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 MOUNTAIN 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.
Climbing Machu Picchu Mountain
HOW TO GET TO MACHU PICCHU MOUNTAIN
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.
Click Here to search for all trekking Machu Picchu options and book online!
Train + Bus to Machu Picchu Mountain:
The easier option of getting to Machu Picchu Mountain 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.
Find All ∼ Hotels in Aguas Calientes
- Train Cost: $100 – $200 return depending on which package you choose.
- Bus Cost: $12 one way or $24 return.
- Opening Hours: Machu Picchu Mountain opening hours are from 6:00am to 5:30pm, Monday to Sunday.
You can purchase Machu Picchu train tickets in Cusco at a tourist office or online in advance.
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.
Click Here to find a Machu Picchu tour that best suits you.
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!
Machu Picchu Train
Inca ruins – Machu Picchu Mountain
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.
Must Read → 3 Week Peru Itinerary
Mountain top views – Tour Machu Picchu
Machu Picchu Itinerary
MACHU PICCHU HOTELS
Machu Picchu Mountain has hundreds of accommodation options to choose from, so I have narrowed it down to a few of the best places to stay in Machu Picchu to fit the needs of budget backpackers and luxury travelers. 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. Check prices on booking.com
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. Check prices on booking.com
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 travelers. Check prices on booking.com
For all other places to stay at Machu Picchu Mountain, Click Here to search on Booking.com
MACHU PICCHU MOUNTAIN MAP
WATCH MY TREKKING IN PERU VIDEO
Another option for accommodation in Peru is to stay at an Airbnb, which generally has some great deals!
WANT TO SAVE $$$ ON AIRBNB? GET MY AIRBNB MONEY SAVING GUIDE
PERU – THINGS TO KNOW BEFORE YOU GO
The best time to visit Peru is from May to October which is the dry season and temperatures are cool. The wet season in Peru is typically from November to April.
The currency in Peru is Peruvian Soles and the exchange rate is approximately 1 Soles = $0.30 USD
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MORE CENTRAL & SOUTH AMERICA TRAVEL GUIDES
- Mexico: 4 Week Mexico Itinerary
- Cuba: 10 Day Cuba Itinerary
- Peru: Backpacking Peru – 3 Week Itinerary
- Bolivia: Things To Do In Bolivia
- Brazil: 2 Day Rio De Janeiro Itinerary
- Argentina: Things To Do In Argentina
- Chile: Things To Do In Chile
LONELY PLANET – PERU
One of the best books to take on your trip is the Lonely Planet Peru Travel Guide!
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WHAT TO PACK FOR MACHU PICCHU MOUNTAIN
Everyday Backpack: One of the best backpacks on the market! The Nomatic 20L Backpack is perfect for on the go adventures. Featuring multiple storage spaces for valuables, drink bottles, chargers, notebooks and more. This sleek backpack was designed for you.
Universal Power Adapter: Don’t leave home without one! I highly recommend getting this Universal Power Adapter so that you are able to charge all of your electronics when you’re on the road. Compatible in Asia, UK, Europe, Africa, USA, SA and Australia.
Hidden Money Belt: I never go on a trip without one! The best thing is they are always out of sight, hidden beneath your clothing. With RFID blocking, they are perfectly designed to keep your credit cards, cash and other valuables safe when you’re out adventuring!
Waterproof Phone Case: A waterproof phone case is a must-have item! This universal case will keep your phone safe from water damage, sand and scratches during your adventures. Suitable for all smartphone models.
Portable Charger: One of the best portable chargers on the market! The Anker Power Bank keeps your phone and accessories charged on those longer adventures. Featuring 2 USB charging ports, rechargeable battery, works with iPhone, iPad, Samsung, Oppo and Android.
Microfibre Travel Towel: To pack a towel or not to pack a towel? A standard bathroom towel can take up a lot of space in your travel bag. Get your hands on a quick-dry Microfibre Travel Towel which is perfect for the beach, backpacking, camping and general traveling.
Rain Jacket: A light-weight rain jacket is an absolute must when traveling! North Face waterproof rain jackets come in both men and women sizes, featuring a breathable mesh lining and adjustable hood that can be tucked away inside the collar.
Kindle: The best alternative for books! Kindle e-readers are perfect for long haul flights, reading on the beach or a quiet evening away from the bars. Kindle’s are waterproof with rechargeable batteries and adjustable light settings to suit indoor/outdoor conditions.
Packing Cubes: My favorite item in my backpack! Perfect for organizing your shirts, pants, jackets, socks, underwear and more. This 5 Set Packing Cubes makes packing easier and more efficient, adding extra space in your bag for your next trip.
Activated Charcoal Tablets: Want to avoid food poisoning? Most of us have been a victim of travelers diarrhea from eating street food. Organic Activated Charcoal Tablets are fast-acting and will rid your system of the bad bacteria that causes stomach upset.
MY CAMERA GEAR
Everyday Camera: The most affordable mirrorless camera on the market! I personally use the Sony A7ii Mirrorless Camera on all of my adventures. It’s compact, lightweight and super easy to use for all levels of photography. A 28-70mm Sony lens is also included.
Drone Camera: Take your photography to new heights! The DJI Mavic Pro 2 Drone is at the top of the game when it comes to high-quality images and video, easy to control functions and traveler-friendly capabilities. I guarantee you won’t regret purchasing one.
GoPro Hero 8: One of the most popular cameras on the planet! I love using the GoPro Hero 8 for all of my underwater shots and fast-paced adventures. The GoPro Hero 8 captures the best moments with its wide range of functions that are very simple to use!
Camera Bag: My favorite camera bag I have ever owned! The Lowepro Protactic 450 AW II Camera Bag features a waterproof rain cover, drink bottle holder, padded compartments for cameras, drones, lenses, accessories and it also has a laptop pocket.
Selfie Stick: Everyone loves a good selfie, right!? The Sandmarc Metal Edition Selfie Stick is sleek, stylish and can extend to 1.2m. I find it much easier to take photos and videos with the GoPro when it is mounted to the Sandmarc Selfie Stick!
Camera Tripod: The Joby GorillaPod is suitable for all cameras. This tripod is easy to use and perfect for setting up a time-lapse video or even using it as a selfie stick. The legs are flexible so you can wrap it around a tree or a pole to get creative with your shot.
GoPro Dome: Have you ever wanted to capture those under/over water shots with the GoPro? This epic underwater GoPro dome housing is the best camera accessory to have to create the perfect 50/50 shot. I use mine every time I am in the ocean!
Memory Card: The best thing about SanDisk Extreme Pro is that it delivers maximum speed for images and videos. Having 64GB of storage means that you can store hundreds of files on this SD card for 2-3 days and not have to worry about running out of space.
External Hard Drive: As a photographer, my images and video files take up a lot of space on my MacBook so I use the WD Elements External Hard Drive to store everything. With 4TB worth of storage space, this is more than enough for 1 years worth of content.
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Before you go, don’t forget to check out My Online Shop!
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FINAL THOUGHTS OF MACHU PICCHU MOUNTAIN
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.
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