Visiting Machu Picchu will almost certainly be the highlight of your Peruvian adventure. With real bucket-list destinations it pays to do your homework before you go, so that you can make the experience everything you imagined it to be. Follow these Machu Picchu travel tips to get the most out of your visit.
Three ways to do it:
Vaya Adventures can tailor-make an itinerary to suit your exact needs, but these are three of our most popular combinations. All Machu Picchu itineraries start and end in nearby Cusco.
1. Take the train
Most of our clients take the train to Aguas Calientes (there is a luxury alternative too), and visit the ruins by shuttle. Guests take lunch at the Sanctuary Lodge before returning to Aguas Calientes to overnight at the exceptional Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel. The following day they return to the ruins on an unguided visit – usually arriving at first light, to experience the ruins in peace. Many people choose to hike up either Huayna Picchu (more iconic but more popular) or Machu Picchu Mountain (a less crowded alternative).
2. Hike the Inca Trail
If you’re fit enough, and you have the time, the Inca Trail is a truly unforgettable experience. It involves four days of fairly strenuous hiking at altitude (and three nights of camping) but the reward of knowing that you reached the ruins in the way the Incas intended makes this all worthwhile. Once you’ve explored the ruins at your leisure you’ll be taken by shuttle to the Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel to savor your achievement in the lap of luxury. Click here for some excellent tips on preparing for the hike.
3. Do the ‘Inca Trail Express’
If you don’t feel up to the challenge of the whole Inca Trail, but you do want to reach Machu Picchu on foot, the Inca Trail Express offers the best of both worlds as you get to do the last two days (one night) of the Inca Trail proper, before arriving at the ruins and sleeping off the experience in a hotel bed.
When to go:
If you plan to take the train to Aguas Calientes you can visit Machu Picchu at any time of the year. If you’re hoping to trek – either the Inca Trail or the Inca Trail Express – it’s best to avoid the rainiest months of February and March.
The rainy season (Dec – April) sees lees tourist pressure and many people find the sight of the ruins shrouded by wispy clouds to be captivating. Most tourists, however, visit Machu Picchu during the dry season (May to November), when you can be assured of clear skies. The real peak season falls between June and early September.
If you really can come at any time, we’d advise the shoulder seasons (May and June and late September and October) as these offer the best of both worlds, but if your travel window is slight be sure to include Machu Picchu regardless of the season. For a lengthier explanation of the climate, have a look here.
Ready to go?
Hopefully these Machu Picchu travel tips have helped you to visualize your perfect Machu Picchu experience. Now all that remains is to give us a call or submit a custom trip request to make this dream a reality.