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FAQ

How to get to Machu Picchu?

All normal transport to Machu Picchu leaves from the city of Cusco. There are basically three alternatives:

  • Train transport to Machu Picchu is the most common way to reach the Inca citadel. Rail transportation is managed by Peru Rail, a company of the Orient Express, and features two basic route alternatives and three carriage qualities. Prices range from US$70 to US$120 for a tourist-class, round-trip.
  • Hiking the Inca Trail is the second most common alternative. A good physical condition is highly recommended, both for the four-day and two-day Inca Trail hike.The fatigue though is completely recompensed: beautiful Andean and cloud-forest landscapes, plenty archaeological sites along the route, and a majestic entrance to Machu Picchu through the Sun Gate.
  • It is also possible to take a bus from Cusco to Ollantaytambo, and from here to Aguas Calientes (Machu Picchu town). Frequent buses depart from Aguas Calientes and complete the journey right to the site entrance.


When is the best time to travel to Machu Picchu?

Usually, May to October is considered the best time to visit Machu Picchu, as it is the dry season. However, it can get pretty crowded, specially during July and August, somewhat ruining the spiritual dimension of the experience. Besides, nights can get quite cold during these months. The rainy season, from November to April, brings heavy rains, with most precipitations coming down in January and February. It’s usually clear and dry most mornings with outbursts of heavy rain in the afternoons. During this period, some roads might be closed by landslides or flooding, in particular those leading to villages off the beaten track. And still, some people will take more pleasure in travelling during this period, as there are much less tourists around and a can a more mystic atmosphere can be experienced. Just consider the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu is usually closed during February for maintenance.


What is the weather like in Machu Picchu?

Machu Picchu lies just above the cloud forest of the Andes' eastern mountains, at 2,350 m.a.s.l. A subtropical climate, it gets strong sunshine during the day, though it gets quite cool in the shade and, specially, at night, when temperatures can drop to around 8ºC (48ºF). Average temperatures at Machu Picchu are quite mild, rarely rising above 30°C (86ºF) nor dropping below 11°C.

 

What is the location of Machu Picchu?

Machu Picchu is located on a mountain ridge above the Urubamba Valley, about 70 km (44 miles) north west of Cusco. Geographic coordinates are 13° 9' 23'' S, 72° 32' 34'' W. As a reference, Machu Picchu is on the same latitude as Darwin, in Australia, and almost on the same longitude as New York city.


What is the Altitude of Machu Picchu?

Machu Picchu is located at 2,430 meters (7,970 ft) above sea level. Although it's almost 1,000 meters lower than Cusco (which stands at an altitude of around 3,500m or 11,500 ft), you still need to take precautions regarding altitude-related problems when visiting Machu Picchu. This is because altitude sickness commonly occurs above 2,400 metres (approximately 8,000 feet).


Machu Pichu or Macchu Picchu?

Neither of these. Even worse, variations such as Machu Piccu, Machu Piccha, Macho Picho or Matchu Pitchu: Culture of Machu Piccha, for example, just to mention a quite frequent phrase, is a huge spelling mistake. The correct name of the Inca ruins is Machu Picchu, which means Old Summit in Quechua, the original language of the Inca culture. Quechua is largely spoken today throughout the Peruvian Andes, specially in Peru's south.


Are there hotels at Machu Picchu?

Actually, there is only one hotel right next to the ruins, the Sanctuary Lodge. It occupies the same structure built in the 70s by the Peruvian government as a provisional guest house for showing Machu Picchu to excellent visitors and tourists. However, its unique setting has an obvious downturn: the Machu Picchu Sanctuary Lodge hotel is utterly expensive. However, there are many accommodation alternatives in Aguas Calientes ( Machu Picchu town), the closest town to Machu Picchu (some 6km away -a 90-minute walk). Aguas Calientens hosts a wide range of accommodation facilities, from humble inns and hostels to more luxurious hotels.


Are there restaurants at Machu Picchu?

The only restaurants at the ruins are those found in the Sanctuary Lodge hotel. Of the two, only the Tinkuy Restaurant Buffet is open to the general public. It offers a daily lunch buffet at about US$ 28. The other one, the Tampu Bar Restaurant, a stylish restaurant with a modern Andean-style decoration, is reserved for the hotel's guests only. Also at the ruins, near the entrance of the site, El Mirador bar sells sandwiches, bottled water and other snacks. It usually gets packed at lunchtime, so a pretty good alternative is to bring some sandwiches and drinks with you (but be sure not to litter). If you are for a nice meal without spending too much, you can find some nice restaurant alternatives in Aguas Calientes too.


What is Aguas Calientes?

