Machu Picchu

Machu Picchu and Aguas Calientes - genuine jewel of Peru

Our trip around the world leads us to the places we have always wanted to visit. Machu Picchu is one of them. And because we always try to write our posts in interesting and usable way for other travelers we promise that this time won’t be different. Below you may find many interesting and valuable advices that we gained on our Machu Picchu trip.

Observatory on Machu PicchuHistory

Machu Picchu in kechua language means the Old Hill or Old Peak and it describes this places. It is the only extensive historical Inca town that survived the destroying wave of Spanish colonization. It is mainly because of its location and secrecy of people who knew about this place. The town was built during the 15th century but maybe it could have been earlier. There has been written so many things about Machu Picchu. Our own remarks are at your disposal in our gallery and video below.

How to get to Machu Picchu

There are many options so we decided to describe them in detail for you. We hope you we will make it easier for you to decide which option is most attractive for you. Our calculations are made for 2 persons because this is what they told us when we asked. If you are individuals simply divide prices by two and it should be price for you may get it. 😉 If there is any price per person, we always write it.

Expensive option – 2 hours of luxury with Peru Rail or Inca Rail

Peru rail on Machu PicchuWe do not recommend this option if you are not crazy, did not win the lottery or are not really in a good shape. Another reason is a fact that in case you choose this you will support overpriced train companies!

  • by train from Ollantaytambo to Aguas Calientes and back – cca 700 PEN
  • Hostel/hotel in Aguas Calientes 2 nights – cca 80 PEN
  • Entrance fee to Machu Picchu – 260 PEN
  • Bus from Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu and back – 142 PEN
  • Tourist guide at Machu Picchu – 100 PEN

Individual price – 1282 PEN (425 USD)

With travel agency – from about 380 USD/person (everything is organized including food – lunch, dinner, breakfast, usually without bus to Machu Picchu and back)

*Sometimes it is surprisingly worth going to the travel agency. In Peru it is often like that.*

Gold medium price option – long but beautiful microbus journey

Machu Picchu by busThis is a preferable option for most visitors. Many people may argue back that long microbus ride is the pain in the ass. But for us it was spectacular surprise and adventure! The journey has 3 levels. 1st level is rise and falt through high alpine roads, 2nd level is fascinating jungle ride on root of mountains, 3rd level is unforgettable trek along the railroad and root of Machu Picchu.

  • Route from Cusco to Hidroelectrica and back (cca 6 hours one way + 2,5 hours of trekking!) – 150 PEN
  • Hostel/hotel in Aguas Calientes 2 nights – cca 80 PEN
  • Entrance fee to Machu Picchu – 260 PEN
  • Bus from Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu and back – 142 PEN
  • Tourist guide at Machu Picchu – 100 PEN

Individual price – 732 PEN (cca 243USD)

With travel agency – od cca 140 USD/osoba (everything is organized including food – lunch, dinner, breakfast)

*If you do not want or for any reason cannot walk you can write a train ticket at Hidroelectrica and go to Machu Picchu by train from there. One way ticket costs 24 USD/person!*

Cheap option – on foot walking with spectacular views

Machu Picchu by footThis option is also possible and we know about people who did it. This option is mainly for tramps and people in a really good shape!

  • Colectivo from Cusco to Ollantaytambo and back – cca 60 PEN
  • Walking along the railroad from Ollantaymtabo to Aguas Calientes – 0 PEN
  • Camp in Aguas Calientes – cca 30 PEN
  • Hike up on Machu Picchu – 0 PEN
  • Entrance fee to Machu Picchu – 260 PEN
  • Tour guide to Machu Picchu – 100 PEN

Individual price – 450 PEN (cca 149 USD)

*You can also take a bus to Machu Picchu Mountain, it costs 12 USD/person one way.”

