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Machu Picchu travel Guide, Important facts and Prices

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Machu Picchu facts and Travel guide to Machu Picchu

Machu Picchu

Machu Picchu It is the most famous and spectacular archaeological park on the continent, considered by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site.

It was discovered by Hiram Bingham in 1911, it is said that his discovery was by chance because what he was really looking for was the city of Vilcabamba, the last refuge of the Incas and the last point of resistance against the Spanish.

Formerly known as Picchu or Piccho, this legendary place of Peru in colonial times had something like two parts, the old, “Machu” and “Wayna”, the young; Picchu means simply “hill”, and the name “old hill” comes from the set.

Not many people lived in the citadel, perhaps no more than 200 or 300 approximately, and according to them, although hypothetically suitable in the subject, almost all were linked to the lineage of the Incas or at least of high rank.

What is certain is that all this construction was essentially a kind of sanctuary of abundant wealth and for this reason considered very important, built near Cusco.

The Historic Sanctuary of Machu Picchu has an area of 32,592 hectares, and is located at an altitude of 2490 meters above sea level, taking as a reference the Main Square of the archaeological site. The temperature ranges from 8º to 22º C. The rainiest months are from December to April.

Machu Picchu Travel Guide
Machu Picchu Travel Guide

The access is given by rail, during 4 hours approximately  by 112.5 Km are covered from the station of San Pedro in Cusco, until the station of Aguas Calientes and then it is ascended in Bus by the highway until the Historical Sanctuary of Machu picchu. Those who like hiking and adventure can get to Machu Picchu on the Inca Trail.

A living Inca city

Taking back the main road in Urubamba, the town of Ollantaytambo emerges after 50 kilometers. Here the mountains have bowed to the hand of man, who has taught them with terraces of containment. The labyrinthine layout of the village has been linked to the original Inca as an open-air museum, where ruins from seven centuries ago survive between ditches and adobe houses.

From now on, the traveller will chain paths that have always been inscribed in the local memory, although their incorporation into the maps is relatively recent. The final objective of these roads is Machu Picchu, the ceremonial citadel that, located at 2,500 meters, has not yet revealed all its mysteries. The route of several days until reaching this magnificent enclave is reduced to a few hours thanks to the train that takes you from Cusco to the town of Aguas Calientes, 167 kilometers away.


  • Documentation: passport.
  • Language: Spanish.
  • Currency: nuevo sol.
  • Time difference: 7 hours less.
  • Health: you need to acclimatize to prevent altitude sickness.

How To Get There: Several airlines connect Lima and other; a local flight takes you to Cusco. Buses, taxis and trains connect Cusco with the surrounding villages. The train to Aguas Calientes takes 4 hours; the bus gets on at the entrance of Machu Picchu in 20 minutes.

The Inca Trail  The complete route from Cusco takes 8 days, but it is usually done in 4 Days trek  or 2 days trek (Short Inca Trail). The 4-day route starts at Km 82 (Piscacucho) or Km 88 (Qoriwayrachina) of the train line to Aguas Calientes. The 2-day route begins at Km 104. Permission to do the Trek  and the entrance to Machu Picchu is through the Institute of Culture in Cusco or Aguas Calientes.

Machu Picchu Cusco

Its three Sectors

This impressive sanctuary, located approximately 1000 meters below Cusco, at 2,360 meters above sea level, consists of two important sectors, the agricultural sector and the urban sector, also called citadel, and a third one called Wayna Picchu.

Machu Picchu Tour

The largest sector would be agriculture, as it somehow embraces the citadel, surrounding it completely.

The citadel is made up of buildings of different kinds, including houses, warehouses and temples. It is a large sanctuary where its buildings are connected to each other through narrow streets and paths, most of them in the form of stairways.

In turn, the citadel is also surrounded by an enormous protective wall and a very wide and deep ditch, both built for ritual isolation purposes.

Sectors in Machu Picchu Cusco


Wayna Picchu

With an approximate an altitude of 2.720 mts., this summit catalogued and known as the third sector inside the great sanctuary, impresses already from its particular form of blade and mid-view that goes up through it.

Once reached its peak and right in the middle of the major rocks there is what the collective imagination has decided to call “the Inca’s chair”, that is, a stone carved in a very similar way to an ancient rustic throne.

Huayna Picchu
Huayna Picchu

From there it is not only the carved stone that leaves the tourist speechless, but also the immensity of the landscape. When you look around what you see is really dazzling, a huge green model with peaks and ravines that from no other point can be appreciated in this way.

Life in Machu Picchu

It seems that all the people who settled in the city over the years were not exactly local but quite the opposite, they were people from different places and areas.

Most of the women lived there, according to the number of graves found at the site. They worked the land and were also engaged in manufacturing, specializing in classic textiles and the production of ceramic pieces.

On the other hand, there are documents dating from the sixteenth century, which indicate that in lands belonging to ancient kings such as Wayna Qhapaq, the establishment of thousands of women, or mamacunas.

The population that inhabited Machu Picchu did not have any warriors at all, and this could be known after not finding in any of the corpses discovered any traces of trepanation. Really remarkable.

