be sure to reserve yours in advance.

machu picchu tourist

Machu Picchu Mountain

Another popular hiking option, Machu Picchu Mountain offers incredible panoramic views of the ruins and the surrounding Andes Mountains. Like Huayna Picchu, entrance tickets to Machu Picchu Mountain are limited so be sure to reserve yours in advance.

machu picchu tourist

The iconic Sun Gate (called Inti Punku in Quechua) is the entrance through which Inca Trail hikers enter the Machu Picchu citadel. It is also possible to visit this attraction as an additional hike for those visiting Machu Picchu on a day trip.

machu picchu tourist

One of the first attractions you’ll visit on your Machu Picchu tour, the Guardhouse (also known as the House of the Guardians or Guardian’s hut) was once used by sentinels watching over the citadel, but nowadays it makes a great spot for sweeping panoramic photos of the ruins.

machu picchu tourist

Sacred Rock

The enormous Sacred Rock (also called a Wank’a in Quechua) bears a striking resemblance to the mountain peaks behind it, and is considered a powerful spiritual symbol of Machu Picchu.

machu picchu tourist

Temple of The Three Windows

One of Machu Picchu’s most iconic places, the Temple of the Three Windows overlooks the Sacred Plaza and consists of three windows in the typical Incan trapezoidal style.

machu picchu tourist

Inca Bridge

A popular additional hiking destination inside Machu Picchu, The Inca Bridge (Puente Inca) is a thin wooden plank crossing a mile-high precipice found at the end of a narrow stone pathway. Designed as a secret exit, its precarious nature helped to limit access to the citadel.

machu picchu tourist

Temple of the Condor

This natural rock formation which was carved by the Incas into the shape of an Andean condor was an object of worship and represents one of the most striking examples of Inca stonemasonry.

machu picchu tourist

“Stairway of Fountains”

The engineering ingenuity of the Incas can be seen in the 16 fountains built within the Machu Picchu citadel. Likely used by the residents of Machu Picchu, these Incan water fountains still flow with water sourced from a spring near the Sun Gate or Inti Punku.

machu picchu tourist

Temple of the Sun

The Temple of the Sun is a semicircular ruin within the Machu Pichu citadel. This site was one of the most sacred temples within the fortress. The trapezoid window is positioned so that on the winter solstice (June 21st), the sun’s rays shine directly into the temple.

machu picchu tourist

Temple of the Moon

You’ll have to hike Huayna Picchu mountain, within the Machu Picchu citadel, to see the Temple of the Moon. This shadowy temple contains a throne carved into the stone and was used only by the Inca priests for ceremonial purposes.

machu picchu tourist

Intihuatana

The famous Intihuatana, whose Quechua name is often translated to English as “The Hitching Post of the Sun,” is a carved stone which is thought to have possibly been used as a type of sundial.

Machu Picchu Hotels

https://www.peruforless.com/images/h-machu-picchu-sumaq.jpg

Sumaq Machu Picchu

Avenida Hermanos Ayar Mz 1 Lote 3, Aguas Calientes, Machu Picchu

https://www.peruforless.com/images/h-machu-picchu-el-mapi.jpg

Av. Pachacutec 109, Aguas Calientes, Machu Picchu

https://www.peruforless.com/images/h-machu-picchu-casa-andina-standard.jpg

Casa Andina Standard Machu Picchu

Prolongacion Imperio de Los Incas E - 34, Aguas Calientes, Machu Picchu

https://www.peruforless.com/images/h-machu-picchu-pucara.jpg

Pucara Hotel

Alameda los Artesanos 1508, Machu Picchu

Peru Highlights

Peru is filled with archaeological ruins, scenic landscapes, and delicious flavors. Must-see places in Peru include:

Hike the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu in four or two days. The Inca Trail is a 500-year old pathway where the elite Incas once entered into the “Lost City of the Incas”. Plan with your Peru for Less travel advisor in advance, Inca Trail permits tend to sell out even 6-months in advance.

Amazon Rainforest

Step into the lush Peruvian Amazon Rainforest and witness a spectacular array of wildlife in its natural habitat. Lodges in Puerto Maldonado are ideal for excursions and daily activities. Those looking for a more luxurious Amazon experience would love an Iquitos Amazon River cruise. Colorful macaws, giant tarantulas, and playful river otters are among the sights you’ll behold.

Cusco city has it all, archaeological ruins, colonial buildings, top-rated restaurants, and countless places to explore. Your Cusco City Tour will take you to the top highlights like Sacsayhuaman, Q’enko, the Cusco Cathedral, and more.

Arequipa is a picturesque town and also the second-largest city in Peru. Local markets, beautifully built colonial architecture, and El Misti volcano are among the things you’ll see while walking the cobblestone streets of the white city.

Lake Titicaca

Sail on the deep blue waters of Lake Titicaca and step on the reed Uros and Taquile floating islands. Some of the best weavers are found in this area so pick up some Peruvian textiles here for unique souvenirs.

Nazca Lines

The Nazca Lines are mysterious geoglyphs and geometric shapes drawn onto the desert floor hundreds of years ago by the Nazca culture. Little is known about them nevertheless, the Nazca Lines inspire awe in those who take a flight over them.

Lima is a mixture of modern city living and historical significance. Here you’ll find Central restaurant (ranked #6 by 50 Worlds Best), UNESCO World Heritage sites like Historic City Center with the San Francisco Convent, and the best shopping in Peru.

machu picchu tourist

Where is Machu Picchu?

What is the best time to go to machu picchu, what is the elevation of machu picchu, can i get altitude sickness at machu picchu, how much time do i need at machu picchu, is a guide required for machu picchu, how old is machu picchu, when was machu picchu discovered, how many tourists visit machu picchu, where are the bathrooms at machu picchu, can i stay overnight at machu picchu, what is there to do in aguas calientes besides visit machu picchu.

Kim MacQuarrie

Book With Confidence

We're flexible! Postpone your tour with zero cost up to 10 days prior to departure.

Email: [email protected]

Sign up to receive our newsletter for great articles, stunning photos, and special deals.

1-817-230-4971

Sales & travel support

  • Search Please fill out this field.
  • Manage Your Subscription
  • Give a Gift Subscription
  • Newsletters
  • Sweepstakes

This Ancient Mountain City Was Just Named the 'Most Magical Place on Earth'

All of these spots really do deliver that otherworldly feeling.

machu picchu tourist

Unaihuiziphotography/Getty Images

Sure, Disney may own the trademark to "The Most Magical Place on Earth" but that doesn't mean it's the only place that can deliver that sense of wonder. And Slingo has a new list that will prove it. 

In April, the website shared its list of the most magical places on earth, which it created by analyzing a list of destinations and their popularity on both Google and across social media, along with the number of Tripadvisor reviews that mention the place as being “magical.” After looking at all the data, it named Machu Picchu in Peru as the most magical.

"Machu Picchu, the ancient Incan city set high in the Andes Mountains of Peru, is the most magical destination," the findings stated, noting it receives more than 19 million Google searches a year, along with 2.4 million Instagram posts, and with 4.2 percent of its Tripadvisor reviews using the word "magical." "Renowned for its archaeological significance and breathtaking scenery, it attracts millions of curious travelers yearly. The site, built in the 15th century and later abandoned, remains shrouded in mystery and wonder."

Machu Picchu is joined on the list of most magical places by Petra, Jordan , at No. 2, thanks to its 9.3 million annual Google searches, 1.8 million Instagram posts, and 3.8 percent of Tripadvisor reviews that use the word "magical." 

"This ancient city, once the thriving capital of the Nabataean kingdom, is famous for its rock-cut architecture and water conduit system. Visitors to Petra can explore the iconic Treasury, the Monastery, and countless tombs and temples that blend seamlessly into the surrounding desert landscape," the findings explained. 

It's followed by Stonehenge in the United Kingdom at No. 3, with 12 million annual Google searches, 924,917 Instagram posts, and a healthy 3.6 percent of Tripadvisor reviews stating it's a "magical" place." 

Rounding out the top 10 magical destinations is Sintra, Portugal, in fourth (which also ranked as the most "picturesque" destination thanks to its 2.5 million Instagram posts), followed by Hallstatt, Austria; Pamukkale, Turkey; Lauterbrunnen, Switzerland; Colmar, France; Mont-Saint-Michel, France; and Hobbiton, New Zealand.

See where else made the list of the most magical places around the globe at slingo.com . 

Related Articles

Machu Picchu has new routes for 2024 – here's what you need to know

Juan  Martinez

Jun 11, 2024 • 5 min read

machu picchu tourist

Machu Picchu's new routes will let you choose the right experience for your trip © Judyta Jastrzebska / Getty Images

With new tour circuits starting from 1 June 2024, travelers visiting Machu Picchu can expect a more personalized experience.

While the variety of the new  Machu Picchu  circuits may mean doing more research to ensure you see exactly what you want, the goal of these changes is to reduce the impact of mass tourism and preserve the archaeological site in the long run.

We've prepared a guide with everything you need to know about the new circuits, current official prices, and booking information.

What changes begin in June 2024? 

Starting this month, more circuits of Machu Picchu have been introduced requiring visitors to decide more precisely, and ahead of time, what kind of experience they want. Each route around the site also has different prices and time slots. Based on popularity, some routes will need to be booked as soon as possible, while others are expected to be available last minute.

I discussed each circuit with my Peruvian friend and tour operator, Aime Ramirez , to understand what each offers and what to expect.

What are the new circuits at Machu Picchu? 

There are three new circuits, each with multiple sub-routes that provide walkers different experiences. Of the ten total route options, six will be available year-round, while four will only be available during the high season (1 June to 15 October).

Each Machu Picchu circuit is a designated route that allows visitors to explore different parts of the ancient Incan city. Each circuit offers a unique panoramic view, caters to different fitness levels, and provides a different perspective of the archaeological site .

Can I do more than one circuit of Machu Picchu?

