Machu Picchu is a 15th-century Inca citadel, located in the Eastern Cordillera of southern Peru, on a 2,430-metre mountain ridge.
20 pictures of Machu Picchu from Jeremiah Berman, Alan Hurt Jr., Scott Umstattd and other travelers
To reach Machu Picchu, you can fly into Cusco, Peru, and then take a train or bus to the town of Aguas Calientes, also known as Machu Picchu Pueblo. From there, you can take a 25-minute bus ride to the entrance of Machu Picchu. Alternatively, if you're up for a challenge, you can embark on the famous 4-day Inca Trail hike that leads directly to the ruins.
It's essential to book your Machu Picchu entrance ticket and any guided tours in advance, as there are daily limits on the number of visitors allowed. If you plan to hike the Inca Trail, be sure to secure your permit well in advance as they sell out quickly.
The costs of visiting Machu Picchu include your entrance ticket, which ranges from $45 to $65, depending on the options you choose, and the train or bus fare to reach Aguas Calientes. The Inca Trail hike can cost between $600 to $900, depending on the tour operator and package.
The best things to do at Machu Picchu include exploring the archaeological site and taking in the incredible views of the surrounding mountains. Be sure to visit the Sun Gate (Inti Punku), which offers the classic panoramic view of Machu Picchu, as well as the Temple of the Sun and the Temple of the Three Windows.
For dining options in Aguas Calientes, try Indio Feliz for delicious French-Peruvian fusion cuisine or Tree House for its unique atmosphere and delightful Peruvian dishes. La Boulangerie de Paris is a perfect spot for breakfast, offering fresh pastries and coffee.
When it comes to accommodations, choose from the luxurious Belmond Sanctuary Lodge, located right at the entrance of Machu Picchu, for ultimate convenience, or the Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel in Aguas Calientes, offering charming rooms amidst beautiful gardens. For budget travelers, consider staying at El MaPi by Inkaterra or Casa del Sol Machupicchu.
Off the beaten path:
For an unusual travel experience, consider visiting the lesser-known ruins of Choquequirao, another spectacular Incan site in the region. The challenging 4-day trek to Choquequirao offers stunning mountain scenery, fewer crowds, and a more authentic experience, as it is less visited compared to the popular Inca Trail. Keep in mind that the trek is physically demanding, and you should be well-prepared and acclimatized to the altitude before embarking on this adventure.
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Machu Picchu is an Inca citadel high in the Andes mountains of Peru, high above the Urubamba River valley. Built in the 15th century and later abandoned, it is famous for its dry-stone walls, whose sophisticated design combines huge blocks without mortar to form fascinating buildings that take advantage of astronomical alignments and offer panoramic views. The precise reason for its creation remains a mystery.
The site is located in the eastern Andes, at the edge of the Amazonian forest in Peru (province of Urubamba), one hundred and thirty kilometres from Cuzco.
At an altitude of 2,438 metres, the ruins straddle the ridge between two peaks: Huayna Picchu, meaning "young mountain" and Machu Picchu, meaning "old mountain". It is Huayna Picchu that overlooks the site and can be seen in most photographs of the city. From certain angles, it is possible to imagine the profile of a human face looking towards the sky, with Huayna Picchu as its nose.
To go from Lima to Machu Picchu
To go from Lima to Machu Picchu you must first go to Cusco.
There are two ways to get there directly: by bus or by plane
Lima to Cusco by bus takes about 22h
This is the cheapest option (between 100 and 220 soles)
It is very important to take a serious and recognized company like Cruz del Sur, Moviltours, Tessa, Ormeño, and Civa
The road is quite winding because of the mountains so it is possible to feel nausea
The plane from Lima to Cusco takes 1h15. There are departures every 30 minutes from the airport
It is the less touristic option, also the less expensive and the longest.
Here is a summary of the route that combines bus and walks, from Cusco to Aguas Calientes via Hydroelectric.
Cusco to Santa Maria: 5h by Colectivo from the terminal Santiago (15 soles or by bus 30 soles)
Santa Maria to Santa Teresa: 2h by Colectivo (6 soles or 10 soles for shared cab)
Cab Santa Teresa to Hydroelectric: 20 min (6 soles)
Hydroelectric to Aguas Calientes (10 km): by train 40 min (31$usd) or by foot (about 2h30) following the railway tracks. Walking is worth it as the landscape is really pretty and the path is easy, with a simple climb at the beginning. It's not like trekking at all.
The total journey is long (about 9-10 hours) from Cusco, so if you see the night coming, don't hesitate to spend the night in Santa Teresa to take the path the next day.
Hydroelectrica - Aguas Calientes (10 km): train 40 min or on foot 2h30
The Hydroelectric train to Aguas Calientes: departures are at 14:17, 14:50, and 17:10. The ticket can only be bought at Hydroelectric
Inca Trail Trek
The Inca Trail is the only trek that allows you to reach Machu Picchu directly!
In addition to being the most touristic trek, it is subject to limited quotas: it is therefore very important to book it several months in advance to have a place!
We find it in a version of 4 days and 3 nights with camping, or a short version of 2 days and 1 night with 1 night in Aguas Calientes.
To know: every year, it closes for the whole month of February.