If you’ve ever beheld the visage of Machu Picchu and dreamed of exploring this lost city, then you’re in luck!
The estate-like Machu Picchu is unquestionably one of the most captivating destinations in Peru. Home to an awe-inspiring ancient temple perched atop a mountain, it provides an unparalleled vacation experience like no other.
If you’re planning a trip to Machu Picchu soon, then you’ll need all the information you can get! Here’s everything that you need to know about this idyllic setting as well as how to get there and what to expect during your stay.
What Is Machu Picchu?
The Incan citadel of Machu Picchu is an earthy reminder of the prowess of antiquity. In the center of its 12th-century setting in Peru lies a complex that seamlessly blends architecture with natural elements and has been likened to a ‘garden’ or ‘orchard’.
With over 800 meters in elevation, Machu Picchu is located at an altitude of above sea level. This makes it one of the highest cities in South America; situated atop a mountain range, it reaches into the heavens! It’s also revered for its striking Andean setting within sight of towering peaks such as Huayna Picchu – the Sun Hiker.
The summit of Huayna Picchu rises more than 3,212 feet (921 m) from its base, making it the third tallest mountain in Peru after Mount Shipton and Huascarán.
Where Is Machu Picchu?
Located on the eastern side of the Vilcanota mountain range in the Cusco Region, this captivating site lies some 3,000 feet above sea level – making it one of its most elevated locations in all of Peru.
To access Machu Picchu from either Iquitos (in Amazonas Region) or Cusco, you must first make an arduous trek through the jungles along this route: a duration that can last anywhere between three and five days. If you’d rather opt for an air-only route, you could fly to the city before journeying onward by bus or car; though both options involve considerable time spent away from home during travel!
The Inca Trail is a well-loved option for hikers who wish to explore the ruins independently without resorting to hired guides.
How Do You Get to Machu Picchu?
Machu Picchu lies approximately two and a half hours’ driving from the bustling capital city of Cusco, Peru. This can be accomplished via the historic Highway Nacional No. 16 – an ancient roadway that winds its way along Incan walls and streetscapes en route to its destination; or alternatively through bus services operating between these cities which take around five hours’ travel time.
Hitchhiking is also an option for travelers journeying between Machu Picchu and Cusco, with many motorists offering free rides on their way back down the famous highway into town.
What’s the Most Scenic Route to Machu Picchu?
If you want to set off early, or you need some assistance getting there, then a pre-dawn arrival will be the most sensible option.
If you cannot depart before dawn, opt for the busier ‘Lampa’ route – which takes you straight to Machu Picchu and back in one day!
The quickest method from Cusco is by taking a colectivo (‘collective’) from your location to the Urubamba River, at which point you can begin with the arduous hike up to Machu Picchu.
How Long Is the Flight?
When planning your epic journey to Machu Picchu, it’s imperative to know how long it will take you to reach the fabled Incan city.
Travel between Cusco and Aguas Calientes, or otherwise known as Machu Picchu, by air or bus can take as little as half an hour; yet on the other hand flights could last up to five hours! It all depends upon when you select your departure time.
If you’d like to take advantage of one of the earliest flights out of Aguas Calientes airport, consider booking early: try checking availability online at Kayak around two weeks out from your desired departure date. You may be able to find significantly shorter flight times than those regularly available – give it a go!
When Can I Go to Machu Picchu?
The best time to visit Machu Picchu is between April and November, when weather conditions are most favorable. However, if some rain or fog occurs during this timeframe it may lessen your chances of taking in the full experience: avoid traveling during the shoulder seasons! Additionally, be sure that you avoid visiting on festive days like Christmas Eve; not only will crowds increase but so will pricing for accommodations among others.
If you’re planning an itinerary that includes Machu Picchu with flights from North America and Europe, it can be advantageous to schedule your trip during ‘off-peak’ seasons as well as around holiday periods. And likewise if you’re departing from South America or Asia then expect the weekend after Easter Sunday as a peak travel period – no matter what day of week it is!
What Is There to Do in Machu Picchu?
Though the site of Machu Picchu is undoubtedly the highlight of any visit to Peru, don’t forget that it’s merely one aspect of the country’s rich cultural heritage – as such, we encourage you not only come here but explore more!
For starters, consider visiting some other World Heritage Sites in Peru: “Huaura” (ancient Peruvian city submerged beneath Lake Chaolampampa) and “Vitcos” (magnificent Inca ruins located on a sacred mountain lake). Or venture out into the main region of Arequipa which boasts numerous excursions and attractions.
If you’re considering Machu Picchu as a vacation spot, you’ve surely heard of the famous Incan citadel. Spanning an area of just 2.4 square miles (6km²), this site is most renowned for its fascinating architecture and captivating history; however, if you’ve yet to visit this remarkable city ruins it’s time to do so!
Perched atop a mountain above Cusco, Machu Picchu has provided many tourists with a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Whether you choose to stay in the village or venture out into its majestic surroundings, it is certain that no other place on earth can compare!