Machu Picchu Citadel
Machu Picchu: Updated Guideline
The citadel of Machu Picchu is one of the seven wonders of the modern world and is listed as one of the 50 places to visit before you die. It is among the 5 most interesting and beautiful archaeological complexes in the world and is by far the most visited place in Peru. The lost city of the Incas was declared a natural and historical heritage by UNESCO in 1983. Here we have elaborated a complete Machu Picchu Updated Guideline; so that you have a satisfactory visit to the heart of the Inca civilization.
Machu Picchu is the second most posted image on Instagram, due to its beautiful stone enclosures perfectly fitted with the scenic beauty of the place.
This Fantastic Inca enclosure is 8 km from Aguas Calientes, 112 kilometers away from the city of Cuzco, in the lower part of the Sacred Valley of the Incas, an area of access to the Amazon jungle.
1. How to get to Machu Picchu?
Cusco is the central axis from where all excursions to Machu Picchu are born. You can get to Aguas Calientes by train, hiking or a combination of bus and walking. From Aguas Calientes, it only takes 30 minutes by bus to get to the Inca citadel of Machu Picchu.
Here l show you detailedly 3 options for you to choose from.
1.1. Trekking from Cusco to Aguas Calientes.
There are several trekking options to Machu Picchu: however, you have to know that the only trekking route that takes you directly to Machu Picchu citadel through the sun gate is the famous Inca Trail.
The other alternate routes arrive first at the town of Aguas Calientes which is the closest place to the citadel and from where tourists visit Machu Picchu the day after their arrival in Aguas Calientes. Here, we leave a list of treks you can choose.
- Classic Inca Trail to Machu picchu with Hotel 4D/3N.
- Classic Inca Trail to Machu picchu 4D/3N.
- Inca Trail Tour to Machu picchu with Hotel 5D/4N.
- Short Inca Trail to Machu picchu with Hotel 2D/1N.
- Short Inca Trail to Machu Picchu with Camping 2d/1N.
- Classic Inca Trail and Salkantay Trek to Machu picchu with Hotel 6D/5N.
- Short Salkantay trek 4D/3N.
- Classic Salkantay trek 5D/4N.
- Choquequirao trek with connection to Machu Picchu 8D/7N.
- Huchuy Qosqo trek 3D/2N.
- Lares trek 4D/3N.
- Lares trek and short Inca Trail 5D/4N.
- Inca Quarry trail 4D/3N.
- Short Inca Jungle trek 3D/2N.
- Inca Jungle trek 4D/3N.
The average prices of these treks to Machu Picchu are between 550 and 1500 dollars and vary according to the service and inclusions.
1.2. Taking the Train from Cusco to Aguas Calientes.
In this type of option you can go to Machu Picchu on your own, however I do not recommend it as it could be more expensive and a nuisance for you. Through a travel agency there are many options. Below I indicate the best known:
- You can take the one-day train tour to Machu Picchu with all inclusive. That costs between 300 and 400 dollars, depending on the type of service and that begins around 3:00 am and ends around 20:00 pm.
- You may also do the tour to Machu Picchu for two days and one night. It costs between 350 and 450 dollars depending on the type of service.
- There is another option, it is the excursion of the sacred valley of the Incas and Machu Picchu, which costs around 500 and 600 dollars depending on the type of service.
1.3. Taking the Bus and walking from Cusco to Aguas Calientes(Not recommended).
This excursion that lasts 2 day and 1 night, is known as Machu Picchu by car and it is the cheapest way to visit the Machu Picchu citadel; the price is around 140 and 200 dollars and changes according to the service.
We do not recommend it, since the trip by car until a place called Hidroelectrica, from where you hike for three hours to Aguas Calientes, takes 6 hours and goes through a not so pleasant track.
In addition, the time and organization to visit Machu Picchu is not so good.
To access Machu Picchu, you must have an entrance ticket purchased in advance; they are not sold at the entrance gate to Machu Picchu. Tickets are usually included as part of any tour or trek to Machu Picchu.
Be careful with the company you choose for a tour; there have been hundreds of tourists scammed in the past. Usually if a price seems too cheap to be true, do not take it.
2. Where to sleep in Machu Picchu?
Machu Picchu pueblo is the most important tourist place in Peru and because of that, the offers between basic hostels and hotels from one to five stars are innumerable; From staying in Machu Picchu pueblo to staying in the Belmond Sanctuary Lodge next to the Inca citadel.
One of the most important things, if not the most important of the trips is the lodging, normally this represents 50% or more of your expense and can make your stay unforgettable, in a good or bad way.
To book a hotel always keep the following in mind:
- Access to public transport.
- Free WIFI.
- Room size.
- Treatment of staff.
- Quality of service.
- Read reviews from other travelers.
3. What to do in Machu Picchu besides Machu Picchu?
This incredible place, is dreamed by many, loved by others, is the maximum expression of the greatness of the greatest civilization in the American continent, however there are many things to do once we get there.
Here, is a list of all the activities that you can do in Machu Picchu and its surroundings.
3.1. Mandor Falls.
Machu Picchu is known worldwide for its immense archaeological and historical value: however it should be noted that in the surroundings of the Inca citadel there are places with fantastic environmental and landscape value such as the Mandor Falls.
One of the best ways to discover the biodiversity of Machu Picchu is with a walk to these waterfalls.
