One evidence of the Incas' brilliance and mystique is Machu Picchu. Tourists from all over the world go to this old citadel, which is located in Peru's Andes Mountains. If you've ever wanted to visit Machu Picchu and stand among the ruins and clouds, this is your ultimate guide.

Planning Your Adventure

Choose the Best Time to Visit

Machu Picchu is a year-round destination, but the best time to visit is during the dry season from May to September. During these months, the weather is perfect for trekking and exploring. However, if you prefer fewer crowds, consider visiting during the shoulder seasons of April or October.

How to Get to Machu Picchu

To reach Machu Picchu, you’ll need to start from Cusco, the former capital of the Inca Empire. Here's a step-by-step guide:

  1. Fly to Cusco: Most travelers fly into Lima, Peru's capital, and then take a domestic flight to Cusco. The flight from Lima to Cusco takes about 1.5 hours.
  2. Travel to Aguas Calientes: From Cusco, you have two main options to reach Aguas Calientes, the gateway to Machu Picchu. You can take a train or hike the famous Inca Trail.
    • By Train: The train journey from Cusco to Aguas Calientes is scenic and takes about 3.5 hours. You can choose between different train services, such as PeruRail or IncaRail.
    • By Inca Trail: For the adventurous, the Inca Trail offers a four-day trek through breathtaking landscapes. This option requires a permit, which should be booked well in advance.
  3. Bus to Machu Picchu: Once in Aguas Calientes, you’ll need to take a short bus ride to the entrance of Machu Picchu. Buses run frequently throughout the day.

Exploring Machu Picchu

Entry and Tickets

Purchase your tickets to Machu Picchu in advance as they are limited. You can buy them online or through authorized travel agencies. There are different types of tickets:

  • Machu Picchu General Entry: Allows access to the main citadel.
  • Machu Picchu + Huayna Picchu: Includes entry to the main site and the hike to Huayna Picchu, the mountain that looms over the ruins.
  • Machu Picchu + Machu Picchu Mountain: Provides access to the main site and Machu Picchu Mountain, offering panoramic views.

Highlights of Machu Picchu

As you wander through the ruins, make sure to visit:

  • The Sun Gate (Inti Punku): the original entrance to Machu Picchu for those hiking the Inca Trail. It offers stunning views of the citadel.
  • The Temple of the Sun: an impressive structure used for astronomical observations.
  • The Room of the Three Windows: A building with three large windows that align perfectly with the sunrise during the winter solstice.
  • The Sacred Plaza: a central area surrounded by important religious and ceremonial buildings.

Tips for a Smooth Visit

  • Cusco is 3,400 meters above sea level, so get used to that altitude. Spend many days adjusting to prevent altitude illness.
  • Essentials for packing: bring sunscreen, bug spray, a cap, and lots of water. One needs comfortable walking shoes.
  • Hire a native guide if you want to completely enjoy Machu Picchu's background and importance.

Conclusion

Visiting Machu Picchu is a once-in-a-lifetime event requiring proper preparation. From choosing the route of travel to discovering its historic beauties, every aspect of the trip is fascinating and rich in learning. Whether you're seeing Machu Picchu or climbing the Inca Trail, the amazing vistas and rich legacy of the site will really speak to your spirit on a train ride. Set out on this amazing journey. Let one of the marvels of the world captivate you. Happy travels.