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Machu Picchu
Travel Guide


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Machu Picchu is certainly considered a bucket list destination, and for many people it is the main reason for visiting Peru. This iconic Inca citadel, sheltered from the world by the Andes’ green peaks, dates from the 15th century and is often called the Lost City of the Incas. The Incas miraculously managed to keep their imperial city hidden from the Spanish conquerors, and after Machu Picchu was abandoned in the mid 1500’s and its trails burned, nature took over and covered the site in thick vegetation, confining its legend to local folklore. It was first revealed to the world by American historian Hiram Bingham, who discovered the site by chance in 1911. Since then it has become one of the world’s most mysterious and intriguing places. Machu Picchu attracts people from every corner of the world, all looking to marvel at the ancient enclave recently voted one of the Seven Wonders of the New World.

Experiences around Machu Picchu

What not to miss

Machu Picchu benefits from a very particular geography in the Sacred Valley. Nestled on a ridge between two peaks, Machu Picchu (old peak) and Huayna Picchu (young peak), the site is surrounded by a tropical mountain forest that has earned itself the poetic title of “Ceja de Selva”, or Eyebrow of the Jungle. The archaeological zone is split into two areas, the agricultural and the urban. Constructed in classical Inca style, you will no doubt be awed at knowing that this ancient civilization transported every single stone to the site by hand, and the design and organisation of Machu Picchu was guided by the natural contours of the land. The technological advancement of the Incas for their time is visible in the ingenious terracing, the Temple of the Sun, the fountains and squares, and the Intiwatana solar observatory. Getting to Machu Picchu is as much of an adventure as being on the site itself. The Cusco to Machu Picchu train is perfect for those wanting a relaxing journey to the Lost City. The most challenging route to the top is the famous Inca Trail, a once-in-a-lifetime four day trek that will take you through cloud forests, ruins and jungles. The Salkantay Trail and the Lares Trail are two alternative treks that are less demanding but still tough enough to give you that adrenaline rush that thrill-seekers thrive on.

Guided Machu Picchu Tour Top

The citadel of Machu Picchu is by far the most important tourist attraction in the Sacred Valley. Discovered in 1911 by the American explorer Hiram Bingham, this stronghold, overlooking the deep canyon of the Urubamba River, is considered to be one of the most extraordinary examples of landscape architecture in the world. In ancient times, when the Inca was considered to be a descendant of god, this fortress was considered His palace above the clouds, where only the chosen ones could live. Every trip to Peru should include this destination and World Wonder. In Aguas Calientes, you’ll board a bus for a 20-minute ride to the sanctuary of Machu Picchu, where you’ll have a guided tour to explore this magnificent sample of Inca architectural perfection. The guided tour takes you to the citadel’s main square, the Circular Tower, the Sacred Solar Clock, the royal rooms, the Temple of the Three Windows and the cemeteries. You’ll have free time to walk around the citadel as well before going back to the Sacred Valley or Cusco.

Machu Picchu & Huayna Picchu Tour Top

A Full day excursion to Machu Picchu. The citadel of Machu Picchu is by far the most important tourist attraction in the Sacred Valley. Discovered in 1911 by the American explorer Hiram Bingham, this stronghold, overlooking the deep canyon of the Urubamba River, is considered to be one of the most extraordinary examples of landscape architecture in the world. In ancient times, when the Inka was considered to be a descendant of god, this fortress was considered his palace above the clouds, where only the “chosen ones” could live in. You will visit the famous mountain of Huayna Picchu (the one that appears in almost every picture of mapi, where you will find more ruins and the best viewpoint of the place. Private or Group Service. Departure: Daily morning departures

Short 2-Day Inca Trail to Machu Picchu Top

8 miles, Inca complexes and a maximum altitude of over 8,690 ft. lie between you and the ancient Inca Citadel of Machu Picchu as you depart on what is one of the most unforgettable travel adventures. If you’re short on time but want to experience hiking in the footsteps of the Incas, this is the perfect experience. Staying overnight in a hotel at the foot of Machu Picchu, you’ll be rewarded the following morning with watching the sun rise over Machu Picchu in one of the quietest hours of the day. You’ll have this profound experience almost entirely to yourself, as you soak in the fruits of your labor. Throughout the express Inca Trail and at Machu Picchu, your guide will provide you with all the facts, figures and legends while making sure you avoid the crowds to get the most from this once in a lifetime experience. Private or Group Service. Departures: Daily (Pending availability, best booked 3-6 months in advance)

Classic 4-Day Inca Trail to Machu Picchu Top

26 miles, three mountain passes and a maximum altitude of 14,000 ft. lie between you and the ancient Inca Citadel of Machu Picchu as you depart on what is one of the most unforgettable travel adventures. Having hiked through stunning cloud forests, slept out under the stars and admired the scenery of the Sacred Valley, you’ll be rewarded with watching the sun rise over Machu Picchu in one of the quietest hours of the day. You’ll have this profound experience almost entirely to yourself, as you soak in the fruits of your labor. Throughout the Inca Trail and at Machu Picchu, your guide will provide you with all the facts, figures and legends while making sure you avoid the crowds to get the most from this once in a lifetime experience. Private or Group Service. Departures: Daily (Pending availability, best booked 3-6 months in advance)

