Kondor Path Tours

The Ultimate Machu Picchu Travel Guide

The Lost City of Machu Picchu is one of South America’s most famous archaeological treasures. Nestled in the cloud forests of the Andes Mountains, Machu Picchu is said to have been the Inca rulers’ royal domain or sacred religious site. Today, the mountaintop location, finely crafted stonework, and ancient history make Machu Picchu Peru’s most desirable tourist destination.

Ready for an experience? Before heading to one of the world’s most famous manufactured wonders, here’s what you need to know:

Where is Machu Picchu located precisely?

Machu Picchu is a 15th-century Inca citadel located in the eastern mountains of southern Peru in a 2,430-meter (7,970-foot) mountain range. It is located in the Machu Picchu sanctuary territory of the Urubamba province above the Sacred Valley, 50 miles (80km) northwest of Cusco. The Urubamba River flows in between, crossing the Cordillera to create a tropical mountain climate valley.

What is the elevation of Machu Picchu?

You may be wondering how Machu Picchu’s elevation affects your visit. Machu Picchu Park itself is not considered a high-altitude destination. The mountain saddle where most ruins are located is about 2,407 meters above sea level, about 1,005 meters below Cusco, and 480 meters below the Sacred Valley.

The two peaks, Huayna Picchu and Montaña Machu Picchu, reach 2,692 meters (8,835 feet) and 3,081 meters (10,111 feet), respectively. The usual threshold for altitude sickness expression is 2438 meters, or 8000 feet.

Aguas Calientes has a comfortable elevation of approximately 2,042 meters (6,700 feet).

Sun and other thoughts

Machu Picchu is almost unaffected by strong winds. The average wind speed is less than 9.6 km/6 miles annually, and the maximum wind speed rarely exceeds 16 km/10 mph.

Sunscreen is a must. The UV index is moderate at 3 or 4 almost monthly due to cloud cover. However, this cloud will eventually split, allowing the sun to burn faster at these altitudes. Bring a hat, sun-blocking sunglasses, and sunscreen (SPF 30 or higher). Long sleeves and long pants are highly recommended. Insect repellent is essential.

What are the ticket types and prices for Machu Picchu?

  • Machu Picchu only “Circuit 1, 2, 3, 4”: PRICE: Adult (S/ 239), Child or Student (S/ 119)
  • Machu Picchu “Circuit 4” + Wayna Picchu: Price: Adult (S/ 309), Child or Student (S/ 179)
  • Machu Picchu “Circuit 3” + Machu Picchu Montaña – PRICE: Adult (S/ 309), Child or Student (S/ 179)
  • Machu Picchu “Circuit 4” + Huchuy Picchu: Price: Adult (S/ 239), Child or Student (S/ 119)

How do I get to Machu Picchu?

There are only three ways to get to Machu Picchu: the Inca Trail, a train that goes through Ollantaytambo, and an alternative route via the hydroelectric train station “Intiwatana.” Each offers a different experience in terms of travel and prices. Your choice depends on the type of experience you are looking for.

Three steps to get to Machu Picchu

  1. First, you have to reach Cusco.
  2. Then you can travel by train or walk from Cusco. Most travelers enjoy the comfortable train ride to Machu Picchu station in Aguas Calientes. Walking tours also pass through Aguas Calientes before visiting the ruins, except for the Inca Trail, which ends at the Sun Gate entrance to Machu Picchu.
  3. Finally, take the short bus ride from Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu for your visit. Have fun discovering what makes this 15th-century Inca monument one of the world’s New Seven Wonders!

How do I get from Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu?

Machu Picchu is 9 kilometers up the mountain from Aguas Calientes. There are only two ways to get to Machu Picchu from Aguas Calientes: by bus or on foot.

A bus from AGUAS CALIENTES to MACHU PICCHU is available.

Buses operated by Consettur Machupicchu transport passengers between Aguas Calientes and the main gate of the ruins. The route follows a winding and steep road called Carretera Hiram Bingham. Buses depart from the bus stop on Av. Hermanos Ayar in Aguas Calientes from 5:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. as soon as the bus is full, or every 15 minutes. In general, the bus ride takes 25 minutes. The last bus from the ruins back to town is at 5:30 p.m.

Hike from Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu

It’s a steep climb along the river and mountain to the entrance to Machu Picchu. You can hike the 7 km (4.5 miles) following the dirt road or take the more vertical route, “The Inca Trail from the Puente Ruinas to Machu Picchu.”

What are the extra hikes around Machu Picchu Park?

A visit to Machu Picchu is not a visit to a specific place. There are other places to hike for visitors with a bit of a thirst for the extra discovery kilometers.

Huayna Picchu Hike

Trekkers usually take 1 to 1.5 hours to reach the summit. Athletes can reach the top in 45 minutes. Getting off is about the same time, so walking for 3 hours with plenty of time would be good.

Machu Picchu Montaña Hike

It usually takes hikers about two hours to reach the top. The athletic guy climbs to the top in 1 hour and 30 minutes. It takes about 1.5 hours to go down, so it’s good to give yourself 4 hours to enjoy the views.

Sun Gate (Inti Punku) Hike

Most people take 40–60 minutes to reach the Sun Gate, taking breaks and taking pictures just in time.

Inca Bridge “Puente Inca” Hike

The Inca Bridge was built of several narrow logs on a steep vertical cliff; the Inca Bridge is said to have served as a secret entrance to Machu Picchu. Most people get to the Inca Bridge in about 20–30 minutes.

