Every year, millions of travelers from around the globe flock Machu Picchu, an UNESCO World Heritage Site, to experience its historical significance and breathtaking beauty. However, before embarking on this unforgettable journey, there are several essential things to know to ensure a safe and enjoyable visit. From planning your trip to respecting the local culture, here are some important tips for making the most of your Machu Picchu adventure.

Plan Your Trip in Advance:

Machu Picchu receives a high volume of visitors, and to preserve the site’s integrity, the Peruvian government imposes strict regulations on entry. It’s crucial to plan your trip well in advance, especially during the peak tourist seasons from May to September. Book your tickets to Machu Picchu and the train to Aguas Calientes (the town closest to the site) ahead of time to secure your spot and avoid disappointment.


Choose the Right Time to Visit:

The weather in Machu Picchu can be unpredictable due to its mountainous location. The dry season, from April to October, is considered the best time to visit, offering clearer skies and a lower chance of rain. However, this period also attracts more tourists. The wet season, from November to March, brings lush green landscapes but be prepared for potential rain showers and slippery trails.

Acclimatize to the Altitude:

Altitude sickness is a common concern for visitors, especially if arriving directly from sea-level locations. To acclimatize, spend a couple of days in Cusco (around 11,000 feet/3,400 meters) before heading to Machu Picchu. Stay hydrated and avoid strenuous activities during the first few days to minimize the risk of altitude-related issues.

Choose the Right Trekking Route:

If you’re an adventurous traveler, you might opt for a multi-day trek to Machu Picchu, such as the famous Inca Trail or alternative routes like the Salkantay or Lares treks. Each route offers unique landscapes and experiences. Keep in mind that these trekking routes have limited daily permits, so book well in advance.

Guided Tour or Solo Exploration:

Decide whether you want to explore Machu Picchu independently or with a guided tour. Hiring a professional guide can enhance your experience significantly, as they provide valuable historical and cultural insights, ensuring you don’t miss any essential details. However, if you prefer to explore on your own, make sure to do thorough research beforehand and obtain a Machu Picchu entrance ticket, which allows you to enter the citadel at a specific time.

Follow the Rules and Regulations:

Machu Picchu is a precious archaeological site that requires preservation and protection. Follow the rules and regulations set by the authorities, such as not touching or climbing on the ruins, avoiding littering, and staying on designated paths. Respect the signage and guidelines to ensure that future generations can also appreciate the beauty of this historical wonder.

Get an Early Start:

Arriving early to Machu Picchu not only allows you to witness the magnificent sunrise over the ancient city but also helps you avoid the crowds. The first buses from Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu start at 5:30 am, and the site opens at 6:00 am. Be among the first visitors to experience the tranquility and magic of this incredible place.

Pack Wisely:

Pack light but don’t forget the essentials. Comfortable, sturdy footwear is a must, as you’ll be walking on uneven terrain and steep steps. Essential items include a hat, sunscreen, insect repellent, a refillable water bottle, snacks, and a small backpack. Avoid carrying large bags, as they are not permitted within the archaeological site.

Be Prepared for Physical Activity:

Visiting Machu Picchu requires physical effort, especially if you decide to explore some of the surrounding areas. Be prepared for uphill walking, stairs, and potentially challenging terrain. If you’re not used to physical activity, consider taking it easy and taking breaks when needed.

  1. Stay Hydrated and Mindful of Altitude:

Hydration is essential at high altitudes. Avoid consuming alcohol the night before your visit to Machu Picchu, as it can worsen the effects of altitude sickness.

Visit Huayna Picchu or Machu Picchu Mountain:

For an enhanced experience and incredible panoramic views, consider purchasing a ticket to climb either Huayna Picchu or Machu Picchu Mountain. These two peaks overlook the citadel and offer breathtaking vistas, but they have limited daily permits as well.

Capture the Moment, Respectfully:

Machu Picchu is a photographer’s dream, but remember to capture the moment respectfully. Be mindful of other visitors and avoid causing any inconvenience or disturbance during your photography endeavors.

In conclusion, visiting Machu Picchu (view) is a once-in-a-lifetime experience that requires careful planning and respect for the site’s cultural and natural significance. By following these important tips, you can ensure a memorable and responsible journey to this ancient wonder of the world. Embrace the mystique of Machu Picchu, marvel at its architectural marvels, and connect with the spirit of the Incan civilization while leaving only footprints behind.