You can trust Adventure Life's Peru experts to help you design the perfect tour to Machu Picchu, just as thousands of elated Adventure Lifers that have traveled before you. We understand that for most people, visiting Machu Picchu is a once-in-a-lifetime trip, and we'll make sure every detail is perfect. Choose an itinerary starting from our base in Cusco, from where you'll explore the Sacred Valley of the Inca and take the train to Machu Picchu Village at the base of Machu Picchu mountain. For the adventurous & fit, hiking the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu is one of the world's most spectacular, must-do treks. Four hundred years after the conquest, Hiram Bingham "rediscovered" Machu Picchu, and now, you too can discover Machu Picchu for yourself with Adventure Life. Contact us to start planning your trip to Machu Picchu today.
One of the world's premier treks, the high-altitude Inca Trail to Machu Picchu reaches nearly 14,000 feet hiking over four days before culminating at the glorious ruins of Machu Picchu. All travelers must acclimatize before starting the trek, and all our trekking packages except the 5-Day Inca Trail express and the Short Inca Trail include acclimatization days in Cusco and the Sacred Valley.
New for 2019, the 7-Day Short Inca Trail hikes 1-day on the Inca Trail (no permit required) and arrives at the same Gate of the Sun at Machu Picchu.
For full-length Inca Trail hikes, reservations must be made well in advance, preferrably in October or Novermber they year BEFORE you travel. Top Inca Trail treks include:
Flights: The journey to Machu Picchu typically starts with a flight to Lima, the capital of Peru. From Lima, travelers take another flight to Cusco, the gateway to Machu Picchu. There are several airlines operating flights between Lima and Cusco, making it a convenient and popular route for tourists.
Train: Once in Cusco, travelers can take a train from the nearby Poroy Station to reach Aguas Calientes, also known as Machu Picchu Town. The train journey offers stunning views as it passes through the Sacred Valley, showcasing the natural beauty of the Andes.
Shuttle Ride: From Aguas Calientes, a short shuttle ride along the picturesque Urubamba River and up zig-zag switchbacks leads to the legendary Ruins of Machu Picchu. The journey offers glimpses of the surrounding lush greenery, adding to the anticipation of the final destination.
Inca Trail Hike: For the adventurous souls, the Inca Trail offers a unique and exhilarating way to reach Machu Picchu. This challenging high-altitude trek weaves through stunning landscapes, ancient Incan ruins, and lush forests, culminating in a breathtaking sunrise view from the Gate of the Sun overlooking Machu Picchu.
Private Cars: Some travelers opt for private cars or taxis to reach Aguas Calientes. This option provides more flexibility and can be convenient for groups or families traveling together.
If you have time, it's highly recommended to spend a night in Aguas Calientes so that you can visit the ruins at Machu Picchu early in the morning before the crowds arrive on the mid-morning trains from Cusco.
The Sacred Valley of the Inca - the Road & Rail to Machu Picchu
Upon arriving in the Inca capital at Cusco, many prefer to head straight away to the lower-altitude Sacred Valley and get their first introduction to the world of the Inca here.
Ollantaytambo is an Inca fortress and historical town built primarily with Inca stone where you can climb to the top of the ruins overlooking the town and the Sacred Valley.
Hike the Inca Trail from outside of Ollantaytambo (at KM 88), and you will experience the route to Machu Picchu on foot, just like the Inca did centuries ago.
Aguas Calientes - This is the bustling town at the foot of Machu Picchu mountain where you'll disembark from the train and find boutique hotels, quaint cafes, myriad restaurants, and souvenir shops.
Pisac is a small market village (main market day is Sunday) at the base of a towering Inca fortress surrounded by terraces overlooking the Sacred Valley far below.
Machu Picchu Highlights
Intihuatana: Witness the enigmatic Intihuatana, also known as the "Hitching Post of the Sun," believed to be an astronomical and ceremonial stone structure used by the Incas to mark the solstices and equinoxes.
Sacred Plaza: Immerse yourself in the spiritual heart of Machu Picchu as you explore the Sacred Plaza, where important ceremonies and rituals were once conducted.
