Machu Picchu, located high in the Andes Mountains. These ancient ruins were built in the 15th century and abandoned. Nobody really knows the history behind it but Machu Picchu has become one of the most popular travel sites in the world.
How to get there
1. Hike it. There are several different options by hiking the Inca Trail. It leads directly to Machu Picchu. Choose from 2 day (easy trek), 4, 5 or 7 (difficult) day tours. Pricing for tours are in the hundreds and they book quickly, so plan to buy months in advance.
Use this mega guide for tour info, pricing, tickets and maps Inca Trail Peru Guide.
2. Short on time or not a hiker? You can take a 90 minute train ride and a 30 minute bus ride there. You can purchase a train ticket on the Inca Rail or Peru Rail. They depart from Ollantaytambo or Poroy Station in Cusco. Purchase a bus ticket outside of the station at the end of the train ride. The bus runs every 15 minutes.
Purchase your entrance ticket several weeks in advance. Only 2,500 people are allowed per day and it books up quickly. Purchase Machu Picchu Tickets Here.
No matter how in shape you think you are, the high altitude will tell you differently. Even climbing a few stairs had me feeling winded. With Machu Picchu being 8,000 feet above sea level, altitude sickness is also a concern. The lesser of intense symptoms are dizziness and headaches. Symptoms will kick in within 12-24 hours of reaching the increased altitude. It takes 1-2 days for your body to adjust.
How to avoid Altitude Sickness
- Coca Leaves- These can be bought all over Peru. They are dried leaves from a Coca Tree that are meant to be chewed or made into an herbal tea.
- Doctor prescribed altitude sickness pills.
- Studies show that ibuprofen can help reduce the incidence of altitude sickness.
- Luck. Some people don’t get altitude sickness.
- Rain gear- November to March are the rainy seasons so be prepared with appropriate clothing. Umbrellas are not allowed in the ruins.
- Passport- They will stamp your passport there. I wish I knew this at the time because I left my passport locked up at my hostel.
- Sunscreen- The ruins provide NO shade.
The ruins are well protected and the following items are prohibited:
- High heels (why would anyone where these anyways?)
- Walking sticks (exceptions for the elderly)
N E W F R I E N D S
Save the drama for your llama. You’ll see Llamas and Alpacas all over the ruins. It’s said that if they feel threatened they will bite you. I didn’t know this until after (and it wouldn’t have made a difference) but I got myself a nice selfie after 1000 tries. No bites. 🙂