Tips and tricks

  • Make sure you have enough time for exploring the ruins – Machu Picchu is really extensive complex. It is the only historical place of such range in Peru because it has never been discovered by Spanish conquerors. It makes this place unique and thanks to its area exploring is going to take you a long time. We spent there 7 hours to be able to attentively observe each part! To truly enjoy this place spend here 2 nights. If you let the travel agency tell you it is not necessary then you will be able to stay at the archeological site only for about 4 hours. 🙁
  • Square on Machu PicchuDo not climb mountains around and enjoy the detailed tour of Machu Picchu – People who climbed these mountains recommend you the same. We don’t and the reason is simple. 😉 Climbs can be made on 3 surrounded mountains (on one of them you need to make reservation long in advance, the other requires entrance fee ticket to Machu Picchu and the last peak you can climb for fee but it is quite dangerous), when ascent takes cca 3-4 hours. And this is the time you truly need to explore Machu Picchu. This does not apply for the last mountain if you stay more days and have enough time! Besides that at all Machu Picchu archeological site there are hills with breathtaking views on the entire site. And from here are taken all famous pictures you know.
  • Pay extra and get a ride up and down by bus – the bus is expensive but it is the only option how to get comfortable and fast from Aguas Calienta to Machu Picchu. Of course you can walk up there but you have to set out early in the morning (the entrance gate on the bridge for pedestrians opens around 5 am). Walking is going to take you nearly 2 hours, depends in what shape you are but the hill is very steep because it leads through a shortcut. And if you want to go early in the morning, part of the way you need to walk in the dark. Finally you get up and you are gonna be tired and this will cost you again time and strength to explore the place.
  • Do not let travel agencies rip you off! – Machu Picchu is the most visited tourist attraction in Peru. Therefore there is no wonder that everyone wants to make his money on this trip. Unfortunately we experienced ourselves that people now try it also via Couchsurfing pretending to be friends and it is same for offers on the streets. Always go to several travel agencies and negotiate, it is worth it and nothing bad at all! It is your money and by this you can save up to 100 USD that you normally do not find on the pavement. If you want any advice where to go or who to avoid, just send us a personal message and we will be happy to tell you more. ADVICE: it is always cheaper to buy at travel agencies in small streets and lanes aside of Plaza de Armas (the main square in Cusco)!
  • Lama on Machu PicchuAin’t service like a service – forget about promises of the sellers who offer for their “super deal of the day” better services than their competitors. It is bullshit! Reality is such that once you are in Aguas Calientes and start asking people you realize that they journey all the way with you but bought their trip at different travel agency and also for different price and with different services. It is only bad promises but everyone has the same quality of services. It can easily happen you will sleep in different hostel than you were supposed to stay and so on. Therefore always ask travel agency and be serious about it before you pay them that everything is written on your bill, totally everything. Ask them for hostel name, guide name, ask them to put there you have the English guide, bus to Machu Picchu and back included, etc. This can be important for you once you are on the spot. For example in case they accommodate you in a different hotel or hostel where hot water is not running, or internet is not working or breakfast really sucks.
  • Entrance ticket must be written on your name – Peruvian cashiers and guards at historical places are kinda prudish and can easily eject you from the place in case the name on your entrance fee does not meet the name in your passport or ID (by the way take it with you!). Be aware of that mainly in case you are not buying the ticket personally. Control everything to avoid problems.
  • Machu Picchu rocksRestrictions on the spot – there are certain restrictions at Machu Picchu. Prohibited smoking is acceptable but restricting people drinking and eating inside is not. According to the info on the entrance ticket you are allowed to carry only 1 liter of water per person. Eating is allowed only at the entrance, same for going to bathrooms. But in real this is mission impossible to do. Take 2 liters of water because they do not control you unless you have really a huge backpack. 😉 Also carry enough food with you because you will be hungry. If you need to eat, just try to hide away from the guards. As for the toilette, well if you urgently need and you know you have to walk 30 minutes it depends what you decide to do 😉 Oh and what is really important are poles. We recommend you to take trekking poles with you but you need to use rubber protection otherwise they do not let you in with them! You will have to put them to the locker.
  • Dining in Aguas Calientes is better at local people on the market – Peruvians are not able to offer quality services. It is sad but that’s the way it is. And as for the restaurant this applies twice. We had a great food 5x cheaper and mainly tastier at the market in Aguas Calientes. The food in the restaurant where we had a dinner was not fresh, actually it was old and cold. And really overprices. On the market you get the food fresh, they make it always in front of you for only 7 PEN/person (cca 2,5 USD) including the soup and drink 😉 and we never felt sick!
  • Machu Picchu bathHot springs under Machu Picchu – greatness of Machu Picchu archeological site can logically hide out of your sight other interesting places in surroundings. We discovered local hot springs distant only a few meters from the town center and with spectacular views! It is worth to come here in the morning. It is a perfect spot where to spend you last hours in this place before you depart. Entrance fee is only 10 PEN/person (cca 3,5 USD).

 

Update 2017: Peruvian governmentnce has decided to control number of visitors from this year. Unfortunately ticket prices raised so might be different than the prices we are mentioning bove. Also the entrace is limited to either morning or afternoon only. We recommend to buy afternoon tickets because of morning mist that can last for couple of hours..

 

 

Tento příspěvek je také k dispozici v jazyce: Czech

Pavel

Pavel

IT guy, motorbike rider, travel enthusiast and male.

1 Comment

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    03/06/2015 at 02:38
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