Best Tips for Visiting Machu Picchu

The Professor Gives His Top Ten Pointers for Visiting the Ancient Citadel of the Incas

Author: The Traveling Professor/Saturday, February 7, 2015/Categories: Peru & Machu Picchu, General Travel

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Here are The Traveling Professor's Top Ten suggestions for visiting Machu Picchu:

Reserve in Advance:   The only way to get to Machu Picchu (other than walking) is to take the train.   Don't get all the way to Peru and find out no seats are available on the train.   Also, only 2,500 people are allowed in Machu Picchu a day.  Don't get all the way there and find out there aren't any tickets available.

Stay at Least 2 Nights in Aguas Calientes (Machu Picchu):  Aguas Calientes is the village at the base of MP where everyone stays.  Do not make the mistake of making Machu Picchu a one-day trip.   On your first day, arrive in the afternoon and take a tour.  On the 2nd day, do a "Sunrise at Machu Picchu" hike up to the Sun Gate.

Spend at Least 2 Nights in Cusco to Acclimate to the Altitude:  Rest and take it easy in Cusco before heading off the MP.  BTW, the altitude at MP is lower than Cusco.

Stay at the El Mapi Hotel in Aguas Calientes:  Unless you can afford the Inkaterra, I recommend staying at the El Mapi.  Book well in advance.

Take the Train from Poroy, Not Ollantaytambo:  Avoid that harrowing trip by bus over the mountains from Cusco to Ollantaytambo.

In Aguas Calientes, Drink Bottled Water Only:  Aguas Calientes is the only place where we have had issues with the water.

Hike to Mandor:  About 4 km down the train tracks in Aguas Calientes, take the hike to the waterfalls and Gardens of Mandor.  You'll get a look at MP from the other side.

Don't Visit in Late December, January, February, and early March:  It's rainy season.

Wear Plenty of Sunscreen and Use Bug Spray:  At that altitude you will burn before you know it if not protected.  There are those little annoying bugs too.

Don't Eat at the Overpriced Buffet at the Lodge at MP:  It's not worth it.  Pack a lunch or eat at the snack bar.

For more information on our small group tours to Peru and Machu Picchu, see

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