Aguas Calientes, also known as Machu Picchu town, is the closest town to Machu Picchu. It is located on a margin of the Urubamba River, some 6km away (a 90-minute walk) from the Inca ruins. It hosts many hotels and restaurants, as well as natural hot baths, which give the town its name ("hot waters" in Spanish). The baths were destroyed by floods several years ago, but have been rebuilt.

 

What is the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu?

The Inca Trail is Peru's most popular trekking route. It runs for more than 40km and reaches 4,200 m.a.s.l. at its highest point, the Warmiwañuska or Dead Woman's Pass. It arrives to Machu Picchu through the Sun Gate, a location that overlooks the old Inca citadel, offering some spectacular views of the complex. The stone-paved trail is part of the more than 23,000 km of roads built by the Incas across South America. It crosses an impressive range of natural landscapes and eco-systems, from thick tropical jungle to the bear, unwelcoming rocks of the Andean mountains. It was only discovered in 1960.


What is the Huayna Picchu?

Huayna Picchu or Wayna Picchu (Young Peak in Quechua) is the mountain that rises over Machu Picchu -and that you can see in every typical Machu Picchu postcard.

The peak of Huayna Picchu is about 2720m above sea level, or about 360m higher than Machu Picchu. There is a trail to the top of the mountain, built by the Incas, as well as terraces for agricultural purposes and a temple made of stonemasonry, known as the Temple of the Moon. The trail to Huayna Picchu's top is open to visitors, though only 400 visits are allowed daily (visitors are required to sign in by 1pm). The climb takes approximately one hour, and includes some steep and slippery stretches (which is why it can be closed during heavy rainfall).You can live this incredible adventure looking our Special Inca Trail to Machu Picchu


What is the Machu Picchu Sanctuary?

The Machu Picchu Historical Sanctuary is a protected area established in January 1981. It covers an area of more than 35,000 hectares, obviously encompassing the old citadel of Machu Picchu. Its strategic geographical location, on the eastern slope of the Andes, allows to protect ecosystems varying from the year-round snow found at 6,000 m.a.s.l., to the steamy tropical jungles to be found at just above 1,700 m.a.s.l.

 

What kind of clothes and articles should you bring for the trip?


Machu Picchu is located on the border of the Amazon rainforest. That is, it has a subtropical climate (warm and humid), so the type of clothing that we recommend to use is:

  • If you travel during the rainy season (November - April). The best option is to wear a raincoat as well as water and wind resistant clothing. But dress in layers, in a way that you can adapt your clothes to a changing climate, whether cool or warm.
  • Even if it's hot in the morning, always wear a warm jacket. It may be annoying to have to carry it during the visit, but it is better to be prepared for the wind at the end of the afternoon.
  • Shirts and / or t-shirts with long sleeves (preferably). To avoid insect bites and / or annoying sunburn.
  • Cap and sunglasses. A lightweight and comfortable cap, so it will stay fresh. The sunglasses will allow you to appreciate all the beauty of Machu Picchu without having to strain your eyes.
  • Sunblock and insect repellent. They are absolutely necessary. Especially the repellent since the itching of mosquito bites can be very annoying. If you think that insects have a particular taste for you, we also recommend not wearing short garments of any kind. Use only personal hygiene and health products that are eco-friendly, that do not contaminate the water. As a guide you can read our recent article about many biodegradable products that you should use.
  • Do not forget to take a lot of water! Staying hydrated with purified or bottled water is the best thing you can do to be healthy and full of energy during the trip. It will also help prevent altitude sickness. Just keep in mind that Peru is already under a rule banning disposable plastic in tourism, so you must bring a bottle or reusable bottle.

How to go from the town of Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu?


Aguas Calientes (or Machu Picchu town), is next to the citadel. This is also one of the frequent questions Machu Picchu tour 2019. There are two ways to get to the Inca sanctuary from there:

a) If you like to walk and enjoy nature. There is a route that ends with stairs properly signposted. The walk on average will take 1 hour and a half. It is advisable to bring sunscreen, insect repellent, hat, sunglasses, remember that you are in an area on the edge of the jungle. But we inform you that the road is quite demanding, there is a high traffic of buses on the route that is also a bit narrow, it can be somewhat uncomfortable and risky.

b) The best option is to go by bus. The trip will be about 30 minutes approximately. This bus will leave you at the entrance to the citadel of Machu Picchu. They leave from 5:30 a.m. Bus tickets from Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu are administered by the CONSETTUR company, and have offices in Cusco and Aguas Calientes.

  • CONSETTUR Office in Cusco: Av. Infancia N ° 433.
  • CONSETTUR Office in Aguas Calientes: Av. Hermanos Ayar s / n
  • Note: you can buy the tickets independently, however, the most convenient is that we do it for you, to coordinate this activity with the other schedules of your tour. Otherwise, there could be problems in organizing your itinerary.

