Machu Picchu is one of the most magical places in the world and visiting it was one of the best experiences of my life! And to help you enjoy this new Wonder of the World even more, we’ve put together the following list of tips…
– Buy your tickets to Machu Picchu way in advance, especially if you want to climb Huayna Picchu (at an additional cost). You can buy them at this website and we used this guide we found on TripAdvisor since it’s a little more complicated than most ticket purchases. If you get them online, remember that there are three steps: reserving, purchasing, and checking in. The print out you need to show at the entrance is the PDF you get once you’ve checked in online.
– If you do want to climb Huayna Picchu, keep in mind they only allow 400 people up a day; 200 at 7am and 200 at 10am. A good and free alternative is climbing up to the Sun Gate. It takes about an hour to climb up and an hour to get back down but, like Huayna Picchu, you also get beautiful views looking down on the ruins. The stone trail isn’t extremely hard, but you’ll probably end up stopping a few times to catch your breath. And to take pictures.
– They do have storage by the entrance if you want to leave backpacks/luggage. The cost is 3 soles ($1).
– Take your passport! Normally we advise to travel around with a copy of your passport and leave the original in your hotel/hostel, but after 9am there’s a table at the entrance of the park where you can get a stamp of Machu Picchu on your passport. You do it yourself, so there isn’t an official feel to it, but it’s still pretty cool to do.
– Wear good and comfortable shoes. I saw some women in wedges, and although they looked cute, they were a rolled ankle waiting to happen. You’re going to be doing a lot of walking and going up and down steps so keep that in mind when you’re getting dressed that morning.
– Wear layers. It was cold when we first got there but as the clouds lifted and the sun came out, it got hot. Quick. If you can, have a small backpack to put your layers of clothes as you shed them. Also, have a rain coat or lightweight waterproof jacket. We were lucky and didn’t get one drop of rain, but I’ve heard from others that it can rain a lot and sporadically.
– Get a guide. Sure, you can walk along with a guidebook or just walk around completely having no clue what you’re looking at, but I would highly recommend getting a guide. There are a lot of them outside the entrance and charge only 30 soles ($10) per person and they’re with you for about two hours. If you want a private tour it costs more, but we only had 3 couples in our groups so we thought it was worth the price. Our guide was great and provided a lot of information that otherwise we wouldn’t have found out. She also answered all of the questions we had.
– Wear sunblock. When the sun comes out, it beams! So wear sunblock and reapply if you’re sweating or have been there for more than a few hours, which most likely you will. Machu Picchu is huge!
– Use the restroom outside the entrance before you go in. Once you’re inside there are no restrooms. You could be walking around for hours, so keep that in mind. And have change with you; it costs 1 sol to use the restroom. After we ended our 2 hour guided tour, we went back to the entrance and stepped out so we could use the bathroom. We were told you can step out and get back in 3 times, just remember to have your ticket and passport.
– Take snacks and water. There are no cafes, vending machines, not even garbage cans. So take stuff you can nibble on for a few hours. We took bananas, nuts, cookies, and bottles of water that we had bought at the market the night before. And don’t be a litter bug! Hold on to your garbage until you leave.
Have you been to Machu Picchu? If you’re still not convinced you should go, check out these photos. And if you have any tips to add, feel free to add them in a comments below. 🙂
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