20 Essential Tips About a Trip to Machu Picchu

June 29, 2013

Machu Picchu is by far the top tourist attraction in Peru. Every day hundreds of foreign tourists travel to the citadel to experience its magic and incredible beauty. Planning a trip to Machu Picchu can be difficult, but at the Only Peru Guide we have been to Machu Picchu many times and want to offer some helpful hints and tips about your trip to Machu Picchu and also offer an insight into services and facilities at the famous citadel. Here are our 20 tips you need to know about a trip to Machu Picchu.

Panoramic picture of Machu Picchu

Machu Picchu, Peru

1)      At any time of the year the weather in Machu Picchu can change in an instant. Be prepared with a poncho or light raincoat just in-case.

2)      There is only 1 snack bar at Machu Picchu, go prepared with snacks and drinks to see you through the day. La Boulangerie de Paris in Aguas Calientes offer box lunches at reasonable prices.

3)      There are local guides at the entrance to Machu Picchu. A guide costs about S/.120 (US$ 50) for 2 hours. Talk to them first to make sure that there English is up to scratch!

4)      Make sure you get your passport stamped with the Machu Picchu stamp. There is a small office just past the entrance where you can get this done.

5)      You can buy your shuttle bus tickets for Machu Picchu at the ticket sales office in Aguas Calientes. Often the line can be long, so if possible buy them the night before. Shuttle bus tickets are valid for 3 days.

Buffet restaurant at Machu Picchu

Tinkuy Restaurant at the Sanctuary Lodge Hotel

6)      There are some biting bugs at Machu Picchu, wear long light clothing and use plenty of strong insect repellent. Avoid open toed shoes!

7)      Only small backpacks of less than 20 litres are allowed into Machu Picchu. There is a storage office just past the main entrance that charges 3 Soles (US$ 1) to hold your things for the day.

8)      The shuttle bus to Machu Picchu takes about 40 minutes. The ride is a little bumpy so be prepared with motion sickness medication if you have a tendency to get ill. Always seek the advice of a qualified doctor before taking any medication!



ENTERTAINMENT TIP: If looking for fun at night, or to watch sports during the day, or even a taste of home, visit the Wild Rover Hostel Cusco for great food, sports and beer! Entrance to their bar is free even for non-guests

9)      Walking sticks are not permitted in Machu Picchu. 1 Stick with a rubber tip is more welcome and less frowned upon.

10)   The only public toilets are located outside the main entrance, underneath the snack bar. Don’t get caught short. A walk from the far side of Machu Picchu to the toilets can take 30 minutes.


Sign for Pharmacy at Machu Picchu

Pharmacy at Machu Picchu

11)   Shuttle buses to Machu Picchu operate from 5.30 a.m. in the morning until 6 p.m. when the sun sets.

12)   To the left of the entrance of Machu Picchu there is a pharmacy and a doctor’s service available. The service is operated by Clinca’s Pardo and San Jose (from Cusco).

13)   Entrance to Huyna Picchu Mountain is limited to 400 people per day, 200 hundred at 7-8 a.m. and a further 200 from 10-11 a.m. Entrance tickets must be purchased in advance.

14)   The Tinkuy Restaurant at the Sanctuary Lodge Hotel offers a high quality buffet lunch which is served from 11.30 a.m. until 15.00 p.m. The cost is US$ 40 per person. Entrance can be purchased on the day.

15)   Be prepared with sun protection including a hat, sunglasses and sun block. Some people even take in small umbrellas! Feel free to look a little daft, but don’t get burnt!

Classic photo of Caretakers Hut at Machu Picchu

Caretakers Hut Machu Picchu

16)   If you don’t want to take the shuttle bus to Machu Picchu, there is a pathway that runs up the side of the switchback road used by the buses. From Aguas Calientes follow the shuttle buses to find the start of the path. It takes about 1 hour.

17)   2 Days is recommended to enjoy Machu Picchu to the fullest.

18)   There are several optional short hikes that you can do at Machu Picchu. The Sun Gate, 3 hours hike round trip – free to do. The Inca Bridge, 1 hour hike round trip – free to do. Huayna Picchu, 2 hours hike round trip, entrance tickets required. Huayna Picchu Mountain, 4 hours hike round trip, entrance tickets required.

19)   If you have a fear of heights, it is not recommended to hike Huayna Picchu. At the top, the path is very narrow and very steep.

20)   Take your passport with you to Machu Picchu you will need to pass through the control at the entrance. If you don’t have it you will be denied entrance.

If you found this article helpful, please share it with your friends, family, Facebook buddies, Google Plus buddies and anyone else you can think of. Machu Picchu really is a fantastic place to visit, and we hope with these helpful insiders tips your experience will be even better. Enjoy Machu Picchu and Peru.



Did you know - The Lima Walking Tour leaves from the Tourist Information Center at 799 Avenida Jose Larco in Miraflores every day at 10:15 am. Visit our Blog for more information!
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