Machu Picchu travel Information and Guide – UPDATED 2019
The lost city of Machupicchu is an Inka political, religious and administrative center, which includes temples, sidewalks, dwellings and waterways.
Where Machupicchu is located
Machupicchu is located in the district of Machupicchu, province of Urubamba, Cusco region, at the height of km. 112.5 of the railway line and was a graben between the mountains of Machupicchu and Waynapicchu.
Ways of access to the citadel of Machupicchu
The access point to Machu Picchu is through Aguas Calientes (also known as Pueblo Machu Picchu). This small town has no access by road, being impossible to reach by car or bus, you only arrive by train. Once there, Machu Picchu is at the top of the mountain in Aguas Calientes.
When you arrive in Aguas Calientes, you have the option of taking a walk or a bus to the citadel of Machu Picchu. To make your entrance you must have an entrance ticket to Machu Picchu that is available online or through our website.
Tickets are NOT sold outside the entrance to Machu Picchu and there is a limit of 2500 per day.
The mountain of Huayna Picchu
It is the highest mountain of Machu Picchu with Inca structures in the upper part to
2,720 m.a.s.l. The walk takes 50 minutes uphill to reach the top of the mountain, from where the landscape is very comforting and you can see the main square of Machu Picchu, about 600 meters down and the Urubamba canyon everywhere. The walk is quite difficult and requires a good physical condition.
Machu Picchu Mountain
It is located at the southwest end of Machu Picchu and is a longer, less steep and less crowded hike. It also offers great views of Machu Picchu and its surroundings, but is a longer climb (takes approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes to the top).
History and architecture of Machu Picchu
This citadel was built during the first half of the fifteenth century, Machupicchu is divided into two large areas: the agricultural area comprising a wide network of platforms or artificial terraces, and the urban area formed by various buildings and squares among which the temples of the Sun, the Three Windows, the condor and the main temple.
Altitude of the Inca city of Machupicchu
Machu Picchu is built between two mountains, to the south the mountain Machu Picchu (Old Mountain) and to the north, the mountain Huayna Picchu (Young Mountain).
Looking down 700 meters you can see the Urubamba River, the citadel is surrounded by great abysses and the lush jungle.
Machu Picchu is located at an altitude of 7,972 feet (2,430 m.a.s.l.); while Huayna Picchu located at the front rises to 2,720 m.a.s.l.
Many tourists think that Machu Picchu is at the top of the mountain range, but the truth is that the ravages of altitude sickness are felt more well in the city of Cusco located at 3400 meters above sea level.
Important Information about Machu Picchu
- The Historic Sanctuary – National Archaeological Park of Machupicchu was included in the World Heritage List of UNESCO as a mixed cultural and natural heritage, due to its exceptional universal value, considered as an important political, religious and administrative center of the Inca era.
- Its temperature oscillates between 6.2°C and 29.5°C, since it is located in a subtropical zone. Its rainiest months are from November to March.
- Its majestic architecture comprises some 140 structures throughout the Inca city.
- The average altitude of Machu Picchu is 2 450 m.a.s.l.
- Its scientific discovery is attributed to the researcher Hiram Bingham, who was in search of the last capital of the Inkas of Vilcabamba.
- Machupicchu was declared “Historic Sanctuary of Peru” in 1981.
Entrance Tickets to Machupicchu
Due to the growing flow of tourists who want to visit the Inca city of Machupicchu and to ensure that their experience is the best, it is recommended to organize the visit in advance, from Come See Peru Tours, we will make all the arrangements to organize your vacation, just write to us on our contact page, you also have to take into account the following:
- Advance purchase of entrance tickets to Machupicchu, due to limited daily capacity, check availability at www.machupicchu.gob.pe (only official website).
- In case you cannot make your purchase through the website you can do it in person at the ticket offices of the Direccion Desconcentrada de Cultura Cusco – DDC, located at 340 Maruri Street (Palacio Kusicancha) and Garcilaso s/n Street (side of the Regional Historical Museum) from Monday to Saturday between 07:00 – 19:30 hours (does not attend holidays). The sale of entrance tickets is subject to availability.
- The Direccion Desconcentrada de Cultura in Machupicchu Pueblo is the last point of sale, so a last-minute purchase will mean being subject to the availability of remaining spaces in the system, likewise payment is only in soles and cash. Credit cards, debit cards and payment in dollars are not accepted.
- The purchase of a student ticket is in person or through our travel agency upon presentation or remission of a valid student card. ISIC card not accepted.
