Peru South America Travel

Tips for Visiting Machu Picchu

August 22, 2016

The fact that I visited Machu Picchu earlier this summer still feels a bit like a dream. After wanting to visit for so long, it’s still hard to comprehend that I ticked off a major bucket list travel destination of mine even though I have the photograph evidence to prove it to myself.

So because I’m still a bit moony over our trip to Peru (and I’m sure that I’ve completely bored my coworkers with my stories), I’ve put together a few tips that might help out on your future visit to Machu Picchu!

When to Go

While Machu Picchu is open year round, there are better parts of the year to go. October through April is the rainy season in Peru, which means that there will be less of a crowd but you might get caught in a rain shower during your visit. May through September is the dry season, which means that there will be more visitors alongside you, but the weather will probably be gorgeous (for reference, my family and I went in June).

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Getting There

We went with a National Geographic tour, during which we hiked from lodge to lodge as we made our way from Cusco to Aguas Calientes (the city just below Machu Picchu). Hiking is definitely the most strenuous method of getting to Machu Picchu, but also the cheapest and most fulfilling since you get to see the Peruvian countryside firsthand. If I remember correctly though, they only allow so many hikers on the Inca Trail at one time, so be sure to double check that. If you’re not interested in hiking, you can also take the train. PeruRail runs between Aguas Calientes and Cusco, and we took that back into the city after our day in Machu Picchu. Much more expensive but it’s obviously less physically demanding.

Getting In

Book your entrance tickets as far in advance as you possibly can!!! Machu Picchu has thousands of visitors a day year-round, so buying your tickets in advance assures that you will be one of those. And while hiking up to the Sun Gate is available to everyone, you have to reserve the right to climb up Huayna Picchu in advance since only 400 hikers are allowed up the mountain each day. Entrance tickets cost about $40 USD.

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Tips for Your Visit to Machu Picchu

  • Be sure to bring lots of water and a hat to protect your face from the sun. Machu Picchu is high up in the mountains and so even if you think you won’t need either, trust me, you will. For reference, I drank an entire Nalgene (32 oz.) before we left that morning and then refilled it twice while we were on the grounds.
  • Along with your entrance ticket, buy a bus ticket to get up to Machu Picchu ahead of time. You’ll catch the bus in Aguas Calientes and will have to line up with everyone else waiting to get to the top of the mountain.
  • From what our guides told us throughout our trip, it seems that getting to see a clear sunrise over Machu Picchu can be hit-or-miss. So unless you wake up early the morning of your visit and it’s incredibly clear, I would recommend catching a later bus (I think ours went up around 9:30am). It rained all morning in Aguas Calientes/was foggy up at Machu Picchu, so the earliest morning visitors couldn’t see much. The clouds started to roll away halfway through our climb up Huayna Picchu, which I think was around 10:30am.
  • As I said before, be sure to buy your tickets to hike up Huayna Picchu ahead of time. While the view from Sun Gate is gorgeous and much easier, the view of Machu Picchu below from Huayna Picchu really can’t be beat. The two entrance times are 7am and 10am; I would recommend the latter, which is what my group did.
  • If you don’t know much about Machu Picchu or the Incas, I would recommend looking into booking a tour through the site. There aren’t any signs or postings to indicate what you may be looking at, so while the site is absolutely gorgeous it won’t have much meaning to the casual tourist. I had done some reading/research before we left so I knew the about the most famous spots in Machu Picchu, but I would have been totally lost if it weren’t for our guide showing us around.
  • Please, please, please, bring your passport! They’ll check it when you enter Machu Picchu, so it’s necessary to have it. Plus they have a passport stamping station for kids that I totally used while there. So now I have a Machu Picchu stamp in my passport!

Have y’all ever been to Machu Picchu? Let me know your highlights!

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  • Great info and I love seeing your photos!

    Amy Ann
    Straight A Style

  • Lovely photographs! I haven’t visited Machu Picchu before but it does look stunning. Great tips!

    Laura xo
    http://www.shehearts.net

  • Katie

    Thanks for the tips! I’ve never been to Peru but would love to go at some point!

  • Mary

    Courtney,
    Thanks for such helpful tips, and I know what you mean about gushing to your coworkers (since I’m still coming down from my Greece trip too!) National Geo tours sounds like a fantastic way to go. I love the idea of hiking from one spot to the next… what an amazing way to absorb all the details!

    http://www.districthilo.com

    Love, Mary

  • This is really a great post and so thorough! I hope to see that beautiful place one day. 🙂

    http://www.kathrineeldridge.com

  • I’m deininotely adding Peru and Machu Picchu to my travel list now. How breathtaking is this place?! And I’m soooo bookmarking this, because I’m definitely going one day!

    Have a great day Courtney!