Yes, you can do multiple circuits in one day, but you will need to buy different tickets for each circuit and plan your timing perfectly – something that is not alway easy in practice – as circuit timings will be more strictly enforced.

Sign showing the way to the Sun Gate, about a mile along a trail from the Machu Picchu site. The Sun Gate was once the main entrance from the south.

Circuit 1: Panoramic Circuit

1-a: machu picchu mountain route.

Times: 7am, 9am Category prices: General prices for foreigners – adult: S/.200.00 ( ~€52)

This circuit offers a blend of adventure and panoramic views. Starting from the upper terrace area, it allows you to climb Machu Picchu mountain, one of the highest points in the archaeological site. The trek takes about 4 hours round trip, depending on your physical condition. From the summit, you'll be rewarded with stunning vistas of the urban area of Machu Picchu and the surrounding mountains.

Circuits 1-B to 1-D

Times: Every hour from 6am to 3pm Category prices: General prices for foreigners – adult: S/.152.00 ( ~€40)

1-B: Upper terrace route

Ideal for those who prefer a shorter walk, this route offers panoramic views from the upper terrace but doesn't include the urban area of Machu Picchu. It's perfect if you're looking to capture that iconic photo without a strenuous hike.

1-C: Intipunku cover route (high season only)

Starting from the upper terrace, this route leads you to the Sun Gate (Intipunku), the traditional entrance point for those arriving from the Inca Trail . While you won't explore the urban area, the panoramic views along the way are truly spectacular.

1-D: Puente Inka route (high season only)

Also starting from the upper terrace, this route takes you to the Inca Bridge, where you can observe the Vilcanota River. It’s a short, scenic walk with historical significance, perfect for a leisurely morning.

A view of Machu Picchu from the upper terrace.

Circuit 2: Inca City Circuit

2-a: classic designed route.

According to Aime, this is the best circuit at Machu Picchu. This is the classic route that lets you capture the famous panoramic photo from the upper terrace and then walk through the urban area of Machu Picchu. You’ll pass by the main square and reach the Sacred Rock.

2-B: Lower terrace route

This route starts from the lower terrace and allows you to explore the urban area. Similar to the classic route, you’ll still get that panoramic shot but from a slightly different angle. You’ll also pass through the main square and the Sacred Rock.

The stone-built. Temple of the Sun at Machu Picchu.

Circuit 3: Royalty Circuit

3-a: wayna picchu mountain route.

This route is for the adventurous at heart. Starting from the lower part of Machu Picchu, you’ll visit the Temple of the Sun, the Fountain Sector, the Inca’s house (Inca Palace), and part of the industrial sector. The highlight is climbing Wayna Picchu, which involves steep, narrow stairs and offers breathtaking views. It’s not for the faint-hearted but worth every step.

Circuits 3-B to 3-D

3-b: designed royalty route.

Similar to the Wayna Picchu route, this one starts from the lower part of Machu Picchu and covers major highlights like the Temple of the Sun and the Sacred Rock, without the climb to Waynapicchu. It’s perfect for those wanting a visit to this part of the site without the physical challenge.

3-C: Great cavern route (high season only)

This circuit includes a visit to the Great Cave as part of the Wayna Picchu mountain. It requires significant physical effort but offers a unique perspective of the archaeological site.

3-D: Huchuy Picchu route (high season only)

This route is less strenuous than the Wayna Picchu climb and takes you to the summit of Huchuy Picchu. You’ll pass through similar landmarks like the Temple of the Sun and the Sacred Rock but with gentler inclines.

How to get a ticket to Machu Pichu like a pro

Currently, there are only two official ways to get a ticket to Machu Picchu: buying your ticket at Centro Cultural Machupicchu in Aguas Calientes in person (which is risky due to the last-minute availability), or getting it online through the Ministry of Tourism website  (this will direct you ta the ticketing site). This option is best for planning ahead and choosing your perfect route.

Of course, you can book a tour to Machu Picchu with your favorite tour operator, or with local operators in Peru, but they will likely use one of these two methods to do the bookings.

Explore related stories

help-me-LP-machu-pichu.jpg

Aug 30, 2023 • 4 min read

There are ways to find lesser-traveled trekking routes to reach magnificent Machu Picchu. Here, our Peru expert recommends a few.

Machu Picchu above the Urubamba Valley on a sunny day.

Jun 25, 2021 • 3 min read

machu picchu tourist

Dec 27, 2023 • 8 min read

Marinera dancers perform in front of a church in Lima, Peru

Nov 15, 2023 • 4 min read

Cordillera Huayhuash.

Nov 10, 2023 • 9 min read

Woman on the Inca Trail close to Machu Picchu

Nov 8, 2023 • 6 min read

Three people walk through the amazon rainforest during the mid morning.

Nov 6, 2023 • 5 min read

An aerial view of a hiker overlooking Machu Picchu

Nov 4, 2023 • 8 min read

machu picchu tourist

Sep 1, 2023 • 7 min read

where-to-go-october.jpg

Aug 11, 2023 • 8 min read

Guy Boucher gone, creates another opening on Craig Berube's staff

Goldstein: liberal attack on parliamentary budget officer implodes, bill belichick, 72, reportedly dating ex-cheerleader, 24, teammate of trans swimmer lia thomas demands apology for being forced to change in same room, editorial: pm's his own expert on foreign interference, perusing peru: machu picchu, sacred valley, cusco and lima.

You can save this article by registering for free here . Or sign-in if you have an account.

Reviews and recommendations are unbiased and products are independently selected. Postmedia may earn an affiliate commission from purchases made through links on this page.

Article content

I awoke to find my head in the clouds, which felt fitting as the day’s itinerary was taking me to a destination I had dreamt about for many years: Machu Picchu.

Subscribe now to read the latest news in your city and across Canada.

  • Unlimited online access to articles from across Canada with one account.
  • Get exclusive access to the Toronto Sun ePaper, an electronic replica of the print edition that you can share, download and comment on.
  • Enjoy insights and behind-the-scenes analysis from our award-winning journalists.
  • Support local journalists and the next generation of journalists.
  • Daily puzzles including the New York Times Crossword.

Create an account or sign in to continue with your reading experience.

  • Access articles from across Canada with one account.
  • Share your thoughts and join the conversation in the comments.
  • Enjoy additional articles per month.
  • Get email updates from your favourite authors.

Don't have an account? Create Account

PERUSING PERU: Machu Picchu, Sacred Valley, Cusco and Lima Back to video

Everything about being in Sacred Valley was mind-blowing, especially our accommodations at Inkaterra Hacienda Urubamba . Set on a mountainside with a main building, spa and casitas (small houses), and decorated with items made by local artisans, the five-star boutique hotel provided an authentically Peruvian stay that prepared us for the main event.

Instead of hiking, our route to reaching the UNESCO World Heritage site – one of the new Seven Wonders of the World – matched the elevated experience of our rest. The Hiram Bingham train is named for Hiram Bingham III, the American explorer and politician who rediscovered Machu Picchu and publicized the Inca citadel’s existence for the world. As it pulled into the station, I felt like I was about to board the Orient Express – not that far fetched an analogy as both are operated by Belmond.

The train is a throwback – in a wonderful way – with meal service at your assigned table and a glass-ceiling bar car in the rear that was the hotspot for fun with music and dancing and great daytime views of Sacred Valley. We then were transferred to a bus and driven up the switchback mountain (don’t look out the window if heights are an issue for you!) to the historic site, where our guide pointed out the incredible Inca architecture. It truly is a remarkable place that exceeded all my expectations.

Before leaving Sacred Valley, we got the wonderful chance to connect with a farming community through La Base Lamay . Headquartered out of a shop selling local goods and coffee in Lamay village, La Base offers tourists “an authentic interaction with local people of the mountain communities to learn about their lifestyle and culture,” CEO and co-founder Franco Negri told us.

Plan your next getaway with Travel Time, featuring travel deals, destinations and gear.

  • There was an error, please provide a valid email address.

By signing up you consent to receive the above newsletter from Postmedia Network Inc.

A welcome email is on its way. If you don't see it, please check your junk folder.

The next issue of Travel Time will soon be in your inbox.

We encountered an issue signing you up. Please try again

Started in 2019, Negri said the idea is to integrate locals into the travel business and to help them supplement their farming income. In addition to visits to communities, they offer hikes in the mountains and outdoor activities.

We were driven up a mountain (fabulous views of the valley and Lamay!) to Huayllafara, about 3,500 metres above sea level with a population of about 200, and were welcomed with a blessing that included petals on our heads. At their interpretation centre, and with the help of a bilingual guide, a farmer told us what they do each month from planting to harvesting. We then got a chance to try our hand at tilling the field with their wooden tools (the terrain makes using machinery very difficult). We also helped peel corn for lunch and grind it with a stone. But the main dish served to us was the historical delicacy of guinea pig – “cute and delicious,” our guide joked, and served on special occasions. The lady preparing them stood for 90 minutes, turning them on sticks.

Heading to Cusco, we stopped to ogle the picturesque Maras Salt Mines with its 3,000 terraced pools fed by saline water that is filtered from the ground by the Qoripujio spring water canal. Salt, obtained by evaporation, has been extracted here since Inca times.

We also paid a visit to Chinchero, which eventually will be the site of an international airport. Textiles is the main industry and at Textil Cusi we learned from the ladies how they dye wool. They also have wonderful clothing and souvenirs for sale.

It only takes a day or two to understand why Machu and Sacred Valley are such popular bucket list destinations. That said, don’t short change yourself by thinking they are the only reason to visit Peru.

Absolutely, whatever you must do, come for the Lost City and then stay for all of this …

A 75-minute flight from Lima took us to Cusco, which we promptly left to drive to Sacred Valley (it’s better to start lower to help acclimatize to the Andes). After our adventures there, we returned to Cusco, about 3,400 metres above sea level. Once the capital of the Incan empire, the city was named a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1983. (The kid in me enjoyed thinking of one of my favourite movies – Disney’s 2000 animated flick The Emperor’s New Groove – and its lead character Emperor Kuzco, voiced by David Spade, who gets transformed into a llama. FYI, if you haven’t seen it, you need to!)