- The entrance to the SHM – PANM is from the time indicated on the ticket, so early entry is not allowed.
- Bring a printed entrance ticket to Machupicchu.
- Before entering the Inka city of Machu Picchu make use of the toilets, as the visit will last an average of 2 to 4 hours (There are no toilets within the citadel of Machu Picchu).
- Re-entry is only allowed for visitors who visit the Machupicchu and Waynapicchu mountains, and entrance tickets for the mountains may be purchased in advance through the website www.machupicchu.gob.pe, also subject to availability, taking into account that the maximum capacity of entry allowed is 400 visitors per day for each mountain, divided into two groups of 200 visitors per shift.
Remember all these tips, in case you give us the opportunity to organize your vacation, we will be in constant communication to make your trip the best of all, in “Come See Peru Tours” we are specialists.
Prices and entrances to Machupicchu
All rates are expressed in local currency (Nuevo Sol) the exchange rate with the dollar is 1 US$ = S/ 3.35 (this rate may vary daily).
Entrance tickets for any of the routes are not sold at the gate. Remember to buy them in advance of your visit, you can also Buy your e-ticket online with your Visa or Multired card. You can also buy it at authorized points of sale with Visa, Mastercard or at any window of the Banco de la Nación. The entrance of visitors to the Monument will be from 06:00 to 16:00 hrs. and the departure time until 17:00 hrs. with a capacity of 2500 visitors per day. Since July 15, 2011 new entrance tickets for the route Machupicchu – Waynapicchu – Temple of the Moon and Machupicchu – Mountain Machupicchu. You will not be able to enter these areas without the corresponding ticket. The maximum entrance capacity is 400 visitors per day, divided into two groups of 200 people. The entrance hours are from 7:00 to 8:00 hrs. and from 10:00 to 11:00 hrs. in each of the routes.
Fauna in Machu Picchu
As for Flora and fauna, in Machu Picchu there are a variety of endangered species such as the spectacled bear (Tremarctos omatus), the Andean Rock Cock (Rupicola peruviana), the dwarf deer (Pudu mephistopheles), was one of the reasons why the Peruvian government decided to declare it a Conservation Unit.
Machu Picchu is also home to the puma, the Andean fox, the river otter, Taruka (Huemul deer), wild cat, ferret, and so on. There are birds in Machupicchu such as the mountain Caracara, hummingbirds, torrent duck, parrots, wild turkey and several small birds with colorful plumages.
There are also reptiles such as the jergón and the coral micrurus snake (lethal for its venom), lizards, toads and numerous fauna of the jungle and the Andes that inhabit the sanctuary. This abundant wildlife makes Machupicchu Sanctuary ideal for tourists and researchers who wish to watch or study the animals.
Flora in Machu Picchu
The vegetation of the forest is represented by trees such as: cedar, romerillo or intimpa, laurel, etc.. There are also species such as Ocotea, Pedocarpus, Guarea, Weinmania, Clusia, Cedropia, Cinchena, Eritrina or Pisonay, and holm oak among others. Decorative plants have made the sanctuary famous. Experts have identified more than 90 species of orchids and several species of begonias and the puya cactus. Most of the area is covered by weeds, shrubs, silver trees. The variety of conditions has created an ideal environment for the growth of diverse plants ranging from dense jungle like forest clouds to the highest parts of mountains.
Located at a distance of 800 m. east of the city of Machu Picchu, there are underground sulfur hot springs that spring from the rock at different temperatures. Specially constructed pools suitable for the use of hot mineral baths. The average water temperature ranges from 38°C to 46°C. There is also a change of rooms, sand baths and small cafeterias.
MACHU PICCHU, LAND OF ORCHIDS
Machu Picchu, land of orchids Many species have lived for centuries in the Sanctuary, but only one is the queen of all living plants and creatures, with more than 300 species and many colors, this plant is such a beautiful thing to observe and smell, that is why Machu Picchu, Land of Orchids, must live forever.
Take some of the best photographs of the complex
There are more things to do in Machu Picchu than challenging its trails. Most of the people that visit it, enjoy taking pictures of the whole enclosure. In the traditional way, you will find one of the best views to get a photo: the Guardian’s House. From here you can pick up a clear postcard of Machu Picchu’s face.
Machu Picchu is a natural sanctuary, so there is wildlife in it. One photo that many visitors seek to capture is that of the spectacled bears that are protected in the complex. Funny pictures with flames are also popular, many of them are friendly, but they should always be treated with respect.
