- Discovering the Beginning: Aguas Calientes
- The Stone Path: Route Details
- Difficulty Levels: Moderate to Difficult
- Preparing for Success: Key Tips
- What to bring on the hike from Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu?
- Best time for the trek
- Important facts about the hike to Machu Picchu
- Frequently Asked Questions During the Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu Trail
For those adventurers who wish to experience the thrilling trek from Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu. Although most visitors choose the comfort of the bus, those looking for a unique and challenging experience opt for this enriching trek. In this article, we will explore all the essentials you need to know to successfully complete this trek.
Discovering the Beginning: Aguas Calientes
The trek begins in the charming town of Aguas Calientes, where all train services to Machu Picchu end. Following the emblematic ‘Hiram Bingham’ road, named after the intrepid American explorer, the hiker plunges into a road full of wonders. Along the first 2 kilometers, the Machu Picchu Site Museum and butterfly house offer an enchanting prelude before meeting the hiking trail.
The Stone Path: Route Details
Once on the trail, hundreds of stone steps unfold before you. In an ascent that intersects with the road on three strategic occasions, the route reveals the magnificence of the local flora and fauna. The meticulously marked trail leads you through encounters with locals offering snacks and drinks, adding an authentic touch to your experience. After about an hour’s ascent, the entrance gate to Machu Picchu majestically appears before you.
Difficulty Levels: Moderate to Difficult
Rated as a moderate to difficult hike, this trek is ideal for those young people with a good physical condition and a love of nature. The steep climbs on the initial route require strength in the knees, while the descent offers a more relaxing respite. Physical preparation, crucial to overcome the first sections, is rewarded with unparalleled views.
Preparing for Success: Key Tips
Machu Picchu’s varied climate demands preparation. Adequate clothing for sun and rain is essential, with the first few climbs being the most challenging stretch. Acclimatization in Cusco one or two days before the trek helps reduce the effects of altitude sickness. The hike is free, but your printed entrance ticket to Machu Picchu is your magic pass.
What to bring on the hike from Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu?
- Water (minimum 1 bottle)
- Hat, sunglasses and sun protection
- Walking stick with rubber tip
- Insect repellent
- Rain poncho
- Passport or identity card
- Small backpack
- Printed entrance ticket to Machu Picchu
Best time for the trek
The dry season from April to October is the ideal choice for the trek, with less rain and bright sunshine. The rainy season, from November to March, presents slippery steps, requiring caution. The freshness of the early hours of the day makes the morning the favorite time for many.
Important facts about the hike to Machu Picchu
- Time required: 2 hours (ascent only)
- Summit altitude: Machu Picchu (2,430 meters / 7,972 ft)
- Height in relation to Machu Picchu: 390 meters / 1279 ft
- Terrain: Dirt and rocky trail with stretches on road
- Recommended footwear: Comfortable hiking shoes
- Entrance hours: You can enter at any time
- Type of ticket: The route is free of charge
The route is challenging but not dangerous, with well-marked trails and away from cliffs. The only risk is the buses on the road, highlighting the importance of paying attention.
Frequently Asked Questions During the Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu Trail
1) How long does it take to climb Machu Picchu on foot?
The estimated time for the hike from Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu Picchu is approximately 2 hours, considering an average pace.
2) Do I need a specific ticket to hike up Machu Picchu?
Yes, you must present your entrance ticket to Machu Picchu at the Puente Ruinas sector to continue with the hike.
3) How many kilometers does the route from Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu Picchu on foot cover?
The distance to walk between these two points is approximately 8 kilometers.
4) Is it preferable to walk or take the bus to get to Machu Picchu?
We recommend the bus for those who prefer to conserve energy. The hike is designed for young tourists in good physical condition.
5) Is it advisable to hike with children?
While it is possible, it is suggested that children participating in the trek enjoy similar activities. For very young children, it may be necessary to wait for them or carry them on difficult sections.
6) What essential items should I bring on the hike?
Some key items include sturdy sneakers, comfortable sweatpants, long-sleeved polo shirt, rain poncho, snacks, rehydration drinks, camera and your printed entrance ticket to Machu Picchu.
7) Is it possible to walk back to Aguas Calientes from Machu Picchu?
Yes, the way back is mostly downhill and takes approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes for an average tourist.
8) Are there any risks on the walking route from Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu Picchu?
Fortunately, the route is well defined, and the stone steps are safe. Caution is recommended for people with heart problems due to the altitude.
9) Where do I take the buses back to Aguas Calientes from Machu Picchu?
The return buses are located in the town of Aguas Calientes, on Hermanos Ayar Avenue. The return trip starts at the entrance gate of Machu Picchu.
10) What is the cost of the bus and how much does it cost to walk up?
The bus ticket for adult foreign tourists (round trip) has a cost of 24 dollars, while for adult Peruvian tourists it is 35 soles.
In conclusion, the hike from Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu is a hidden gem for those seeking a deeper connection with the Inca wonder. By following our detailed guide, your trip will be not only safe but also enriching. Be prepared to witness the grandeur of Machu Picchu at every step, as you overcome the steps with determination and capture timeless moments with camera in hand.