Peru South America

Day Trip Guide and Tips for Visiting Machu Picchu

Machu Picchu, the mysterious 15th century “Lost City of the Incas” in between two Peruvian mountains was voted one of many New Seven Wonders of the World. This UNESCO World Heritage Website and main archaeological website was a bucket record and dream come true trip for me. Our women’ trip consisted of me with three different girlfriends, two teens and a tween. This was our expertise driving the practice and bus to Machu Picchu, solely visiting the citadel, and not mountaineering the close by mountains.

Getting There

Opposite to common belief (and what I initially additionally thought a number of years in the past), guests produce other ways to go to Machu Picchu beyond climbing for days. It was a pleasing shock to seek out it was simply accessible by trains and buses. Some visitors do a day journey to Machu Picchu from Cusco which was no less than 3 hours and 20 minutes away by practice. The Poroy station is definitely another 25 minutes from Cusco by street.

We advocate staying within the Sacred Valley, in cities like Urubamba or Ollantaytambo, no less than a day before and a day after the Machu Picchu day journey. This provides you with an opportunity to see some fascinating points of interest within the Sacred Valley just like the Ollantaytambo ruins. It was additionally a great way to adjust slowly to the altitude within the area.

Peru Ollantaytambo Fortress

We boarded our practice to Aguas Calientes, a city situated at the base of Machu Picchu, at the Ollantaytambo Station where we have been staying for a number of nights. This practice journey was an hour and 30 minutes. Guests have a few practice company options: Inca Rail or Peru Rail.

Both corporations supply virtually the same sort of service and use the same monitor but occasions might range. Purchase your tickets nicely prematurely online since there are assigned seats. We couldn’t choose our seats through the reservation. However, you possibly can request for seat modifications by emailing [email protected]

We rode on Peru Rail which was such an amazing experience. Splurge on the practice with vista domes or the 90 panoramic home windows getting there. It was very a lot value it. They gave us drinks and snacks and the seats have been snug.

Peru Rail with kids

If you want to travel in fashion and luxurious and have the finances, the Belmond Hiram Bingham will make you are feeling such as you traveled again in time to the 1920s magnificence. This practice also consists of Machu Picchu entrance ticket, bus experience and a tour guide. The views have been superb as we passed via farmlands and ultimately into a rainforest. Somewhere along the best way, we noticed snow coated mountaintops and some birds flying.

Aguas Calientes

This mountain city and gateway to Machu Picchu was also called Machu Picchu Pueblo. Situated alongside the Urubamba river, it was built for tourists with many inns/hostels, eating places and souvenir stores.

It was an exquisite place to stroll round and was fairly charming. I might love to remain here and discover once we return. There’s additionally a scorching springs, Machu Picchu museum, and close by waterfalls here.

Aguas Calientes Peru

Look for two Machu Picchu signs for the perfect tourist pictures. One signal was at the primary sq. by the cultural middle and the other one was down the street from the bus cease.Machu Picchu Signs Aguas Calientes

After getting off the practice station, comply with the trail in the direction of the bridge and cross over into town. Look in the direction of the left and you’ll see buses lined along the street on the brink of depart for Machu Picchu. The bus ticket sales space was nearby.

Aguas Calientes bus stop

The buses depart every 10-15 minutes, from 5:30 AM to 3:30 PM. The final bus from Machu Picchu leaves at 5:30 PM. Purchase water, snacks at the close by stores before getting on the bus.

Bus to Machu Picchu

Machu Picchu New Guidelines

The Peruvian authorities enacted new guidelines for getting into Machu Picchu to regulate the gang entry in 2017 and added more restrictions in 2019. Solely 5,940 tickets are bought per day. There are nine totally different hourly entry shifts beginning at 6 AM and till the last entry between 2 PM – 3 PM. Most time contained in the citadel is four hours however from what I’ve read, this isn’t actually enforced.

Re-entry with the same ticket just isn’t allowed anymore. Entrances was in four-hour shifts. This was how we have been capable of return after going out to use the restroom and eat. Visitors should now buy a further ticket for every re-entry. Visitors are restricted to four-hour stays within the complicated.