Connect with the environment and relax in the mountains
Finally, if you visit Machu Picchu you have to feel its great energy. There are spaces where you can go to relax and meditate, for example, the favorite of many is the Intihuatana. It is a solar clock used as an astronomical calendar where many people come to live a unique experience.
According to information about Machu Picchu, due to the popularity it acquired, for its preservation it is currently cordoned off, but you can also get there. Another place with these characteristics is the Sacred Rock. This is a huge monolith that served as the worship center for the mountain god, “Yanantin”. Super interesting!
With all this information about Machu Picchu you will be able to enjoy it even more. As you can see, this place is more than just archaeological remains, it offers challenging routes, mystical spaces and very original photographic locations. Remember to book your trip in advance and don’t forget that you can schedule your trip through Uber’s app to start the adventure.
Tours or Excursions Machu Picchu
The New Wonder of the World Machu Picchu, Peru’s main attraction, receives tourists from all over the world all year round. The city of Cusco is the epicenter of tourist activities, it is here where you can start tours to various attractions such as Machu Picchu, The Sacred Valley of the Incas, Moray, Maras, Pikillacta, Raqchi, The Inca Trail, Choquequirao Trail, among others.
Among the Tours to Machu Picchu we have:
- Machu Picchu Tours Adventure 4 Days
- Sacred Valley Tour Plus Machu Picchu 2 Days 1 Night
- Private Machu Picchu Tour 1 Day All Inclusive
- Short Inca Trail 2 days To Machu Picchu
The best known and done walks and/or routes to Machu Picchu:
Hours of entry and exit from the sanctuary
New shifts for the entrance to Machupicchu
The Deconcentrated Direction of Culture of Cusco decided that as of January 1, 2019, a new management system for admission to Machupicchu will come into effect based on the regulations for sustainable tourism use of Machupicchu, published on July 1, 2017 and its amendments of June 7, 2018 Ministerial Resolution No. 2016-2018-MC.
So 9 shifts have been established for the visit to the lost city of the Inkas: income is established by hours from 6:00, 7:00, 8:00, 9:00, 10:00, 11:00, 12:00, 13:00 and 14:00 hours.
The recommended travel time and stay according to the new rules is as follows:
- Waynapicchu Mountain: 3 hours to visit the mountain and 3 hours to visit the lost city of the Incas.
- Machupicchu Mountain: 5 hours to visit the mountain and 3 hours to visit
- Citadel of Machupicchu: you will be able to stay up to 4 hours after the entrance hour. It should be noted that the recommended route of visit varies between 2 to 3 hours.
- The closing of Machupicchu will continue to be at 17:30 h.
According to the new norm, it is no longer obligatory to enter the citadel of Machupicchu with a guide, however, it is recommended that they be accompanied by these professionals to contribute to the conservation of the heritage and management. The guides can attend a maximum of 16 people per group.
If you are going to enter Huaynapicchu Mountain or Machu Picchu Mountain (the Mountain, not the citadel), you must leave and return to Machupicchu.
The altitude sickness in MachuPicchu
The altitude sickness or soroche usually attacks tourists who go to explore the Inca citadel without first having gone through a period of acclimatization. This disease is characterized by headaches, weakness, sleep disorders, lack of appetite and physical exhaustion. The solution to this problem lies in taking the first few days calmly, resting and eating properly.
Ways to get to Machu Picchu
It is one of the most recommended hikes in Latin America and one of the most popular worldwide. Currently we can offer two alternatives: a 2 day hike and a 4 day hike through paths created by Incas. A variety of fascinating ruins and the beautiful landscape of Machu Picchu National Park can be seen. The Inca Trail is one of the things that every person should do sometime in their life. This walk is available throughout the year, except for the month of February when scheduled maintenance is done by the Peruvian state. It is recommended to book at least 5 months in advance, as permits can quickly run out.
This activity has a duration of 4 days that reaches Machu Picchu, is designed for the most adventurous. This action-packed tour will allow you to appreciate some of Machu Picchu’s most impressive. This is a combination of adventure, hiking and biking through the mountains, jungle and a section of the old Inca Trail.
It is also possible to canoe the Vilcanota River; and fly in the air at Zipline in the Santa Teresa canyons. It is one of the most popular trips to Machu Picchu with daily departures and usually plenty of availability throughout the year.
