Lacing up my hiking boots and heading to the Andes Mountains of Peru to hike the Inca Trail and visit the ancient ruins in Machu Picchu has long been a bucket list travel destination for me.
Nestled into a remote South American mountainside, Machu Picchu floats like a castle in the azure colored sky. Perched high above the Urubamba River and surrounded by spiked peaks carpeted in colorful orchids, Machu Picchu is a must see destination and worthy of any bucket list traveler.
If you need more inspiration to visit Machu Picchu, check out this article with 8 additional reasons why a visit there will not disappoint even the most discerning traveler.
Read on to discover the ins and outs of travel to the ancient ruins as the steps needed to reach the Peruvian site of Machu Picchu are demystified to make traveling there easier.
Machu Picchu, the old Incan ruins stand at a hilltop in the Andes that sprawls to a height of 7,000 feet. It has been captivating both historians and visitors for years.
If you’re on your first visit to Peru, you can’t miss out on the charm of this ancient Peruvian site. It’s up to you to decide on whether you’d choose to visit the ruins as an independent traveler or opt for some organized tour.
This article offers a few good tips for those that are planning to visit this iconic site.
Where to Stay
Machu Picchu is a popular name given to the township of Aguas Calientes. But in reality, you’ll need to take a bus from this town in order to reach Machu Picchu. Alternatively, you may opt for hiking through the Inca Trail.
Aguas Calientes has the option of ferrying visitors to Machu Picchu in large groups. Although not quite charming, Machu Picchu forms the base of a site full of ruins that stand witness to a valuable era in Peruvian history.
For those of you that wish to visit the ruins within a single day can reach Aguas Calientes by taking a train from the township of Ollantaytambo or the city of Cusco. However, you might need to rush through the ruins if you opt for a day-return trip. Tour guides mostly recommend you to book your stay in Aguas Calientes in order to let you explore the ruins instead of hurrying to catch your return train on that very day.
For tourists visiting the sites at Machu Picchu, the most popular hubs for booking their stay are based on these 3 townships. A plethora of luxury hotels and budget inns are there to provide you with quality accommodations in every town.
Reaching the Site of Ruins
Perhaps the most memorable option to reach the site of ruins is by following the Inca Trail. The 3-night/4-day trip is a perfect fit for those that wish to take on the challenges of visiting this site.
However, you’re only allowed to contact a tour agency or join an authorized group for traveling to this site as you’re prohibited from hiking on your own along the Inca Trail. You’re advised to book your stay prior to visiting Peru as most of the tours are sold out in advance.
For travelers that choose a less challenging route to the site, the best option is to board a train to Aguas Calientes from Ollantaytambo (psst: here’s a great guide to things to do in Ollantaytambo).
The Machu Picchu Train, Inca Rail, and Perurail are the 3 railway services that ferry tourists to Machu Picchu. Due to the 3 distinct levels of rail services provided by the Perurail, it has turned into the most popular option for visitors.
You may choose between the Hiram Bingham train yielding an ultra-luxurious experience, Vistadome service meant for the upscale visitors, and the Backpacker service. Upon reaching Aguas Calientes, you’re bound to catch up with all authorized buses plying between the two townships. From the railway station, you’ll barely need to walk for about 5 minutes to reach the bus stop.
Planning a Trip to Machu Picchu
You may get in touch with a guide for exploring the sprawling ruins of Machu Picchu. Few of the most fascinating highlights of the place will then be disclosed, which includes the Intihuatana rock, the Temple of the Condor, Temple of the Three Windows, the Sun Gate, and the Temple of the Sun.
The ruins are overlooked by the Huayna (Wayna) Picchu, a peak that a majority of the travelers plan on hiking. It yields a perfect backdrop for the snapshots taken while visiting Machu Picchu.
By organizing a group tour to this site, you may achieve a grand experience although it’s very much possible for you to explore the fascinating ruins by yourself. You may sign up with a number of global tour agencies based in Ollantaytambo.
While entering Machu Picchu, you’ll find several guides waiting for visitors. It will be easier for them to arrange a group tour when numerous visitors arrive at the same time. You may speak with a few of them just to gain an idea of their level of knowledge about the ruins. You may pick someone who’s proficient in English and has more knowledge of the site.
Obtaining a fair rate may need considerable bargaining from your end, but you must be prepared to pay around $50 just to be there for a couple of hours. You must remember that a number of experienced historians have still not been able to acquire much knowledge about on the history of this place. So, the expert guides are likely to provide you with a true and fair view of this hotspot instead of furnishing false information.
Booking Your Tickets
Visiting the site of ruins makes it necessary for you to book your tickets in advance. All tickets are sold out during the peak season; only a small group of tourists can actually visit this place every day.
When to Pay a Visit
You’re bound to experience a foggy and dampened weather on your trip to Machu Picchu. You may try visiting this site during the dry months of July and August the peak season begins at the end of May.
During the peak season, a large number of travelers visit this place on day trips from Ollantaytambo. The tourists are allowed to visit the site from 10:00 am to 14:00 pm. You’ll find it easier to reach the site ahead of a large influx of tourists if you book a stay in Aguas Calientes.
By extending your stay by a few days, you may spend some time on your own exploring these ruins as most of the tourists depart.
Try Out a Few Other Things around Machu Picchu
There are a few smaller sights around the site of ruins that catch your attention while visiting the Sacred Valley. Once your journey begins from Cusco, you must halt at certain points prior to reaching the Sacred Valley.
Apart from the Inca ruins and the Ollantaytambo village, you must stop at the Salineras salt mines, the Pisac ruins, and the Moray ruins. Your loved ones may even choose to visit the Pisac traditional market for buying a few mementos that they can cherish long after returning home.
Author’s Bio: Alice D’souza is an expert Content Writer, Editor, and Proof Reader. She is a trustworthy, ambitious, and hardworking individual who’s closely associated with a number of online websites and blogs. Her contributions with some of the most eminent magazines have earned much critical acclaim of late.
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