Get the most from your dream visit to Machu Picchu, with these useful tips…
Located in the mountainous transition zone between Peru’s Andes and the Amazon basin, this mystical “Lost City of the Incas” features in most people’s list of the world’s top travel destinations and must-see dream vacation attractions.
The ruins of Machu Picchu remained hidden amid cloud forest vegetation for centuries, and today they are the top tourist attraction in Peru. More than just a vacation, a visit to Machu Picchu is a journey into the mysteries and wonders of Peru’s great Inca past, an adventure that promises to be one of the most exciting and fulfilling experiences of your life.
To help you get the most from your experience, our own Peru travel experts have come up with their best tips for visiting Machu Picchu:
Book your trip early: Make sure your Cusco tour operators reserve your train tickets and your entry to Machu Picchu well in advance. Only a certain number of permits are granted each day, and Machu Picchu is Peru’s most popular tourist attraction! And if you plan to hike the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, you really do need to book in advance. This trek is strictly controlled as a way of protecting the natural environment and archaeological sites along the Inca Trail, and it is sold out months in advance.
You don’t need a tourist visa (unless you’re from Asia), but you will need to carry your passport with you throughout your stay in Peru. And when you enter Peru, customs officials will give you a tourist card. Make sure you keep it safe throughout your Peru trip. You’ll need it when leaving the country, otherwise you’ll have to pay a fine.
Avoid the Machu Picchu crowds: Beat the afternoon crowds arriving from the city of Cusco by train, and spend a night at the foot of Machu Picchu in the town of Aguas Calientes. This way, you can experience the archaeological site early in the morning. The light in the early morning is often excellent, and even if there are clouds, they tend to make Machu Picchu seem even more mysterious and can result in great photographs!
Also, if you really want to avoid crowds throughout your Peru vacation, consider traveling out of the high season (June to August), and plan your visit to Peru and Machu Picchu in either April and May, or from September to October, which are still good times to travel, at the beginning and end of the more comfortable dry season.