Machu Picchu is the ruins of the old Inca city, which attracts millions of tourists every year to the Peruvian Andes. If you are going to visit Machu Picchu, then you will have to prepare for your visit. It is necessary to get tickets, come up with a route and plan where to stay in Peru. A visit to Machu Picchu requires a little organization, but you don’t have to worry. Read our detailed article to guide you through the old ruins of Machu Picchu. You will learn everything you need before going to Machu Picchu. 

In the footsteps of the mysterious Incas 

Machu Picchu is a unique ruin of the Inca city situated at a height of about 2,500 meters above sea level. The construction of the city probably began in the middle of the fifteenth century, and it is the most visited monument in South America. Machu Picchu is unique in its strategic location in the mountains, which provided the perfect defence of the city from enemies. The ruins are surrounded by two peaks of the Andes, and the Urubamba River winding in their folds. One of the peaks is Machu Picchu Montana, and the other mountain is called Huayna Picchu. When the city was discovered, the archaeologists had long sought a name for it, and it was named after Machu Picchu Montana. The city was completely independent at that time, as evidenced by the agricultural terraces outside the city. The entire Machu Picchu extends over an area of 5 km2 and is divided into agricultural and urban areas. Scientists agree that the people could grow corn, potatoes, and coca here.

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Machu Picchu ruins are spectacular

The buildings themselves are fascinating, and they are preserved in relatively good condition. The Incas were masters of stonework and built their houses from perfectly machined blocks. They didn’t use grout, and the accuracy of their buildings is still evident. A sheet of paper wouldn’t fit into the gaps between the stones. When the Spanish colonizers conquered the Inca capital of Cuzco, it was clear that it was amen with this civilization. Although Machu Picchu is just 80 kilometres from Cusco, the Spaniards never discovered it. So far, what caused the destruction of the city of Machu Picchu remains a mystery, and there are several theories. The most likely cause is that the residents left the city for some reason because the buildings remained almost intact for centuries to this day. Western civilization rediscovered the city’s ruins in 1911 during an expedition led by Yale University. There are still disputes between the Peruvian government and the university about the return of stolen artefacts from the former Peruvian city.

eva_profilMachu Picchu is located at an altitude of about 2,500 m.n.m., which is almost a thousand meters below the Inca Cuzco itself. Very rarely, you will face high-altitude sickness problems, but severe nausea may appear in sensitive individuals. If you are interested in how we have deal with the high-altitude sickness, read our article.

How to Buy Machu Picchu Tickets 

Machu Picchu is one of the most visited monuments in the world, and due to the great interest of tourists, the Peruvian government had to take appropriate measures to protect the former Inca city. Therefore, daily limits have been introduced to determine how many visitors can buy a Machu Picchu ticket and visit it, or how long they can stay here. This may appear to be a disadvantage because the tickets must be bought long in advance, and the visitor feels limited by the length of their stay. Nevertheless, the regulation of tourists means that you won’t be pushed anywhere, and you will have room for great photos.You can buy Machu Picchu tickets on the official website, or there are several agencies that offer tickets for Machu Picchu. You can find quite a lot of them on the internet. To enter Machu Picchu, you need to have a valid passport with the same name as your ticket; you can’t enter the city without it. We don’t recommend buying tickets for Sunday because it is the only day when Peruvian people have free access to the ruins. The local visitors aren’t counted in the daily limit, so you can expect a crowded city.

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Machu Picchu is surrounded by high peaks of the Andes

Hike to Machu Picchu Montana and Huayna Picchu 

In addition to the town of Machu Picchu itself, you can combine the visit with a hike to the tops of the surrounding mountains. The ruins of the Inca city are surrounded by two peaks. One of them is the already mentioned Machu Picchu Montana, and the other is called Huayna Picchu, sometimes Wayna Picchu. We recommend buying tickets for at least one of the mountains. We hiked to Huayna Picchu, and the view was worth it. On this peak, there are the remains of the Inca temples, and there are incredible views of the landscape, the entire city of Machu Picchu and down the river valley. The hike is demanding, so we encourage you to take it right in the morning and leave Machu Picchu itself for later. Like Machu Picchu,  both mountains are limited (much more limited!) by the number of visitors per day, so you need to buy tickets well in advance.  

