The Definitive Guide to Exploring Machu Picchu

Explorar Machu Picchu

Machu Picchu, the Inca citadel hidden among mountains, awakens the fascination of travelers from all over the world. Built in the 15th century, this ancestral city transports you to a past full of mystery and grandeur. Exploring Machu Picchu is a unique experience that allows you to discover the rich history and culture of the Incas.

Why is Machu Picchu a must-see destination?

  • A unique historical legacy: Machu Picchu is a masterpiece of Inca architecture, declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.
  • An incomparable natural scenery: Surrounded by Andean mountains and cloud forests, Machu Picchu offers breathtaking landscapes that will take your breath away.
  • A journey full of adventure: The experience of reaching Machu Picchu, whether by train, bus or trekking, is an adventure in itself.
  • An aura of mystery: The veil that still covers the history of Machu Picchu invites you to explore its secrets and connect with ancestral wisdom.
Exploring Machu Picchu

Cómo llegar a Machu Picchu

From Cusco to Machu Picchu:

  • Train: The most popular and comfortable option. There are different types of trains available, from the classic to the luxurious Hiram Bingham.
  • Bus: A cheaper alternative to the train. The trip takes about 6-7 hours.
  • Hiking: For trekking lovers, there are different trekking routes that take you to Machu Picchu, such as the Inca Trail, the Salkantay Trail or the Inca Jungle Trail.

Transportation options and travel tips:

  • Book in advance: Train and bus tickets sell out fast, especially in high season.
  • Buy a combined ticket: Save money by buying a ticket that includes transportation, entrance to Machu Picchu and bus to Aguas Calientes.
  • Arrive early: To avoid the crowds, it is best to arrive at Machu Picchu early in the morning.

Planning your visit

Best time to visit Machu Picchu:

  • Dry season (April-October): More favorable weather, with less rain and clear skies. Greater influx of tourists.
  • Wet season (November-March): Greener landscapes, fewer tourists and cheaper prices. Possibility of rain.

How long does it take to visit Machu Picchu?

  • One day: Enough to visit the main citadel and the most emblematic places.
  • Two days: Ideal to explore Machu Picchu calmly, do some additional hiking and enjoy the atmosphere of the town of Aguas Calientes.

Do I have to book my visit to Machu Picchu in advance?

Yes, it is mandatory to book in advance your entrance to Machu Picchu. Tickets are sold online and have a limited number of tickets per day.

Exploring Machu Picchu

Tickets and Prices

How can I buy tickets for Machu Picchu?

Entrance fees to Machu Picchu:

  • General admission: S/. 152 (approx. USD 40)
  • Student admission: S/. 70 (approx. USD 18)
  • Entrance fee for CAN citizens: S/. 40 (approx. USD 10)

Machu Picchu opening hours:

From 6:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. and from 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Tours and Hikes

What is the best route to do the trek to Machu Picchu?

  • Inca Trail: The most popular route, with different options of duration and difficulty.
  • Salkantay Trail: A less crowded alternative to the Inca Trail, with impressive landscapes.
  • Inca Jungle Trail: A route that combines trekking with adventure activities such as rafting and cycling.
Inca Jungle Trek Trail
Inca Jungle Trek to Machu Picchu

Which is better, to take a guided tour or to walk around Machu Picchu on my own?

  • Guided tour: Ideal to learn about the history and culture of Machu Picchu from an expert.
  • On my own: Allows you to explore the citadel at your own pace and take pictures without rushing.

Additional hiking trails in Machu Picchu:

  • Huayna Picchu: Mountain that offers panoramic views of Machu Picchu.
  • Machu Picchu Picchu: Another mountain with incredible views of the citadel.
  • Inti Punku: Gate of the Sun, a ceremonial site overlooking the Sacred Valley.


Are there places to stay in Machu Picchu or is it better to stay in Cusco/Aguas Calientes?

There are no hotels inside the citadel of Machu Picchu. Most visitors stay in:

  • Aguas Calientes (Machu Picchu Pueblo): The closest town to Machu Picchu, with a wide variety of hotels, hostels and restaurants. It is a convenient option, with regular transportation to the citadel.
  • Cusco: The capital of the ancient Inca empire, about 70 km from Machu Picchu. It offers a more immersive cultural experience and a wider variety of accommodations. You must take into account the additional travel time to get to Machu Picchu.

Lodging recommendations.

In Aguas Calientes:

  • Luxury hotels: Machu Picchu Sanctuary Lodge, Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel.
  • Mid-range hotels: Sumaq Machu Picchu Picchu Hotel, El Mapi Hotel
  • Hostels: Hostal Inti Inn, Pariwana Hostel Machu Picchu

In Cusco:

  • Boutique Hotels: Belmond Palacio Nazarenas, JW Marriott El Convento Cusco
  • Historic Hotels: Hotel Sonesta Cusco, Novotel Cusco
  • Hostels: Pariwana Hostel Cusco, Wild Rover Hostel Cusco
Aguas Calientes (Machu Picchu Pueblo)

Preparing for your visit

What clothing/equipment is recommended to bring to Machu Picchu?

  • Comfortable and light clothing for walking: opt for breathable long pants, a t-shirt and a light coat.
  • Comfortable footwear: Trekking shoes or sneakers that give you good support on uneven terrain.
  • Raincoat: Rain can come at any time of the year.
  • Hat and sunscreen: The sun is intense at high altitudes.
  • Reusable water bottle: Staying hydrated is important.

Current rules and restrictions in Machu Picchu

  • No food or alcoholic beverages are allowed inside the citadel.
  • Smoking is not allowed inside Machu Picchu.
  • It is forbidden to touch the stone structures.
  • Metal-tipped trekking poles are prohibited. Rubber-tipped trekking poles are recommended.
  • Pets are not allowed in the citadel.

Living the experience

Photos of Machu Picchu

Capture the magic of Machu Picchu with panoramic photos, close-ups of architectural details and portraits with the breathtaking scenery in the background.

Machu Picchu
Exploring Machu Picchu

Machu Picchu at sunrise

For an unforgettable experience, book your entrance ticket in the morning and watch the sunrise over the citadel.

What was life like in Machu Picchu in Inca times?

Let your imagination fly and try to feel the energy of the ancient Incas as you walk the streets and squares of Machu Picchu. Think about their customs, their way of life and the reason why they built this city in such a special place.

Machu Picchu is a destination that will leave you in awe. Its architectural beauty, its geographical location and its mysterious aura will transport you to another time.

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