What are the items not allowed to enter Machu Picchu?

It is necessary not to bring any of the following objects to Machu Picchu:

  1. Tripods support or extensions for cameras or cell phones. It is not allowed to enter with “a selfie stick. “
  2. Backpacks, bags, or bags that exceed 5 kilos in weight
  3. Food or luggage.
  4. Illegal substances (drugs or being under the influence)
  5. Alcoholic beverages (or under their influence).
  6. Sprays or paints.
  7. Musical instruments, megaphones, or speakers.
  8. Heels with hard-soled shoes
  9. Baby carriages (it is preferable to carry a baby carrier).
  10. Sharp objects and weapons of any kind
  11. Banners, posters, and posters.
  12. Clothing intended for advertising purposes.
  13. Canes with a metal tip (older adults can carry hiking poles with a rubber tip)

What behaviors are not allowed in Machu Picchu?

  1. It is forbidden to leave the established circuits or routes.
  2. Take illegal trails or avoid entry and establish control of Machu Picchu.
  3. Generate tumult, jump, or cause disorder in the access and at any point in the Inca Machu Picchu.
  4. Climb or lean on walls and structures.
  5. Do not engage in any activity that distorts the sacred character of Machu Picchu.
  6. Carrying out obscene and inappropriate acts in public violates morality and good customs, such as undressing, dressing up, lying down, or running.
  7. Smoking or “vaping” an electronic cigarette
  8. Make overflights in the place’s airspace with paragliders, drones, or any smaller vessel.
  9. Feed domestic or wild animals in the Inca city.
  10. Make loud or annoying noises: clap, shout, whistle, or sing.
  11. Enhance filming or photographs for advertising purposes or in high-risk places.

What are the sanctions for violators of the Machu Picchu regulations?

  • Failure to comply with the prohibitions in Machu Picchu will result in the expulsion of the visitor without the right to a refund of the ticket price. Given the seriousness of the crime, the authorities will take appropriate legal action.
  • Sometimes, authorities can restrict a visitor’s access. Attacking the integrity of others is one of the world’s wonders, which is punishable, for example. Another case is the Inca city’s attack on morality and good customs.
  • There are HD cameras and security guards inside Machu Picchu. If necessary, you can step in for tourists who don’t follow the rules of the place.

What is a souvenir stamp at Machu Picchu?

If you want to know where to get a Machu Picchu stamp on your passport, there is a simple answer: the stamping area is at the Machu Picchu exit on the right. “Do it at the end of the Machu Picchu tour.” However, your passport stamp at Machu Picchu is much more than a stamp; it proves the fantastic journey you have just completed in southern Peru.

Aguas Calientes Food and Accommodation

Whether it is a day trip to Machu Picchu or a multi-day hike in the Salkantay Mountains, the Inca Jungle, or the Choquequirao Trek, an overnight stay in Aguas Calientes is highly recommended if you want to experience Machu Picchu early in the morning.

Due to its proximity to Machu Picchu, Aguas Calientes has several hotels, restaurants, cafes, and small shops. It is also good to know that food is prohibited at the Machu Picchu archaeological site. Have a good breakfast before heading out.

What tour should I choose to visit Machu Picchu?

Your visit to Machu Picchu depends on several factors, such as your level of fitness, your hiking experience, and the orientation of your tour group.


Machu Picchu Day Trip

The Machu Picchu day trip is the fastest way to access the archaeological site of Machu Picchu. Arrive at Aguas Calientes by train from San Pedro, Poroy, Urubamba, or Ollantaytambo train stations. Though this trip is long, it’s worth taking in the incredible sights on an epic train journey through the Andes and Amazon cloud forest. The main advantage of a day trip is that it offers vacationers who want to visit the Inca citadel of Machu Picchu or are unprepared for a hike the opportunity to visit the site with a tour guide and learn more about the tourist experience. With this in mind, many include day trips from Cusco, Urubamba, or Ollantaytambo, the “Sacred Valley of the Incas.”

02-day tour: Overnight in Aguas Calientes

Let’s say you’re short on time, but you still want to see the highlights of Machu Picchu by leisurely exploring various ancient sites with incredible panoramic views. If so, we recommend the 2-day tour to Machu Picchu through the Sacred Valley of the Incas. This is a beautiful Andean adventure way to immerse yourself in the local Inca culture and get the proper background before visiting the ancient citadel of Machu Picchu. After a fantastic tour of the Sacred Valley on the first day, you will have plenty of time to rest before catching the train to Aguas Calientes and heading to Machu Picchu on the second day.

Multi-Day Tours to Machu Picchu

The impressive sites and ruins accessible from downtown Cusco amaze visitors with the number of Inca sites. You should consider a multi-day tour to explore more of the region and Cusco’s local culture and traditions. We have 3 to 7-day multi-day tours covering the most impressive sites of the Cusco region to complete your Cusco vacation in Peru.

Are you ready to explore Machu Picchu, “the lost city of the Incas”?

Of course, take a train through the Sacred Valley or Maras Moray to Machu Picchu Pueblo, then catch a bus from Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu Main Gate. The first impression of Machu Picchu is unique from every angle photo of the Inca fortress Machu Picchu.

A tour of Machu Picchu is a great way to bring ancestral ruins to life, learn about their history, and glimpse the incredible ingenuity of the Inca people who built the Inca citadel.

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