To get this great spot, you walk from Machu Picchu pueblo between 40 to 50 minutes along and next to the railway line in the direction of Hidrolectrica; At the end of that walking time you will see a wooden sign that says “to the Mandor Falls” from where it will take you 30 to 40 minutes to get there. The cost to access the Mandor Falls is 15 soles.
3.2. Hot springs of Machu Picchu pueblo or Aguas Calientes.
The hot springs are at a distance of 800 meters, from the main square, its waters full of sulfur and other minerals emanate through cracks in the intrusive rocks where swimming pools where built with temperatures between 38 and 46 degrees Celsius.
The price is 20 soles and the attention hours from Monday to Saturday is from 5:00 am to 19:30 pm. On sundays is from 8:00 am to 18:00 pm.
3.3. Site Museum at Machu Picchu.
The Manuel Chavez Ballon museum, was built in honor to Machu Picchu and its archaeological history, it is located about 30 minutes walk from Machu Picchu town.
It is located in the Ruinas bridge that is in the direction to Machu Picchu citadel, the Mandor falls or Hidroeléctrica.
The hours of attention are between 9:00 am to 16:30 pm. The ticket costs 20 soles, and if you visit it from 12 pm, onwards its admission is free.
3.4. Huayna Picchu.
In all the postal photos of Machu Picchu, there is a mountain that crowns its top, this mountain is known as the Huayna Picchu and is the most popular and desired of all.
Only 400 people a day are allowed to enter; These are divided into two shifts, one from 7:00 a.m. And the other at 10:00 a.m. Only 200 visitors can enter per shift. From Huayna Picchu you can see all the splendor of the snowy and snowless mountains that surround the Inca citadel, you can get spectacular photos of Machu Picchu surrounded by the sacred river of the Incas and you can also visit a spectacular place called “The temple of the Moon”.
To have the privilege of climbing the Huayna Picchu, you must reserve your ticket at least 4 months in advance.
3.5. Machu Picchu Mountain.
The Machu Picchu mountain is the highest of all the mountains near Machu Picchu, its ascent is less steep than that of Huayna Picchu, so it is better to choose this mountain if you go with the family and children, since it does not exist age restriction.
Only 800 people are allowed access daily, these are divided into two groups of 400 people, the first time is 7:00 a.m. and the second at 9:00 a.m. Tickets for this spectacular mountain must be reserved 1 month in advance.
3.6. The Sun Gate.
The Sun Gate which is also known as Intipunku, according to historical and archaeological studies, it can be deduced that in Inca times it was one of the main entrance gates to Machu Picchu; Its strategic location in the middle part of the Machu Picchu mountain gives you a panoramic view of the Inca citadel.
Currently, people who walk the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu have the privilege of entering the lost city of the Incas through the Sun Gate, just as our ancestors did 500 years ago. If you are in the Inca citadel and want to go up to the Sun gate. This is free and the walk takes around 1 and 20 minutes round trip.
3.7. Machu Picchu Inca Bridge.
If you are not afraid of heights, we encourage you to do this awesome walk that will take you 1 hour round trip, from the heart of the Inca citadel. The Inca bridge is part of an original cobbled path that leads in the direction of the Inca citadel of Llactapata, it is an impressive narrow trail that surrounds a granite mountain on its left side and a 600 meter abyss on the right side.
If you want to arrive to the fantastic Inca bridge, you must walk from the guardian’s house in a western direction, until you see a wooden sign that says “Inca bridge” from where it takes 50 minutes round trip. This amazing walk is included in the Machu Picchu ticket.
4. Where to eat in Machu Picchu?
Very close to the entrance gate Machu Picchu citadel, there are two restaurants and a coffee shop: one of the restaurants offers a la carte food, while the other offers buffet food, both have an average cost of USD 30 per meal; The coffee shop offers various options of juices and sandwiches at a cost of approximately USD 10.
If you do not like the option described above; you can have lunch or dinner in Aguas Calientes.
The options in this town are enormous, the food prices are between 10 and 40 dollars, according to the chosen restaurant.
5. Important Machu Picchu updated guideline safety tips.
It is not difficult to get to Machu Picchu and although the place is safe, it is always good to be careful.
- Altitude sickness can take its toll so try to acclimatize at least 3 days before undertaking any trek.
- Choose your travel agency carefully, compare and ask lots of questions.
- Tour operators need two certificates, one from the city and one from the tourist board. Make sure they have one of each hanging in their office.
- To Bring passport to Machu Picchu is 100% necessary to enter there and also to get a Machu Picchu´s stamp.
- Bring sunscreen from 50 DEET or more and apply it at least every one hour and a half, Machu Picchu is almost always hot and radiation in Peru is even higher than in Australia.
- Bring bug spray is necessary due Machu Picchu is located in the outskirt of the amazon forest.
6. What to bring?
- The original passport with which you booked your ticket or tour.
- Your ticket to Machu Picchu: and the Huayna Picchu or Machu Picchu mountains if you booked them.
- Money in soles: to use the bathroom that costs 2 soles, to buy souvenirs or to have lunch in the restaurant that is at the entrance door to Machu Picchu.
- Camera or a well-charged phone.
- Comfortable Athletic shoes.
- Water, inside the citadel they do not sell any type of drinks.
7. What not to bring?
- Selfie sticks, professional cameras and tripods, without special permission are not allowed.
- Your backpack size, must be less than 25 liters.
- Walking sticks are not allowed, unless a person really needs them or is over 55 years old.
- It is completely forbidden to enter the citadel under the influence of drugs or alcohol.