A Guide to Machu Picchu Hiking

An unforgettable trip has to be led by Machu Picchu which is one of the most impressive architectural jewels of the world. The Incas left this extraordinary and historic site as a legacy, so a mythical Machu Picchu hike is a voyage full of adventure to one of the seven wonders of the world. 

machu picchu hike inca citadel

The Inca citadel has undergone many changes and regulations in the last year such as crowd control measures. The Peruvian government restricts the number of people who can visit Machu Picchu each day. Thus, we will put together a list of things you must know before visiting the imposing Machu Picchu.

Understanding Andean Altitude

machu picchu hike cusco

Set at almost over 8,000 feet above sea level, altitude sickness is not a joke. Its symptoms can include headache, stomachache, nausea and dizziness.

The best way to deal with it and be prepared before you start your vacations in Machu Picchu is by spending a few days in the city of Cusco or the Sacred Valley. You can get a better chance to prepare your body and acclimate to the high altitudes. Also, there is a local remedy used for the Inca since immemorial times: the famous Coca leaf. It is really effective in treating the symptoms of altitude sickness, you can chew it or drink it as a tea.

Book it in advance

machu picchu hike inca trail

Book in advance before traveling to the Inca ruins anytime between June-August. These months are the highest months of tourism. So, booking ahead is always a great idea.

Picking the best time for Machu Picchu hike is pretty important. Cusco has two distinct stations: The dry season, from April to October, and the wet season from November to March.

Actually, you can visit Machu Picchu at any time of the year, but, for many people, the dry season could be the best time to visit it because the weather has good conditions, you can see blue skies that open up and let the rays of sunshine through, and there are no rains, which is perfect for a trekking through the Andes. Although the wet season brings warmer temperatures, it will be muddy. Well, it’s up to you to decide which time is more convenient for you.

In addition, as we told you before, the Peruvian Government established crowd control measures, which consist that all the visitors must get a timed ticket and opt for a specific entry time (hourly from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m.). Also, you have to hire an official guide for the Machu Picchu tour but you could hire one on the spot as well.

Machu Picchu Hiking

Hiking is the most exciting way among nature lovers and enthusiasts travelers. The classical hike to the Inca ruins, the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, is one of the most spectacular alternative trekking options. Furthermore, it has been voted among the best hikes in the world, that’s why you must book it several months in advance. The Inca Trail requires a guide and a permit.

This four-day trek is the highpoint of a trip to Peru for many people because it offers a memorable and unique Machu Picchu hike. You will able to see something new, interesting and fascinating every hiking day. Taking this trek, your shots will have a different angle from the traditional postcard picture of the Andes. The Inca Trail requires a guide and a permit.

*February is the month of heaviest rains in Cusco and also the time when the Inca Trail is closed for maintenance. 

At the same time, there are other alternative treks you can take to get to Machu Picchu such as Lares Trek or Salkantay trek which is longer and more difficult than the Inca Trail but boast magnificent views of Peruvian mountains as well. The Salkantay trek requires neither guide nor permit.

machu picchu hike salkantay trek

In addition, at the entrance door of the Inca citadel, you will get a map of Machu Picchu specifying all the routes you can take such as the Temple of the Sun, Royal Tomb, The Sun Gate, Intihuatana Stone. So, go for a Machu Picchu hike, visit the religious centers and gardens, explore all the ruins, climb up the stones and have fun. We consider that the best time to visit Machu Picchu is arriving early before the sun comes up if possible. You will have plenty of time to explore and contemplate the magic of the Inca citadel in peace. Take your time and check all the little details, they will undoubtedly leave you an unforgettable impression.

Essential Hiking tips

machu picchu hike path

Take into consideration the following hiking tips:

  • Choose the right trail for your fitness level
  • Acclimate to high altitudes
  • Pack the essentials & a basic first-aid kit.
  • Sun is brutal at high altitudes, so bring sunscreen.
  • Andean weather is changeable so, wear the right shoes and carry warm layers and rain gear always.
  • Always stay hydrated and take some high-calorie snacks such as seeds and nuts.

Safety is important, so if you follow these tips, your Machu Picchu tours will be the most rewarding ones.

Peru has many wonders waiting for you to be discovered. Here in Cusco Peru Travel, our speciality is to make your trip an outstanding experience, fill-in this form and let your tailor-made luxury Peru vacation begin.

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