Tourist photographing Machu Picchu

Everything you need to know before you visit Machu Picchu!

User Avatar Author: Isabel  Espinoza
5 months ago
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Machu Picchu is one of the most iconic places on Earth. Once you’ve taken all of the steps to explore this citadel in the mountains, you’ll feel what few places in the world can offer: a real sense of astonishment.

However, given that this is one of the most attractive destinations to visit, a lot of people who want to travel to Machu Picchu have a number of questions about how to do it. If you are one of these folks, this is just the blog you need! Here, we share with you some interesting facts that you should know before visiting the Lost City of the Inca Empire.

Machu Picchu Facts:

1. Is there an airport near Machu Picchu?

Thanks to the impressive geography of Peru, the sanctuary that is Machu Picchu is nestled in the mountains, right at the spot where the mountains and the high jungle of this fascinating country meet. This, in short, means that there is no airport near the citadel. If you wish to visit Machu Picchu, you’ll have to fly to the picturesque city of Cuzco, located approximately 5 hours from Machu Picchu.

Sunny day in Cuzco, Peru

Cuzco, Peru

Traveler Information: For reasons related to transportation logistics and the pace of your trip, we recommend that you spend at least two nights in Cuzco: one, upon arriving to the city, and the other, on the eve of your return trip.

2. So, how do I get to Machu Picchu?

The road to the citadel of Machu Picchu is only accessible from the town of Aguas Calientes. In order to reach Aguas Calientes, you can take a train from Cuzco, Poroy, or Ollantaytambo. Of these, the first two places are located approximately 4 hours from the town of Machu Picchu, while the third, Ollantaytambo, is only about an hour-and-a-half from Aguas Calientes.

Nevertheless, when you reach the town of Machu Picchu (Aguas Calientes), you’ll need to undertake one more, brief trip, which you’ll find detailed below.

Traveler Information: Peru is so much more than just Machu Picchu! When you stay in the Sacred Valley, where you can take the train that leaves from Ollantaytambo, you’ll be able to discover all of the archeologically-fascinating sites, amazing landscapes, and rich indigenous traditions in the towns within these mountains of Peru. Additionally, you’ll be able to find impressive options for accommodations that will elevate your experience in this destination.

3. From Aguas Calientes, what are the different ways of getting to Machu Picchu?

There are two ways to get to the citadel of Machu Picchu from the town of Machu Picchu (Aguas Calientes). The first is to board one of the public buses operated by Consettur, founded by the local people of the Machu Picchu town as a means for them to develop economically. This is the only bus line that operates along this route.

If you wish to purchase bus tickets, you can do so directly at the Consettur bus line offices (located at Sinchi Roca and Av. Hermanos Ayar) in the town of Machu Picchu (Aguas Calientes). You can also buy them online, or ask your destination expert to take care of acquiring them for you.

Bus tickets have a validity of three days after purchase. The prices are as follows:

Type of visitor

Price in dollars

International Adult (Roundtrip): $24 USD
International Adult (One Way):  $12 USD
National Adult (Roundtrip): $15 USD
National Adult (One Way): $8 USD
International Child (Roundtrip): $12 USD
International Child (One Way): $7 USD

The buses pass every 10 minutes, whether at the bus station in town or the entrance to the citadel. However, the lines tend to be considerably long. The bus trip, one-way, lasts 20 minutes on average.

One alternative for traversing the 5.6 mi (9 km) that separate Aguas Calientes from the citadel of Machu Picchu is to travel on foot. This trek can take about 2 hours, walking at a normal pace. Keep in mind that the walk takes you up numerous steps as the path leads you through the foliage and along the main road. The exact number of steps to climb is 2,000.

4. What should I do with my luggage when traveling to Machu Picchu, given the weight and size restrictions?

When you travel to the town of Machu Picchu (Aguas Calientes), you’ll be able to take a normal-sized backpack with you in the train car. If you plan to spend the night in the town of Machu Picchu (Aguas Calientes), you’ll need to pay a supplementary fee to take your additional luggage in the cargo car. This is why we recommend traveling with a backpack, carrying only the essential items you will need on your day tour of Machu Picchu.