This 4 day hike through the Vilcabamba Mountain Range is an alternative for those who want a route less frequented by other travelers, but exceptionally beautiful that also reaches Machu Picchu. Salkantay Mountain is the 2nd largest mountain in Cusco and is said to be the “guardian”. On this route we can see Salkantay Mountain (6270m) and Humantay Lagoon (6070m), you can see some spectacular views of glaciers and the valleys where they pose. National Geographic magazine frequently names it one of the top 10 treks in the world.
Good alternative to the Inca Trail. Taking you along less frequented routes with visits to authentic Andean communities, while walking we will be accompanied by beautiful landscapes, lakes and valleys.
In addition, we will be able to live with authentic Quechua textile communities. As well as a visit to the thermal baths of Lares. Departures are frequent, but not daily as there is not as much demand as in the other walks, so your experience will be unique.
These two alternatives do not include a walk; but they are just as exciting and you can also visit Machupicchu, choosing one of the trains at different prices and experiences.
Machu Picchu by 2 Day Train
Take a train from Cusco to Aguas Calientes and spend the night there before an early start the next day, climbing the mountain to the ruins or boarding the bus that leaves every couple of minutes. On the way back, taking a train to Ollantaytambo and then a bus to Cusco is a popular option for visitors. Prices: from $200 to $350.
Machu Picchu by 1 Day Train
Leaving Cusco at 3 or 4am to take the first train to the city at the base of Machu Picchu Mountain. We will take the bus at the entrance and explore the Inca city for a few hours before returning to Cusco by train to Ollantaytambo by train. Or also by train to Ollantaytambo from there by bus to Cusco, choose the option you like best.
What to bring to your trip to Machu Picchu
- Your passport! You can’t get into Machu Picchu without it!
- Your ticket to Machu Picchu and the additional ones (if you bought it).
- Money for passport stamps, toilets and if you want to buy souvenirs or lunch/dinner at the restaurant (expensive).
- A digital camera and lots of batteries, because you’ll be taking lots of pictures and video
- Good walking shoe
- Mineral or purified wate
- A lunch box and some snac
- Sun block and/or umbrella depending on the weathe
With which objects you cannot enter Machupicchu
Remember not to carry these objects, either because they are too big or can damage the stones or the environment of Machupicchu, if you have objects to which we indicate you can leave it in your hotel or you can leave it in the warehouse that is at the door, you will be given a ticket to collect your belongings at the exit
The Weather in Machu Picchu
As it is located in a subtropical zone, its temperature ranges from 8º to 22º C.
Rainy all summer months (December to March). Sunny between May and September, although even then showers are not uncommon. Maximum temperatures reach 27° C.
Which season is best to visit Machupicchu?
Machu Picchu can be traveled all year round, although the best season is between April and November (without rain), the average humidity is 80 percent, which is why it is always covered with vegetation. During the rainy season (December – March) there is a risk of huaycos or river overflows that generally affect the railroad and nearby small towns. During this season, only during February is the Inca Trail closed for maintenance, but not the citadel of Machu Picchu.
The only way to get to Machu Picchu in Inca times was through the Inca Trail. Today thousands of tourists have access to Machu Picchu by train and also using the old Inca Trail. Visitors descend from the train at Machu Picchu Pueblo (also called Aguas Calientes) and then walking or by bus can climb to the top of the mountain where the citadel is located.
Machu Picchu Entrance Hours
The entrance to the citadel of Machu Picchu is from 06:00 to 16:00 hours, the departure time is until 17:00 hours with a capacity of 2500 visitors per day. Fares can be seen on the Electronic Ticket.
Some Additional Tips for Visiting Machu Picchu
Take care of your insect skin. – Whether you are walking to Machu Picchu or sleeping in a Aguas Calientes hotel, you will need a good insect repellent. You will discover that, if you want to walk to Machu Picchu, the climate of Aguas Calientes is propitious for small annoying mosquitoes, which will feast on their ankles if not prepared. Stronger repellents often cause allergies and are more damaging; natural repellents work well, but should be applied frequently. You will thank us for this advice, believe us an additional ounce of repellent, they will be very useful in your luggage.
Public baths in Machu Picchu. – Public restrooms are rare in Aguas Calientes, in fact, they are just a few public restrooms for the 2,500 visitors who enter Machu Picchu each day. For this reason, we recommend you to visit a bathroom before visiting the Inca City. Not all bathrooms usually have toilet paper, moreover, it is highly recommended to take some toilet paper with you, in Machu Picchu and in Peru in general.
About tips. – In some cases, people in restaurants and other services add the amount of the tip to the amount to be paid. While you may want to leave a tip, it is not an obligation; nor should it be included on bills, ballots, or consumer receipts. Feel free to tip alone if you wish. But also keep in mind that it is polite to give a tip, if the service provided was to your liking.