How much luggage can I take on the train and what to do with my bags?

 

The train services, whether Peru Rail or Inca Rail, only allow to carry a hand luggage, with a maximum weight of 5 kg. Both companies offer a free storage for this luggage. The other option is to leave it at the hotel in Aguas Calientes. For the tour of Machu Picchu, a small backpack is enough.

 

Is there a limit on the sale of the Machu Picchu Ticket, Huayna Picchu and Machu Picchu Mountain?


Some years ago the Peruvian Government established some measures that regulate access to these tourist destinations, necessary for its preservation. The established provisions are detailed below:

  • Tickets Machu Picchu: 5,400 spaces per day. (Important: that is the total number of tickets for all activities).
  • Tickets Citadel Machu Picchu + Huayna Picchu Mountain: 400 spaces per day, divided into two groups:
  • Group 01: Machu Picchu + Huayna Picchu: 200 spaces per day. Consult with our staff the available schedules.
  • Group 02: Machu Picchu + Huayna Picchu: 200 spaces per day. Consult with our staff the available schedules.
  • Citadel ticket Machu Picchu + Machu Picchu Mountain: 400 spaces per day. In this case, it is the tour of the citadel of Machu Picchu plus the mountain of the same name, which is next to the archaeological complex. Learn more about the spectacular Machu Picchu mountain.
  • Citadel ticket Machu Picchu + Inca Chávez Ballón History Museum: 2,500 spaces per day.

Who manages the sale of tickets to Machu Picchu?


The agency in charge is the Ministry of Culture. All travel agencies are subject to the rules and regulations established by that entity. The availability of tickets is unique for both travel agencies and independent tourists. Therefore, the purchase of them is included in the cost of any of our tours to Machu Picchu.

 

When should I make the reservation of the ticket?


It will depend on your plans. If you want to know only the citadel of Machu Picchu, 2 months in advance is recommended. But if you also want to include the Huayna Picchu mountain hike or the Classic Inca Trail, the reserve should be made 5 or 6 months in advance, since this attraction runs out very quickly.

 

Can you visit Machu Picchu and Huayna Picchu on the same day?


One of the frequent questions Machu Picchu tour. Yes it is possible. And it can also be done on different days. The entrance to the mountain Huayna Picchu has 3 schedules: 7 to 8 am (two groups) and 10 to 11 am (last group). Remember that this attraction is within the citadel itself.

 

Can you find a guide in Machu Picchu?


Prefer the Let´s Go Inca Trail certified guides. Informal guides can be found and the cost varies depending on the amount of people they are, to more people the price is lower. But we do not recommend you in any way to hire such services, for your own security and guarantee. All our tours to Machu Picchu include professional guides selected and registered by us, with valid ID cards, which guarantee professionalism and confidence. With us the work of the guide will more than compensate the cost of the tour.

 

From what time can you enter the citadel?


From 06:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., every day. Your tour will be conducted within that schedule, according to the planning that you and we agree upon. If you want a special schedule or a more individualized service (in general, our tour of the citadel lasts 2 and a half hours, plus an extra time for you to visit the places that interested you especially), the ideal option is to hire one of our private tours, because these can be totally personalized, in a different way to conventional tours.

 

Should I bring a document?


It is essential to carry the documents with which you made the reservation. This is valid both for trains and for entering Machu Picchu. If you are a foreigner you must present your original passport, if you are a national you must present your ID, and in the case of students, the ISIC (Student Card). If you do not have the precise document, you will be denied entry to the archaeological complex. 

 

Where are the hot springs of Machu Picchu?


They are in Aguas Calientes (town neighboring the complex). Specifically in the final part of Pachacuteq Avenue, about 20 minutes from its Main Square. The springs sprout from between the rocks with different warmth. The temperature of the waters is between 35ºC and 43ºC.These sources are taken to pools. The thermal baths of Aguas Calientes have different healing properties, such as: treatment for rheumatism, anti-stress therapy, eliminate toxins, lower blood pressure and improve metabolism.

  • Hours of Operation: Monday to Sunday from 05:30 am - 20:00 hrs.

The visit to the historic sanctuary is recommended for people of any age?


There is no age limit. You can visit Machu Picchu with babies, children, youth, adults, seniors. In addition, we can also make tours for people with special needs (for example, tourists in wheelchairs, blind people, deaf people, etc). The only condition in this case is that the tour is booked in advance, because the preparations are a bit more complex.

 

Do I need to bring walking boots for Inca Trail to Machu Picchu?

