The crowning jewel of Peru, Machu Picchu. This is the reason many come to Peru, and it’s where I ended my trip after three days of trekking the Lares Trek, you can find out more about that here in: Part One, Part Two and Part Three here.
Machu Picchu, one of the seven wonders of the world is a place you have to visit if you can, it’s one of the most beautiful places on the planet and not the easiest to visit, so in this post I’ll drop a few tips in, as well as explaining my own Machu Picchu experience.
Get to Machu Picchu as early as possible
If you’re coming off of the Inca Trail, you’ll be heading to the Sun Gate at sunrise, and facing a lot of queues, anyhow. But if not, make sure you queue up for one of the earliest buses up to Machu Picchu. The queues are long, and there’s nothing quite like seeing the sun rise over this amazing place. Note that you can’t take open liquids on the bus, so get your coffee early in the queue, we ended up having to neck our’s.
Machu Picchu gets full very, very quickly. By the time we left, we were seeing ridiculously long queues and the place was beginning to lose it’s magic a little bit. It’s worth the early rise, the emptier it is, the more magical it feels. And much, much less stress.
All tours of Machu Picchu must be with a guide, so make sure to book in advance with recommended guides or through the Government website. You can’t buy tickets on entrance, but if you’re doing an organised tour, almost all will be stopping at Machu Picchu, if you’re doing an independent visit, just make sure to prepare well in advance and buy your ticket ahead of time. Also try to visit sometime between April and October to have the best chance at a clear and warm day.
You’re gonna need a whole lot of suncream, especially as a pasty ginger like me, lots of water and a cap, as well as a camera and plenty of batteries. But conversely you don’t want to pack TOO much so that you’re carrying a heavy bag as Machu Picchu isn’t a relaxing walk in the park. There’s a lot of land to cover and it isn’t the easiest.
Utilise every moment
It’s one of the most picturesque places on the planet and one you may only see this once! Plus, it’s being deteriorated rapidly due to a lack of regulation, so try to make the most of out what may one day become a difficult or impossible visit. And so make sure to grab your passport stamp on entry too! And to pee at the beginning, that’s important too.
You only get 3 hours (officially) to enjoy Machu Picchu, plus once it hits 10am it gets very, very busy.
Be ready to hike
The hike to the Sun Gate from the entrance is quite intense. It can be very hot, for us it was over 30 degrees, and it’s uphill on not the easiest of steps. Plus if you want to make it to the Inca Bridge too, that’s a fair hike from the Sun Gate, which required a bit of running on our part.
And here I am with my good friend Jeff Goldblum, a shirt I travel around in.
But as you can see, the hike to the Sun Gate is all worth it for the amazing views that look over the entire of Machu Picchu
The Inca Bridge
This bridge is made from logs over a 1,900 ft drop!! All built by the Incas so that, if needs be, the bridge can be removed leaving an impassible gap. If you have the time, make sure to hike to this too. For me, some of the above views were worth hiking to the Bridge for, rather than the actual bridge itself.
Overall, Machu Picchu is an absolute must visit when in Peru. It’s truly one of the most incredible places on the planet and probably my personal favourite place I’ve ever visited.
This is the final post in my Peru series, for more, see below: