Machu Picchu, the Lost City of the Incas as known to the world in 1911 because of explorer Hiram Bingham. Today, the citadel is one of the New Seven Wonders of the World and just getting yourself to the Lost City is an adventure in itself. There are many ways for travelers to get to Machu Picchu, whether it’s through the Sacred Valley, Inca Trail, Choquequirao or Salkantay each route will take your breath away and will be an unforgettable experience. Going off the beaten track and trekking to Machu Picchu can take hikers a minimum of 4 days, and pack light is key for a successful trek. Upon arriving at Machu Picchu you will be able to partake in an in-depth guided tour of the ruins where you will also be able to explore the many different terraces and have spectacular views. You can also choose to climb Huayna Picchu that can be seen overlooking Machu Picchu, just know that you will need a combined entrance ticket for both sites.
WHAT YOU MAY ALSO SEE
To get to Machu Picchu many travelers go through the Sacred Valley where they will often make stops on route such as to Awana Cancha where you can see camelids and learn about different weaving techniques, Pisac ruins which were thought to be a trading center, and Pisac Market where locals gather and sell goods since the time of the Incas. Travelers can also make their way through the town of Urubamba and enjoy the sights and river by the same name. On route Maras salt flats are breathtaking and a picture-perfect stop where travelers can walk the salt flats and even purchase salt. Moray agricultural terraces are only a few kms. from Maras and is a nice refreshing walk through the terraces. Next stop, Chinchero a small town on top of a hill with beautiful views of the Sacred Valley and colonial church. Here, tourists get the chance to learn about the natural dying process of wool by locals. Before getting on the train to Aguas Calientes in Ollantaytambo tourists can visit the ruins that were once used for agricultural and religious purposes,
The little town of Aguas Calientes can be found at the base of Machu Picchu and is where all tourists start off before heading up to the ancient citadel. When in Aguas Calientes you will notice that this town is car-free and is to be walked through. There are many bars and restaurants where one can stop and a local market where you can purchase local goods.
The Inca Trail along with going through the Sacred Valley is a classic way and the most popular trek to get to Machu Picchu. Though a little physically challenging this trek takes no less than 4 days to go through, with breathtaking views, lush vegetation is well maintained and definitely a memorable experience.
Overlooking the Apurimac River on a hilltop is where you can find the wonderful ruins of Choquequirao, they may not be as famous as Machu Picchu, but they are definitely worth the 2-day trek through the Inca Trail. Constructed with lush terraces, stones stairs, and connecting passages ways. This is just one of many ways to get to Machu Picchu.
The most physically challenging trek of the three is Salkantay. With a minimum of 5 days, travelers will go through various sceneries, remote mountain ranges and of course archaeological sites before making it to Machu Picchu. On the first day of trekking, travelers will get to see the snow-capped mountain of Salkantay that is unlike any other.
Recommend Restaurants in Puno:
El Albergue Restaurant ($$-$$$) Peruvian cafe-Ollantaytambo Train Station
Tunupa Valle Sagrado ($$-$$$) Peruvian- Yanahuara, Valle Sagrado 08010, Urubamba
Full House Peruvian Cuisine ($$-$$) Peruvian- Av. Imperio De Los Incas 620, Aguas Calientes, Machu Picchu
Best time to visit:
The months of January, February, and March are at the height of the rainy season in and around Cusco and your vacation could get very wet. Throughout February, the Inca Trail is closed and generally, we do not recommend you to go on the Inca Trail in January, February, and March, when intense rainfall may cause cancellations or delays. During the period from April to January it is mostly sunny in and around Cusco, but please be aware that it can get very cold at night, as temperatures fluctuate dramatically between day and night in the mountains. Scattered rainfall can and will occur at any time year round in this area, so it is important to bring proper clothes.