Machu Picchu Mountain is one of the 7 man-made wonders of the world that is most famous for its ancient Inca ruins consisting of temples, terraces and water channels. Machu Picchu translates to Old Mountain, taking its name from the location of the Incan citadel.
I spent one full day exploring Machu Picchu Mountain and have put together this Machu Picchu Guide for everything you need to know before you go!
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WHERE IS MACHU PICCHU LOCATED
Machu Picchu Mountain is located in the Sacred Valley approximately 70km from Cusco City in Peru. Machu Picchu altitude is 2,350m above sea level.
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Climbing Machu Picchu
GETTING TO MACHU PICCHU
There are a couple of ways of reaching Machu Picchu Mountain by either trekking or by train and bus.
Trekking Machu Picchu:
The Inca trail is the most common route for trekking Machu Picchu and there are many different packages to choose from including 2-day, 4-day, 5-day and 8-day treks.
There are dozens of tour operators and offices dotted around Cusco City to book the Inca trail to Machu Picchu, but in my experience, it can be overwhelming trying to find an operator to book a trek with and not be ripped off.
Alternatively, you can book your Machu Picchu trek online in advance to avoid the hassle of having to organise it once you arrive. I recommend planning a trip to Machu Picchu on the Get Your Guide website. They have a number of trekking options to Machu Picchu Mountain that are affordable and reliable.
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Train + Bus to Machu Picchu Mountain:
The easier option of getting to Machu Picchu is by taking the train and bus combo from Cusco with an overnight stay in Aguas Calientes, the town below Machu Picchu Mountain. There are daily trains that depart from Ollantaytambo (a town near Cusco) and arrive in Aguas Calientes. The 2-hour train journey itself is beyond scenic and an experience I am sure you will never forget! Once you arrive in Aguas Calientes I recommend spending one night here and taking the first bus that departs at 5am from the main bus stop in Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu Mountain the following morning.
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Train Cost: $100 – $200 return depending on which package you choose.
Bus Cost: $12 one way or $24 return.
You can purchase Machu Picchu train tickets in Cusco at a tourist office or online in advance.
Machu Picchu Mountain opening hours are from 6:00am – 5:30pm – Monday to Friday.
WHERE TO BOOK MACHU PICCHU MOUNTAIN
For all Machu Picchu Tours from Cusco, there are a number of different packages available on the Get Your Guide website.
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I personally visited Machu Picchu Mountain with Killa Expeditions, a reputable adventure tour company in Cusco. Myself and eleven other keen trekkers embarked on a 9-Day Ausangate Trek which included Rainbow Mountain, Machu Picchu and Sacred Valley. It was hands down one of the best experiences I have ever had!
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Machu Picchu Train
Inca ruins – Machu Picchu Turismo
WHAT TO EXPECT AT MACHU PICCHU MOUNTAIN
According to historians, Machu Picchu Mountain was built in the 15th century by the Inca Pachacutec. This Inca city was built with huge blocks of stone and the most fascinating part is that no mortar was used during the construction. The ruins are divided into two main areas, the agriculture area consisting of terraces and the urban area which served administrative purposes. These two areas combined are absolutely beautiful and why Machu Picchu Mountain is a picture-perfect destination.
Due to a massive influx of tourism over the past few years, authorities have limited the number of visitors to 2,500 people on any given day in order to preserve the ruins at Machu Picchu. The earlier you can get to Machu Picchu the better to avoid the crowds and on a clear day, you may get lucky enough to see the sun rise up over the mountains, illuminating the Inca ruins below.
Machu Picchu Mountain is best explored on a guided tour if you are wanting to learn first-hand the long history of this ancient Incan city. Otherwise, visitors are free to roam around at their own pace taking in the sights and capturing pictures along the way. Bear in mind that the designated pathways are one way only so once you go down you can’t go back up. Take your time and get that perfect photo at each viewpoint as you make your way around Machu Picchu Mountain.
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Mountain top views – Tour Machu Picchu
Machu Picchu Itinerary
MACHU PICCHU HOTELS
Machu Picchu has hundreds of accommodation options to choose from, so I have narrowed it down to a few of my recommended places to stay in Machu Picchu to fit the needs of budget backpackers and luxury travellers. See the list of accommodations below that I personally recommend:
Luxury: Sumaq Machu Picchu Hotel
- Awarded the best hotel in Machu Picchu! Sumaq Hotel is located along the beautiful Urubamba River and only 20-minutes drive from Machu Picchu Archaeological Site. This 5-star hotel offers comfort, elegance and relaxation in Adean design. Free wifi is available, luxurious and spacious rooms, private balconies with mountain views and a superb breakfast is included.
Mid Range: Hotel Ferre Machu Picchu
- Hotel Ferre is a 3-star hotel located just 5-minutes walk from the train station. The rooms are spacious and cosy with free wifi, private bathroom, mountain and river views and breakfast is included. You can also enjoy the communal sauna and hot tub inside the hotel.
Budget: Casa Machu Picchu Hostel
- Casa Machu Picchu Hostel is the perfect spot for budget backpackers looking for cheap accommodation. Centrally located in Aguas Calientes, this hostel has dorm rooms, shared bathrooms and showers with hot water and a continental breakfast is included. Chill out in the lounge or terrace to enjoy the free wifi or to meet some other fellow travellers.
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Thanks for reading this article and if you have any questions at all about Machu Picchu Mountain, please leave me a comment below and I will get back to you as soon as I can.
Happy Travels! 🙂
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