Machu Picchu, Peru
Visit Machu Picchu Ruins
In order to visit Machu Picchu a reservation is essential, since access is limited to 2,500 people per day. You must take the bus up the switchbacks from Aguas Calientes, because no private vehicles are allowed. At the site, visit the Condor, the Temple of the Sun, the Temple of the Three Windows, the Sacred Plaza, the Intihuatana (the Hitching Post of the Sun) and the Sacred Plaza. The Guard House has the classic view over the ruins. From the Guard House you can access the trail to the Inca Bridge and the Inca Trail.
Machu Picchu Entrance
Visit Machu Picchu – Inca Trail
Hike the Inca trail from the train line to Machu Picchu – a 4 day trek with the help of porters starting at the 82 km marker on the train line. Expect very high altitudes and cold temperatures. At the Sun Gate (Intipunku), hikers often watch the sun rise over the ruins before descending to the site at the completion of the trail. Alternately, try the shorter 2 day trek starting at the 104km marker. Hikers can also climb Huayna Picchu, the mountain overlooking the site of Machu Picchu. Access is limited to 400 people per day.
Temple of the Condor
Visit Machu Picchu – Aguas Calientes
Stay in the town of Aguas Calientes, also known as Machu Picchu City. Aguas Calientes is the nearest accommodation to Machu Picchu, so it’s the best place to get an early start on the bus ride up to Machu Picchu in the morning. Try the hot springs too, if they aren’t full of hikers who have just finished the Inca Trail.
Temple of the Sun and Huayna Picchu
Visit Machu Picchu – Options for Getting There
The only access for tourists to Machu Picchu is through Cusco. The route by car, bus or train goes through Ollantaytambo. After Ollantaytambo the train is the only option. The train drops passengers off if they are hiking the Inca Trail. From Aguas Calientes, buses run continuously throughout the day to the ruins at Machu Picchu. Reservations are not required for the buses and the line up in the small town is easy to find. There are several options for your arrival:
- Stay the night before your visit at Aguas Calientes. This is the best option, because you get the earliest arrival the next morning at the ruins.
- Stay the night before your visit at Ollantayambo. This isn’t a great option, because you arrive at the ruins several hours after they open.
- Stay the night before in Cusco and take the 3 hour train ride from Poroy. This is the worst option, because you are the last tourists to arrive at the site. You will also miss the ruins at Ollantaytambo this way.