The Incan ruins of Machu Picchu are a must visit for every avid traveler. However, being an offbeat destination, it would require some extra planning to reach this iconic tourist spot. If this is your first visit to Machu Picchu, then here are some travel tips that would help you along the way. We have also added a list of the more popular attractions in the region you would most definitely need to visit while there.
The Best Time to Go
October through April is the region’s official rainy season although sudden showers are a common occurrence. Expect to see a lot of crowds if you visit between July-August. It is considered wise to book your tickets well in advance in order to avoid last minute travel hassles (for instance, a reservation to visit the Inca trail needs to be made six months in advance).
Most tourists fly into Cusco and then reach Machu Picchu via train or bus. While buses would take you to the town at the foot of the ruins, trains would stop at a nearby town called AguasCalientes. The latter is recommended as it can prevent the altitude sickness many individuals experience at this height.
Carry along essentials
Make sure you carry a raincoat or jacket at all times. Also bring along some sweaters as it would get cold at night. Other travel essentials would include sturdy shoes, bottled water, water purification tablets, snacks, a flashlight and a first aid kit to take care of minor injuries. Also carry along a copy of your passport so that you can show it to the authorities should you exit and reenter later on.
Money: Always carry along some change in the local currency to tip porters, guides and other helpers you meet along the way as well to pay for using the bathrooms.
Guides: Although a good guidebook would help you explore the ruins on your own, a good guide can offer plenty of information about the historical significance of the place. You can avail a guide from the town or the citadel door.
Places to visit
The iconic peak that is shown in most pictures depicting Machu Picchu, Huayna Picchu would offer you astounding views of the surrounding areas. The trail to the top is steep and dangerous, with only 400 visitors allowed to climb it every day. So book it in advance and make the hour-long hike to the top before resting under the shade of the Temple of the Moon.
Temple of Three Windows
Featuring three elaborate windows carved into the stone, the Temple of Three Windows sits on the side of the Sacred Plaza. The windows feature trapezoid designs and look out over the picturesque Urubamba Gorge.
Caretaker’s hut and Sun Gate
This is a viewpoint located right near the entrance to the sanctuary. It offers great views of the main grounds, and connects to a path that moves upwards to reach the Intipunku aka Sun Gate.
Temple of the Sun
Located on the main grounds of the sanctuary, the Temple of the Sun is an ancient temple featuring a lofty window set on a rounded tower. The window is designed to align with the sun during the winter solstice in June.
The Sacred Rock
Located in the lower terraces, the Sacred Rock is a massive stone set inside a chamber which was formerly used as a meeting area. Locals believe that the stone houses a secret energy which can be felt by placing your hands on the rock.
Hitching Post of the Sun
The Intihuatana aka Hitching Post of the Sun served as the clock used by the ancient Incans to tell time. The carved rock structure looks like a sundial in the form of a mountain peak and is located above a flight of steps near the Sacred Plaza.
Planning to visit the iconic Machu Picchu during the holidays? The travel tips and guide will help you plan your trip better.