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View of the ruins of the Inca city from Huyana Picchu mountain

How to get to Machu Picchu 

Most people don’t know it, but Machu Picchu is the only big Inca city discovered in the Andes – check out, for example, Choquequirao. There are dozens of similar ruins of Inca’s buildings in Peru, but Machu Picchu is very popular for easy access. So how do you get to Machu Picchu? The starting point for sightseeing is the village of Aguas Calientes, also known as Machu Picchu village. The town lies at the foot of Machu Picchu and is basically made up of hotels, restaurants and other tourist attractions. From Aguas Calientes, you can reach the ruins of Machu Picchu on foot, which is a rather rough hike, but many daredevils want to indulge it. However, if you want to climb one of the mountains in the vicinity in addition to the ruins of the Inca city, we recommend saving your energy. A shuttle bus departs from the village at regular intervals, taking tourists to the Machu Picchu gates and costs a few dollars. There are several ways to get to Aguas Calientes. This topic is often discussed in various discussion forums because none of the variants is quite ideal and so most travellers are confused in this case.

eva_profilWhatever your choice of transportation to Machu Picchu, start planning ahead. Here, it really pays to have everything well-prepared. The same goes for buying tickets. Don’t underestimate it. If you stay overnight in Aguas Calientes (same as we did), book a hotel in advance too.

1. Hiking through the Inca monuments will take you directly to Machu Picchu 

Hiking is one of the most popular ways to get to Machu Picchu. The most famous treks include the Inca Trail. It is one of the most popular treks on the planet. It is an authentic path built by the ancient Incas that leads from the main Inca city of Cuzco to the very town of Machu Picchu. The trail passes through the Andes Mountains and it is surrounded by the ruins of Incan buildings that served 500 years ago. The trek itself is four days long and is closely monitored by the Peruvian authorities. For this reason, you cannot go alone, but you must buy the appropriate permission and complete a guided trek. The price for this tour is truly astronomical, and we recommend checking it on the official site. However, this is an amazing experience. The Inca Trail isn’t the only trek that will take you to Machu Picchu. Check out a detailed list of other interesting routes that will take you to Machu Picchu.

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Peru offers diverse treks around the Andes

2. The train journey is the most pleasant, but the most expensive 

The train ride is the fastest and most comfortable way to get to Machu Picchu, but also, the most expensive and disproportionately. An hour-long journey was the most expensive train ride we have ever done. So most tourists come up with other ways to get to Aguas Calientes, the village below Machu Picchu, as cheaply as possible.

If you decide to travel by train, you can either go from Ollantaytambo or Poroy. It is important to buy tickets in advance at IncaRail or PeruRail.Buying tickets on site could be a problem.

  • Ollantaytambo – Machupicchu (about 1:45 hours)faster and cheaper way, less luxury
  • Poroy – Machupicchu (about 3:30 hours)less frequented train, and the price is also much higher
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The train is the most convenient option to get to Machu Picchu village

3. How to avoid an overpriced train journey 

Whatever your choice of transportation to Machu Picchu, start planning ahead. Here, it really pays to have everything well-prepared. The same goes for buying tickets. Don’t underestimate it.

  • You can walk from Ollantaytambo directly to Aguas Calientes along the train tracks. The journey is about 32 kilometres long and takes you all day. The train passes through a beautiful valley, but the route is rather challenging. However, you will save a lot of money.
  • This option is probably the most common. Practically, you can get to Machu Picchu village from the other side. First, it is necessary to take various ways (bus, car, taxi) to the village of Santa Teresa. From here, you can catch a taxi directly to the Hidroelectrica train stop. Then it is just 10 kilometres to Aguas Calientes. You can either walk on the rails or take the train. However, it’s still the same train company, so tickets are really overpriced but cheaper than from Ollantaytambo. It’s a tough journey, so most people stay overnight in Santa Teresa.
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There are several ways to get to Machu Picchu village

Before entering Machu Picchu 

Guides will take you through the ruins of Machu Picchu and give you some information before entering the former city. We recommend using their services because they will enrich your visit to the Incan ruins. It is forbidden to take any food or water in plastic. Also, be aware that there are no toilets anywhere inside, which is sometimes a problem for visitors.

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A visit to Machu Picchu is an unforgettable experience

You should always take your passport and printed ticket with you. Both are very important; otherwise, you might be in trouble before entering.

If you like to experience wildlife, Peru offers some of the most beautiful mountain climbing in the world. Rainbow Mountains have recently been discovered in the Peruvian Andes and only a few years ago, this trek was open for tourists. The rock that plays with all colours attracts visitors from all over the world. If you’re more interested, read our article.

Have you visited Machu Picchu? How did you like it here? Leave us a comment under the article!