Machu Picchu is one of the New 7 Wonders of the World. It was built during the rise of the Inca Empire, and it's considered the most visually striking prehispanic structure of the continent. Currently, this ancient sanctuary receives over 1.5 million visitors per year, making it the most in-demand travel destination in South America.
It is located in the heart of the Peruvian cloud forest within the region of Cusco. The famous Inca Citadel is located on top of a mountain over 2,400 meters above sea level.
Machu Picchu is located in the limit of the Peruvian high jungle and the Andes, at 2,430 meters above sea level. The temperatures in this region range between 12°C and 24°C, it has predominant warm and humid weather throughout the day and it's colder during the night. The climate condition in Machu Picchu is characterized by two primary seasons:
- Rainy Season: It takes place between December and April, being these the rainiest months of the year. However, the rainy season is expected to transition with mild precipitations between October and December.
- Dry Season: It is considered the coldest season of the year. This period starts in May and ends in September. Bright and sunny days are expected throughout this season.
It is worth mentioning that the weather conditions in this region may change drastically. Therefore, we encourage you to know everything about it and prepare the perfect Machu Picchu packing list before venturing out to this wonder.
To avoid human impact and contamination in this historical sanctuary, the Peruvian government has limited the access to visits only. Unfortunately, it is not possible to spend the night on the archeological site. However, there are some hike options as the Inca Trail and Salkantay Trek that offer overnight camp in the Peruvian wilderness.
Yes, one day is enough to visit the ancient citadel of Machu Picchu. However, the visit has been limited to 4 hours per passenger, and tickets are issued with a certain entrance time. Also, if you’re doing the additional treks, your permanence may be extended from 2 to 3 hours.
No, Machu Picchu is open every day of the year, even on holidays. However, if you’re planning to take the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, keep in mind that the trail is closed in February due maintenance.
Those are the surrounding mountains to the Inca Citadel. Huayna Picchu is located at 2,720 meters above sea level and offers an outstanding view to the archaeological site as well as several Inca ruins along the trail.
The Machu Picchu Mountain is located at 3,082 meters above sea level, and serves as another viewpoint to the famous historical sanctuary. However, the trek to its summit is significantly less challenging than the Huayna Picchu mountain.
To trek either of these mounts, you must purchase an additional entrance ticket well in advance. For more information, please contact your travel agent.
The only toilets are located in the main entrance of the Machu Picchu citadel. There are no toilets within the archeological complex.
No, the Inca citadel’s circuit isn’t challenging at all. It is not necessary to have a high fitness level to explore the sanctuary.
To enter Machu Picchu, you’ll need to arrive for the stipulated entrance time in your ticket and show your passport.
Yes, it is highly recommended to purchase the ticket to Machu Picchu in advance, especially if you’re traveling during the high tourist season. For more information contact your travel agent.
No, there is no age limit for the entrance to the historical sanctuary.
Yes, a companion of a guide is mandatory for the visit to Machu Picchu.
Yes, to optimize the experience inside the archeological site, the Peruvian government has implemented the following measures:
- Permanence is limited to 4 hours per ticket.
- You won’t be able to enter the citadel without a guide.
- Only small backpacks are allowed in the archeological site.
- Alcohol, drugs, and tobacco are not allowed.
- Drones are banned from the historical sanctuary.
- Tripods, large umbrellas, selfie sticks are not allowed.
- Baby cars are not allowed.
- Professional cameras require a special permit.
There are different ways to get to Machu Picchu. Depending on the time you may have and the experience you’re looking for, you can decide either going on a fabulous train ride or venturing out through an authentic trail to the famous Inca Citadel.
- Trains to Machu Picchu
Train ride is the most in-demand way to get to Machu Picchu, not only for the time-wise efficiency but because it goes across the Peruvian highlands, transitioning to the impressive cloud forest and its imposing mountains. Likewise, there are different types of trains and routes to reach the famous Machu Picchu town.
- Bus Ride to Machu Picchu
While mentioning the different ways to get to Machu Picchu, we cannot leave bus rides behind. Although it is currently impossible to reach Aguas Calientes by bus, you can easily get to the nearest town to later continue on a 3-hour walk until this famous town. It’s worth mentioning that the bus ride takes about 6 hours from Cusco to Hidroelectrica and it’s not advisable to take this transport option during the rainy season.