Main Gate & Quarries: Walk through the Main Gate, the original entrance to Machu Picchu, and marvel at the impressive quarries that provided the massive stones used in the construction of the citadel.
Dry Moat & Long Staircase: Discover the engineering brilliance of the dry moat, a defensive feature encircling the citadel, and ascend the awe-inspiring Long Staircase to access different levels of Machu Picchu.
Temple of the Sun & Royal Tomb: Explore the sacred Temple of the Sun, a stunning example of Incan stonework, and the nearby Royal Tomb, an area believed to have held the remains of important Inca figures.
Mortars & Temple of the Condor: Admire the intricate stonework and ceremonial mortars found within Machu Picchu. Marvel at the Temple of the Condor, designed in the shape of a condor with outstretched wings, symbolizing freedom and power.
Beyond the Main Ruins:
Huayna Picchu Climb & Sacred Rock: For a breathtaking view of Machu Picchu from above, embark on the challenging climb to the top of Huayna Picchu. Reserve your spot in advance for this unique experience. Don't miss the Sacred Rock, an essential part of the entrance where the Inca Trail meets the citadel.
Inca Bridge: Experience a sense of wonder as you cross the Inca Bridge, a narrow path carved into a sheer cliff face, used as a secret entrance to Machu Picchu.
Gate of the Sun: Venture to the Gate of the Sun, the entrance point for the Inca Trail into Machu Picchu. Take in the majestic view from this elevated location and imagine the awe-inspiring sight that greeted ancient pilgrims.
Best Time to Visit: June, July, and August offer perfect weather conditions and magnificent blue skies. However, they can get crowded due to visitors coming from the Northern Hemisphere during summer vacations. For a less crowded experience, consider visiting in April, May, September, or October.
Weather Considerations: Despite the amazing blue skies, the weather from June to August tends to be colder, especially in the evenings and mornings. Make sure to pack for both dry and wet seasons to be prepared for varying weather conditions.
Timing Your Visit: To avoid long lines, plan to visit Machu Picchu in the early morning or late afternoon. Arriving around 6 am allows you to witness the breathtaking dawn, while visiting after 3 pm lets you explore the site with fewer crowds.
Catching the Sunrise: If you want to avoid the crowds and observe the site in the first morning light, make arrangements to be there as soon as it opens. Don't forget to have your camera ready to capture the stunning views.
Sunset Views: Visiting in the late afternoon offers more flexibility, as park rangers allow you to stay longer at certain spots. Take advantage of this time to enjoy the underrated beauty of the sunset views at Machu Picchu.
The Best Time to Visit Machu Picchu
April and May are among the best times to visit Machu Picchu. The rainy season has passed, and the mountains are lush with emerald greenery. With fewer crowds than July and August, it's an ideal time to explore the ancient site and surrounding areas. Late March to May and September to mid-December are also excellent times to visit Machu Picchu. These months fall before and after the rainy season, offering good weather conditions and fewer crowds.
The dry season from June to August is a popular time to visit, but it can be crowded. Expect clear skies and perfect weather, but be prepared for larger crowds of tourists. If you prefer a quieter experience, it's best to avoid these months.
The rainy season runs from November to March, and while the weather can be unpredictable, it's still possible to visit Machu Picchu during this time. Just be prepared for occasional rain and plan accordingly.
Weather Considerations: Machu Picchu's weather can vary significantly depending on the time of year. While the dry season offers clear skies and pleasant temperatures, the rainy season brings occasional showers and lush green landscapes.
Festivals and Events: Consider planning your visit around local festivals and events. For example, the Festival of the Sun (Inti Raymi) takes place at the end of June and is a significant cultural celebration.
Plan Ahead: Whether you visit during the dry season or the rainy season, it's essential to plan ahead and book your tickets and accommodations in advance, especially during peak tourist months.
Machu Picchu's Hours: Machu Picchu is open every day of the year from 6 am to 5:30 pm. If you want to avoid the crowds, consider visiting early in the morning or in the late afternoon.
Regardless of when you visit, be prepared for varying weather conditions. Wear layers and pack rain gear, as weather can change quickly in the Andean region. Keep in mind the best time to visit Machu Picchu depends on your preferences for weather, crowds, and festivals.