What we did:

In the Main Square, the Cathedral of Cusco – built on the foundation of an Inca temple – has among its impressive collection the 16th-century Senor de los Temblores. Depicting Jesus on the cross, the statue is believed to have lessened the damage done to the city by a 1650 earthquake and is carried through the streets annually on Holy Monday during Easter.

Nearby you must see the 12-angled stone, an example of the Incas’ perfection and skill, as well as Santo Domingo convent and sacred Inca temple Qorikancha.

The Saqsaywaman (or “sexy woman,” as our guide joked to help our pronunciation) archeological complex of walls of stone fit together without mortar, as well as the nearby Jesus statue reminiscent of Christ the Redeemer in Rio, are on a hill and offer great views of Cusco.

At the Sulca Textile Museum, the Sulca family carry on their ancestral tradition by using ancient techniques to create textiles that are available for purchase in addition to beautiful creations by Andean artisans in the community. Plus, they have loads of llamas and alpacas!

The vast San Pedro market is packed with vendors hawking ready-made food, fresh and baked goods, meat (don’t look the decapitated heads in the eye – or do, if you can), souvenirs and so much more. Be ready to haggle for the best deal.

Where we ate:

– For lunch at Cicciolina tapas restaurant where I put all the cute faces out of my mind and took the ‘when in Rome’ approach with the alpaca appetizer served in an Asian sauce with creamy sweet potato, barbecued bacon and pineapple and drizzled with wasabi mayo. It was tasty!

– Dinner was in the courtyard of the Museo de Arte Precolombino at MAP Cafe, with walls of glass offering a refined view to match the elevated menu. The quinoa with avocado sour cream, braised baby vegetables, local cheese and arugula was divine.

Where we stayed:

Palacio del Inka, a Luxury Collection Hotel from Marriott in the heart of the city, was a great launch spot for exploring Cusco. The 500-year-old mansion feels like a museum with all the antiques and art. Plus, it has its own eight-angled stone and – the best for last! – guests can pet a baby alpaca that accompanies ladies selling artisan goods during the day.

The soupy fog coming off the Pacific Ocean and hovering over the coastline on our arrival in Peru’s capital city was what our guide, with a smile, told us the locals call “donkey’s belly.” Luckily it didn’t last our whole visit and we got clear views driving along the oceanfront with massive cliffs to one side and waves and surfers on the other. It’s a sight to behold – and you’ll have plenty of time to ogle it as Lima daytime traffic makes Toronto’s Gardiner Expressway feel quick. We suggest letting locals do the driving for you!

– The Huaca Pucllana adobe and clay pyramid, built between 450 AD and 650 AD, was uncovered starting in 1981 and sits amid the modern buildings of the Miraflores district.

– Museo Larco with treasures from ancient Peru teaches visitors about the cultures that flourished centuries before the rise of the Incas. Check any prudishness at the door at the Erotica Gallery with its collection of artworks depicting sexuality in Peruvian pre-Columbian art.

– On the rooftop patio at Hotel B (as in Barranco, the name of the hipster neighbourhood that’s worth walking for murals, artists, bars and theatre) with a party vibe and a killer sunset view, we took a cocktail class with bar manager Axel Romero, who taught us how to make a Pisco Sour. Known world over as the quintessential Peruvian cocktail, it is, ironically, an American’s reinterpretation of a whisky sour made with Pisco, which is a spirit like brandy that is distilled from fermented grape juice. The boutique hotel – two houses from 1914 joined together and opened in 2013 – has 20 distinct rooms and 342 pieces of impressive contemporary art.

– Astrid & Gaston restaurant , started by the namesakes who met while studying cooking in Paris, it has six kitchens preparing contemporary Peruvian cuisine in a stunning 17th-century residence with a beautiful patio space.

– Mercado No. 28 Miraflores opened in 2018 as the first gastronomic market in the country. Located on the second floor with light pouring in from the roof, it has more than a dozen food and drink options. Another location opened in 2021 in the city’s Surco district.

– We relished the outstanding nine-course tasting menu with wine pairing at Mayta (“noble land” in the native language Aymara), which was No. 41 on the 2024 list of The World’s 50 Best Restaurants. Prepare to be wowed by the unique dish presentations from chef and restaurateur Jaime Pesaque.

Miraflores Park, A Belmond Hotel is perched on the Pacific coast overlooking the ocean and across from a park with a short walk to outdoor mall Larcomar with local and American brand shops and restaurants including Mangos with its cliff’s-edge patio view. With 89 suites, two restaurants, a bar and a spa, Miraflores Park also has a deep, heated rooftop pool that I hit repeatedly, and a pond out front with three different species of turtles.

For our early flight we stayed at Wyndham Costa del Sol hotel at the airport and considering Lima’s traffic, it was worth it to be able to roll out of bed and practically land on the plane.

