For those looking to hype up their experience in Machu Picchu, there are many things to do in the Inca citadel and its surroundings that you may not know about. Here, we have gathered a few of them so you can plan your trip according to your interests, and especially, give that little adrenaline boost to your trip.
Machu Picchu is known for its authentic architecture and engineering style, but also because of the trails that branch all around the region. Some of these ancient paths take you through the natural diversity of the place as it is in the Machu Picchu mountain trek, others take you through a more dramatic and adventurous trail to the summit of the famous Huayna Picchu peak.
However, the excitement doesn’t stop there since there is so much to know and to experience, that you’d wish exhaustion wasn’t a real thing. The archeological complex, besides being an impressive construction, certainly offers activities for every type of traveler.
Therefore, if you ever thought that Machu Picchu may not be worthy of adrenaline-packed adventures, here you’ll find out otherwise. Keep reading and learn everything about the adventure experiences we have for you!
1. The Inca Bridge at Machu Picchu
The entire Machu Picchu citadel may seem quite invisible if you were an outsider during Inca times with no information about the site. However, due to its remote location on top of a mountain, the citadel didn’t have a structure that could be used for defense.
Therefore, if the Incas wanted to protect themselves from intruders, then the site would need to be structured to do so. For that reason, the access to sanctuary is practically limited; and to achieve a more efficient control, they managed to build a drawing bridge on a 6-meter gap with an impressive sheer drop of over 600 meters.
The path is considered as a “secret entrance” to the citadel though it is hidden in plain sight. To visit the Inca Bridge, you need to find the warden’s hut located west from the quarry within the citadel. The guard will ask for your identification and Machu Picchu entrance ticket so you can sign in to the trail.
To visit the Inca Bridge, you won’t need to pay anything extra. However, it is worth noting that the actual trail that takes you directly to the bridge is closed due to safety reasons. As you may have seen in pictures, the whole path is carved into the narrow stones, making it really hard and dangerous to cross.
2. The Sun Gate - Inti Punku
As aforementioned, the need to establish administrative control over the access to Machu Picchu was very important during the height of the citadel. Therefore, just like the Inca Bridge, the so-called Inti Punku was another access point from the incoming Inca Trail.
The Sun Gate in Machu Picchu, besides being a guardhouse, keeps a strong connection to religious and astronomical purposes due to its strategic location.
The site is located over 2,700 meters above sea level and overlooks the entire stone city and its surroundings, but also the towering Veronica snow-capped mountain, which was considered sacred by the Inca culture.
To visit it, you just need to find the upper trail that surrounds the Machu Picchu citadel from the entrance. The path is well marked and has some wooden signs that signal the way to the Inti Punku. Also, if you’re taking the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, you will visit this location since it is the entrance point to the famous citadel.
3. Huayna Picchu Mountain Hike
It’s located in front of the Inca Sanctuary Machu Picchu and has an altitude of 2,667 meters above sea level. This is the background mountain to every classic picture of Machu Picchu. This place was used as a vigilance center during Inca times.
To get to the summit you can take the lower left path going through very steep stone stairs, passing by the ‘Sacred Rock.’ From the top, you can visualize the impressive Inca citadel and the Andean mountain range.
Although the trek is considered to have a high level of difficulty, once you reach the top, you’ll realize all that hard work has been paid off. The walk up to Huayna Picchu takes about 70 min or less, according to your physical condition.
It is worth mentioning that this is an optional hike in the archeological complex, therefore, you must purchase a separate entrance ticket to experience this trail. The entrance is limited to 400 people per day, which means that you must book the ticket at least 5-6 months in advance.
4. Machu Picchu Mountain Hike
Another optional hike in the archeological complex is to the Machu Picchu Mountain, a towering peak located over 3,000 meters of elevation overlooking the entire scenery of the region.
Unlike the Huayna Picchu trek, this trail is significantly easier though it takes longer to reach the summit. However, the experience is complemented thanks to the exuberant nature of the region, where you’ll be able to spot different orchid and bird species.
If you’re up to this adventure, keep in mind that you will need to book your hike permit in advance due to the high demand for these optional activities. Just like the entrance to Huayna Picchu, tickets are limited to 400 people per day.
1. Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu
If you’re looking to spice up your adventure to the famous Inca Sanctuary, then you must know about the famous Salkantay Trek, a 4 day trek that takes you on a journey through the most visually striking sceneries of the region,
The adrenaline-packed trek is recognized as the best alternative to the Inca Trail, where you’ll be able to immerse yourself in the Andes and the Peruvian cloud forest, making it a perfect activity for those looking for another experience before reaching Machu Picchu. Learn everything about it here.
2. Inca Trail
Experience the Inca culture at its fullest with this historical trail that used to connect six countries during the pre-Columbian era. During the height of the Tahuantinsuyo Empire, the Incas managed to build a trail about 40,000 kilometers long.
However, most of it was destroyed during colonization, but a part of it has been preserved and it is currently the most sought after hike option to Machu Picchu. On the way, you’ll be able to explore different archeological sites and, above all, be immersed in the exuberant nature of the Andes and the cloud forest. Find out more here.
Would you like to know more? Our local expert team is highly capacitated to help you organize the best adventure through the ancient country of the Incas. Don’t miss this chance! Get in touch with our team and request your personalized quote now.