6 Smart Tips for an Unforgettable Machu Picchu Tour
6 Smart Tips for an Unforgettable Machu Picchu Tour
Machu Picchu, the amazing Inca Citadel nearby Cusco, is a must-see for every Peru traveler. In case you did not visit Machu Picchu yet or are planning another trip to the fascinating world wonder in Peru, these 6 SMART TIPS FOR AN UNFORGETTABLE MACHU PICCHU TOUR will help you to plan and organize your trip to Machu Picchu. Make sure to make the most out of your visit to this beautiful site in the Peruvian Andes, nearby Cusco.
Tip 1: Getting up early
It is important to know that trips to Machu Picchu should ALWAYS start in the early morning because there is just so much to see! Not to mention the possibility of an amazing early morning sunrise….
Therefore, we always recommend you spent the night before in Aguas Calientes as only waking up early will allow you to. (However, if this is not possible, a one day Machu Picchu Tour is still an amazing experience and totally worthwhile.)
Aguas Calientes – since a couple of years officially called Machu Picchu Pueblo – is the small town at the bottom of the valley, next to Machu Picchu. It is the primary access to the Inca Citadel. In Aguas Calientes you find restaurants, hotels, cafes, all gathered in the (very) nearby surroundings of the train station (or, it is actually built on the train rails).
Tip 2: Trains to Machu Picchu
If you cannot spend an extra day in Aguas Calientes, start your Machu Picchu Tour by train very, very early in the morning in Cusco.
It takes approximately 4 hours to travel from Cusco to Machu Picchu (depending on the type of train). There are a few trains leaving very early, around 5.30; but even then you won’t be as early in Machu Picchu as you would have been sleeping in Aguas Calientes. The trip on the train to Machu Picchu is an experience in itself you would not want to miss.
Tip 3: From Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu
If you have spent the night in one of the hotels in Aguas Calientes, you can take one of the early morning Consettour buses that offer the approx. 25 min ride from Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu for $12 one-way. In the high season, queues for the buses start at 4 am and stretch for hundreds of meters!
If you want to save money, a hike up to Machu Picchu is also a nice option. It will warm up your muscles and wake you up for your big day at Machu Picchu! The walk up takes approx. 40 minutes, depending on your speed and motivation!
Tip 4: Machu Picchu Hiking
Once you’re up at the archaeological site, there are many options to discover the surrounding mountains and areas. Most visitors to the famous Inca Citadel will participate in a guided tour that takes approximately 2 hours. After that, there is quite some time left before you have to head down again to Aguas Calientes for your train back to Cusco to explore the ruins on your own. Wander around, take beautiful pictures, relax and enjoy. Or, you can take do a hike. There are four excellent options for some Machu Picchu Hiking.
- Huaynapicchu or Huayna Picchu – The entrance ticket of the Huayna Picchu Hike costs around S./ 50. This s a very popular hike, and the Huayna Picchu tickets need to be paid and booked in advance. Maximum 400 people can enter daily from 9-10, and 10-11 am. The way up consists of approximately 1,500 steep steps, also called the Stairs of Death. This hike definitely a challenge and should not be underestimated. A moderate hike up requires around 45 minutes.
- Montaña Picchu Mountain – This Mountain is located on the opposite site of Huaynapicchu and is at your back if you´re facing Machu Picchu. Here, tickets also need to be bought in advance, as the capacity is limited. The hike up can be challenging and requires around one hour to summit. As this mountain is higher, the possibility of a foggy view is much greater than at Huaynapicchu.
- Sungate or Inti Punko – A cheap and challenging option is the sun gate. The Incas entered Machu Picchu through this gate when they took the famous Inca Trail from Cusco. This even and gentle path is free, and no ticket is needed. It takes around 30 minutes up and around 20 minutes back. The height is the same as Huaynapicchu (2,720 m) but is not as challenging. It gives travelers a great view of the surrounding area of Machu Picchu.
- Inca Bridge – This is an old Inca bridge that is a small hidden gem of Machu Picchu. The 15 minute flat, but rather perilous, walk along the slope of Montaña Picchu is short and interesting. There are no charges for this site, and it can be visited throughout the whole day.
Translated as “young peak,” this is the mountain in the background of every typical Machu Picchu photo
Tip 5: How to pack for your Machu Picchu Tour
If you’re planning to do any of the above mentioned Machu Picchu Hiking options to climb those mountains, you’ll want only to pack the essentials, as you will have to carry them around!
The most essential items are:
- Hiking shoes, and most importantly,
- Trekking pants,
- a rain jacket,
- your camera,
- water (at least 1 liter)
- snacks, sunglasses, sunscreen and a hat.
Tip 6: Practical information
Finally, a few last quick Tips for your Machu Picchu visit:
1) If for some reason you are traveling with a larger backpack that is not needed at Machu Picchu, there is a storage place at the Machu Picchu entrance. Here you can store your belongings while you explore the ruins.
2) Make sure your batteries are charged, and that you take extra batteries just in case. You won´t have the opportunity to charge electronic devices while visiting Machu Picchu.
3) Also, keep in mind that the only stores (to buy water or snacks) are at the entrance to Machu Picchu or in down Aguas Calientes.
4) Furthermore, remember that it is prohibited to smoke within the site or to sit on the ruins.
5) And finally: Toilets can be found only at the entrance (there are no bathrooms in the site itself).
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