Travel Tips Machu Picchu: Ultimate Guide To Inca Secrets!

Are you looking for reasons to visit Machu Picchu and preparing to embark on this epic journey? You're in for the adventure of a lifetime!
Our travel tips Machu Picchu and interesting facts about Machu Picchu will ensure you're well-prepared for this unforgettable experience with us at Skyhook Adventure.
overlooking Machu Picchu Mountain (2-day Inca trail)

Our Essential Travel Machu Picchu Tips: Tips to Enjoy Every Step of the Journey

Here are some expert travel tips for how to prepare for Machu Picchu and turn your Machu Picchu Mountain experience into an unforgettable adventure.

Planning and Tickets

So, you've got your heart set on Machu Picchu, the crown jewel of Peru. But before you pack your bags and jet off, there's some crucial planning to do. Trust us. A little foresight goes a long way in making your trip smooth and enjoyable.
Machu Picchu Train

Importance of Booking Train Tickets and Permits in Advance

First things first: your tickets and Machu Picchu permits
Machu Picchu is not just a hop, skip, and jump away. You must secure train tickets from Cusco to Aguas Calientes, the gateway town to Machu Picchu. And let's remember the entry permits to the site itself. 
These tickets can sell out months in advance, especially during peak season. So, it's wise to book as early as possible. 
Pro tip: If you're planning a Machu Picchu hike, those permits are even more limited. Secure them at least 2-3 months in advance to avoid disappointment.
machu picchu guide

Guided Tours vs. Independent Travel

Now, let's talk about how you want to experience these iconic Machu Picchu circuits. You've got two main options: guided tours or going it alone.
Guided Tours
A guided tour might be your best bet if you're a first-timer or someone who loves historical context. Guides can offer invaluable insights into the Inca civilisation and help you navigate the labyrinthine ruins. 
Plus, they'll handle all the logistical details, leaving you free to soak in the awe-inspiring vistas.
Independent Travel
On the other hand, if you're an experienced traveller who craves flexibility, independent travel could be more your speed. You'll have the freedom to explore at your own pace but remember, you'll also be responsible for all the planning, from train tickets to entry permits.

Getting There

Your adventure begins in Cusco, the former Inca capital and a city teeming with history. From here, you'll head to Aguas Calientes, the last stop before Machu Picchu.
The most popular way to make this journey is to take the train to Machu Picchu, and you have a few options to consider.
Here are some of the most popular options:
  • Expedition: This is your standard, no-frills option. It's comfortable and equipped with half-panoramic windows, perfect for travellers on a budget.

  • Vistadome: Want a more scenic journey? The Vistadome train features large panoramic windows, allowing you to soak in the stunning landscapes of the Sacred Valley.

  • Belmond Hiram Bingham: If you want to splurge, this luxurious train offers an on-board bar, various wines, and an extravagant open-air roof for unparalleled views.

The Final Leg: Bus or Hike from Aguas Calientes

Once you arrive in Aguas Calientes, you're just a stone's throw away from Machu Picchu. You have two options to reach the site: a 25-minute bus ride or a strenuous 90-minute hike. 
The bus is convenient and less taxing, but if you're up for a Machu Picchu hike distance challenge, the hike offers a more immersive experience.
train in machu picchu town

Best Time to Visit and Crowds

Machu Picchu has two main seasons: the dry season and the wet season. The dry season, from April to October, offers clear skies and is generally considered the best time to hike Machu Picchu. However, this is also peak tourist season, so expect larger crowds and higher prices.
From November to March, the wet season is less crowded but has frequent rain showers. While the ruins are still accessible, the trails can be slippery, so extra caution is advised.

Tips for Avoiding Crowds

If you're not a fan of crowds, there are a few strategies to make your visit more enjoyable:
  1. Early Bird Gets the Worm: Consider taking the first bus from Aguas Calientes to beat the morning rush. The site opens at 6 a.m., and trust us, the sunrise over the ruins is worth the early wake-up call.

  2. Late Afternoons: Another option is to visit late afternoon when most day-trippers have left. You'll have a more peaceful experience, albeit with less time to explore.

  3. Off-Peak Months: Consider visiting during the shoulder months of April and October. You'll dodge the heaviest crowds while enjoying relatively good Machu Picchu weather.

machu picchu porters

What to Pack

You're almost there! Tickets, check. Ideal travel time, check. Now, what about your Inca trail packing list
Knowing what to bring (and what to leave behind) can make or break your Machu Picchu experience. Let's get you sorted.
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Essential Gear: Don't Leave Home Without These

  • Sturdy Shoes: You'll be doing a lot of walking on uneven terrain, so a good pair of hiking boots is a must.