    XoXo,

    Tamara – LoveofMode.com

  • I’ve never been to Peru before, but we have many friends that are from there and we of course love the food, too! I’ve heard so much about Machu Picchu before, but mainly from YOU and your recaps! You’ve definitely sparked my interest in visiting and with these great tips, I’m sure it will make for an even more enlightening and joyful experience! Thanks so much for sharing, beauty, and I hope you have a great week ahead!

    XO,

    Jalisa
    http://www.thestylecontour.com

  • That view is amazing! I really appreciate how thorough your tips are. They’re so helpful.

    annescribblesanddoodles.blogspot.com | Bloglovin’ | Instagram

  • awesome tips! machu picchu looks amazing!

    kelseybang.com

  • Great post, Love your blog! x
    http://pyrramidblog.blogspot.com/

  • I’m lime green jello right now! How amazing is this Courtney? My goal in life was to be an archeologist so I find anything historical more interesting than just about anything else and here I am as a style blogger… lol… I’ll just live vicariously through your photos!

    Amanda | https://ASparklingStickyStyle.com

  • Shauna C

    WOW!! What a cool trip and how lucky were you to experience it?! Loved reading these travel tips too

    Shauna

    http://www.lipglossandlace.net

  • Bookmarking this. I definitely want to make it up to Machu Picchu one day…I hope soon too!

    Meghan | BeyondBasicBlog.com

  • Andreea Birsan

    The landscape is so beautiful! I totally love Machu Picchu, need to visit it asap! Hope you had a great time there! x

    Have a great week,
    Andreea
    http://couturezilla.com/

  • Biana Perez

    I actually have a co-worker that is there right now and I wish I could have sent this to them ahead of time!! So many great tips!! xo, biana –BlovedBoston

  • Tessy Onyia

    Wow! such a beautiful view, I love this.

    http://www.tessyonyia.com

  • Ianne Cabangon

    Great tips, i would love to go there with my family, maybe when the kids are like older. Gorgeous photos.
    Xo, Christianne
    http://simplychristianne.com

  • These are such great tips Courtney! I would love to visit Machu Picchu in the future and will keep these tips in mind…especially the one about when to travel!

  • Did you get altitude sickness at all? You look well on the last photo so hopefully not. I’d love to visit

  • La Veine

    Great tips and beautiful pictures!
    xx

    LA VEINE

  • Fabulous post and tips gorgeous!!! I would love to visit Machu Picchu one day, it’s definitely something you need to do! Your photos are gorgeous babe, loved them on your Insta too! Xx

    http://theemasphere.com/

  • Great post, loved the tips. Gemma x
    http://www.jacquardflower.uk

  • Water and SPF are SO key. And how gorgeous is Machu Picchu? Definitely on the must-visit list. 🙂

    -Ashley
    Le Stylo Rouge

  • Margot R

    Such great tips !
    I hope one day i’ll have the luck to visit the machu picchu !
    It looks so great !
    xx,
    Margot
    https://troughthepasturesofthesky.com/

  • Kelsey & Kenecha

    Great tips!! Thanks for sharing!

    http://floralsandsmiles.blogspot.ca

  • Isabel Robertson

    Amazing tips! I would love to visit Machu Picchu!

    Bella x
    https://bellasfashionjournal.com

  • Dominique

    This is a dream of mine! How amazing! I’m not surprised you’re still talking about it! Haha xx

    http://www.thatnewdress.com

  • Machu Picchu has been on my travel list since I first learned about it. Major life goals!

    Thanks for the tips, I’m sure they’ll come in handy when I do get to tick this off my own list:)

    xx,
    Chels
    http://www.chelseaasoflate.com

  • WhatWouldVWear

    Wow! These pics are amazing! Machu Picchu is on my bucket list as well!! Major goals!
    I hope your day is as beautiful as you are!
    xoxo, Vanessa
    http://www.WhatWouldVWear.com

  • This looks like an amazing place to visit! Stunning photos!
    ~Jessica
    Jeans and a Teacup

  • Courtney, Your trip sounds so amazing. I have always wanted to visit and maybe one day I will.Thanks so much for sharing your helpful tips. I hope you have a great rest of your day.
    Elise XO
    http://www.thewaterwanderer.com

  • I’ve heard about Machu Picchu and it sounds beautiful! I know it’s really hot, so a hat and sunglasses is a must! Thanks so much for the tips <3

    xx BASH |   go say   H E Y   B A S H

  • Would love to visit Machu Picchu, and these tips are so lovely and informative! Gorgeous photos too! Xx

    http://www.thefashionfolks.com

  • Stella Asteria

    Ah I want so much to visit Mach Picchu, we were actually discussing about it yesterday with my fiancé, while watching a travel documentary which failed a lot to mention your awesome tips! Thank you so much for sharing, I am so happy that you get to be there 🙂
    Stella
    http://www.stellaasteria.com

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