A great escape to Peru includes, definitely, a Machu Picchu trip. The Inca refuge of the mountains, hidden until 1911, effortlessly enchants. Some hikers choose the hard way up and others opt for the train… So, let’s see what you should know for your journey:
Machu Picchu is located in a sub-tropical zone and is protected by the snow peaks Salkantay, to the south, and Veronica, to the north. Its rugged geography allows two seasons through the year:
From November to March. In spite of precipitations, days are warmer. Temperatures oscillate between 19 ° C / 66.2 ° F and 21 ° C / 69.8 ° F. In February you can experience heaviest rains. And, in that whole month, the Inca Trail is closed for maintenance.
From April to October. Days are really warm and flora is presented in its maximum splendor. The average temperature is 17 ° C / 62.6 ° F and 19 ° C / 66.2 ° F. In this season, there are also many insects… a good repellent will be necessary.
However, despite the pleasant climate in broad daylight, nights are cold. From June to August, the temperature is below 0 ° C / 32 ° F.
In opinion to many visitors, the dry season is considered the best time to go to Machu Picchu. You can see a beautiful blue sky and the most colorful landscapes.
Two ways to get in Machu Picchu
For your Machu Picchu trip, you can choose between the following 2 ways:
Machu Picchu by train
It’s the easiest route and the finest in the world. Cusco to Machu Picchu in train takes you through fantastic scenery, along with good service and comfortable well-kept carriages. You’ll have wide options offered by two train operators: Peru Rail and Inca Rail.
Hike to Machu Picchu
The hardest but adventurous trails. You’ll find multiple offers among camping, deluxe lodges, and glamorous campings with massages each night. Some of these treks are:
- 4-day Inca Trail: the iconic one with access limited to 500 permits per day. You must reserve well in advance.
- 5-day Salkantay Trek: you pass high-altitude sceneries. It’s a truly arduous trek.
- 4-day Lares Trek: you observe closer some Andean villagers’ lives.
- 4-day Inca Jungle: beyond hiking; it mixes extreme sports like biking, rafting, and zip-line.
- 8-day Choquequirao Trek: a huge challenge, where you can discover hidden Incan ruins that not many travelers see.
At Machu Picchu
When visiting Machu Picchu, there are rules that must be respected and, also, some tips of travelers who already been there and which will make your trip even better.
Get a Machu Picchu stamp
Commemorate your Machu Picchu trip with one of these free stamps on your passport. One more evidence that you have been there. You could show it to your friends and family. To get it, you go to a little booth near Machu Picchu exit gates and in front of the cloakroom. There, you can do it yourself, or an employee will stamp it to you.
Ingress only with a guide
Now, it’s mandatory to have a guide at the moment to enter Machu Picchu. The guided excursion usually has a duration of 2 hours approximately. After that, you can stay on your own until your visit ends.
Entry is allowed carrying just a daypack
In your Machu Picchu trip consider bringing a daypack. If you have a big backpack larger than 25L, you’ll be required to store it at the entrance gate paying a fee. Inside your daypack, you can put a bottle of water, camera, down jacket, hand sanitizer, toilet paper, or others you need.
You cannot re-enter once you’ve left
Inside Machu Picchu, if you wish to go out for any reason, you won’t be allowed to re-enter. Make sure to organize everything well and once in Machu Picchu, feel free to enjoy the site’s magic.
There aren’t bathrooms within Machu Picchu
You can find bathrooms at the Machu Picchu entrance gate only. The price to use it is a sol (less than one dollar).
You can pet the llamas
Perhaps you read or heard some Machu Picchu facts that mention there are llamas living in the Sanctuary. It’s true. They’re totally friendly and you can pet them.
Smoking is forbidden
Since Machu Picchu is a World Heritage Site and one of the Seven Wonders of the World, you cannot smoke there. Take care and respect for this majestic place.
Bring tripods & “jumping pictures” aren’t allowed
Tripods are forbidden in your Machu Picchu trip. You just can bring your camera and take many pictures as you desire. However, “jumping pictures” are also not allowed. Staff is concerned you may fall or damage something. Please, try not to argue, these are the rules.
There is a hidden Machu Picchu museum
The name of this museum and orchid exhibition is Manuel Chávez Ballón. To get there, you need to walk for 35 minutes down the road from Aguas Calientes to Puente Ruinas. This museum is open from 9 am to 4:30 pm. It’s very illustrative and gives you an interesting introduction of Machu Picchu. The price to visit it is US$ 8.00 per person.