- Treks to Machu Picchu
If you’re the adventurous traveler type, this could be the most suitable option for you! There are different treks to this wonder of the world. Whether you’d like to explore ancient Inca settlements, the imposing Andes mountain range, or going on an adventure through the jungle, there are different options for all tastes and ages.
To learn more about how to get to Machu Picchu, please read our travel guide and don’t miss anything during your trip through Peru!
Yes, you can walk from the so-called Machu Picchu Town to the Inca citadel, it takes about 1 hour and 45 minutes to get there.
Currently, it is not possible to buy the bus ticket to Machu Picchu in Advance. However, you can easily purchase it once in Aguas Calientes town.
There are different train stations, but this will depend on the departure point of the train ticket you’ve purchased. Here we have listed the train stations for Machu Picchu.
- San Pedro (Cusco)
- Poroy (Cusco)
- Urubamba (Sacred Valley)
- Ollantaytambo (Sacred Valley)
There are different types of trains and routes to reach the famous Machu Picchu town. These are the most in-demand options:
- Expedition Train: This tourist-class carriage is one of the most popular train services to get to Machu Picchu. It departs from Cusco, Ollantaytambo and Aguas Calientes train stations.
- Vistadome Train: For those looking to experience the exuberant nature of the Cusco countryside, this panoramic train offers floor-to-ceiling windows, on-board service, and typical dance shows. It departs from Cusco, Urubamba, Ollantaytambo, and Aguas Calientes train stations.
- Sacred Valley Train: This is one of the most luxurious train rides to get to Machu Picchu. Travel through time in these 1920s-style wagons and experience the best of the Urubamba valley and the Peruvian high jungle.
Yes, we highly recommend purchasing the train ticket to Aguas Calientes in Advance. For more information, please contact your travel agent.
Unfortunately, Peru Rail (the railway company) does not allow passengers to choose seats on any of their different types of train. The distribution of these is done automatically by the company’s system.
Bags that weigh more than 5kg are not allowed on the train or in the Archeological Site of Machu Picchu. Therefore, you must leave your large luggage in the storage service of your accommodation.
For your trip to Machu Picchu, we highly recommend you to carry a light backpack with just the essentials for your comfort.
Also known as Qhapaq Ñan, is a network of trails that connected the whole Tahuantinsuyo Empire. It used to have a length of 23,000 km and passed by Colombia, Brazil, Ecuador, Peru, Chile, and Argentina.
Nowadays, it is one of the most sought after treks to Machu Picchu. The Classic Inca Trail takes you through several archeological sites and the exuberant nature of the cloud forest. For more information, please check our travel guide →
To reduce human impact on this historical trail, the Peruvian government has limited the access to 500 people per day, including hikers, coorks, porters, and guides. Therefore, if you’re up to this adventure, we highly recommend you booking your trip at least 6 months in advance. It is worth mentioning that the Inca Trail is closed in February due maintenance.
The Classic Inca Trail has a length of 43 kilometers and it’s considered a moderate to challenging trek. However, a high physical condition is not required to complete this trek. To learn more about how to prepare for the Inca Trail please check this informative guide.
The Salkantay Trek is the best alternative to the famous Inca Trail. This extraneous path takes you through the most remote locations of the Peruvian Andes and to altitudes over the 4,600 meters above sea level to appreciate the towering Salkantay snow-capped mountain. Find out more about this adventure here →
If you’re up to this adventure, you must do your research right since there are many companies that offer this tour. But, one thing is certain, going cheaper isn’t always the best option. Remember you’ll get the service you’ve paid for, no more, no less. Therefore, if you wish more information about reliable tour operators for the Salkantay Trek, please contact our team.
The Salkantay trail is 74 km long and it’s considered a moderate to challenging trek. Therefore, we recommend you getting used to the altitude and walking long distances before committing to this physically demanding trek. Keep in mind that the highest point of the Salkantay Trek is located at 4,630 meters above sea level.