Home / South America / Essential Guide: 7 Things to Know Before Visiting Machu Picchu
Essential Guide: 7 Things to Know Before Visiting Machu Picchu

Essential Guide: 7 Things to Know Before Visiting Machu Picchu

Machu Picchu, the ancient Inca city nestled high in the Andes mountains of Peru, is a must-visit destination for world travelers. If you’re planning to embark on one of the many Machu Picchu Peru tours, in this guide we provide essential tips to make your journey unforgettable.

1. Transportation Options

The Classic Inca Trail Route is one of the most popular ways to reach Machu Picchu. This trek, takes about four days and winds its way through the breathtaking Urubamba Andes, past awe-inspiring mountain passes and ancient ruins. However, this route is in high demand, and hiker numbers are limited to 200 per day, so we recommend booking in advanced. 

For those who prefer a less physically demanding journey, a train service operates from Ollantaytambo to Aguas Calientes, the town nearest to Machu Picchu. Then from Aguas Calientes, a frequent bus service runs up to the site, although some adventurous travelers choose to hike the trail instead. Whichever route you choose there are  breathtaking views and fascinating history along the way.

2. Obtaining a Permit

Entry to Machu Picchu is controlled by an official permit system, implemented to manage visitor numbers and protect the site’s integrity. A maximum of 2,500 visitors are allowed each day, so it’s vital to book your permit well in advance, especially during peak travel seasons.

Generally, the earlier in the day you visit, the better the experience. Most Machu Picchu Peru tours handle the permit arrangements as part of their package, simplifying the process for travelers.

3. Additional Exploration Opportunities

While Machu Picchu is the main attraction, the surrounding area offers additional opportunities for exploration and adventure. Two notable hikes are the climb to Huayna Picchu and the trek to Machu Picchu Mountain. Each offers a unique perspective on the ancient city and the surrounding landscape, with the former providing a view south over Machu Picchu and the latter offering a northward view. Both hikes are physically demanding, so be sure to assess your fitness level before taking on these trails.

4. Best Time to Visit

Dry season, between April and September, is the most popular time to visit Machu Picchu but the site is accessible all year round – except for February when the Inca Trail is closed for maintenance. 

Although visiting during the rainy season may involve some wet weather, it can also provide benefits such as fewer crowds and potentially lower accommodation costs.

5. Packing Essentials

The weather at Machu Picchu can be unpredictable, so it’s essential to pack appropriately. Comfortable walking shoes are a must, as well as layered clothing to accommodate the changing temperaturea. 

Sunblock, insect repellent, and a hat are also essential as there’s likely to be strong sun and insects through out the day. Plus a refillable water bottle and high-energy snacks is advised to those undertaking the hikes.

6. Accommodation and Dining

Aguas Calientes is the primary base for visitors to Machu Picchu, with a range of accommodation options to suit various budgets. This bustling town also offers a multitude of dining options, from traditional Peruvian cuisine to international dishes. With a limited number of visitors allowed per day – booking your accommodation in advance, especially if you’re visiting during peak season, is strongly recommended.

7. Respect for the Site

Machu Picchu is a world heritage site of immense archaeological significance. Visitors are required to respect the site by adhering to regulations. This includes not littering, not removing any artifacts, and sticking to designated paths. These measures ensure the preservation of this extraordinary site for future generations.

With these detailed insights, you’re ready for a memorable trip to Machu Picchu. Whether you’re taking on the challenge of the Inca Trail or exploring the ancient city, your journey to Machu Picchu is sure to be a highlight of your travel experience in Peru.

Scroll To Top