Machu Picchu Peru

No guests are allowed to enter and not using a tour guide on the primary go to. Second visits don’t require a guide. But, you should show your earlier Machu Picchu ticket or your tour guide identify.

There have been many tour guides around the bus ticket sales space and on the Machu Picchu entrance. Most of them have been sporting the identical sort of blouse saying they have been certified guides approved by DIRECETUR (Regional Directorate of Overseas Trade and Tourism) with identification playing cards. We talked to a couple of them and chose one who spoke nice English, enthusiastic character and one we have been snug with.

They restricted the group measurement to 16 individuals. Our group solely had 14 individuals and we every paid $12. Personal tour guides are additionally obtainable and better for families. The preferred guided circuit tour lasts about 2.5 hours.

The bus experience up to Machu Picchu is sort of nerve wracking especially in the event you’re afraid of heights or have movement sickness. Our experience as much as the mountain was scenic by way of the winding roads and took about 40 minutes a method. It was superb to see the Machu Picchu ruins from afar as we rounded a corner.

Machu Picchu mountains

There’s additionally an choice to hike up to Machu Picchu from Aguas Calientes. The steep trek takes about 1.5 hour a method on a well-marked street and on most areas along the identical street because the bus. We noticed some younger vacationers along the best way.

Touring Machu Picchu

The Incas built Machu Picchu around 1450 AD on an space between the Huayna Picchu and Machu Picchu mountains. It’s situated 7,970 ft (2,430 meters) above sea degree with the roaring Urubamba river under it and a tremendous alpine panorama surrounding it.

Hiram Bingham III, who was a Yale University professor and explorer rediscovered the Inca website in 1911 in his quest for Vilcabamba (the last Incan capital). He’s credited for telling the western world of its existence in a best-selling ebook.

Peru Machu Picchu with kids This well-preserved website was coated with overgrown vegetation after years of neglect and abandonment. By way of plagues and wars, the Spanish conquistadors decimated the Inca civilization within the 16th century however they didn’t find out about this settlement. Our guide confirmed us these pictures of how Machu Picchu appeared before its cleanup.

Machu Picchu old photos

Though, about 200 buildings have been nonetheless largely intact. This was largely because of the Incas utilizing giant granite stones, perfectly reduce and shaped and put collectively to suit completely like puzzle items without using mortar. It was unimaginable to assume how they assembled these buildings with out using trendy gear and using solely easy instruments. The Incas’ stonemasonry expertise have been past superb.

Machu Picchu Walls stonemasonry The buildings at the moment are missing their picket and straw thatched roofs. Nevertheless, this present state gave the guests an opportunity to see an summary of the interior and buildings. This complicated was thought to have never been finished.

How did they get these stones to build these buildings? There was truly a quarry inside Machu Picchu which was repeatedly used. Look for a muddle of huge boulders near the open inexperienced sq. or plaza that nearly look misplaced.

Heavy stones have been carved right out of the rock eliminating lengthy distance transports. The massive stones have been transported around the sites using levers and ropes while llamas have been used to maneuver smaller stones.

Machu Picchu quarry

Speaking of those cute creatures. The Machu Picchu llamas weren’t exhausting to seek out here. We met one as quickly as we entered the complicated. These residents have been grazing at many locations round Machu Picchu principally ignoring the tourists making an attempt to take selfies with them.

We received fairly fortunate with these llamas photograph bombing our touristy photographs. This was truly one of the photographs I really needed to have of Machu Picchu. It was basic and timeless to have these llamas on the foreground. This specific one happened to be smiling for the digital camera too. Machu Picchu llama

We acquired actually fortunate later in the afternoon as a lot of the llamas began walking to larger floor. My daughter was following them round to get a selfie. She received this favorite photograph as an alternative that a information provided to take for her with the smiling llama.

Machu Picchu with Kids

The Complicated

Many specialists consider that Machu Picchu was meant to be a royal estate and the Incan emperor’s summer time retreat. Pachacuti Inca Yupanqui, the Inca’s 9th ruler, was thought to have constructed Machu Picchu. Regardless of its partial wall, it wasn’t meant to be a army or protection fort.

Machu Picchu with llamas

These have been a few of the highlights and memorable buildings of our circuit tour.