Voted World’s Best Leisure Airline according to Skytrax in 2023 for the fifth time, Air Transat flies direct to Lima from Toronto Pearson twice weekly on Wednesdays and Saturdays and from Montreal Trudeau once a week on Fridays, with a second flight on Tuesdays starting in winter 2024-25. An upgrade to Club Class provides additional bag allowance of two checked bags, priority check-in, more spacious seating and legroom in the upfront cabin, blanket and sleeping mask, gourmet meal, wine and snacks. A new collaboration between Air Transat and Porter Airlines now means travellers can make bookings via either airline for the broad range of domestic and international destinations that they service. Find out more at airtransat.com .

For more about visiting Peru, visit peru.travel/en .

[email protected]

Postmedia is committed to maintaining a lively but civil forum for discussion. Please keep comments relevant and respectful. Comments may take up to an hour to appear on the site. You will receive an email if there is a reply to your comment, an update to a thread you follow or if a user you follow comments. Visit our Community Guidelines for more information.

KINSELLA: Video of hateful acts key for Canadian Jews and their allies

Lilley: why are more people unemployed in toronto than all of quebec.

This website uses cookies to personalize your content (including ads), and allows us to analyze our traffic. Read more about cookies here . By continuing to use our site, you agree to our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy .

You've reached the 20 article limit.

You can manage saved articles in your account.

and save up to 100 articles!

Looks like you've reached your saved article limit!

You can manage your saved articles in your account and clicking the X located at the bottom right of the article.

machu picchu tourist

  • Kindle Store
  • Kindle eBooks

Promotions apply when you purchase

These promotions will be applied to this item:

Some promotions may be combined; others are not eligible to be combined with other offers. For details, please see the Terms & Conditions associated with these promotions.

machu picchu tourist

Download the free Kindle app and start reading Kindle books instantly on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required .

Read instantly on your browser with Kindle for Web.

Using your mobile phone camera - scan the code below and download the Kindle app.

QR code to download the Kindle App

Image Unavailable

City of Machu Picchu: Unveiling the Mysteries of the Incan Empire's Iconic Citadel and Its Enduring Legacy

  • To view this video download Flash Player

City of Machu Picchu: Unveiling the Mysteries of the Incan Empire's Iconic Citadel and Its Enduring Legacy Kindle Edition

  • Print length 132 pages
  • Language English
  • Sticky notes On Kindle Scribe
  • Publication date June 12, 2024
  • File size 574 KB
  • Page Flip Enabled
  • Word Wise Enabled
  • Enhanced typesetting Enabled
  • See all details

Product details

  • ASIN ‏ : ‎ B0D71MQ5RS
  • Publication date ‏ : ‎ June 12, 2024
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • File size ‏ : ‎ 574 KB
  • Text-to-Speech ‏ : ‎ Enabled
  • Screen Reader ‏ : ‎ Supported
  • Enhanced typesetting ‏ : ‎ Enabled
  • X-Ray ‏ : ‎ Not Enabled
  • Word Wise ‏ : ‎ Enabled
  • Sticky notes ‏ : ‎ On Kindle Scribe
  • Print length ‏ : ‎ 132 pages
  • #1 in History of Peru
  • #9 in Ancient History (Kindle Store)

Customer reviews

Our goal is to make sure every review is trustworthy and useful. That's why we use both technology and human investigators to block fake reviews before customers ever see them.  Learn more

We block Amazon accounts that violate our community guidelines. We also block sellers who buy reviews and take legal actions against parties who provide these reviews.  Learn how to report

No customer reviews

Report an issue.

  • Amazon Newsletter
  • About Amazon
  • Accessibility
  • Sustainability
  • Press Center
  • Investor Relations
  • Amazon Devices
  • Amazon Science
  • Sell on Amazon
  • Sell apps on Amazon
  • Supply to Amazon
  • Protect & Build Your Brand
  • Become an Affiliate
  • Become a Delivery Driver
  • Start a Package Delivery Business
  • Advertise Your Products
  • Self-Publish with Us
  • Become an Amazon Hub Partner
  • › See More Ways to Make Money
  • Amazon Visa
  • Amazon Store Card
  • Amazon Secured Card
  • Amazon Business Card
  • Shop with Points
  • Credit Card Marketplace
  • Reload Your Balance
  • Amazon Currency Converter
  • Your Account
  • Your Orders
  • Shipping Rates & Policies
  • Amazon Prime
  • Returns & Replacements
  • Manage Your Content and Devices
  • Recalls and Product Safety Alerts
  • Conditions of Use
  • Privacy Notice
  • Consumer Health Data Privacy Disclosure
  • Your Ads Privacy Choices

IMAGES

  1. MACHU PICCHU

    machu picchu tourist

  2. Machu Picchu: complete guide to fully enjoy your trip

    machu picchu tourist

  3. Descubre los MEJORES 15 Tours a Machu Picchu

    machu picchu tourist

  4. Viajar a Machu Pichu, lo que tienes que saber para que salga perfecto

    machu picchu tourist

  5. 15 Best Machu Picchu Tours

    machu picchu tourist

  6. ¡Vota por Machu Picchu como mejor destino turístico!

    machu picchu tourist

VIDEO

  1. Machu Picchu is OVERRUN BY TOURISTS

  2. Machu Picchu News

COMMENTS

  1. The Ultimate Machu Picchu Travel Guide

    You'll have the choice of starting your climb between 7 a.m. and 10 a.m. Go at 10 a.m.; there's a better chance any clouds will have lifted by then. You can also climb to the peak of Machu Picchu ...