Salkantay Trek Top

The Incas had to walk for several days through the mountains of the Sacred Valley and one such route was along the Salkantay Trek. This spectacular trek has the scenery and diversity of the Inca Trail and in some ways is more impressive with the 20,500 ft. high Salkantay Mountain featuring throughout the hike and which was one of the holiest Inca apus (sacred peaks). You will walk along this challenging yet rewarding trail in the footsteps of the Incas. This is one of the best alternative treks to the popular Inca Trail! After staying overnight at the foot of Machu Picchu, you will make your way to its summit where you will be lost for words as you stand there and admire one of the man-made Wonders of the World…there is no other experience like it on Earth! Note: Also, the horse is not with the passengers all the time along the trek, as it has to arrive to the camping first. In case you book a saddle horse, this horse will be with you along the way but will not carry any luggage. Private or Group Service. Departure: Daily

Inka Jungle Trail to Machu Picchu Top

3 Day & 4 Day Options

This authentic off the beaten track adventure begins at Malaga Pass where we begin a 3-hour mountain biking decent to the town of Huamanmarca where you experience the beauty of the snow-capped mountains. Upon arrival to Santa Maria, you will have the option to go rafting (April-November) in the Urubamba River. The next days trek begins with a 2 hour ascent, stopping at a local family’s house to rest. We cross a section of the Inca Trail, descending to the town of Quellomayo to eat lunch and rest in hammocks. We continue 2 more hours on foot to the thermal baths of Cocalmayo, after bathing we continue on to Santa Teresa. The following day we hike for 3 hours, along the path and we will have the opportunity to see a series of waterfalls, an astronomical sundial used by the Inca, and admire the majesty of the mountains surrounding Machu Picchu and Huayna Picchu. The final day of the adventure we arrive to one of the 7 Wonders of the World. We rise early in the morning to watch the sun rise over the Incan citadel of Machu Picchu. Your guide will provide a tour of the ruins and temples within the ancient city, afterwards you’re free to explore Machu Picchu yourself and possibly hike Huayna Picchu or Machu Picchu Mountain. In the afternoon returning to Aguas Calientes to take the return train to Ollantaytambo or Cusco.

Fast Facts on Machu Picchu

USEFUL TRAVELER INFORMATION

This section is a quick overview to help in planning your trip to Machu Picchu.

When to go

Although it is located in the Andes mountains, Machu Picchu’s elevation is lower than that of Cusco’s at almost 2,400masl. This means it has a mild climate all year round, and tourists often come to the site early in the morning to photograph the sunrise or the captivating clouds that sometimes wrap themselves around the green peaks. The best time to visit is in the dry season between April and October, with May, September and October being the most desirable months because there are fewer tourists and less chance of rain. Having said this, bear in mind that the weather in Machu Picchu can be unpredictable, owing to its unique geography in this mountainous area, so be sure to pack appropriate clothing for sun, rain and cold. We’ll tell you what to pack before you go, so don’t worry. If you decide to visit Machu Picchu in the high season of June, July and August, make sure you ask us to book your tickets in advance, as there is a limited number of visitors allowed in the park for conservation purposes.

How to get there

One of the most fun parts of the Machu Picchu adventure is actually reaching this high plain. Depending on your stamina, fitness levels and travel goals, there are two different ways to get to the Lost City of the Incas – by foot or by train. For those wishing to sit back, relax and enjoy the journey through the clouds of the Sacred Valley, a three hour train leaves from Cusco, or a shorter hour-long train leaves from Ollantaytambo. A variety of different train services are available, just ask us and we can advise you which would suit you best. Just make sure to sit on the left side of the train for the best view of Machu Picchu as you approach. For those wanting to reach the Lost City by foot, the true Machu Picchu experience is found on the Inca Trail. Though it’s distance is short at 26 miles, the trek itself is a beautiful odyssey that will take you through cloud forests, past Incan ruins and tunnels and over original roads paved by the Incas with ancient flagstones over the course of four days. Alternatively, you could hike the Salkantay or Lares Trails, lesser known routes that are just as stunning but slightly shorter and less difficult.

Infrastructure

Most travelers visiting Machu Picchu will base themselves in Cusco or the nearby town of Aguas Calientes and undertake the trip from there. If you want to go all out, you might want to treat yourself to a night or two in the luxurious Machu Picchu Sanctuary Lodge, from whose famous jacuzzi you can gaze upon the Lost City in total tranquility. Aguas Calientes has a range of accommodation from affordable to high-end hotels, some of which have rooms with views of the Río Urubamba. Food in the area is much as you would expect from a tourist destination, and food and plastic is not allowed inside the archaeological site, so if you do bring supplies, make sure to finish them before you go in. There is also a cafe outside the entrance to the site where you can purchase water in glass bottles.

Tour Packages to Machu Picchu

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