Altitude of Machu Picchu

The city of Machupicchu is located at an altitude of 2,450 meters above sea level. (8,038 feet). It is 2,490 m.a.s.l. taking as reference the Main Square of the City of Machu Picchu.

Machu Picchu
Machu Picchu

Surface of Machu Picchu

The Archaeological, urban and agricultural Park of Machu Picchu, that is to say, the Citadel itself, has an area of more or less 10 hectares. The Historic Sanctuary of Machu Picchu  over an area of 32,592 hectares, 80,535 acres (325.92 km²; 125.83 m²), a vast territory of the Province of Urubamba in the Department of Cusco.

Machu Picchu
Machu Picchu

Weather in Machu Picchu

The weather in Machupicchu is warm and humid during the day and cool at night. The temperature is between 12 and 24 degrees Celsius. The natural climate is rainy (about 1,955 mm per year), especially from November to March.

In the months of December to March or April is the rainy season in Machu Picchu, while in the months of April to November or December the dry and sunny season is presented, with a special shade in the spring month of September, where there is a spectacular landscape of the sub-tropical forest.

In the rainy months from September to April, rain and drizzle are almost daily, followed by a clear blue sky and intense sunshine. However, given its location on the edge of the Amazon rainforest, the rains are latent in any month of the year, even in the dry season from March to December.


In Ollataytambo is the famous city and fortress of Ollantaytambo, built by the Inka Pachacutec in the fifteenth century, and from this place you can see beautiful snow-capped mountains along the route.


When you reach kilometer 82 or Qoriwayrachina Station you will find the beginning of the most famous adventure trail in America or Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, with a distance of 35 kilometers that can be walked in three or four days, visiting the archaeological sites of Patallaqta, Runkurakay, Sayaqmarca, Phuyupatamarca, latipaia and Wiñayhuayna, ending in Machu Picchu; in this route there are natural landscapes, flora and fauna of extraordinary beauty that deserve special study.

After crossing a bridge, you will arrive at the archaeological site of Chachabamba and it is the beginning of the “Camino Sagrado” (Sacred Way), named after being parallel to the Sacred River of Vilcanota, which leads to the archaeological site of Wiñayhuayna, one of the most beautiful I know of its kind, after a walk of five kilometers or three hours approximately.

Urubamba River Rafting activitie
Urubamba River Rafting activitie

At kilometer 107, on the left bank of the Vilcanota River, you can see the dam of the Machupicchu hydroelectric plant. Then our train arrives to the town of Aguas Calientes or Machu Picchu Pueblo, there after staying, we will immediately go to take a few hot springs, then to have dinner, respecting the recommendation to eat a little and take a little we must follow the instructions of our guide, and if possible sleep alone, so that in the early morning, early in the morning, first thing in the morning we head to the enigmatic city of Machu Picchu.

The cars leave very early from 5:00 a.m., after breakfast, we will be the first to arrive at the parking lot of the hotel and after a brief rest, we will begin the adventure of meeting our guide and more than anything find the history and architecture of this magnificent city brought from the past for us.

The return trip has two options: take the bus back to the town of Aguas Calientes in about 20 minutes or use the pedestrian path, walking about 60 minutes, a path that I recommend for those who want to enjoy a slow descent, even more so because I was a construction site resident in charge of rehabilitating this path, Both routes end in front of the Puente Ruinas Station, and from there we will go to the town of Aguas Calientes where we will enjoy lunch and then return to the city of Cusco, boarding the train, you have to be about 20 minutes before at the train station, for safety not to miss it.

If you plan to stay more days in Machu Picchu or Aguas Calientes, you can enjoy views of the Putucusi mountain or the Machu Picchu or go to the thermal baths of Aguas Calientes, where you can relax.

Mandor WaterFalls
Mandor WaterFalls

If you are not familiar, the route to Machu Picchu can be a confusing network of Quechua names, so here is a quick guide to the classic route from Cusco to Machu Picchu by train: From Cusco to Ollantaytambo take a bus, or a shared private car, from the corner of Pavitos and Grau (it will take 1? hours to Ollantaytambo / cost 15 soles). From Ollantaytambo take a train to Aguas Calientes (2 hours / cost varies / book tickets in advance); from Aguas Calientes take a bus (25 minutes / $ 24 USD round trip) or walk down the stairs (1.5 hours / free / not too tiring) to Machu Picchu.

Hot Springs Machu Picchu Pueblo
Hot Springs Machu Picchu Pueblo

Protect your skin from insects

Whether you are walking to Machu Picchu or sleeping in a hotel in Aguas Calientes, you will need a good insect repellent. You will discover that if you want to walk to Machu Picchu, the climate of Aguas Calientes is favorable for small annoying mosquitoes, which will feast on your ankles if you are not prepared. Stronger repellents often cause allergies and are more harmful; on the other hand, natural repellents work well, but should be applied frequently. We appreciate this advice, believe us an extra ounce of repellent, will be very useful in your luggage.