Train traveling from Cuzco to Machu Picchu

During your train ride to Machu Picchu, you’ll be able to see one of the greatest wonders of Peru: its wide array of ecosystems

If, at the time of your arrival at Machu Picchu citadel, you don’t wish to enter with your backpack, you can leave it in one of the lockers that are available for rent (at an additional cost).

Traveler information: If you’ve opted to plan this trip with an agency like Metrojourneys, we’ll take care of receiving your registered luggage at the station and delivering it directly to your hotel accommodation in Machu Picchu town (Aguas Calientes). This way, when you get back from your day tour of Machu Picchu, your suitcases will already have been placed in your room.

Explore our Peru Packages!
 

5. What are Machu Picchu’s opening hours?

Currently, Machu Picchu has a schedule that features nine different entrance times, each one of these happens every hour, on the hour, beginning at 6:00 a.m. The final entrance time is at 2:00 p.m. and visitors are allowed a total of 4 hours within the citadel. Below, you’ll find a convenient table with entrance times that you can peruse before acquiring your ticket to Machu Picchu.

 Entrance times to Machu Picchu

6. What is the best time to arrive at Machu Picchu?

Anytime is a good time to visit Machu Picchu! However, there are folks who prefer to arrive in the early morning. The earliest entrance time offers smaller crowds. However, due to logistical reasons, you’ll need to spend the night in the town of Machu Picchu (Aguas Calientes) in order to enter at this time. Another thing is, given that the site is located where the high jungle meets the lower lands of Peru, Machu Picchu tends to be quite foggy in the early morning. But don’t worry! Throughout the morning hours, the fog will dissipate and you’ll get to enjoy spectacular views eventually. The inverse of this is that, while visitors can enjoy nice clear views in the afternoon hours, the site can get a bit more crowded.

A group of llamas in Machu Picchu

Photogenic llamas basking in the afternoon sunlight!

7. How much is the entrance fee at Machu Picchu?

There are 4 tiers of tickets for Machu Picchu, each with a different cost. Currently, because of rules implemented to preserve this World Heritage Site, a maximum of 3,000 tickets are allotted in the morning hours and 2,600 tickets in the afternoon.

The first category of tickets is one that only allows you access to the Inca citadel. The cost is as follows:

Type of visitor

Price in dollars

International Adult: $70 USD
International Child: $41 USD
International Student: $41 USD
Andean Community Adult: $37 USD
Andean Community Child: $27 USD
Andean Community Student: $27 USD
National Adult: $30 USD
National Child: $20 USD
National Student: $20 USD

The second tier of tickets is one that allows you access to the Inca citadel and the Machu Picchu Museum. This ticket’s cost is as follows:

Type of visitor

Price in dollars

International Adult: $77 USD
International Child: $45 USD
International Student: $45 USD
Andean Community Adult: $47 USD
Andean Community Child: $30 USD
Andean Community Student: $30 USD
National Adult: $37 USD
National Child: $27 USD
National Student: $27 USD

In addition to allowing you the chance to explore the citadel of Machu Picchu, the following two tiers grant you access to the mountains located around the citadel – Machu Picchu and Huayna Picchu Mountains. These tickets extend your visit to 7 and 6 hours respectively.

Each of the trails is different and their access is limited to 400 people per day at Huayna Picchu Mountain and 800 people per day at Machu Picchu Mountain. These tickets tend to go very quickly and should be purchased at least 6 months in advance. Additionally, they can only be used during the morning hours. The cost is as follows:

Machu Picchu Citadel and Huayna Picchu Mountain

Type of visitor

Price in dollars

International Adult: $86 USD
International Child: $57 USD
International Student: $57 USD
Andean Community Adult: $54 USD
Andean Community Child: $40 USD
Andean Community Student: $40 USD
National Adult: $45 USD
National Child: $35 USD
National Student: $35 USD

Machu Picchu Citadel and Machu Picchu Mountain

Type of visitor

Price in dollars

International Adult: $86 USD
International Child: $57 USD
International Student: $57 USD
Andean Community Adult: $54 USD
Andean Community Child: $40 USD
Andean Community Student: $40 USD
National Adult: $45 USD
National Child: $35 USD
National Student: $35 USD

8. Can I enter Machu Picchu without a guide?

If you’re planning to visit Machu Picchu only once, you’ll need to be accompanied by a certified guide in order to enter. However, if you are entering a second time on the following day or on the same day as your first visit (with the purchase of a second ticket), you are not required to be accompanied by a guide.

