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Machu Picchu

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The archaeological center of Machu Picchu is the most important attraction of Peru. The lost city of the Incas is located at 120 kilometers from Cuzco, in the Urubamba Valley. Since its re-discovery back in 1911, by the American researcher and archeologist Hiram Bingham, there have been many hypotheses regarding the construction of the city. However, it is known that the Incas built the city in this almost inaccessable, high cloud forest area of the jungle to avoid unwanted entry from persons and possible attacks from their enemies. Machu Picchu was one of the most important Incas center for worship and astronomic observation. Machu Picchu has two big important areas: to the south, the agriculture area is made up of terraces, aqueducts, etc. To the north, the urban area is the city with its temples, observatories, workshops, and sacred burial plots.


Machu Picchu Information


Machu Picchu History 

Since Hiram Bingham re-discovered the site in 1911, Machu Picchu history has been debated. It was likely a small city of some 200 homes and 1,000 residents, with agricultural terraces to supply the population´s needs and a strategic position that overlooked – but could not be seen from – the valley floor. 

New theories suggest that the city was a transit station for products, such as coca and hearts of palm that were grown in the lowlands and sent to Cusco. Exactly when Machu Picchu was built is not know, but one theory suggests that it was a country estate of an Inca ruler named Pachacuti, which means its Golden age was in the mid 15th century. 

Historians have discredited the romantic Machu Picchu history of the refuge of the chosen Inca women after the Spanish conquest, analysis shows a 50/50 split of male and female remains. 

The site´s belated discovery may indicate that the Inca desertes Machu Picchu before the Spanish conquest. The reason for the city´s presumed abandonment is as mysterious as its original function. Some archaeologists suggest that the wáter supply simply ran out. Some guess that disease ravaged the city. Others surmise it was the death of Pachacutec, after which his estate was no longer needed. 

Machu Picchu Facts




How to get to Machu Picchu from Cusco

There are two ways to get from Cusco to Machu Picchu: take the Inca trail or arrive by train. 


Inca Trail

For those who have about 7 days to visit the Inca citadel of Machu Picchu and are also lovers of adventure, they are recommended to do the "Inca Trail". This Cusco to Machu Picchu route is the favorite of many tourists. 

There are shorter hiking routes; one that begins at 104 km from the railway, crosses the ruins of Wiñaywayna and after a few hours you arrive at Machu Picchu. 


By Train

The most traditional and frequent is to go by train from Cusco to the train station of the town of Machu Picchu (Aguas Calientes). 


Bus from Cusco to Ollantaytambo

You will need to board a vehicle from the street in Cusco to get to Ollantaytambo; if you stay a few blocks from the Plaza de Armas you can walk. Once in pouffes you will find buses, taxis and minivans whose drivers will try to convince you to board your vehicle, then you will hear them shouting to attract more passengers, they are interested in filling them as soon as possible so as not to wait for those who are already inside, once full will be launched. The price varies from 15 (US $ 5) to 30 soles (US $ 10) depending on the vehicle and how fast you want to get to Ollantaytambo, taxis are more expensive but obviously faster. 


Train from Ollantaytambo to Aguas Calientes

To board the train at the Ollantaytambo station, you must have previously reserved train tickets. One of the black parts of the trip is that the train to Machu Picchu is one of the most expensive in the world; however, booking them in advance will allow you to access the most economical services, which usually run out weeks before. 


Train Schedules from Ollantaytambo to Machu Picchu




Bus from Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu

Once in Aguas Calientes look for a hotel. Unless you are traveling in high season (June, July, August) you will not find it difficult to find one; Prices vary from 60 soles (US $ 20) per night (the cheapest), up to USD 800 per night in 5-star hotels. After securing your hotel, get bus tickets from Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu, it's the simplest and fastest way to get there. You will find the ticket office next to the train station, before the ruins bridge and just in front of the station where you can board them. 

You can also go up and down walking, although we think you should get on bus to have all your energy in the Inca city, especially if your Machu Picchu tickets include the mountains. 


Alternative treks to Machu Picchu




Inca Jungle Trek to Machu Picchu 4 days / 3 nights

A four day trek to Machu Picchu for the ultimate adventurer! This tour combines hiking and biking through the mountains, jungle and a section of the  ancient Inca trail, river rafting, and flying through the air on zip-lines in canyons. One of the most popular trips to Machu Picchu with daily departures   and usually plenty of availability all year round.




Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu 5 days / 3 nights

A four day trek to Machu Picchu for the ultimate adventurer! This tour combines hiking and biking through the mountains, jungle and a section of the  ancient Inca trail, river rafting, and flying through the air on zip-lines in canyons. One of the most popular trips to Machu Picchu with daily departures   and usually plenty of availability all year round.




Lares Trek to Machu Picchu 4 days / 3 nights

An excellent alternative to the Inca Trail. Taking you off the beaten track with visits to authentic Andean communities whilst being surrounded by stunning mountains, lakes and valleys. This trek combines amazing mountain scenery, glacier lagoons, cloud-forest valleys and authentic Quechua textile communities as well as a visit to the Lares hot springs.

Visiting Machu Picchu

Machu Picchu, during the last decades, has become the most popular place in South America. One million tourists enjoy Visiting Machu Picchu every year and proudly says they visited one of the Seven Wonders of the World.




Machu Picchu Entrance Tickets

Entrance tickets for any of the routes are not sold at the access control. In the case of Huayna Picchu, you will not be able to enter this area without the corresponding ticket. The maximum capacity of entrance is of 400 visitors per day, divided in two groups of 200 people according to the indicated schedule. For the case of the mountain Machupicchu 800 visitors in two schedules of 400 people. 


Remember that Machu Picchu Tickets cost are different according to the ticket you choose:  




To buy the Machu Picchu entrance tickets follow the following steps: 

  • Make the reservation through the web page:, consigning the date of visit, personal data and the route to visit. (Remember that this reservation is valid for 3 hours). 
  • Once the reservation is made you can pay the amount online using a VISA credit card that has the Verifed by Visa security system or cancel the amount in one of the authorized offices. 
  • Once the payment has been made, you must go back to the website and enter the Check In tab where you must enter the reservation code number in order to print the entrance ticket to Machupicchu according to the selected modality.

Machu Picchu Weather


Best time to go to Machu Picchu

The citadel of Machu Picchu are the most important attractions of the city of Cusco. It can be visited throughout the year, but the best season is between April and October, which is the dry season. However, we consider that the best time is between June and September. For the tour to Machu Picchu, the warmest season is from November to March, but it also corresponds to the rainy season. We thought it would be good to have a sunny but cold day instead of a hot but rainy day. That is why they are suggested preferably between May and October


Machu Picchu Hotels

  • Gringo Bill´s Hostal. Bill has hosted Machu Picchu travelers for almost a quarter century, and his was one of the first Machu Picchu hotels. This rambling house has stone walls chock full of plants just off the Plaza de Armas. The corner rooms with balconies and windows get the best ventilation and have the greatest views. Colla Raymi 104, Aguas Calientes. 084/211-046. 
  • Hatuchay Tower. One of the "high rise" Machu Picchu Hotels, a whole four floors above the river at the edge of town on the road heading to the ruins. Carpeted rooms are comfortable with modern furnishings and amenities, but the interior design is nothing out of the ordinary. Carretera a Machu Picchu. 084/211-201 
  • Inkaterra Machu Picchu. A five-minute walk from the center of town takes you to this stunning ecolodge in tis own minitropical cloud forest. The stone bungalows, none with the same design, have a rustic elegance, with exposed beams and cathedral ceilings. Activities include a one-day Inca Trail trek, bird-watching excursions, and orchid tours, as well as a twilight nature walk. Imperio de los Incas s/n, Aguas Calientes. 084/211-032 
  • Machu Picchu Sanctuary Lodge. Best location of all Machu Picchu hotels. This hotel at the entrance to Machu Picchu citadel puts you closest to the ruins, a position for which you pay dearly. But not only will you have the thrill of watching the sun rise over the crumbling stone walls, you´ll be the first ones through the rus´gate in the morning, and have the place to yourself after most of the tourists depart each afternoon. Machu Picchu. 084/211-094

Activities in Aguas Calientes

  1. Thermal Hot Springs, so don't forget your bathing suit.
  2. Museo de Sitio Manuel Chavez Ballon - A suberb multimedia displays on archeological excavations and pieces.
  3. Botanical Gardens and Waterfalls are an hour and half easy walk from Agua Calientes, mostly besides the railroad tracks and valley.
  4. Butterfly Farm Depending on the time of year, hundreds of butterflies hatch within the enclosure in a myriad of colors.

Machu Picchu Pictures

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