  • Multifunctional Clothing: Think layers! The weather can be unpredictable, so pack clothing that can easily be added or removed.

  • Rain Ponchos: Rain showers can happen even if you're visiting during the dry season. A lightweight, foldable rain poncho will be a lifesaver.

  • Other Essentials: Remember your hat, sunglasses, and a reusable water bottle. Hydration is vital, especially at high altitudes.

What Not to Bring: Keep These at Home

  • Food: Eating is not allowed within the Machu Picchu site, so leave the snacks behind. There are plenty of options in Aguas Calientes to fuel up before your visit.

  • Tripods: These are only allowed if you have a special permit, generally reserved for professional photographers.

  • Drones: Leave the drone at home. Not only are they not allowed, but you could also face hefty fines for using one.


Navigating the Site

You've made it! You're standing at the entrance, ticket in hand, ready to explore one of the world's most iconic landmarks, wanting to see Machu Picchu wildlife up close and looking for fun things to do in Machu Picchu. But before you dash off, let's talk about how to navigate the site effectively and comfortably.

The Fixed Route Within Machu Picchu

Machu Picchu operates on a fixed-route system to help preserve the site and manage the flow of visitors. This means you can't just wander aimlessly; you must follow a designated path. 
The route takes you through the main attractions, like the Machu Picchu Temple of the Sun and the Room of the Three Windows, ensuring you don't miss out on any of the highlights.

A Word on Restrooms: Go Before You Enter

Here's a crucial tip: use the restroom before you enter Machu Picchu. 
There are no facilities inside the site and trust us, you want to avoid being caught in a bind while exploring the ruins. Restrooms are available near the entrance, so make a pit stop there before starting your adventure.
hiking the salkantay
Hiking along the train tracks on the Salkantay Trek.

Health and Safety

Machu Picchu is a dream destination but it also comes with health and safety considerations. From the Machu Picchu altitude sickness to the sun, here's how to ensure you're in top shape to enjoy your trip.

Tips for Acclimatising to Avoid Altitude Sickness

Altitude sickness is a genuine concern when visiting Machu Picchu, which sits at an elevation of 2,430 meters (7,970 feet). 
To minimise the risk, consider spending a few days in Cusco (elevation: 3,400 meters or 11,154 feet) to acclimatise. Drink plenty of water, avoid alcohol, and consider taking altitude sickness medication if you're prone to symptoms.

Don't Skimp on Insect Repellent and Sunscreen

You'll be spending a lot of time outdoors, so don't underestimate the power of the sun and bugs. A high-SPF sunscreen is a must to protect against harmful UV rays. As for insect repellent, it's not just for comfort; it's a health precaution against mosquito-borne illnesses.
tourist and machu picchu guide

Money Matters

Let's discuss managing your finances, from cash to cards to taxis, while exploring Machu Picchu.

Carrying Cash and Being Cautious with Credit Cards

While major cities like Cusco and Aguas Calientes have ATMs and accept credit cards, carrying some cash is always a good idea. 
Many small vendors, especially in rural areas, only accept cash. As for credit cards, exercise caution. Always monitor your card during transactions and check for suspicious activity on your account.

Taxi Services: Negotiate Prices Upfront

If you're using taxi services, especially in Cusco, it's crucial to negotiate the price before hopping in. 
Unlike some countries where taxis have meters, many in Peru do not. Agreeing on a price upfront will save you from unpleasant surprises when you reach your destination.
Machu Picchu Facts

Extra Tips

You're well-prepared by now, but we have a few extra nuggets of wisdom to sprinkle on your Machu Picchu adventure. These tips might not be essential, but they'll add a unique twist to your trip.

Get a Machu Picchu Stamp on a Postcard

While getting that coveted Machu Picchu stamp on your passport is tempting, consider an alternative: a postcard. 
Not only does it make for a unique keepsake, but it also avoids any potential issues with passport validity. Plus, it's a fantastic way to share your adventure with friends and family back home.

The Sacred Valley: A Precursor to Machu Picchu

Before you delve into the mysteries of Machu Picchu, consider a detour to the Sacred Valley Cusco. This fertile region was the heart of the Inca Empire and offers a rich tapestry of history and culture. 
Visiting places like Ollantaytambo and Pisac will give you a deeper understanding of the civilisation that built Machu Picchu.


Your Peru adventure to Machu Picchu is bound to be an experience of a lifetime. With the proper planning, gear, and insights from us at Skyhook, you'll soon witness the grandeur of this ancient citadel and enrich your journey in countless ways.
So go ahead, prepare your travel insurance Machu Picchu, seize the moment, and make your Machu Picchu dream a reality.

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