Machu Picchu Travel Hacks: The Ultimate Checklist & Guide for Traveling to Machu Picchu

A visit to the Machu Picchu Inca ruins will take you through civilization in the era of a tribe whose ruins still marvel the world. The highlight of every visitor to Peru is getting to the top of the almost 2500 meter above Sea Level Mountain that showcases the beauty of a land that has come to be the most visited spot on the planet. However, if you plan to trek the Inca Trail and other routes, then there are some things you need to know.

Machu Picchu Hike Cost

The cost of trekking to Machu Picchu depends on the route you are taking. Whether you are with a tour guide or on a private guide with fewer trekkers, the price range is from $230 to $1500 dollars.

Where to Go

The Machu Picchu trail is a place to go, but when in Machu Picchu, there are lots of historic places full of life that tell the story of Peru with architecture and art. Some places to see are

  • The Qorikancha – one of the most famous Inca temples
  • The Plaza de Armas
  • The Last Supper painting in Cusco Cathedral
  • Enjoy chocolate at the ChocoMuseo or enjoy the National drink, Pisco Sours at the many food stalls that litter the streets.

Machu Picchu by Bus or Train

There are different routes to get to Peru and vice versa; visitors can choose to follow through Lake Titicaca or other South America neighboring countries like Bolivia and Ecuador. For those willing to fly, remember that flight tickets with South America are expensive and the train or bus allows you to see the view and get used to the weather and altitude before your climb.

Machu Picchu by Train

Visitors can buy train tickets from Lima or Cusco in advance before they come to the train stations; there are three train stations to choose from:

  • You can go through Poroy station in Cusco for a 3 hours and 15 minutes trip to Machu Picchu
  • The Urubamba Station takes you to Machu Picchu on 2 and a half hours
  • The Ollantaytambo station gets you to Machu Picchu in less than 2 hours

Some tips to remember

  • you need your passport and a train ticket to board the train (this will show you actually own the ticket)
  • People with delicate health conditions and women seven months pregnant are not allowed on the train
  • Kids will need a means of identification and legal document from an adult or be accompanied by their parent or guardian.
  • People under the influence are not allowed onboard the trains too.

Packing for your Trip to Machu Picchu

Going to visit any city in Peru requires a lot of different clothing as the weather on a day can go from rain, scorching heat, and freezing colds.

Some items to pack are

  • Comfortable shoes – waterproof hiking boots or good running shoes will do just fine. If you want to give your feet some air, sandals or flip flop works great too.
  • Pants- whether its jean or a pair of joggers or shorts choosing one that is comfortable and will protect your legs from insect bites
  • T-shirt (long sleeves for cold days) a jacket with a hoodie and round neck shirts
  • A sweater or vest to keep warm
  • A pair of sunglasses, hat, scarf or wrap cloth to cover-up
  • A good camera and charger (with a power bank or solar)

Machu Picchu Must-Know Facts

Regardless of all the fun and good pictures you will get on your way to Machu Picchu, there are certain facts that “outsiders” need to keep mind. Asides from battling with the element, here are some basics that every traveler should know before embarking on a historic journey to the Great Machu Picchu.

The site is sacred

Millions of people pass through the terrains just to see this site, but one fact worthy of note is that the Inca ruins is a royal site, a religious site and one that the people of Peru still hold dear in their culture with high regards. So, please as fun as it is, respect the site, the culture, and the significance attached to it.

The weather

The Rain

When it rains, it pours. The raining season starts in late November through early April. This might be a surprise to most travelers who think these are summer months and expect dry weather. If you are planning a visit during this time, good waterproof gear and shoe should be in your pack.

The sun

Whether you come during the summer months or raining months, you will encounter some strong hot, harsh rays whenever the sun breaks forth through the clouds. Except you come from regions that experience the full wrath of the sun, you might want to prepare yourself for the heat in Peru. Travelers are advised to have a water bottle, sunscreen lotion, and a good pair of sunglasses to keep the sun’s reflection of your eyes.

The nights

Camping outside as you trek the trail to Machu Picchu is fun, the sky is filled with different sizes of stars and watching the sunset from that height is magnificent but the nights are cold. Hikers should be fully geared in winter wears to keep the cold at bay and protect you against bugs. Furthermore, most of the trekking starts at the break of dawn, so it is better to get geared up to the bed and wake up to a bright day ready to go.

The trails

Your fitness will be tested by the Inca Trail, even though you are not expected to be all put together for the trek, not having any stamina at all will also make the trail a difficult one and very risky for you.

Machu Picchu Altitude

Altitude sickness is a problem that most travelers will have to deal with as they trek to the Machu Picchu trip. Below are some of the points on the trial and their altitude

  • Cusco: 3, 400 meters above sea level
  • Ollantaytambo: 2,792 meters
  • Aguas Calientes: 2,050 meter
  • Intipunku: 2,720 meters
  • Machu Mountain: 3,082 meters
  • Huayna Picchu: 2,693 meters
  • Machu Picchu: 2,430 meters
  • The highest point on the classic Inca trail: 4,215 meters

Tourists looking to go through this altitude should have a doctor’s clearance and certification that they are fit to climb and have some altitude medication to curb any symptoms on the trail.

Furthermore, to preserve the beauty and history of the Machu Picchu, there is a regulation of the number of people allowed to visit the site each day. So if you want to see the Inca ruins; book your ticket early or go with a group when in Peru.

Some Machu Picchu hacks to know

  • Get a Machu Picchu ticket in advance at the second gate after entering Machu Picchu Park. This allows you to see the mountains a second time without pay in case you missed it due to the weather or crowd. The ticket is usually for one trip, but the Machu Picchu ticket or the Huayna ticket will allow you a second visit without any charges.
  • Get a discount with your student ID card – this is especially great for an exchange student from the Peru University who are there to experience the Inca Trails.
  • When it is cloudy, don’t bother hurrying up to the mountains, you won’t see anything due to the fog and thick cloud.
  • Save your toilet receipt – yep, you pay for using the restroom. However, by keeping the receipt will allow you to use it again for free if you can show the first payment?
  • Take a picture with the llama – well, the llama is the official animal synonymous with Peru and having one with these elegant creatures will show your friends you did come to Peru.
  • Get layered – the higher you climb, the colder is it. So please layer up. Wear as many clothes as you feel comfortable to keep you safe from the cold on the mountain.
  • Get the Machu Picchu stamp on your passport – this is only possible if you get to the stamping station before 9 am.
  • Buy your bus ticket at the top – after trekking the Machu Picchu climb off your bucket list, climbing down is really hard. Luckily, there is a bus station that brings tourists down. However, you have to get your tickets at the top to catch an early seat.
  • Book a reservation at the hotel at the top if you have the money – it will give you certain privileges like been the first tourist bus to enter the Inca city and enjoy other amenities

Where to stay

There is no shortage of hotel and local places to stay in Peru; you can book your accommodation online with the hotels or come to the country and choose one that works with your budget. Either way, you will get good sleeping spaces and enjoy good food also.

Machu Picchu is about the thrills and exhilaration that comes with achieving such a trek. The evergreen undulating terrain will provide not only a great backdrop for selfies but are beautiful pictures that you will cherish and appreciate long after you have left Peru.

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