Machu Picchu was divided into totally different sectors. The agricultural sector was straightforward to spot with its many terraces alongside the hillside. These have been almost definitely used for rising maize/corn, quinoa and potatoes. Additionally they functioned as part of a drainage system.

Machu Picchu terraces

The other was the city sector with houses, royal enclosures, towers, temples and plazas. The city zone was additionally divided right into a lower and higher space. The zones have been related with stairways that have been still in good situation. Some stairs have been quite steep so a bit tougher with youthful youngsters in tow.

Machu Picchu stairs with kids

There was additionally a royal compound that included the emperor’s residence together with his personal personal garden and tub/rest room. The fitting aspect was the residential area with interconnected houses. The general public square, with its nonetheless very properly maintained grass, was the location of many ceremonies and sacred rituals.

There were a number of terraces surrounding the plaza to hold the massive crowds. Our guide demonstrated the excellent acoustics and echo impact from one among these terraces. Machu Picchu grass plaza

The Temples

This necessary temple had a tower with a semicircular outer wall with a carved rock inside that in all probability served as an altar to honor the gods. It was considered the middle of many spiritual and sacred ceremonies. Solely Inca clergymen have been allowed to enter this temple.

A number of the complicated’s buildings have been designed to interact with the celebs and the sun. The temple’s two home windows allowed the clergymen to see the sunrise in the course of the summer time solstice (December 21) and winter solstice (June 21).

Through the winter solstice, a beam of light shines via the window and types an oblong beam of sunshine on the altar rock. There’s a natural cave underneath the tower which will get a ray of sunshine in the course of the solstice.

Machu Picchu Temple of the Sun

The Temple of the Three Windows, that’s also called the Room of the Three Windows, was an oblong building within the Sacred Plaza that ignored the mountains. Its three windows have been particularly constructed to align with the dawn. The Incas also held ritual ceremonies right here to maintain the solar from returning everyday.

Temple of three windows Machu Picchu

Machu Picchu was beyond spectacular. It was straightforward to see why this magnificent Incan complicated has turn out to be such a well-liked vacationer attraction. Its history and structure was very fascinating and made us respect the Incas’ talent ranges much more. This was probably the greatest journeys we’ve ever taken and undoubtedly some of the memorable. Make that journey to Machu Picchu happen quickly.

More Tips for Visiting Machu Picchu with Youngsters

  • Buying Tickets: Ticket prices range relying on what you need to do. The preferred choice of solely visiting the Machu Picchu citadel is $46 USD (as of June 2019)
  • Reserve your tickets means prematurely particularly if touring in the course of the excessive season of Might to October.
  • Purchase tickets via Peru’s Machu Picchu official website.
  • Youngsters beneath 8 years previous are free to enter but have to be accompanied with mother and father or adults and present proof of id and age.
  • Youngsters ages 8 via 17 are thought-about college students and qualify for a reduction. However, these tickets can only be bought in individual in Cusco or Aguas Calientes. They may also be bought at a licensed tourism company however often at a better worth. Tickets have to be purchased with a passport. Minors have to be accompanied by mother and father or adult proxies.

Cusco Ticket Workplace: Ministry of Tradition Calle Garcilaso Casa Garcilaso on Calle Garcilaso s / n – Regional Historic Museum and Maruri Road 340 ; Mon- Sat 7AM – 8 PM

Aguas Calientes Ticket Office: Machu Picchu Cultural Middle (Regional Directorate of Aguas Calientes Office). Tackle is  Av. Pachacutec (simply off the primary square), and hours are 5 AM-10PM every single day. This was where we bought our tickets on the day of our go to. No line and straightforward process however it was late November throughout their low season.