With regards to hiking the Machu Picchu and Huayna Picchu mountains, visitors are required to be accompanied by a guide.

9. Can I re-enter Machu Picchu?

Once you exit the citadel, you will no longer be able to enter on the same day with the same ticket. It is very important that you take full advantage of the 4-hour window of time you are permitted within the citadel!

Tourist walking through the Machu Picchu Citadel

The only way you can enter the citadel on two consecutive days or on the same day is by acquiring a second ticket. If this is something you’d like to do, we recommend the following combinations:

Full-day

Use your first ticket to enter at 9:00 or 10:00 a.m.
Lunch just outside the citadel between 12:00 noon and 1:00 p.m.
Use your second ticket to re-enter the citadel at 1:00 p.m.

Two days

Use your first ticket to enter at 12:00 noon or 1:00 p.m.
Use your second ticket (on the following day) to enter during the morning hours.

10. How many different walking circuits are there in Machu Picchu?

Currently, the citadel of Machu Picchu has two main circuits plus one for folks with limited mobility (to access this trail, you should seek prior authorization). These circuits can be combined with other available trails. The 1st trail, which is the longest and most complete circuit, takes around 3 hours to complete on average.

Machu Picchu Map

11. Can I visit Machu Picchu if I have limited mobility?

Of course you can! The citadel has a trail designed precisely for folks with limited mobility. However, if you wish to explore one of the main circuit trails, our recommendation is that you bring a hiking or walking stick with you.

12. Are there any current restrictions with regards to visiting Machu Picchu?

The visiting restrictions that are currently in place at Machu Picchu are with respect to the following attractions:

Intihuatana Pyramid: Open from 7:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m.

Temple of the Condor: Open from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

Temple of the Sun: Open from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Intihuatana Pyramid in Machu Picchu

Intihuatana Pyramid in Machu Picchu

Regarding objects not allowed within the citadel, visitors may not enter the citadel with any of the following:

Regarding how visitors must behave within Machu Picchu, it’s always important to keep in mind that this site has a profound spiritual significance – it’s practically a sanctuary! Because of this, there are a number of behaviors that are prohibited within the citadel:

13. What is the difference between Huayna Picchu mountain and Machu Picchu mountain?

Machu Picchu and Huayna Picchu mountains are two of the largest attractions within the citadel. Each of these hikes are available at an additional cost and the tickets are often in high-demand, which is why they tend to sell out quickly.

Machu Picchu Mountain, which is located in front of the complex, offers visitors a wide, medium-difficulty path, surrounded by abundant vegetation all along the trek. This mountain is limited to 800 daily visitors and can only be accessed by entering at 7:00 a.m. or 8:00 a.m. The ascent takes about 3 hours to climb and the highest point reaches an altitude of 10,112 ft (3,082 m) above sea level. The trail is about 1.24 mi (2 km) long.

Huayna Picchu mountain from the distance

Huayna Picchu mountain is the most famous landmark in the citadel! On the other hand, Machu Picchu mountain is the place where most of these amazing pictures are taken.

On the other hand, Huayna Picchu is the iconic mountain that appears in all of the photos of the citadel. This mountain stands behind the complex and extends to an altitude of 8,835 ft (2,693 m) above sea level. If you’re a person that enjoys a good adrenaline rush and you’re in good shape, this is the mountain for you! Along the hike, you’ll find narrow trails, precipices, archeological sites, and steep slopes. Like Machu Picchu mountain, this trail is also about 1.24 mi (2 km) long and the ascent takes an average of 2.5 hours. This mountain is limited to 400 daily visitors and can only be accessed at 7:00 a.m. and 10:00 a.m.

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