  2. Machu Picchu: World natural and cultural heritage site

    Huayna Picchu. Due to its great height of 2720 meters, this mountain served as a surveillance center for Machu Picchu. From the top, the Incas had a panoramic view of the entire valley and could warn of any eventual attack. The Old Mountain, as it is known, is made up of rocks on which the Incas carved stairs that make up the long path to the ...

  3. THE 10 BEST Machu Picchu Tours & Excursions

    13. Machu Picchu Private Guided Tour from Aguas Calientes. 67. Historical Tours. 3-4 hours. The Incan archaeological site of Machu Picchu, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, ranks as one of the world's most famous, with…. Recommended by 91% of travelers. from. $179.

  4. Machu Picchu travel

    South America. Shrouded by mist and surrounded by lush vegetation and steep escarpments, the sprawling Inca citadel of Machu Picchu lives up to every expectation. In a spectacular location, it's the most famous archaeological site on the continent, a must for all visitors to Peru. Like the Mona Lisa or the pyramids, it has been seared into ...

  5. Machu Picchu: Complete Travel Guide

    Upon arrival at Machu Picchu Station, the final leg of your journey is a 20-minute shuttle bus (ticket required) or uphill walk to the main entrance of Machu Picchu. Routes & Travel Times: The train from Cusco to Machu Picchu is 4 hours. The train from Ollantaytambo to Machu Picchu is 2 hours.

  6. Ultimate Guide to Machu Picchu: Everything You Need To Know

    A slightly longer hike, taking about an hour round-trip, is to the Sun Gate. At 2,720 m, this is the highest vantage point to view the ruins, and where trekkers from the Inca Trail first glimpse Machu Picchu. Beyond this is a 3-hour hike to the top of the actual peak, Cerro Machu Picchu (the name translates as "big mountain").

  7. Best Machu Picchu Tours & Treks 2024/2025

    Choose your own route to Machu Picchu. There is no right or wrong way to get to Machu Picchu. On most of our trips, you can choose your own adventure with three incredible ways to travel through the Sacred Valley: the Inca Trail, the Quarry Trail and the train journey. That way, if hiking's not your thing, you can still retrace the steps of ...

  8. Machu Picchu Tourism: All You Need to Know Before You Go (2024)

    35,147. Explore Machu Picchu. It's no wonder Machu Picchu is Peru's most-visited site. Dating to the mid-1400s, it's a marvel of mortar-free limestone architecture perched on a high plateau deep in the Amazonian jungle. Get there via train from Cusco or, if you're not faint-hearted, make the trip on foot via a multi-day hiking trail—you'll ...

  9. The Ultimate Machu Picchu Travel Guide

    The Ultimate Machu Picchu Travel Guide. The Lost City of Machu Picchu is one of the most iconic archeological treasures in all of South America. Tucked away in the cloud forests of the Andes, Machu Picchu is believed to have been a royal estate or sacred religious site for Inca leaders. Today, its mountain top location, finely crafted stonework ...

  10. Historic Sanctuary of Machu Picchu

    Historic Sanctuary of Machu Picchu. Machu Picchu stands 2,430 m above sea-level, in the middle of a tropical mountain forest, in an extraordinarily beautiful setting. ... Tourism itself represents a double-edged sword by providing economic benefits but also by resulting in major cultural and ecological impacts. The strongly increasing number of ...

  11. 10 Best Machu Picchu Tours & Hiking Trips (with 6,099 reviews

    Northern Morocco tours. England and France May 2025 tours. Namibia Intl. Flights Included tours. Silk Road tours. Okavango tours. Browse 250+ tours from the best tour operators in Machu Picchu with 6,098 reviews visiting places like Cusco and Machu Picchu. Compare & book now!

  12. Machu Picchu, Peru: Everything You Need To Know

    Machu Picchu, an iconic symbol of the Inca Empire's architectural and engineering prowess, straddles the Andes Mountains of Peru in South America. Specifically, it is situated in Urubamba Province in the Cusco Region, above the Sacred Valley.This location is approximately 50 miles (80 kilometers) northwest of Cusco City, the historical capital of the Inca Empire, making it a remote yet ...

  13. Machu Picchu Travel Guide

    Machu Picchu is located in the high Andes mountain range, right in the middle of the Sacred Valley. The Valley at the same time borders the nearby Amazon Rainforest. If you travel about 80 kilometers east of Cusco, you will arrive at "Lost City of the Incas", built on the side of a mountain.

  14. Machu Picchu -- World Heritage Site -- National Geographic

    In 1911 a Peruvian guide led Yale professor Hiram Bingham up a steep mountainside and into the history books as the first Western scholar to lay eyes on the "lost city" of Machu Picchu. While ...