Public Bathrooms in Machu Picchu

Public restrooms are rare in Aguas Calientes, in fact, they are just a few public restrooms for the 2,500 visitors who enter Machu Picchu every day. For this reason we recommend you to consider visiting a bathroom before visiting the Inca City. Not all bathrooms usually have toilet paper, and it is highly recommended to take some toilet paper with you, in Machu Picchu and in Peru in general.

About Tips

In some cases, people from restaurants and other services add the amount of the tip to the amount to be paid. While you may wish to leave a tip, it is not an obligation; nor should it be included on bills, receipts or consumption receipts. Feel free to leave a tip alone if you wish. But also keep in mind that it is polite to tip, if the service was to your liking.

Half-day agglomerations

Being at 6:00 am in Machu Picchu will allow you to not only see the sunrise of Machu Picchu, but also fewer people, since the largest number of visitors to Machu Picchu arrive by the 11:00 am train. You can avoid this agglomeration by taking the 5:00 am train, which will allow you to be in Machu Picchu at 7:30 am. Or better yet, sleep in Aguas Calientes the night before and start the ascent on foot or by bus at dawn.

Is it possible to eat in Machu Picchu?

Officially, no food or water bottles are allowed in the park, and this should be checked at the luggage storage at the entrance. In practice, however, the bags are rarely fancy, and most people have no problem carrying a small bottle of water and something to snack on, something you’ll definitely want to do especially if you’re about to move away from the central ruin set. Buy all this in advance, as prices on the same site are much more expensive. Don’t you dare leave a trail of garbage behind you.

REQUIREMENTS: Passport, waterproof jacket, t-shirts and t-shirts, sunglasses, sunscreen, repellent, rain poncho (available in Cusco and very cheap), warm pants and other lighter pants for walking, trekking boots and canes with rubber tips.

HIGH SEASON: For the Inca Trail, it is best to go from April to December – the rest of the months are very rainy. It is best to go towards the end of July and beginning of August, during the celebrations for the Pachamama. It coincides with the winter solstice. see the inca Trail Availability 2018/2019/2020

What precautions should we take if I want to buy tickets to Machu Picchu?

To be able to buy them you must reserve them in advance on the internet, as explained above, but here are a couple of things you should be aware of if you do not want to be disappointed when buying your tickets to Machu Picchu.

What do we mean by that?

There is a maximum daily limit for people to enter this archaeological site and its surroundings.

Most websites report that no more than 2500 people can enter the Inca city, no more than 400 people can enter Huayna Picchu (divided into two schedules, group 1 and group 2), no more than 800 and there is no limit for the Museum

Why should I consider it? When we see which are the modalities of tickets to Machu Picchu, you will realize that to enter Huayna Picchu, the Mountain and the Museum you will need, for each one, a different ticket. And if this one’s sold out, you can’t get in.

So, plan your activities and run for your tickets to Machu Picchu!

Is there only one type of ticket to Machu Picchu?

No, like everything that has to do with tourism, but if we talk about an architectural wonder like Machu Picchu, there are different packages.

We have to make it clear to you that just because it says “individual ticket” does not mean that it is for a single individual, the tickets around this tourist spot are about the different places you will have access to, not the number of people.

Each ticket, in itself, is individual. Now yes, here are the ones that appear with the best references on the web:

Individual tickets

This ticket includes the entrance to the city of Machu Picchu, which can be used multiple times respecting the date of issuance of the ticket and taking into account the access times to the Sanctuary of Machu Picchu.

Normally this is from six in the morning to five in the afternoon in local time.

Tickets to Machu Picchu + Huayna Picchu

This ticket, like the previous one, will allow you to enter the archaeological site of Machu Picchu, but it adds the extra of being able to visit the mountain Huayna Picchu, another of the great attractions that Peru can offer you.

  • First group Huayna Picchu from 07:00 – 08:00 hours.
  • Second group Huayna Picchu from 10:00 – 11:00 hours.

This is an extra experience you can achieve if you buy tickets to Machu Picchu, so consider this option very carefully.

Only 400 people per day can be reached in 2 groups, so we recommend booking in advance.

It will be an unforgettable experience.

Tickets to Machu Picchu + La Montaña

With this ticket you will not only have the right to access Machu Picchu, but also to climb a mountain of 3,082 m.a.s.l. located within the Inca City and from where you can have a panoramic view of the entire landscape surrounding the city.

Unlike Huayna Picchu, this is less steep, being ideal for travelers who like quiet walks. The duration of the walk is 3hrs 30 min, and has a capacity of 80 people per day divided into 2 groups.

  • First group Machu Picchu Mountain from 07:00 – 08:00 hours.
  • Second group Machu Picchu Mountain from 09:00 – 10:00 hours.

Ticket prices to Machu Picchu

From July 1, 2017, the new prices for tickets to Machu Picchu as well as Huayna Picchu and La Montaña will come into effect.

Here you can find the official price in soles (PEN), as sold by the Peruvian government.

The dollar amounts (US$) are informative and rounded, based on the current exchange rate ($1=3,2720 soles).

Machu Picchu Entry Times[Updated]

The Deconcentrated Direction of Culture of Cusco communicated that as of July 1, 2017 there will be 02 hours of entry to Machu Picchu:

  • First shift From: To  12.m
  • Second shift From:  12.m To


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