 

Walking boots are recommended as they provide support to the ankle which reduces the risk of injury especially when trekking in the wet season (December - March). However it is important that your boots are comfortable and well worn-in and not brand new. Many people prefer to trek in tennis shoes but extra care should be taken since they do not support the ankle. We do not recommend trekking in sandals or using new boots or hiring boots prior to the trek. Make sure the shoes are sturdy enough for the duration of the trek and will not fall apart.

 

Can I use trekking poles / walking sticks on the Inca Trail? Do you hire them?

 

Many people like to hike with trekking poles or walking sticks. This is fine as long as the poles will not cause damage to the stone paving along the Inca Trail. If the trekking poles have metal spikes then these must be protected by rubber tips. We recommend bringing some spare rubber tips with you. Rubber protectors can also be bought in several shops in Cusco. Metal trekking poles can also be hired in many equipment hire shops in Cusco for about US$10 for the 4 day trek. Let´s Go Inca Trail often have poles for hire in our office.

 

Where can I store the bags that I do not need to take on the Inca Trail?

 

Any bags that you don't need to take on the Inca trail can be left at your hotel in Cusco. Nearly all hotels have a luggage deposit and rarely charge for this service as long as you are returning to the hotel after the trek. You can also leave valuables in the hotel safe, but remember to bring your passport and some emergency money. We do not store clients luggage or valuables in our office.

 

Should I hire an extra porter?

 

About 50% of the group hire the services of an extra porter to carry their personal items. A 'half porter' can be hired for the 4 day trek (ask us) The price includes porters entrance fees, meals, transport and wages. If you hire the services of a half porter you can give him a maximum of 6kg (13lbs) to carry which is usually sufficient for your sleeping bag (about 2.5kg), mattress (1 kg) and change of clothes (about 2.5kg). However the porter will not walk at your side during the trek so you will still need to bring a day pack to carry essential items such as water, snacks, camera, warm sweater and rain jacket. When you pay the trek balance in our office in Cusco we will give you a duffle bag so that you can put your items in that, which you will give to the porter on the day of the trek.

 

When is the best time to travel the Inca Trail?


The high season on the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu is from May to September, because this time coincides with vacations in the Western Hemisphere. These months probably offer the best trekking conditions with a dry and sunny climate. However, as we said before, you must reserve the permits many months before. April, October and November are also great months to make the Inca Trail; there are fewer hikers, although it is likely that at least one day will rain during the trek. It is also easier to find available permits, although they must still be booked months in advance. The rainy season goes from January to March, and if you decide to come during this time, expect some frequent rains. However, it is perfectly safe to do the walk, with the equipment - waterproof - adequate. Again, it is much easier to get permits to travel the Inca Trail at this time of year. The Inca Trail closes the month of February of each year, because it is the rainiest month, and is used to make maintenance for the conservation of the paths of the road. However, all alternative routes are open during this month.

 

Do I need a great physicist to travel the Inca Trail?


It is recommended that you have a good level of physical condition, however, you do not have to be a fan of exercise. If you are not in shape, it would be a good idea to start a regular walking workout (uphill) a few months before your adventure. One of the biggest challenges about trekking in Peru is the altitude; the highest step of the Inca trail is at 4.125, in the passage of the dead woman. To help you acclimatize and avoid the symptoms of altitude sickness, we recommend the following:

  • Avoid alcohol and smoking.
  • Drink a lot of liquid. Coca tea is an ancient ancestral remedy.
  • Avoid agitation and strenuous exercise upon arrival in Cusco.
  • Avoid sleeping pills.
  • Spend between 2 and 3 days to acclimatize before starting your walk.

This does not happen very often; However, if it happens, our guides are very experienced and know how to act in the event of any emergency or unexpected occurrence; They will do everything possible to help you complete your walk. In addition, first aid kits and oxygen tanks are carried for emergencies. However, if you become seriously ill and need to return to Cusco, you will be treated quickly and arrangements will be made for you.

 

What do we do with the water in the walk?


Boiled water is provided from the second day of walking. You should bring reusable water bottles with you, since the water is sterilized by the cook every morning and afternoon. The first day you can buy bottles of water on the road.

 

Once I booked, can I change my departure date?


No, unfortunately, once your reservation is confirmed, we can not change your trekking date or reimburse your permit; this is why you should be very sure of the dates for which you book your hike.

 

 

 

 

Inca Trail Programs

We organize tours for small groups, including families, friends, students and volunteers. Our tour leaders speak English, Spanish & Quechua (Andean Language) and will dedicate themselves to giving you the best independent tours in Cusco as well as Machu Picchu.

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E-mail: info@letsgoincatrail.com
Address: Recoleta Street C1, Zaguan del Cielo, Cusco, Peru






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