  15. Visit Machu Picchu: A first timer's guide

    Machu Picchu is often busiest between 11am and 3pm when most train and bus visitors arrive, so the opportunity to see the site in the morning or at dusk could allow you to have a more meditative experience and better light for photography. Machu Picchu, the ancient capital of the Incas. It's best to visit Machu Picchu at dusk or dawn.

  16. Machu Picchu Ultimate Travel Guide

    The 10 Best Machu Picchu Tours (from Day Tours to DIY) by Elena Mallia 25 Feb 2023. Everything You Should Know Before Visiting Machu Picchu in Peru - With Prices! by Yulia Saf 14 Jun 2016. Unforgettable Machu Picchu.

  17. Machu Picchu Travel Guide

    MACHU PICCHU is one of the greatest of all South American tourist attractions: beautiful stone architecture enhanced by the Incas' exploitation of local 250-million-year-old rocks of grey-white granite with a high content of quartz, silica and feldspar, set against a vast, scenic backdrop of dark-green forested mountains that spike up from the deep valleys of the Urubamba and its tributaries.

  18. Machu Picchu

    At Machu Picchu there is a hotel with a restaurant, and thermal baths are at the nearby village of Aguas Calientes. The Inca Bridge and other parts of Machu Picchu were damaged by a forest fire in August 1997, but restoration was begun immediately afterward. Concern for the damage caused by tourism was heightened by discussion of the building ...

  19. 15 Best Machu Picchu Tours

    Below are 15 of the best tours of Machu Picchu. 1. Day-Trip by Train from Cusco to Machu Picchu. The ruins at Machu Picchu are one of the world's most amazing feats of engineering, and due to their high-altitude location, they're one of the most difficult to visit as well.

  20. Machu Picchu Tours: How to Get There and Tips for Visiting

    What: Machu Picchu tours. When: Machu Picchu is accessible daily with entrances from 6 a.m. to noon or noon to 5:30 p.m. During the month of February, the Inca Trail is closed for maintenance and ...

  21. Machu Picchu

    Machu Picchu is a 15th-century Inca citadel located in the Eastern Cordillera of southern Peru on a 2,430-meter (7,970 ft) mountain ridge. Often referred to as the "Lost City of the Incas", it is the most familiar icon of the Inca Empire.It is located in the Machupicchu District within Urubamba Province above the Sacred Valley, which is 80 kilometers (50 mi) northwest of Cusco.

  22. Machu Picchu

    Inca Trail. Hike the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu in four or two days. The Inca Trail is a 500-year old pathway where the elite Incas once entered into the "Lost City of the Incas". Plan with your Peru for Less travel advisor in advance, Inca Trail permits tend to sell out even 6-months in advance. Learn More.

  23. Exclusive Machu Picchu Tours for Seniors

    The Galápagos and Machu Picchu are two of Latin America's most renowned icons. Come see for yourself as you discover the unique wildlife and preserved ruins of these two sacred places. ... Road Scholar educational adventures are created by Elderhostel, the not-for-profit world leader in educational travel since 1975. The Federal Tax ...

  24. This Ancient Mountain City Was Just Named the 'Most Magical ...

    After looking at all the data, it named Machu Picchu in Peru as the most magical. "Machu Picchu, the ancient Incan city set high in the Andes Mountains of Peru, is the most magical destination ...

  25. Machu Picchu has new routes for 2024

    With new tour circuits starting from 1 June 2024, travelers visiting Machu Picchu can expect a more personalized experience. While the variety of the new Machu Picchu circuits may mean doing more research to ensure you see exactly what you want, the goal of these changes is to reduce the impact of mass tourism and preserve the archaeological site in the long run.

  26. Machu Picchu travel, Machu Picchu tour and tourist information, Peru

    Welcome to Machu Picchu info , The Info website dedicated to promote travel end tourism to Machu Picchu Peru. This is a free information website, for travel services please refer to the call centers listed on the left border, Have a nice Trip ! Machu Picchu General Information. Physical Features, Climate, Vegetation, Fauna, Cultural Heritage ...

  27. Machu Picchu: A Radiocarbon Dating Study Reveals the Site is ...

    Machu Picchu is almost the only Inca site in Peru that survived the Spanish invasion and the last 500 years unscathed. ... Machu Picchu has become a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a major tourist ...

  28. PERUSING PERU: Machu Picchu, Sacred Valley, Cusco and Lima

    CUSCO. A 75-minute flight from Lima took us to Cusco, which we promptly left to drive to Sacred Valley (it's better to start lower to help acclimatize to the Andes). After our adventures there ...

  29. City of Machu Picchu: Unveiling the Mysteries of the Incan Empire's

    Uncover the enigma of Machu Picchu, the iconic citadel nestled in the Andes, and delve into its rich history, culture, and mystique. Discover the secrets of the Incan Empire and explore the enduring legacy of this architectural marvel. Read more. Previous slide of product details. Print length. 132 pages. Language.