The half-day agglomerations. – Being at 6:00 am in Machu Picchu, will allow you not
only to see the sunrise of Machu Picchu, but also fewer people, as the largest number of visitors to Machu Picchu arrive on the 11:00 train. You can avoid this agglomeration by taking the 5:00 am train, which will allow you to be in Machu Picchu at 7:30 in the morning. Or better yet, sleep in Aguas Calientes the night before and start the ascent on foot or by bus at dawn.
Bring all your documents. – Your passport or identity card must be valid at the time of entry. Otherwise, you will not be allowed to enter the Inca Sanctuary.
If you bought your Machu Picchu ticket with a discount for university students, check that your student ID is up to date.
Remember that you will not need a Visa if you stay in Peru for less than 90 days.
Check prices and discounts in Machu Picchu. – There are special discounts to purchase your Machu Picchu ticket: for minors (from 8 to 17 years old) as well as for university students (undergraduate, under 25 years old and who have a valid university card).
Citizens of the Andean Community of Nations (Peru, Ecuador, Bolivia and Colombia). They must buy their ticket with their passport, identity card or alien card.
Children under 8 years of age do not pay entrance fees. They must enter showing an identity document that validates their age.
Learn some Spanish. – Spanish is spoken in Peru. While in most tourist spots you will encounter bilingual people, learning a few words in Spanish is not difficult.
If you are a language lover, you may also want to learn some Quechua, the language of the Incas that is still spoken in the Andes.
Get someone to take care of your pets. – Pets are not allowed in Machu Picchu, so it is recommended that you leave them at home in the care of someone else.
If you decide to bring them to Peru, know that they must have sanitary authorizations from their country of origin.
In Cusco and Aguas Calientes there are hotels that allow pets in their facilities. There are also daycare centers where you can leave them while visiting Machu Picchu.
Medication for your trips to Cusco
Most basic medications can be purchased without a prescription at any pharmacy; however, antibiotics and other medications will only be sold with a prescription. If you need a special medicine, it is best to bring your own prescription. Aguas Calientes (Machu Picchu town) is the town at the foot of the Inca city of Machu Picchu, and although you can find several pharmacies, it is very likely that there are medicines that you can only get in Cusco. If you have a chronic condition, consult your doctor before embarking on your trip.
We recommend a few days of acclimatization before starting any activity in Cusco; likewise, it is possible that the mixture of altitude, climate and food of the place, play a trick on your stomach health; we recommend avoiding heavy meals, especially if it comes from cities near sea level.
You cannot enter with the following objects:
Backpacks, bags or bags larger than 40 x 35 x 20 centimeters; food and household goods; animals; aerosols; portable seats; banners, posters or placards; alcoholic beverages, drugs or illegal substances; baby carriages (baby carriers without metal frames are allowed); musical instruments, megaphones or speakers; umbrellas or umbrellas; sharp objects and/or weapons of any kind; heels or hard floor shoes; clothing for advertising purposes; tripods, supports or extensions for cameras or cell phones (unless authorized by the Decentralized Direction of Culture of Cusco); canes with a metal or hard tip (rubber-tipped canes are allowed for people with disabilities or senior citizens).
The following is also prohibited:
You may not feed wild animals; throw waste of any kind; cause tumult, jump and/or generate disorder; drive along unestablished circuits or routes; strip and/or disguise; smoke or vape, disturb, collect, extract native flora or fauna and/or cultural elements; lighting or spreading any type of fire; climbing or leaning on walls and/or structures and/or extracting lithic elements; using virtual applications in narrow arteries and/or places of congestion; obscene acts contrary to morality and good customs; any type of graffiti; activities that distort the sacred character of the Inca city such as fashion shows, dances, social commitments and ceremonies of any kind (except authorization issued by the Direccion Desconcentrada de Cultura de Cusco); activities that imply the impairment or deterioration of the monument, its natural environment and/or facilities; the ambulatory commerce to the interior of Machupicchu and surrounding spaces up to the Puente Ruinas; filming or photographs with advertising purposes (except authorization issued by the Dirección Desconcentrada de Cultura de Cusco); loud or annoying noises such as applauding, shouting, whistling, singing, among others that disturb the tranquility; overflights with paragliders, drones or any type of minor ship.
*Failure to comply with these provisions will result in the immediate withdrawal of the offender, without the right to a refund of the amount of the admission ticket.