Machu Picchu ruins

  • For those who’re touring in the course of the high season and traveling with youngsters, you might need to get tickets beforehand by means of journey businesses or when arriving to Cusco. We always seemed at the official  website to see how many tickets have been nonetheless out there so we knew we might wait until Aguas Calientes to buy our tickets.
  • Don’t overlook to deliver passports. They’re required for entrance.
  • Get to the practice station about 30 minutes earlier than departure. There are ready rooms at each stations.
  • The next gadgets are prohibited into Machu Picchu. They do verify luggage.
    • Selfie sticks
    • Drones
    • Tripods
    • Single-use plastics like luggage and straws
    • Plastic water bottles. Refillable water bottles are nice (amazon hyperlink to
  • No backpacks or luggage greater than 15 x 13 x 7” or 40 x 35 x 20 cm are allowed into Machu Picchu.  Storage lockers can be found in Aguas Calientes or earlier than the Machu Picchu entrance. Our day backpacks from Eddie Bauer have been put to good use here and was the right measurement for snacks and sunscreen.
  • Put on snug footwear. There are lots of uneven steps and unpaved trails around the complicated.
  • When you’re touring with smaller youngsters, convey baby carriers. Strollers of any variety will not be allowed inside Machu Picchu.
  • Eating inside Machu Picchu shouldn’t be allowed. We introduced some snacks and food we bought from Aguas Calientes to eat throughout our break outdoors and before getting into again. We advocate bringing your personal food and drinks as prices have been a bit high and choices have been limited while in Machu Picchu.

But, there have been a couple of eateries outdoors the entrance the place the buses arrive and depart. The Tinkuy restaurant inside the Sanctuary Lodge Lodge provides sit-down dining with a buffet choice. The Snack Bar seats about 60 individuals and has scorching and chilly meals options.

Machu Picchu guardhouses

  • The restrooms are situated outdoors of the citadel and by the ruins entrance. They charge 2 soles ($0.61 USD) and payable to an attendant. Please take into account that tours are at the very least 2.5 hours.

Be sure you let the youngsters use the restrooms beforehand since it may be an extended walk back to the entrance. With the new rules, once you allow the complicated, you possibly can’t return in until you buy one other ticket.

  • There was a small area for guests to stamp their passports with a commemorative Machu Picchu stamp. Look for a small stand after coming out of the Machu Picchu trail exit and by the Snack Bar.
  • Altitude adjustment. Machu Picchu isn’t as high up as Cusco however there’s nonetheless some adjusting to the altitude at over 7,000 ft. In case you’ve spent a couple of days in Cusco and the Sacred Valley beforehand, the consequences shall be minimal. Keep hydrated at all times.
  • The buses going again right down to Aguas Calientes can get quite crowded particularly around the early afternoon. This was the road at one point. Pack some endurance.

Machu Picchu bus to Aguas Calientes

  • When you can’t stay the night time in Aguas Calientes, save some time to stroll around the city and particularly the market by the practice station. There have been many distributors promoting colorful wares, textiles and souvenirs.
  • Value per individual (as of June 2019) Grownup. Prices subject to vary.
Roundtrip Practice – Ollantaytambo to Aguas Calientes (Peru Rail Expedition)$126
Roundtrip bus ticket from Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu$24
Machu Picchu Entrance ticket for citadel only; Students (ages 3-17) $23$46
Tour Guide fees (add $3-5 tip per individual)$12
  • Youngsters ages 3-11 are discounted at 50% of normal worth.
  • Add additional value for one-way Vista Dome practice – $32 more than Expedition
  • Add additional value for practice from Cusco/Poroy – $15 roundtrip

Machu Picchu with llamas

  • This was our itinerary. Practice schedules might change but you will get an concept of our timeline. We learn that the fog/clouds clear up in the afternoon and there have been lesser crowds so we picked a later entrance. We observed that the crowds did skinny out by the late afternoon.
8 AM – 9:24 AMOllantaytambo to Aguas Calientes on Peru Rail Vista Dome
9:30 AM – 11 AMGet tickets at Aguas Calientes Machu Picchu Cultural Middle, guide a information and bus tickets, walk around city, get meals/snacks
11 AM – 11:40 AMBus from Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu
Midday  – four PMGo to Machu Picchu Citadel
4 PM – four:40 PMMachu Picchu Bus to Aguas Calientes
4:40 PM – 5:40 PMWalk around the craft market by practice station
18:20 – 20:05Aguas Calientes to Ollantaytambo practice on Peru Rail Expedition

*Add in additional time for catching the practice to/from Cusco/Poroy which was about 1.5 hours.

*Have you visited Machu Picchu?

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